Alec’s XCOM Feature

By Jim Rossignol on May 8th, 2010 at 3:03 pm.


Mr Meer was the first to take a look at the new XCOM, thanks to the PC Gamer’s exclusive feature. Since he’s currently off having weekend adventures I thought it might be wise to link to an online sighting: GamesRadar have the full text, and some images.

This isn’t a linear shooter, either. Your base’s phonetappers and police-radio scanners present you with choices as to where to go next and what to do, picked from a large map of the US. Rumours of animal attacks and strange weather patterns in a certain state? Sounds like Blobs are on the rampage. Saddle up, Agent Carter. Grab the wheel of your hulking fedmobile, take two of your best men with you, and go see what’s going on.

Go read.

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285 Comments »

  1. Dain says:

    Well, 1950s setting already makes it sound more unique than your standard shooter

    • M says:

      Agreed, it’s an inspired choice. Really nice themes, this sounds great!

      Could’ve easily done it without the XCOM title, mind you.

    • HexagonalBolts says:

      @M

      There’s a depression on, dontcha’ know! Old, well known franchises are a brilliant, safe and relatively cheap way to drum up interest and sales (according to the marketing department anyway).

  2. Garg says:

    I love the styling of the alien technology, with that laser drone thing tearing up the place forming from levitating shapes. I hope there is plenty of stuff outside of the shooting bits though, as only half of x-com was the battle phase.

  3. toni says:

    x-com is about an alien invasion on earth. xcom is about an alien invasion on earth.
    now THAT’s gonna silence the doubters !! logic wins.

  4. pkt-zer0 says:

    I still can’t imagine why they thought sticking the X-Com name on this game was a good idea.

    • Jimbo says:

      Brand recognition? People are already talking about it a lot more than if they hadn’t used the name.

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      I get the feeling they just really liked X-COM, but felt they needed to make it a Doom-Clone for it to succeed commercially. Fair enough, I hope it’s good. I can’t imagine the rights were expensive.

    • Uhm says:

      Because it’s a lot like XCom.

    • Tacroy says:

      So was Bioshock, but they didn’t call it “Systemshock”.

    • Tacroy says:

      Thinking about it some more, it seems like sticking the XCom name on this game amounts to a huge vote of no confidence from whoever made that decision – in other words, “we don’t think this game will stand up on its own, so let’s stick the name of a great game we’ve got the rights to on it!”

    • Jimbo says:

      That seems a bit of a stretch. Using the name gets the game some extra attention, regardless of whether the game is good or bad.

      Fallout 3 reviewed extremely well and is widely considered to be an excellent game (ie. ‘strong enough to stand up on its own’), but the Fallout brand undoubtedly helped that game sell as many as it did, because it invites increased attention.

      Bioshock was a great name, they managed to say “it’s kinda like System Shock” whist still giving a flavour of the new game. Maybe they could have called this ‘G-Com’.

    • Kryopsis says:

      Keep in mind that even if Irrational Games wanted to make BioShock a System Shock 2 sequel, they wouldn’t be able to. The ‘System Shock’ trademark is owned by EA rather than 2K or Irrational.

  5. stahlwerk says:

    The art style looks lovely. The best kind of gadgetry was developed in that period (think about the props of the original enterprise!) and it’s great someone is willing to adhere to this “let’s totally use a household appliance as a scifi utensil” school of propping with little more than an ironic wink (as in, not all-out ridiculing it like NOLF, TF2 or even some of the bond movies did).

    Don’t know yet if I’m all for fighting shapeless goo/solid monsters, especially if the squad-AI acts as a perfect magnet. I hope the bestiary contains at least a few “familiar aliens”.. There’s something totally iconic about the “greys” (fast movement from cover to cover, swarm tactics/intelligence, mind control) which will be sorely missed if they are not included.

    2k, you may proceed. looking forward to suprises.

  6. Bruce Rambo says:

    It’s X-COM: Delta Green?

    ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delta_Green )

    Sounds neats.

    However, I’d rather they let the concept stand on its own merits than involve and pollute so much of a classic.

  7. Alexander Norris says:

    Pelling was part of 2K Australia back when it was still Irrational Australia, and has worked on Freedom Force, Tribes: Vengeance and BioShock 1 as a result. The team also includes veterans of Total War and Fallout

    Them’s the magic words right there. Although sadly, not a mention of SWAT 4.

  8. Thingus says:

    It’s a neat idea, but the thing that worries me is whether they’ll be able to pull off locations all across America without making them feel repetetive or samy. Think they’ll use procedurally generated maps?
    I never played any of the X-COM games, so I can’t really comment on the use of the title or ‘feel’. Are they really as good as people say they are?

    • Unaco says:

      Yes.

    • Arathain says:

      Yes, the XCOM games are that good. There are many who hold the first one to be the greatest game on the PC. It certainly must be included when talking about the form. It’s super-clever, tense, flexible and strategically and tactically interesting. It excels at placing every action in a global context, right down to the smallest battlefield choices. It’s emotionally involving. It has a great sense of fighting a desperate campaign against a foe that is superior in almost every respect. It really is that good, which is why folk are getting so riled up about this version. XCOM’s precious to us, you know?

      The second is a hard-as-nails partially underwater version of the first with a couple of useful interface tweaks, but is functionally the same game. Apocalypse is a bit of a departure, and is an excellent game in its own right, while lacking the magic of the first two. Anything after that (Interceptor, Enforcer) can be safely ignored.

      They’re also cheap on Steam. Try the first. Be sure to name all your soldiers after people you like.

    • Dogar says:

      Yes, the first game is totally awesome, and I’m saying this without a wiff of nostalgia. I first played the game in 2007 and fell in love with it almost instantly. Get it, get it now!

    • PleasingFungus says:

      Also, the UI’s a bit impenetrable – it’s a strategy game from the period when you actually had to read the manual. And, naturally, the graphics will burn your eyes for a bit until you get used to them.

      Once you’re through that, though.

    • Quijote3000 says:

      I can safely say it’s THAT good. I still remember the feeling of dread when spotting the chryssalids. Sure, there are other aliens technically stronger, but still the chryssalids were SCARY

  9. Flakfizer says:

    What the hell does any of this have to do with X-Com ?

  10. Helm says:

    No offence meant but… “We can start believing?” In what, surface level hype? Is that seriously good advice? Sorry to sound confrontational, it just rubbed me wrong.

  11. Arathain says:

    That looks really quite clever. I’m encouraged. Very few games manage to encourage you to run away when things get rough, so I’d be very interested in seeing if they could pull that off.

  12. Barnz says:

    It’s Fallout 3 all over again.

    • El Stevo says:

      @ Barnz:

      So you think it’ll be a great game too?

    • Jesus says:

      @El Stevo

      No, he think it will be console crap made for people that never played any other game in the series.

  13. Bob Dobbs says:

    what we’re retaining is the core elements that made X-COM X-COM,” says Pelling.

    Grats on your nominally nonlinear atmospheric shooter, but this quote, and the “you can start believing” nonsense, is bullshit. 2K are clearly going for “mystery” and “horror” in a “beautiful, idealized world.” Fine. Hopefully that comes together and the sidekick AI doesn’t suck too much. Maybe it’ll even do more to open shooters up than, oh, I don’t know, Just Cause 2 or whatever. But don’t patronize me by pretending that it’s got anything to do with what made X-COM X-COM.

    It is the nexus of gaming – strategy, action, roleplaying, management, horror, storytelling, chess. [...] No-one really cares about the X-COM universe, that the colour scheme isn’t right or that the Brotherhood of Steel didn’t used to care about civilians. They care because they want the one game that genuinely did it all to come back.

    • Andreas says:

      You need to go read the preview. Really, you develop tech, you expand your base, you hunt down aliens all over a hug map – sorry, but it sounds pretty damn X-Com to me. We know bugger all, but what we do know sounds promising.

  14. cypher says:

    Hmmm seems like cthulhu dark corners of the earth meets original xcom, which is no bad thing. If even a third of the hype stands up to the test of time it sounds like it’ll be genuinely interesting.

  15. Pantsman says:

    I think I understand why they’re calling this XCOM. It doesn’t seem much like the original, but it doesn’t seem much like anything else either. I doubt their corporate masters would’ve allowed them to make something this unique without a trusted name being attached to it. If this turns out to be as brilliant as it sounds, then all is forgiven.

    • Arathain says:

      “If this turns out to be as brilliant as it sounds, then all is forgiven.”

      That’s the key, really. It’s a huge risk using the XCOM name, because it evokes exactly the sort of reactions we see on this site. It had better be nothing short of brilliant, or PC gamers will not forgive easily.

    • stahlwerk says:

      That’s a really good point, Pantsman. Brand recognition will play a large role in the marketing of this game, and I think the fact that they’re doing something “revolutionary” (There never were any first-person games with the x-com name, right? ) with that brand shows a lot of guts.

      Also, it shows a good grasp on how marketing works in this day and age of internets: As long as there’s no “dislike” button on facebook, every publicity on this game is good publicity.

    • Flakfizer says:

      The cynical part of me thinks this is exactly why they are using the X-Com name.

      The rights-holders aren’t going to make a strategy game. The developers only know how to make shooters. This way their production line shooter gets loads of free advertising by creating nerd-rage among older gamers. Nobody cares if they trash the name, it’s not like it was going to get used ‘properly’.

      An online petition against it will be signed by thousands of gamers. They’ll all buy it anyway.

    • Pantsman says:

      But this doesn’t sound like a production line shooter at all. It sounds like a clever, oddball sort of shooter. The publishers don’t like that, so to appease them the devs agree to attach a big name that doesn’t have much to do with it. This allows the devs to get on with making their unconventional and possibly excellent game.

    • frymaster says:

      (There never were any first-person games with the x-com name, right? )

      CORRECT. THERE NEVER WERE.

    • Jimbo says:

      “That’s the key, really. It’s a huge risk using the XCOM name, because it evokes exactly the sort of reactions we see on this site. It had better be nothing short of brilliant, or PC gamers will not forgive easily.”

      Are you for serious?? If so: lol.

    • Bret says:

      Yup.

      There almost was one, and it looked pretty good, but then the team got fired, the assets were used to make a mediocre third person arcade shoot-em-up, and the rest is history.

  16. Bascule42 says:

    omfg…X-Com shooter! Brilliant, can’t wai….*shoves the 4 year old away from the PC – and berates him for swearing*.

    Tentative hope that it may be…o…o…ok.

  17. Flakfizer says:

    I just realised we’ll never ever see a proper X-Com sequel.

    This makes me sad. Time to drink beer.

    • D says:

      This is pretty much my only bother. It’s the exact same situation for me as with Fallout3. Regardless of the quality of the resulting game, the genre switch is going to stick and we’ll never see turn-based again. Sequels should stick to their roots dammit, some of us like turn based :(

  18. Tzarkahn says:

    Site, so many pop-ups.

  19. SirKicksalot says:

    “Your goal here isn’t to kill every alien in the place. XCOM doesn’t work like that. It’s incredibly unlikely that you’ll comb every area of one of its wide-open mission maps, as health, ammo and armour are strictly limited to whatever you brought in with you. If your bullets – or, more pertinently, those flame grenades – are in short supply, you won’t be able to hold out much longer. The alien presence grows and grows the longer you stay, so you need to make a judgement call between trying to gather more evidence and simply staying alive.”

    I assume people that were quick to bash it back when it was revealed will ignore this bit. Among many others.

    • Flakfizer says:

      I’m not sure what your point is?

      Are you really championing respawning enemies in a first person shooter as the pinnacle of the X-Com experience? If you’re saying it sounds new and interesting i’m afraid it’s neither.

    • jalf says:

      @Flakfizer: So which game has had this flavor of respawning enemies before?

      Yes, FPS games have had respawning enemies, but how many of them have tied it into the mission structure like this? How many have given you actual motivation to stick around as long as possible?

      Yes, I get that cynicism and pretending to have seen everything before is cool, but…

  20. Rohit says:

    It still doesn’t look interesting – as a shooter, or an X-Com game.

  21. Larington says:

    Still a lot of unknowns, but there’s at least enough info for me to believe it won’t be completely awful. The question is if it’ll be interesting in a “that’s kinda cool” way or in a “oh god, oh god, please make it stop”…

    Still, there’s a shortage of games with a proper base mechanic of some sort (Closest I can think of is Unreal 2 and that’s not an especially good example I’m sad to say and sort of Deus Ex but not quite there either) that you return to between the main missions.

    On the subject of Deus Ex, this I suspect will be the ultimate test, will it be a case of feeling like a true successor (even if it doesn’t play like one) or will it end up being like DX: Invisible War – IE not a bad game by any stretch of the imagination, but not living up to the name of the original.

  22. stahlwerk says:

    Hm, the “How dare they take the name of The Game in vain?” complaints will not cease until a turn-based isometric tactical shooter is released under the same name. I want to pose the honest question: As much as we would love to play it, would that genre work in the year 2010, with all we came to expect from games since 1994?

    The problem is, that the more complex your game is, the less accessible it is going to be. “Easy to learn, hard to master” is a design goal that is very hard and cost intensive if done right (see last sunday’s starcraft 2 rant). So, a complex game will intimidate most of the game market (the “casual gamers”). Ergo: less projected sales, so less funding upfront by the publisher. Which means that the developers would have to scale back other areas like graphics, engine robustness, QA, sound, amount of content, just to meet the budget needs. Which would lead to a subpar experience, further reducing the target market.

    Sadly, it takes more than enthusiasm to develop and market a (“non-indie”) game in 2010/11 successfully.

    • bhlaab says:

      “They just couldn’t make a game like that anymore!”

      moving onto:

      “You need to take off your rose-tinted glasses!”

    • FunkyBadger says:

      I play lots of isometric tactical rpgs in 2010 – its just I mostly play them on my DS.

      I say again, a DS conversion of TFTD please.

  23. Tei says:

    This look awesome. Like TF2 meets TChulu 40.000. I love this.

  24. Unaco says:

    Plenty of people have said this before, but I’ll reiterate it again. This is a game with the X-Com name. It is not an X-Com game. X-Com isn’t a setting, a Universe, a colour scheme, a theme, a main character, a name or anything like that. X-Com is a style and type of game… Global Strategic planning and management, and Turn-based (or RT/TB hybrid) tactical encounters (it should also be quite challenging, and somewhat scary).

    Saying that, however, this doesn’t look like a bad game. It looks like an abomination of an X-Com game (cos it doesn’t seem to do what X-Com should do). But it looks like it could be a good game… Kind of like Invisible War wasn’t a worthy Deus Ex game (for somewhat different reasons), but wasn’t that bad a game, by itself. Although I’ve judged it as an X-Com game already (it fails), I’m willing to hold off on judgement of it as a game until I see some more.

    • Unaco says:

      “X-COM was a game about investigating an alien invasion of Earth at your own speed, by your own means. So is XCOM. You can start believing.”

      This sums up the argument I disagree, vehemently, with. It’s kind of like saying “Sensible Soccer was a game about playing football by controlling a team, one player at a time, against another team. So is Fifa2010. You can start believing”. That argument just doesn’t work… it misses WHAT the X-Com games were.

    • Kryopsis says:

      “X-Com isn’t a setting, a Universe, a colour scheme, a theme, a main character, a name or anything like that. X-Com is a style and type of game… Global Strategic planning and management, and Turn-based (or RT/TB hybrid) tactical encounters (it should also be quite challenging, and somewhat scary).”

      X-Com is a franchise.

  25. 12kill4 says:

    Swat 4 with a meta-game and aliens?

  26. Dan says:

    @Daniel Rivas:

    Couldn’t find the time to actually read the article, huh?

  27. teo says:

    I bet it’s in the 50′s so they can repurpose BioShock assets, r&d or something

  28. Horza says:

    After reading that, I’m actually expecting this game.

  29. Michael says:

    They can do whatever they like as long as they release a decent FPS that isn’t a linear series of scripted levels. Decent squad combat would be the icing on the cake.

  30. Tim says:

    It looks potentially compelling. I’m a bit worried I won’t really like the combat when it does happen though. I just don’t like FPSs that much. I didn’t even like bioshock :/

    I’m encouraged by potential base building and research though.

    One thing this game MUST have though… A choice of female NPC agents. It frustrates and disappoints me that the only woman in any of those screen shots is dead. If you’re going to be running a radical program to save humanity you’re going to be breaking conventions of the time in all sorts of ways. That’s really all I want to do. I just want to have the chance to do things my own way.
    Ideally it should be possible to choose the main character to be female too, but that seems unlikely given FPS history.
    If any of you get a chance to question the developers about this it would be much appreciated. I’m not buying into any realism of the time period crap, the most interesting characters in Mad Men are all female.

  31. 7 Seas says:

    Seriously? Alec you call yourself a fan of XCOM, and a games journalist? Christ in a pinata, how depressing.

    You say:

    XCOM is a first-person shooter, set in the 1950s. Deep breath. This is not a time to panic. This alien invasion is an occasion to celebrate. Consider what those original strategy games were about. An implacable alien menace threatened the world. You were in charge of an agency that investigated these otherworldly horrors, engaged them in direct combat when it could find them, and poured vast funds and research into developing and improving countermeasures.

    You are descarding the entire GAMEPLAY of the original title in that paragraph. To discard gameplay when reviewing games is patently absurd! It’s like reviewing a movie sequel and saying, sure the plot and characters and setting are totally different, but man, the costumes are vaguely related.

    You act as if you can abstract out the gameplay to by only looking at the gross generalizations that in many ways amount to window dressing, and therefore equate a strategy game with tactical turn based elements to a first person shooter with a couple extras thrown in like cameras.

    I think this is a betrayal of your profession as a games journalist, and frankly reeks of kissing publisher ass (for what reason I don’t know.).

    Here are the facts Mr Meer. As a GAME, XCOM was a turn based tactical game integrated with a strategic overview game. I can think of only two lines of games in my experience that have done this blend. Both are classics. They are, of course, XCOM and Jagged Alliance. In total, these games comprise 5 or 6 (depending on how you count certain entires and addons) different games of this type of GAME.

    Meanwhile, first person shooters exist in an almost ridiculous abundance, with a vast array of different FPS titles coming out each year. Gamespot lists SIX HUNDRED AND FIFTY of them. SIX HUNDRED AND FIFTY vs SIX.

    That Mr Meer is why I’m pissed off that these jerkwads are slapping XCOM onto their title. Not because I think they will produce a bad game, hell maybe it will be a great one. I am pissed because the GAME that they are making is not of the type of GAME which is rarer than honest politicians, the type of GAME that XCOM basically DEFINED. If you were to describe a new game to someone who had played XCOM, by saying it’s an XCOM type game, do you think the first thing that the only thing that would pop into their minds would be some bullshit about aliens?? By your standards, that abysmal arcade shooter Area 51 is practically an XCOM game too! Mars Attacks, the XCOM movie!

    The fact that you, as someone who professes to love the GAME so much has no problem with them making a completely different type of GAME, a type which is already in vast abundance is depressing. Especially since you guys are supposed to be the good guys who call it like it is.

    The publisher expecting all of us who played XCOM as kids to throw our money down just because they put fucking aliens in it and slapped an XCOM sticker on it is goddamn insulting.

    Imagine chess existed in a world where chess players could only play with pieces that fell apart after only a year or two of play, and game makers virtually never released new pieces. Suddenly, a game maker announces HEY GUESS WHAT! WE ARE GOING TO MAKE A NEW CHESS SET! And all the chess gamers rejoice, and the chess magazines go nuts with anticipations and jaded journalists who played chess as boys write melodramatic articles. Then the publisher turns around and says,

    “So, this new Chess set is going to capture all the intensity and atmosphere of the original. On this new set you will wear special jerseys decorated like the royalty and clergy of the medieval kingdom game you so dearly love, while playing an intense and exciting game of football. Coming 2011, CHESS: Kings & Bishops take it to the PITCH !”

    And then you went and wrote an article about how cool that sounds.

    • stahlwerk says:

      So you object to Atari’s (?) rightful usage of their trademarks? They’re not saying “We’re completely redefining what the original games are and don’t give a crap about your rose-colored glasses!”, they never announced it to be a carbon copy remake. It shares the name (well, almost) and some underlying themes with the older games (which also included a flight simulator, mind you). If they were indeed able to distill what made the original games exciting, why not try to apply it to a more contemporary and accessible gameplay formula?

      Deep breath. This is not a time to panic.

    • Uhm says:

      You read the article and think it’s just an FPS?

    • noom says:

      Well that was completely unneccesary.

    • stahlwerk says:

      @myself

      ha, shows what I know. The rights to the X-Com name went from Julian Gollop to MicroProse (RIP) to Hasbro Interactive to Atari to Take-Two Interactive / 2k.

      wait… if Gollop decides to sue Take two, does that mean it’s SCO vs. Novell all over again?

    • Arathain says:

      Hmm. I disagree with you almost completely. I’m not sure my worderising skills are up to indicating why.

      You’ve picked an arbitrary set of definitions for what XCOM is without realising that those are partially subjective (and indeed, arbitrary). You believe the very essence of XCOM is a tactical squad based shooter married to a global strategic context. Reasonable. But I can say (and Alec has suggested) that the essence of XCOM could be a small scale engagements set in a larger context of a seemingly overwhelming alien menace, with a necessity to fight a rearguard war while your research boys and girls try to catch you up technologically. Also, I think, reasonable. It’s going to be a little different for everyone, especially with such a complex game as the original. Everyone resonates with different aspects.

      I will allow the use of a beloved license (because they have to ask me, you know) if they can retain some of the critical ‘feel’ aspects of the original, and if they can make a good game. That last bit is the most important. If the license inspires them to something good we can all be happy.

    • Tom O'Bedlam says:

      I’m not sure whether you need more lemonade in your shandy, or you need to stand a bit further away from your microwave, but that was pretty bizarre.

      As it stands, I own a game called Shuuro. Its a reimagining of chess, which takes the core ideas of chess and expands on the original premise. In the process it takes chess and adds wargames point based unit selection, check it out. http://rss.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/38764/shuuro

      Innovation is measured in successful change. Not clinging on to fragments of history.

  32. Cinnamon says:

    Looks sort of dull and uninteresting to me but I am not really a big fan of the genre and am only reading this because of the name.

  33. Jason Moyer says:

    I could use one of those flame grenades for all of the strawmen in this thread.

  34. Davian says:

    Nobody cares for us oldtimers and our deteriorating reflexes. I still like FPSs, but I’d rather have a game that’d let me get a cup of tea while I ponder my next move. Hopefully, this won’t be just another FPS.

  35. Pleonasm says:

    Well, this looks like it might be interesting, perhaps even the bestest FPS of ever. But seeing as they’ve totally changed the gameplay, the storyline, the period, the visual style etc. how in the hell is this X-com? The only thing they’ve kept is that you fight aliens and you can do stuff which lets you unlock new weapons. Neither of these are really peculiar to X-com.

  36. patton says:

    The game will have nothing to do with the original X-COM games. Not in terms of gameplay atleast, which was THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT thing in X-COM that made it X-COM.
    Pretty much as I expected. I really don’t care if it’s good or bad. There is no reason to call it X-COM, just as there was no reason to call Fallout 3 a Fallout sequel. It had nothing to do with the originals, beyond the similarities with the setting.

    Why can’t they stop taking old frachises and making “sequels” or “reboots” that have almost nothing to do with the originals ?

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      “there was no reason to call Fallout 3 a Fallout sequel. It had nothing to do with the originals, beyond the similarities with the setting”

      Exactly right. Except for the many large intentional similarities in setting, mechanics, plot, character building, humour, and world design, it had nothing at all in common.

      I more than half expect you to make the exact same claim about Fallout:New Vegas.

      Sigh.

    • patton says:

      I should have said there is no reason to call it a sequel because it was developed by people who pretty much ignored or missed the entire point of the gameplay mechanics, lore, humour, and overall design.
      It has superficial similarities to the originals, it uses SPECIAL, but uses it half-assedly, it has brotherhood of steal, but now they are paladins who champion for the poor and weak, it has enclave, who were destroyed in fallout 2. It really isn’t a sequel. More like a rehash without the soul.

    • Davian says:

      Please don’t mention Oblibians: Blue Overalls in Desert. Let’s just pretend it never happened.

    • Starky says:

      You do know that Obsidian = Black Isle (or at least a good chunk of it) right?
      You know the guys who made the original fallout games…

  37. Drakkheim says:

    Sounds kinda fun.. doesn’t sound at all like x-com.

    My biggest concern is that they’ll pull a bioshock and you wont be able to die, just teleport back to random plot device in the trunk of your gadget mobile or whatnot, thus removing all consequences of death and alleviate what little shreds of strategy are left. Once you realize that the easy way to beat bioshock is to just go melee and not worry about powers or self preservation the game becomes flat and lifeless.

    Reading this though kinda makes me wanna go play Stubbs the zombie.

  38. Joinn says:

    I’m pretty sure this will be a fun game in it’s own right, but, pure X-COM it’s not.

  39. Acosta says:

    ” So is XCOM. You can start believing.”

    Come on Alec, you know this is not true. X-Com was not a game about investigating alien invasion or Earth, was a game about defending the Earth of an alien invasion as a secret mastermind, it was a tactic game first and strategy game second, I don’t see anything of it in this thing at this point.

    A game is ultimately defined by it’s mechanics, not by the setting. The reality it’s that we have seen very few good tactic games while we get FPS, good or bad, of some kind every month.

    Is it interesting? yes, doesn’t sound half bad and have nice aesthetics, but don’t say “it´s X-Com”, is not. It´s not even comparable to Fallout 3, at least Bethesda did a RPG (kind of) in the wasteland with a (kind of) combat tactic approach, it was recognizable as a brand. This is just taking a name and do your own thing with it, no wonder many fans are not delighted about it.

    Do they want to convince us they are serious about doing their own take on X-Com? Make your team fully controllable and put a serious effort in the tactical layout and I will delightfully eat crow and consider this worthy of the name.

  40. VelvetFistIronGlove says:

    I never played X-COM, but I am saddened by many of the reactions here. I guess in a way it’s inevitable. True Fans of a game–like 7 Seas above–rarely take well to sequels, because they consider the original game so sacred that changing any aspect of it is akin to blasphemy. Which makes sequels impossible. Unaco takes this argument to absurdity: that the X-COM name should only be attached to a particular set of fairly low-level gameplay mechanics: turn-based tactical combat, to be precise.

    Fortunately, I don’t have a sacred albatross hanging round my neck, so I can say that this sounds quite interesting, and one to keep an eye on.

    • Starky says:

      A sequel we might be okay with, but this game shares zero resemblance besides a few minor surface details to the X-COM universe, or gameplay.

      Seriously you could write a list of features and key setting points of the X-COM games (at least the first 2) and this game hits none of them from what has been revealed so far.

    • drakkheim says:

      Fortunately, I don’t have a sacred albatross hanging round my neck, so I can say that this sounds quite interesting, and one to keep an eye on.

      Imagine the uproar if M$ announced the next Halo to be a rhythm based color matching game, but “hey the master chief is still in it so it’s still true to the Halo experience, but we learned that popcap can move 200 million units of bejewled so with our brand and existing fan, we can make it more accessible to a wider audience.”

      It’s like that. We’re fans of x-com because of what it is, slow, methodical, precise, nerve racking, and hard. This new X-com 2.0 is not looking to be that at all.

      I don’t hear people saying it’s gonna suck, it could be quite good. But calling it x-com is disingenuous and disrespectful of what the original X-Com was and by extension memory of the original. and THAT’s why people are upset.

    • Acosta says:

      Would you be surprised if fans of Civilization were shocked to find Civilization V it´s a fps?

      God forbid the people who enjoyed a game want more of a kind of game, especially after years of not seeing no more of few good tactic games.

      And what means “low-level gameplay mechanics”?

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      I’d be a little more sympathetic if you didn’t use ludicrous, hyperbolic comparisons, perhaps like “if M$ announced the next Halo to be a third-person action-adventure because Zelda sold millions”.

      I’m not denying that you feel hurt by this game being so different, but I’m saying that it’s primarily your own fault for clutching so hard to your own appreciation of the earlier game. Hey, I’ve felt similarly disappointed in the past when new sequels are announced that are completely beyond my ideas of what they should be (see Max Payne 3). But you’ve got to move beyond that, and learn to evaluate things for what they are, not how they differ from what you wanted, or every time someone builds on a previous title you’ll be like the child at Christmas who cries because they didn’t get the really expensive toy they coveted.

      Learn to let go and move on.

    • Lilliput King says:

      It’d be interesting to see how many people actually read the preview before posting here, to be honest. It appears to be essentially an alien-defence management game with FPS away missions, rather than a straight up FPS, and that doesn’t seem to be reflected in a lot of the posts.

      Either that or the element of X-COM people really loved was the isometric turn-based squad missions, and to hell with the rest. If that’s what you took away from the first two X-COMs, fair enough, but I really hated those missions, and loved the global-map strategy and atmosphere. I’m looking forward to this ‘un, anyway, just to see what they come up with, but also because if it was up to me, this would be the way I’d continue the series.

    • jalf says:

      Would you be surprised if fans of Civilization were shocked to find Civilization V it´s a fps?

      Surprised? I don’t think anyone has ever claimed to be surprised by the raging and whining and complaining. This is the internet after all.

      But as a fan of Civilization, let me just say I wouldn’t mind seeing a Civ FPS. Why would I object to that? Why would I object to people trying new things with the games I like? If they can make it work, more power to them.

      Of course, I still want traditional Civilization games, just like I’d also love to see a new “traditional” X-COM game. But while we’re waiting for that, I have absolutely no problem with the series branching out and innovating (and yes, I consider the upcoming XCOM game to be innovative in some important ways. I’d have a lot less patience for it if it was “just a FPS”.)

      XCOM seems to preserve some of the key features of the old X-COM games that appealed to me. Yes, it tosses other aspects out the window, but as long as it preserves enough of these features to remain interesting, I’m happy to see the game being made.

    • Sonic Goo says:

      “Imagine the uproar if M$ announced the next Halo to be a rhythm based color matching game”

      Actually, wasn’t there a Halo RTS?

    • Tom O'Bedlam says:

      @Jalf Smartest comment this thread

    • Manley Pointer says:

      @Lilliput King: Although this preview is interesting, I feel like the style obscured the actual details people might want to know…like when Meer says “take two of your best men with you,” and later mentions that you “develop” your squadmates, does that mean that you have a stable of potential squad-members whose stats are different, and can be increased RPG-style? Or does it just mean you can choose from a few static companions (all of whose weapons/equipment will upgrade when you get the alien tech upgrades)?

      While some of the action sounds spectacular (the Monolith sounds nearly as powerful as a helicopter in Crysis), I could see most of it being pretty ehhh if not backed up by interesting ideas under the hood. I feel like the exercise of “going to location, collecting tech, leaving, researching, going to location, collecting tech, leaving…” might get old fast if there aren’t other, significant tactical RPG elements (like the ones that made XCOM so fun). I can imagine the gameplay described by Meer leading players to a repetitive hit-and-run playstyle where you run past everything in the level looking for the magic element, unload all your ammo/superweapons on the aliens guarding the Elerium when you find it, run out, dump it in the research bin at base, rinse and repeat. (And if your squadmates aren’t particularly unique or useful, why not just leave them to die?) It’s exactly the sort of scenario that can be interesting/challenging in a TRPG, yet hard to prevent players exploiting in an FPS. If the game’s design encourages leaving levels early, it seems like it would foster this grind-y sort of play.

      Even if some mechanics aren’t fully implemented at the time of the preview, can’t games journalists, you know, ask about how things (like leveling squadmembers) will work? I know previews don’t operate at GameFAQS granularity level, but many of these details DO shape gameplay to a large extent. A question like “should I care if my squadmates die?” could really tell a lot about the game.

  41. Flakfizer says:

    Amen brother.

  42. Starky says:

    It’s not even a shade of X-COM, it might be an interesting tactical shooter, but theX-COM branding is clearly pointless given it (from descriptions so far) seems utterly unlinked in any way shape or form.

    Honestly I’d have been fine with first person tactical gaming on ground missions combined with proper X-COM global strategy, bases, research and logistical control – that might even be interesting, and more to the spirit of X-COM.

    It doesn’t even seem to share ANY of the setting – FBI agent? WTF? X-COM are supposed to be a world wide independent group, not linked to any one country.
    1950′s? Again WTF? X-COM was near future (for the time), not 1950s alien pulp…

    This game might be interesting, but it has zero to do with X-COM, only some surface similarities (such as aliens).

    It may be a good game, it may even be a great game but it is not an X-COM game.

    This sounds more like a Men in Black (of the original concept not the will smith movies) meets X-files in the 50s than X-COM.

    • stahlwerk says:

      This sounds more like a Men in Black (of the original concept not the will smith movies) meets X-files in the 50s

      …which sounds totally awesome!

    • Starky says:

      I agree it does… I like the sound of this game – I just don’t like that they are using the name X-COM.
      .
      If for no other reason because them using the x-com drastically reduces the probability that a proper, tactical shooter with global strategy elements (geoscape, research, base building, random generated missions so on) will ever happen.
      Granted that was a slim hope anyway, but now it is even slimmer.
      .
      This game sounds really good and fun, just the use of the name hacks people off as it clearly has bog all to do with x-com.
      .
      (bleh forum editing now allowing paragraphs)

    • stahlwerk says:

      If for no other reason because them using the x-com drastically reduces the probablity that a proper, tactical shooter with global stratagy elements (geoscape, research, base building, random generated missions so on) will ever happen.

      Granted that was a slim hope anyway, but now it is even slimmer.

      As of today, the X-Com franchise consists of one really good game (which had its flaws, repetitious micromanagement, randomization bugs etc.), a glorified romhack of said game, a scope-reduced reimagining of the first game (set in the far future), an abysmal flight simulator and a game I never knew existed until I read about it in Wikipedia.

      The mere existence of another game with said TITLE should not preclude the creation of another game in the same GENRE as the first one.

      Also: as far as I’m concerned the game is called UFO: Enemy Unknown. ;-)

    • Bret says:

      Sounds Delta Green-y to me.

      Which, you know, is kinda boss.

      (I’m still hoping for Chryssalids, though.)

  43. Dr. Derek Doctors, DFA says:

    As an Angry Internet Man, I demand that the developers remake their “game” into a proper turn-based tactical shooter, preferably one optimized for 486s using super-VGA in 640×480. I also insist that they ship their so-called “videoelectric entertainment” on floppy disks; anything else will traduce my fond memories of a sixteen-year-old game and its lengthy install process. IF MY DEMANDS ARE NOT MET IMMEDIATELY, I SHALL CONTINUE TO POST ANGRILY.

    • Starky says:

      Aren’t you a clever boy, have a cookie.

    • sana says:

      Heheh, “angry internet man”! Such a hee-larius meme us funny boys at Rock Paper Shotgun got! You sure showed them savages!

    • leeder_krenon says:

      clearly you two guys are “angry internet men”. or americans. not sure yet.

    • Starky says:

      Except you know, not that angry – because of course having the opinion that this game is X-COM in name only and there any links end (from all information currently available) makes us ragers right?

      Angry? No.
      Mildly miffed? Maybe.

      This is a British site, and it’s our national hobby to have a good moan* about things we disagree with.
      *Moaning for Americans/others who may not know, is complaining but with more intelligence, usually accompanied by tea and lots of tutting. We Brits like to tut at things.

    • Tom O'Bedlam says:

      @starky There does appear to be a bit of a split amongst the naysayers here though, there’s quite a few who are expressing a degree of dread civilly and reasonably. Then there’s the “I think this is a betrayal of your profession as a games journalist”, which is about as AIM as you can get.

      More tutting, less shrieking, say I!

    • LionsPhil says:

      “super-VGA in 640×480″

      That’s like demanding that your beer is served in a pint glass with a quarter-litre capacity.

  44. Mr_Day says:

    Personally, I think this looks fantastic, and if it plays anything like it is described I shall be Happy Bunny Petey. So it doesn’t feel like the original X-Com? I have a confession to make. Neither did Apocalypse. The smaller scale and political infighting were nothing to do with the X-com games I had played before, but Apocalyspe was a fantastic game nonetheless. I realise it retained the same turn based tactical map, but it also let you play that in real time and I preferred that – made the bug hunt for one sodding alien at the end a lot more bearable.

    I love the first two X-Com games, but replaying them now has reintroduced me to a problem I had back when they came out – having to respond to every terror attack and shot down/landed UFO became a horrible chore which I dreaded. I liked it, but it was a slog, and later on with the bases and battleships it just went on for far too long. I actually preferred the globe view and researching/manufacturing to the combat, and the addition of a real time combat mode for Apocalypse really made the game for me.

    And screw you all, Interceptor was good. It was good, I tell you! Get your hands off me! Where are you taking me…what is in that needl……oooh, bunnies.

    • Tom O'Bedlam says:

      My favourite of the series is Apocalypse, mostly because I preferred to do terror missions in pause real time too. Sadly, I’ve only ever completed it once because after a certain point even one guy can take on a megaspawn singlehanded. I think the fatigue usually sets in on the alien farm level where you have to destroy eleventeen white cubes.

    • Mr_Day says:

      The sad thing is, the way Apocalypse handled the terror missions kinda sounds like what the new 2k game will be doing – you investigating reports of aliens and gathering up their artifacts to research.

      Yes, I know that is how the first two worked, but Apocalypse did it on a more personal scale, it was always an aprtment block or school or factory. Fuck, they attacked schools to subvert kids, and no one complained that it wasn’t in keeping with the X Com franchise.

      Yes, you did shoot down UFOs too, I am just pointing out the similarities inherent in the system. Come see the similarities inherent in the system!

      I just loved the X Com games, but I am not angry about the new one. Colour me weird, I guess.

    • Dominic White says:

      Gotta say, I liked Apocalypse the most as well. It was often buggy and unbalanced, but it really did get you interested in the world that you’re meant to be protecting from the aliens. The 50s pulp retro-future sci-fi stylings (kinda the opposite of the straight-laced 50s with 2010-era sci-fi stylings we’re getting here) were pretty damn cool as well.

      The missions were way too big and open to play turn-based, I found, but realtime with pause was plenty fun. You could also play it almost like a shooter if you weren’t afraid of racking up a collateral damage bill now and then. Equip an Android with flying armor and an HE-loaded autocannon in each hand, and assume direct control. Chances are that there won’t be a single scrap of building left when you’re done, but any aliens will be reduced to greasy smears on the wall, too.

  45. clive dunn says:

    I hear this game is going to be a sub based single player………..
    …………………………….
    ………….
    ……
    BOOM!

    Seriously though, i’m pleased with this. As someone who grew up on rebelstar raiders; i’m sure we used to sit around as 9 year olds wishing that the future held massively powerful home computers where we could actually run around as our squad heroes. Now, i love overhead or isometric games and sorely miss them sometimes but i also love FPS’s when they are done right. This could be a good game; i reckon it all depends on the squad mechanic. I don’t wanna just lose points or resources when a sqaud mate dies, i wanna shed fucking tears.
    I want to be able to still use my ‘lucky’ shitty starter pistol in the last mission and i want the game to ‘understand’ this!

  46. jalf says:

    Sounds like fun. I’m more optimistic about this as a sequel than I was about Fallout 3. Of course there’s a lot that can go wrong and turn out to disappoint, but X-COM or not, the basic idea does sound like fun.

  47. bitterman says:

    Game looks interesting.

    Still not X-COM though.

    I mean, shit, we have games like Jagged Alliance and Silent Storm that were closer to X-COM’s gameplay yet had their own unique premise, unique settings and style. FFS, why didn’t they just make a new IP instead of going George Lucas and doing a prequel to X-COM re-imagined as a FPS.

    SWAT style tactics in the 50′s? Will your base of operations and research ever get attacked (probably not…too much development cost to implement, maybe in the DLC)? Did they license Bad Company’s 2 destructible environments? Can you coordinate fire and manuever tactics, bounding overwatch, breaching, or is it just see alien, shoot, whack-a-mole gameplay?

    Fuck the mainstream games industry.

    • Davian says:

      A combination of SWAT 4 mechanics and X-COM setting could be amazing! But that probably won’t happen. Man. :(

  48. faelnor says:

    “…ec’s X-c…” :D

    Looks pretty interesting, let’s hope it will be better than Bioshock. Thanks for the feature.
    Also it’s rather strange to call XCOM a game which is related to the series only in setting. But I guess it makes sense if you want to keep your “older-gamer-friendly-but-not-afraid-to-try-new-things-developer” cred. Ah, PR.

  49. Robert says:

    Oh, this looks really interesting. Awesome preview, thank you.

    I do get depressed by all the people who haven’t read the article and just moan, long live the internet mob. Maybe they will accuse him of being corrupt as well.

    Shades of grey would do those people good. Why is it hard to understand that calling it XCOM is a combination of marketing and and just how-shall-I-call-it: showing your influences.

    Other arts are FULL of references and other intertextuality, but have less, or at least, less vocal complainers. Strange as videogames are supposed to be the ‘new medium’, while it’s filled to the brim with conservative/nostalgic sentiments that hate change, and would like to live forever in a world where they constantly anticipate their favorite game of all time.(like X-com, or Duke Nukem ;-) )

    Anyone that read the article can see the similarities between XCOM and X-Com, and anyone with a sense of ‘regular’ arts can appreciate it not being exactly the same. Dear lord, the horrors of the world where Joyce’s Ulysses was burned before it was published because it was not written in heroic hexameter.

    • Robert says:

      (I should add that the tone of my reaction is slightly adjusted to blend in the crowd. Sadly I can’t nuance it with an edit, or correct the horrible grammar.)

  50. Bob Dobbs says:

    I did read the preview, and pretty much all the rest of the information that’s come out about this. By now it’s clear to anyone who has kept up that this is yet another FPS that thinks Teh Future Of The Form is in the direction of film, which is the polar opposite of what X-COM stands for. The fact that your static mission maps are scattered across America and you have to pay for a base upgrade before you can build your ball lightning weapon that damages the 2001 monolith with the Transformers visual effects captures essentially nothing of the gameplay that made those choices interesting in the original.