Interview: XCOM Tells The “Origin Story”

By Dan Grill on June 29th, 2011 at 12:00 pm.


Recently we had a chance to look at 2K’s intriguing reboot of XCOM – and a full XCOM preview is coming up soon – but first there’s an interview which explains a bit about the world, and the intention to tell a story about the origin of the XCOM alien invasion in the setting of 1960s America.

In the depths of a bunker packed with strange humanoids that communicated almost entirely using the words “like”, “totally” and “hella” we spoke to something that claimed to be Jonathan Pelling, Creative Director at 2K Marin, developers of XCOM. Here’s what he had to say…

RPS: More story-focused than the peripatetic original plan; is this because you’ve got people like Jordan Thomas and yourself on board and you’re trying to make use of people who are much more used to telling stories, rather than something stochastic or random?

Pelling: We came to realise that our studio has a strength in its storytelling and narrative abilities. He is a relatively recent addition to the project and he’s been an absolute treasure as far as the narrative is concerned in the game. What we really want to do with XCOM is tell the origin story… y’know, even last year when we showed the game we were planning to structure the game around a central narrative thread with side missions and other opportunities that you can pursue in order to grow resources and technology and so on. That structure is still in place, but this year we’re talking more about how big our story is, how compelling it is.


RPS: The original X-COM had the situation where there were a massive variety of scenarios, aliens and situations to struggle through, so that you got used to the challenges facing you as well as getting used to the enemies. Will you be going for something similar, or will you be trying to keep the story tight and omit repetition?

Pelling: Yeah, our goal is to tell a really interesting story through the main thread, so there are a lot of really great set pieces to encounter along the way; but within that, there are grades, if you like. There’s a primary storytelling environment, and there’s other side-missions are not going to be as highly scripted in a narrative sense as the main missions themselves.

RPS: You’ve also changed the combat structure to follow Mass Effect; the powers, the pause time menu, the combat aesthetic, and a limitation on three agents being directly controlled. Will that be the same throughout the game?

Pelling: Our view was to give you the central character and the two agents, as your right and left hand. They’re kind of; you almost equip your agents with… they themselves are equipped with various technologies and tactical capabilities, so what we want from the combat is to make it very, y’know, tactical but also not overwhelming in terms of its complexity. We don’t want players to micromanage the combat, so we want the agents individually to be really strong tools. You’re not going to just be able to run out there, because the odds are stacked against you. If you try and run and gun through the game, you’ll just get cut down. Using your agents, but having these agents be individual but also class-based; how you upgrade them and what alien tech you give them, but we do keep a tight squad.


RPS: As you say, they’re class-based; are there multiple individuals of each class? Jordan was talking about how they could get injured and hence not be available for a mission.

Pelling: You played the original? So you’d be totally familiar with how you could recruit dudes; they each come with their own stats and be complete individuals in their own right. We have a similar system; it’s not as heavily stat-based as it was, it’s more power-based. The Commando has a certain special attribute, but also has a couple of perks and active-use abilities, and those will become more marked as you essentially level him up and take him into the field and he gains in experience. Those powers are inherent both to the class but also you can choose to equip them with whatever alien tech you happen across in the field. You can build a stable of agents and have a large number of them, and have multiples of classes.

RPS: Could you go into a mission just with Commandos then?

Pelling: Not necessarily; there’s variability in each class, in how you choose to upgrade. You might have a couple of very different Commandos.


RPS: The design aesthetic at the moment is very… the obvious referent is Mad Men; I’m sure five years ago it would have been All The President’s Men or a different TV series. Your base has that office-y environment, whilst being a lovely little hub for you to explore, and the suburban areas are very familiar as well; will you be moving out of those?

Pelling: I won’t reveal any specific locations, but we do visit quite a large number of places, both full of Americana, the places where people live and being overrun by the aliens, and some of the territory that the aliens that have captured and terraformed.

RPS: The epicenter of the invasion seems to be somewhere, not quite the East coast of America, but somewhere mid-East (between Chicago, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan); is there a reason for that, or is it just an arbitrary location?

Pelling: Well, that’s partly something in the narrative that I don’t want to reveal; but the aliens, y’know, it’s kinda an important point. This is the origin of XCOM and this is the epicenter of the invasion; those states they’re terraforming and moving out. Missions appear at the crest of their spread, as well as side mission and story missions taking place inside the area.


RPS: And that area; it’s basically become the surface of an alien planet and humans can’t survive in it?

Pelling: Umm, effectively. It’s not completely inhospitable, you might take missions there, but it’s basically territory that’s been claimed and you saw some of the terraforming happening in the demo.

RPS: It was very impressive; that cubist design you’ve got for it; it’s like being attacked by Picasso [you mean Piet Mondrian? – pernickety art Ed]. But what’s happening to the rest of the world whilst this is going on?

Pelling: That’s the epicenter, but it is spreading. What we’re ultimately suggesting, I guess, is that whilst XCOM starts small, it eventually grows, forged in the fire of combat, to something that’s capable of encompassing the globe.

RPS: I wouldn’t imagine that this means it ties into the previous XCOM games, as a kind of prequel, because it seems that you’re looking to reboot the series as a whole, and later games will be more of our time. But are there any political implications from your choice of this era; this is set in ‘61, you have McCarthyism and the Cuban Missile Crisis in ‘62; will this be reflected in the game?

Pelling: There is a cast of characters that you work with inside your organisation. The agents you work with are generated specifically to you the player; the characters in the base that you meet, like the heads of each XCOM department, are guys that you’ll be able to talk to, have conversations with. As for the politics of the time, the theme of the game is xenophobia and so there’s obvious things there. Within America at that time you have a blossoming of the minorities and repressed parts of society coming out and having their voices heard, and some of the characters in your base are voices of those factions.


RPS: Given the situation you’re setting up here, it’s highly unlikely the Vietnam war will ever happen, which changes the future history of the US, meaning you won’t get the same summer of ’69, but that sort of growth of the youth of the US, is it the sort of thing that could be provoked by XCOM, the invasion, or the military’s response?

Pelling: The invasion event has a polarising effect and it’s going to be really interesting to explore within the narrative how it affects individuals and how it affects the overall politics of America and the world in the future. You might have noticed in Carter’s office that there’s still a picture of Kennedy, so he’s the president during this; some things are still the same.

RPS: Thanks for your time.

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155 Comments »

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  1. MiniMatt says:

    Desperately keep wanting to say “waaargh, but it’s not X-Com” – and it’s not X-Com, and it’s not the X-Com I want.

    But…

    Can’t help think this continues to look really quite promising in it’s own right.

    • Meat Circus says:

      Yes. It’s the perpetual cry of If Only It Weren’t Called X-COM…

    • Mike says:

      We would probably even be referring to it as a new XCOM game anyway, but in a positive light. Such is marketing, I guess. Looks fantastic.

    • Fraser Allison says:

      Phrases you never thought you’d hear about X-Com:
      “We don’t want players to micromanage the combat”

    • Bilbo says:

      He even insinuates that managing more than a couple of teammates is “overwhelming”. Pretty much a direct attack on the original games they’ve stolen a name from.

    • soldant says:

      @Bilbo: To be fair to this game, it’s not a TBS with an overhead perspective where you can take your time thinking about things and can set up everything just right. Sure you can pause the game, but I think it’d get a bit ridiculous with 8 agents within the current game.

      I’m a huge XCOM fan an my initial reaction was “It’s not XCOM!” but with each passing interview I’m getting more and more interested. If you just accept the fact that it’s not the modern day geoscape TBS desperate struggle that we wanted, it stops being such a disappointment. So far.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      Well many are still irritated that Bioshock dares to have “Shock” in the name. So it’s kind of like that.

    • metalangel says:

      This is an X-COM game as much Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising and Red River were OpFlash games: in name only.

    • Rii says:

      @MadTinkerer

      They should be mad because Bioshock is a farking terrible name for a game.

    • Nick says:

      That second screenshot.. that looks promising does it? It looks like a joke from Police Squad.

    • Ravenholme says:

      Am I the only one annoyed that they’ve made X-COM, wat was an international organisation, into something American? If this is “X-COM’s origin story”.

      Which in itself is a load of tripe, all this has in common with X-COM is the name, and an alien invasion. I’ll wait for Xenonauts instead I think

    • Dozer says:

      @Ravenholme – no you’re not the only one. I liked the ‘United Nations Anti-Terrorist-ExtraTerrestrial Coalition’ aesthetic of the original games. Rather than the Team America World Police direction in this game.

    • Premium User Badge

      Tom De Roeck says:

      It’s XCOM, no X-Com. It’s a “remix”, and as any good remix can do, it can put things into a wildly different perspective, and still come out really good, in it’s own right.

      Also, some time ago, when X-Com Apocalypse had just failed, I started reading some X-Com fanfiction, really ingenious stories. So I am very much looking forward to this, as I always thought that X-Com and FPS need not be mutually exclusive. (as long as you get to choose your actions)

    • UncleSmoothie says:

      This game will be remembered years hence as a legendary marketing blunder. Cynically using a property cherished by a niche group of gamers to market a game for a largely different audience.

      Imagine if Coca-Cola unveiled a line of yoghurts. There’s plenty of people who buy both products, but there’s not much market for a combination of the two, is there?

    • Premium User Badge

      Tom De Roeck says:

      ..which is something a lot of people have said before something was released. but basically, you dont know at all. Im looking forward to it, it has an interesting premise, and its not as if the X-COM world was that set in stone anyhow.

    • Nick says:

      “Cynically using a property cherished by a niche group of gamers to market a game for a largely different audience.”

      Like Fallout 3 you mean?

    • metalangel says:

      @Tom de Roeck: There is a detailed, consistent background story for the games, you can read it here:

      http://www.strategycore.co.uk/databank/series/x-com/timeline/

      This new game is throwing that away by having this overt alien war. By all means make your 1960s alien game but don’t have the arrogance to think you’re telling the origin story of X-COM.

    • Premium User Badge

      Tom De Roeck says:

      @metalangel I know they fleshed some pseudo-historical facts out, and there was a book, I believe, but as we dont know how they are going to develop the story, we have only him, the developer, trying to tie it into a “rebooted” universe similar to X-COM. Just like Star Trek was rather different from the original series or the motion picture era. I liked the ST movie a lot, but then again, I like remixes, new interpretations of old material. And I have read extremely good and engrossing X-COM fanfiction, so why shouldnt they be able to pull it off?

      And if you dont like the FPS play mechanics, then you can always watch a recording of it, as Im sure its cinematic enough.

    • Bret says:

      Well, although most of this doesn’t fit, everyone had their own private anti-alien groups pre-X-Com.

      Kiryu Kai, for the named one.

      XCOM could be one of the contributing groups. Not saying the rest makes any sense, but the USA having a private attempt first fits in.

      (Just not that old a private attempt. Geesh, this is not something you could cover up. Meshes about as well, timeline wise, as Enforcer.)

    • Premium User Badge

      Tom De Roeck says:

      Actually, looking at that timeline, it appears that the first X-COM things started in the forties. So putting it in the sixties is not that far off. I like alternate reality what if situationy thingies.

    • Ovno says:

      This really is the new Italian Job isn’t it…

      Still good, just f all to do with the original, well apart from the minis/aliens.

    • Ravenholme says:

      No Tom, the only thing pre-90s in the X-COM timeline was the Roswell crash, which was an isolated incident and an ignored sign of things to come.

      And about it being an individual countries response, that I can sorta understand, if it doesn’t violate the timeline so completely, ruin the idea of the X-COM being the first introduction of real intact alien tech to the world, and doesn’t allow the US to cry out “We gave the name to the international unit, therefore it is descended from us.”

      Amerocentric tosh.

  2. Bilbo says:

    Well, I mean, obviously this is a thoroughly irritating read

  3. Rii says:

    “It’s like being attacked by Picasso.”

    Quote of the Day.

    Definitely looking forward to this. Nice to hear that Jordan Thomas is on-board too. His comments regarding Bioshock 2 in interviews and so on were what originally convinced me that the game was going to be more than a cheap cash-in.

    I hope they can spruce it up a bit though. It’s looking a bit dated. Still on Unreal 2.5?

  4. Astalano says:

    BETRAYALLLLLLLLL

  5. MCM says:

    Is it just me or did that Pelling guy give the weirdest non-answers ever? Every answer was kind of tangental to the actual question.

    • LionsPhil says:

      It’s not just you. I think he completely failed to consider the degree of alternate history this sets up, which does not speak well for the writing. I kind of imagine hostile aliens showing up should really shake up a lot of the cold war/summer-of-love inter-human tensions. Why be paranoid about the Reds when cube ships are right there boring holes in your skull with laser beams?

      Also:

      so there are a lot of really great set pieces

      Translation: “what we really wanted to make was a movie”.

  6. Inigo says:

    Because when I think “XCOM”, I think “highly scripted missions.”

    Nnnng.

    • kulik says:

      Exactly, write a book if you want to tell a story.
      …and don’t overwhelm us, please just don’t overwhelm us i have to drink cola, eat tortilla chips and making phone calls while playing and i can’t do that when i get overwhelmed.

    • Rii says:

      @kulik: “Exactly, write a book if you want to tell a story.”

      Or how about if you don’t want to play a story-based game, don’t?

    • kulik says:

      But there are tons of AAA story based games, cause putting a player on a railroad and make fancy stuff happen around him is quite easy. I would want to make my own narrative in a dynamic environment, games can do that yet everybody is settling for a “lets give them 6 hors long story”

    • Wulf says:

      That approach worked for Portal 2.

      The problem, however, is that most of these six hour long stories are utterly trite, unimaginative, and appeal to the lowliest of the low when regarding lowest common denominators, and tend to not at all be intelligent, passionate, compassionate, evocative, explorative (yes, I made that up), nor do they risk trying anything that exists outside the realm of the completely normal. In other words, the vast majority of game scripts are something that I or any one of you could’ve written on a napkin and handed to them.

      That’s the problem.

      The problem isn’t that they’re story-based, the problem is twofold. In part, the problem is that they aren’t taking any risks in game and style design or mechanics, they’re too afraid that they’d do so at a loss, and they aren’t hiring any writers. So instead of having something like the PC finally getting its own take on Ratchet & Clank, written by Neil Gaiman with a surprisingly deep script that belies the visuals, we get more of the same old tosh. And if you’ve played one of them, you’ve played them all.

      That’s the problem.

      If they want to keep doing this… this sort of thing *waves a hand at XCOM.* then they’ll have to step it up a bit. At the moment, we all know exactly how this plot is going to play out. Every one of us, here. We know. We know what people are going to say, we know how they’re going to say it, we’re more than well aware of what errors they’re likely to make, we have more than a clue as to what set pieces we’ll use, and thus when we finally play the game we’ll be completely underwhelmed. It’s because they’re doing things that sell, to be safe, and they don’t have a writer who’d really introduce things to shake us up a bit.

      I hate to say this, but… Overlord II had more of a compelling story than 90~% of the mainstream titles being released today purely by the merit of it being written by Rhianna Pratchett. That’s one of the games I’ve been replaying recently and the writing really drives it home. It’s funny, because if you compare the warmth it has (despite being a game about evil) with, say, Fable III, Fable III comes out looking like a cold, cold dead old corpse, with about as much charisma, personality, and liveliness. Again, by comparison.

      It’s because Fable III, from what I played of it, including the DLC, was very much about overly familiar set pieces. They didn’t have a decent writer helping them out with that, I could tell, so they went with every damn fantasy trope under the bloody sun, slapped an English accent on it, and hoped that that would give it some sort of being of its own rather than coming across as some sort of Frankenstein’s monster.

      Interestingly, Fable III could be good, even as a linear game. The same way that Overlord II was good. They just needed to take risks (which they did in all the wrong areas, such as trying to make the interface more annoying, rather than taking risks where it really matters – out in the field where the player is spending most of their time), and they needed a proper plot writer.

      In regards to design and all, I think most of these companies are probably doing fine. There’s nothing functionally wrong with them. It’s just that they’re so damned boring. And again, 90~% of mainstream games has a plot that you or I could’ve written and fleshed out on a napkin. This leads to a level of total predictability that just isn’t acceptable any more. You won’t be surprised. You won’t be delighted. You might be mildly entertained, but you saw every part of it coming.

      If this had been a film, it likely would’ve been the sort of subpar B-movie that gets below a 10 rating on Metacritic. I’m sure I’ll feel the same way after it’s released, too. As another pointed out, the ‘Team America – World Police’ scenario leans towards it being very predictable. That shit writes itself, and I don’t mean that in a good way, not a good way at all. It’s like they’re even afraid to challenge the notion of American Supremacy in what they feel their largest audience must be. They’re afraid to challenge anything.

      I wish this was being published by EA, at least then I could use the Challenge Nothing™ pun.

      So to say it again: There’s nothing wrong with the style of the game, not even visually, but the problem is in the plot-writing and them not being willing to take any risks. Portal 2 took a number of interesting risks, some of which paid off in the eyes of many, some of which didn’t, but at least Portal 2 had the capacity to surprise and delight. Portal 2 also clearly (very bloody clearly) had writers. Gods damn it, is this so hard to understand? Game developers – hire people who’ve got at least a few interesting novels under their belt. That approach will pay for itself in the long run.

      See, this is why Portal 2 works but XCOM and so many games like it won’t.

      In XCOM, you’re not going to find anything as unpredictable, entertaining, and alive as just any old turret from Portal 2. It’s as simple as that. A turret from Portal 2 is going to be more entertaining than this entire game. You could sit and listen to a turret for a few hours instead and be more entertained. (Hell, Valve could probably make a Turret Movie. Please make a Turret Movie, Valve.)

      No personality, no unpredictability, no warmth, no passion… the most grand set pieces in the world are worth nothing if that’s the case.

    • Premium User Badge

      john_silence says:

      I actually hope the devs of this game – and of many others – would swing by and read what Wulf just wrote there. It’s so, so right, and the articulation is exemplary.

      Also, isn’t Mr. G. perhaps hinting at us, discreetly, that the people he interviewed were just a slight bit – well, moronic?

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      I was going to use Raymond E. Feist as an example of an author who writes fairly simple, cliched fantasy sagas that are nonetheless miles better than just about any fantasy computer game. But why?

      Then it occurred to me, how most of Feist’s trilogies start off. Has any game done a decent coming of age story? Y’know, the commonest trope that ever troped? I can think of plenty that go through the motions, gluing together a pile of cliches with little coherence, and rushing you through it in five minutes. But none where you really get a sense of the protagonist’s personality at the beginning, and how they meaningfully mature.

    • Dozer says:

      Wulf you should apply for the RPS writer’s position.

      (I can has reply win?)

  7. Xercies says:

    I’m really looking forward to this game, and I’m kind of hating the X-Com naysayers that are taking down the game just because its using a title of a previous game that they loved.

    • Bilbo says:

      Well, personally I’m talking down the game because it’s stolen the title without offering any gameplay to justifying stealing the title *and* because it looks dated and rubbish, to be fair. I’m able to hate it on its faults as well as on principle.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lars Westergren says:

      It can hardly be stealing if they own the rights to the name and have paid for that privilege, can it?

    • Bilbo says:

      It’s more the spirit of the act that grates, this game has nothing at all to do with X-Com and calling it X-Com puts the kybosh on any possible future the X-Com games may or may not have had, just for the sake of garnering a few sales from console kids who will say “X-Com? I think that was a game once” whilst pissing off the PC crowd who are saying in unison “It isn’t X-Com”

    • Rii says:

      @Bilbo: “and calling it X-Com puts the kybosh on any possible future the X-Com games may or may not have had”

      I disagree. If XCOM is successful then I could easily see 2K pursuing (in addition to the obvious XCOM2) a more UFO-esque spin-off to test the mechanical waters now that they’ve a suitable and demonstrably viable IP to back it with.

    • Xercies says:

      @Bilbo

      You see the thing is a lot of people who say that actually haven’t played the game yet so they can’t know if it is in the spirit of it. i think they just look at the FPS screenshots and automatically jerk there knee saying it isn’t the isometric and you don’t get strategy. It might not be at the deep level that the original X-com gave people but it does have some strategy and looking at it it does have some things the original X-com does have like bases and missions and the like. Now is it different Yes i guess it is, but you know what I don’t think you could design a game like X-com today and keep it very similar…you need to have design flaws cut out.

    • Bilbo says:

      I haven’t played it, but I’ve read lots of previews and I’ve got a good idea of what the game’s going to entail. Sorry if that isn’t enough for you, but there’s no demo and I can’t afford to go to trade shows. I still think as a fairly well-informed member of the public I have a right to comment. I don’t appreciate my opinion being labelled “knee-jerk” much either, and I’d prefer just to discuss the game, if that’s alright with you.

      That dealt with, I know enough to say it’s a linear shooter with basic squad mechanics and a stream of unlockable weapons as you progress down that linear path, just like every other shooter. The similarities with the original series are with the name and arguably the “alien invasion” premise, although their method of implementing that scenario differs so wildly from the original that it genuinely can be said to be not of the same spirit – as has been said elsewhere, the original X-Com was a fictional global initiative, whereas this is Team America World Alien Police.

      So the game mechanics are gone, the premise is gone, and what you’re left with is “X-Com means aliens, so we’ll call our alien shooter X-Com”. I feel justified in my pretty negative position. “It’ll probably be a decent enough game anyway” just doesn’t cut it for me – I’ve never been one to wholeheartedly embrace mediocrity, and this game is looking most assuredly mediocre.

      @Rii I wish I had your optimism.

    • Tacroy says:

      @Xercies: the interview presented here is really disheartening. They’re much too excited about having a “strong storyline”, it makes it sound like the player is going to be railroaded into it – more Call of Duty than Pandemic.

    • Retribution says:

      @Rii; how many reboots this generation have led to faithful recreations of the original game?

  8. Tom OBedlam says:

    Mass Effect 60s sci-fi? Count me resolutely in!

  9. ItalianPodge says:

    It’s starting to look quite good in it’s own right but as an Xcom game it doesn’t seem to have any connection at all with the original games. Also, are they really wanting to tell Amiga gamers the “origins” of Xcom?

    I just finished UFO Extraterrestrials GOLD (was a steam offer a while back), very enjoyable and very true to the original Xcom games in many respects. A little repetitive towards the end.

    The prequel is also being worked on; http://www.ufo2extraterrestrials.com/

  10. jstar says:

    Another spectacular example of games developers showing that they have absolutely no concept of what makes a good story. Good stories are not about set pieces. That is not what makes a story compelling. Emotion is what drives great narrative. The set pieces only mean something if the emotion is there to set it up. The great battle outside Gondor means fuck all if you are not already emotionally engaged in the characters through a myriad of smaller quiet moments where you get to know and identify with them. I do not understand how they don’t realise this.

    Similarly the alien blasty bits in Aliens are only really good because of the quiet moments between Ripley and Newt. Because it’s there that we realise that it’s actually a mother daughter story not just a schmup. If those moments didn’t matter then all films with loads of action in would be good. And they’re not.

    Take Terminator. It’s a love story as well a sci fi horror. The relationship between Sarah Conner and Kyle Rees hooks you in. If it didn’t then all sci fi robot films would be good. And have you seen Cyborg? Don’t bother.

    So what’s x-com about? An alien invasion? Because that is not enough. That is not even close to enough. Look at Battelfield LA and that shit skyline movie. They are about invasions and they sucked. Stories need to have a rich human core. I don’t want to hear about your shitty set pieces, I want to hear what the emotional heart of your story is. You know the thing that every publisher and movie executive squeezes and squeezes out of novelists and screenwriters. If we have to be quizzed on this and then so do bloody games writers.

    The lack of any level of expertise in the game writing is starting to really piss me off. Frankly it’s a fucking joke. It’s like they are actually incompetent. I’m fed up of this argument that game stories don’t function in the same way as films and books. That’s bollocks. Structurally they are different but all stories share a common ground in that the best ones are always rooted in the drama of humanity. Our emotions etc. The same is true for opera, musicals, books games, films, poems whatever.

    I’m currently playing Dungeon Siege 3 and it’s like it’s been written by a 12 year old child doing their creative writing homework.

    Sorry for the rant. This annoys me so much.

    • jstar says:

      Typed too quickly and with too many grammatical errors but can’t be bothered to edit it.

    • Rii says:

      Pelling is credited on Bioshock 2 and I think you’d be hard-pressed to argue that that game doesn’t make effective use of emotional hooks to underpin its story.

    • FCA says:

      So true…
      See also: death of sibling at start of Dragon Age 2.

      Yeah, our goal is to tell a really interesting story through the main thread, so there are a lot of really great set pieces to encounter along the way;
      The original X-Com had no set piece, yet the memory of the game haunted at me night after I played. The hopelessness of the ongoing struggle, the way my soldiers were casually obliterated when they exited the aircraft, and then the night missions….

    • The_Great_Skratsby says:

      Video games, where the dev team wants to show off their set pieces, and the writers play second fiddle in giving the player a reason to be moving between set pieces with a loose plot. Or that’s how it generally goes.

    • karry says:

      “The relationship between Sarah Conner and Kyle Rees’
      I dont think anyone remembered who that guy was, until all the “Terminator Expanded Universe” kicked in. Sarah Connor’s love story is not what Terminator is about.

    • p34ce says:

      I couldn’t agree more. Almost every answer reads like the sort of deflective non-speak a slippery politician’s PR office would put out. And the warning signs, as you say, that the person answering the questions has a limited understanding of what constitutes an engaging story.
      I know by now this is a tragic cliche, but after reading each sentence, I thought to myself “just like Call of Duty then?”.

    • jstar says:

      @ Karry

      With all due respect you are missing the point. I’m not saying that’s what it’s about. It’s about a futuristic cyborg sent back from the future. The human emotional core though is the relationship with Rees (or that guy). You actually give a shit if he dies or not and in the end he dies protecting a women he has grown to love and his unborn son. That’s emotional stuff for what is basically just a sci fi horror movie.

    • Salt says:

      I think FCA indicates how story (or narrative – however we’re defining those terms at the moment) can be different in games than other media.

      Fond memories of X-Com abound with what happened to my team. Put the same events straight into a film and it’s an emotionless, mindless action flick. As jstar says a film needs to build an emotional narrative for there to be any real sense of peril when the action kicks off.

      But in games where the player is given a genuine responsibility over events, you can get that sense of “this matters” effectively for free.

      The inverse goes for games that deny the player significant responsibility. It becomes like watching an 8 hour action film with lots of CGI and very little character development. With work you can turn such a game into a decent action film, but it’s fundamentally different from those games which trust the player with responsibility.

    • Donjonson says:

      The original XCOM was a bit before my PC playing time but I totally agree with your rant… set pieces do NOT make an interesting game. If there’s no compelling reason to move through the set pieces then they quickly become boring.. although a lot of people probably like shit like that, and they’re probably very easy to sell shit to…

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      But in games where the player is given a genuine responsibility over events, you can get that sense of “this matters” effectively for free.

      The inverse goes for games that deny the player significant responsibility. It becomes like watching an 8 hour action film with lots of CGI and very little character development.

      Yes, exactly! I hadn’t quite thought of it that way. The written story is much less important when the game gives you tools to create your own.

    • mejoff says:

      I’d say the answer to the second last question (just above the last screenshot, with the blue swirly) gives plenty of hope for some really solid character based storytelling, actually.

    • karry says:

      “It’s about a futuristic cyborg sent back from the future.”
      No, no, thats the story, but its not what it was about, Terminator is about Fate, ultimately.

      “You actually give a shit if he dies or not ”
      No, no, i really dont.

    • Calabi says:

      I agree totally, exactly what I was thinking. Those answers to those question were the most disappointing answers.

      These people dont even know what stories are, they make the same mistakes, throw out the same old rubbish time and time again, nothing changes, no one tries anything new.

      I know that for a story to work in a game it has to be different but even then it has to have some commonality with the other medias. But there not even approaching an answer.

      I can tell this is just going to be some shit arse story that I’ve seen a hundred other times in the other medias. But told even worse. I do not want to listen to some shit story, I just want a decent game I can play.

      Its like they’ve completely missed the point of the original, the original wasnt about story it was about total playability, meaning you had control over tons of stuff. The story was what you did and happened to you.

    • timmyvos says:

      Did you mean X-Com or XCOM in your rant because I don’t exactly remember X-Com for its story.

  11. Essell says:

    Jstar – I don’t think it’s fair (or particularly smart) to simply assume at this point that they don’t have a human core to their story.

    My beef is with the interviewer thinking Cubism is when things look they’re made out of cubes. Picasso is furiously facepalming in his grave.

    • jstar says:

      Yeah, fair enough. But I bet it doesn’t go any deeper than ‘earth in danger, help!’

      And actually on balance, considering I have played games for the last 20 years and found about 0.0000001% to have any heart at all I think it is a reasonably fair assumption.

    • Ravenholme says:

      @Jstar – Well, it seems like it’s more like “America is in danger! Help!”, although that does seem to be reflect the amerocentric view that America is some kind of microcosm for the world.

      Changing XCOM to a US-based iniative is one of the most irksome features of this “re-imagining”

    • Jason Moyer says:

      Essell – a game with actual cubist or futurist influence would be pretty great, though, wouldn’t it?

      Either that or it would like your video card was glitching out, I guess.

      Edit: Also, I think it’s equally sad that the person who edited that question didn’t realize that Picasso co-founded cubism.

    • Griddle Octopus says:

      My beef is with people attributing thoughts to me when they can’t look inside my fricking head. When did you become psychic, schlomo?

      I can say something appears cubist, possibly because it contains cubes, possibly because of the way it creates a representative, impressionistic image of an object /individual through a structural breakdown and build-up, but the key thing is that YOU don’t know what’s going on in my head without being me. And I’m fairly sure you’re not.

  12. kikito says:

    I believe the use of the word “terraforming” in the context of “transforming the Earth into an alien-planet-like environment” isn’t correct. “Terraforming” is just the opposite: is transforming a non-Earthlike place into Earth-like. “Terra” means “Earth” exclusively, not “the home planet of the race performing the transformation”.

    If aliens from Melmak are adapting Earth to their liking, it should be called “melmakforming”.

    Or just “adapting”. Or “transforming”.

    Or maybe “reverse-terraforming”. But not terraforming.

  13. Premium User Badge

    yhancik says:

    Is it me or they come up as being a bit overly confident in their “big” and “compelling” story?
    It strikes me as the kind of attitude that leads to forcing the content they’re so proud of down the players’ throat.
    Mh…

  14. spiny_norman says:

    Although it must have been 10 years since I’ve played Counterstrike I have a strong feeling that the mansion in the top picture is from one of the maps. And the guys in the picture look quite like one of the terrorists.

    It’s a generic sort of architecture I suppose.

  15. The_Great_Skratsby says:

    So it’s nothing like X-Com, at all, in absolutely any sense.

    Even in something like structure, all the moments from starting your first base, the ridiculousness of combat and increased alien threat; moments unique to each play, now out for a unchangeable central plot and linear structure with ‘side missions’ about an alien invasion.

    I want to like this for its art direction, but it seems to epitomise everything that’s wrong with ‘re imagining” an IP for a ‘new audience’, then insisting its true to the previous games legacy.

  16. Premium User Badge

    yhancik says:

    it’s like being attacked by Picasso [you mean Piet Mondrian? – pernickety art Ed]

    You mean El Lissitzky?
    http://is.gd/WHlCRP
    http://is.gd/Xz66Ou

    • Tei says:

      Google tells me that Picasso also have made cubism art … IN THIS TIMELINE!.

      I am not sure, since you never know if some time traveler has modify the past.

    • Premium User Badge

      yhancik says:

      That timeline certainly looks like a mandolin to me ;)

      What I meant, though, is that the parallelepipedic aliens (?) are maybe more in the spirit of suprematism than analytic cubism.

      Either way, we all know that the most El Lissitzky-esque game around is of course Proun.

    • Premium User Badge

      yhancik says:

      (I wish for a game where NPCs are embodied art movements)

    • Premium User Badge

      VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      I guess explains why the game Proun is called Proun.

    • Rii says:

      @yhancik: “(I wish for a game where NPCs are embodied art movements)”

      Hmm, not NPCs and more architecture than art, but how about Rock of Ages?

    • timmyvos says:

      Mondriaan is more about squares in the perfect arrangements (Golden Ratio and all that) and that’s not something I see here, so that El Lissitzky guy is probably the best example.

    • Premium User Badge

      yhancik says:

      @rii : oh, i didn’t think about that, but yes, in a way :D

    • Griddle Octopus says:

      I bow to your superior knowledge of this particular field. /bow Before I do my next interview, I will look deeply into all strands of cubism.

  17. Joe Duck says:

    “…so what we want from the combat is to make it very, y’know, tactical but also not overwhelming in terms of its complexity. We don’t want players to micromanage the combat, so we want the agents individually to be really strong tools. You’re not going to just be able to run out there, because the odds are stacked against you. If you try and run and gun through the game, you’ll just get cut down. Using your agents, but having these agents be individual but also class-based; how you upgrade them and what alien tech you give them, but we do keep a tight squad….”
    So it is tactical but not complex, with individual detailed agents but not micromanaging, the agents are individual but class based and each agent upgrades differently but the squad is tight.
    So in a nutshell, every single thing in this game is something but not too much of it.
    It is going to be a mess.

  18. Inigo says:

    Well, at least we still have Syndicate.

    Oh.
    Wait.

    • Premium User Badge

      yhancik says:

      Actually we indeed still have Syndicate, don’t we?
      The last time I played it in Dosbox it was still working.

    • timmyvos says:

      I think he meant that the new Syndicate game will also be a bloody FPS.

    • Premium User Badge

      yhancik says:

      I know ;)

      I just meant that no matter how badly they rape our beloved franchises, and how sad it is to waste such potential… well… we can still play the originals :)
      (hence it will make me *sigh* but I can hardly get angry about it)

    • Dozer says:

      It would just be nice to, you know, have versions of the originals with 21st-century UIs (and maybe 21st-century graphics too) but still keeping the good gameplay and story elements of the originals.

  19. woodsey says:

    Looks interesting, still not entirely sure what to make of it though.

  20. outoffeelinsobad says:

    Wasn’t the franchise moving in this direction 10 or so years ago with the unrealized X-Com: Alliance?

    • DK says:

      Nope. Alliance was going to be the opposite of this. Where these devs say complexity and depth is bad, Alliance was going to embrace it. Think SWAT 4 where the terrorists are aliens with weapons that your little team can’t even imagine. And they can also mind rape your team.

    • Nick says:

      that was a lot more squad management focused than this, looked kinda cool too, wish it had been released.

  21. jstar says:

    @ Rii

    Yes, fair point. However I have not played it to completion. From what I remember though the emotions running through that are much more closely linked to the morally dubious decisions you are forced into making with regard to the little sisters etc. (Please correct me if this changes as you play through).

    This is actually a slightly different point (though no less a valid emotional tool in games) than what I am talking about. And actually this is an area of storytelling that is unique to games and therefore in my opinion belongs in a slightly different though related conversation.

    But again, correct me if the game plays out differently.

    • Rii says:

      I was actually thinking of the fatherhood angle, the relationship between Subject Delta and Eleanor that comes to the fore in the last third or so of the game. I don’t really want to go into any more detail than that on account of spoilers, but I’ll say this: I had tears in my eyes by the time the credits rolled.

    • jstar says:

      Ah fair enough. Never got that far so will take your word for it.

  22. thebluemonkey81 says:

    god I can’t take enough quotes out of this…..

    controlling yourself and twp agents so it doesn’t get too difficult… erm in the original I’d have teams of 10 agents and had no trouble there.

    not having to micromanage the combat….. wasn’t that the point of the original?

    ok, I get it, you got the IP which instantly draws in a number of people eager to play it, then you drop words like “masseffect” on it which draws in more but taking it that far from the original game is depressing.

    Sure, in it’s own right, it looks very pretty. What game these days doesn’t? It’s not x-com though, I was really hoping for some kind of turn based, squad shooter taking all the tacktics and unscripted events of the original game and propelling them into the modern gaming market but it seems we’re going to get another fps\rpg style game.

    Admittedly I stopped reading at “We don’t want players to micromanage the combat”

    kinda strikes me as “we’re gong to make chess 2011″ and then releasing a brawl based game where a “black team” and a “white team” whale on each other untill one side’s dead…… in a non-racist way.

    • Dozer says:

      That’s a good analogy. Why can’t we just have Chess with anti-aliasing and running in 32-bit colour and 1650×1080 and with an interface not drawing heavily from DOS?

  23. jstar says:

    @ FSA
    ‘See also: death of sibling at start of Dragon Age 2′
    I had to invent new swear words when I experienced that little beauty. You know a story is in trouble when you are happy a character has died because they managed to annoy you within about 2 seconds of meeting them.

    @Salt
    Yeah it’s called the ludo narrative (basically the story the player makes for themselves in the playing) There is great debate at the moment about how hard it is to meld traditional narrative techniques with this game specific experience.

    Actually I think the pervasive lack of knowledge and expertise of traditional storytelling in the games industry is at fault here rather than any real problems linking the two. Though I am not saying there are not challenges.

    I should probably shut up now though…

  24. Alistair says:

    Good lord – the endless complaining is tedious. If they were keeping the style of the game secret you could complain when you bought and it turned out not to be a copy of 1990s X-COM. But they’re broadcasting it, so if you don’t like it don’t buy it. And take the ‘They’re not making the game I want’ into some other thread where they’re not doing that. Your pointless droning is in the way.

    • James T says:

      “REMEMBER BOYS: SHIT SANDWICH? TASTES GREAT!”

    • UncleSmoothie says:

      You know, I’m perfectly happy for them to make their own game and take it in a completely different direction. I’ve even made peace with the fact that it’s called X-Com. But when Pelling says stuff like “you’ve played the original?” and then goes on to describe something that resembles the original game in no way – it starts to irritate me again.

    • Rii says:

      It’s not that it’s at all difficult to understand where folks are coming from, it’s just … build a farking bridge. I went through all this with Starship Troopers and eventually grew up and learned to accept both film and novel as works in their own right. Lowered the blood pressure some I can tell you.

      It wouldn’t bother me except that I have to at least glance over all this internet rage to get to comments worth reading. =/

  25. Dana says:

    While Im waiting for this game, its not the ‘origin story’. First UFO War started in 1990 in the XCOM universe.

    • Cinnamon says:

      And the first nation to properly organise a defence were the Japanese. The back story to the game was only a couple of paragraphs long but it was clear about that at least.

      I don’t know, I’m tired of Americana from this period. I’m not a baby boomer and I’m not American. Why should I care so much about this setting? Seems like the people with control of the money in the US are indulging their personal fetishes a bit too much.

    • Ravenholme says:

      @ Cinnamon – I couldn’t agree more.

    • Bret says:

      Kiryu Kai was one among many.

      And, like everyone else, they couldn’t do jack.

      Really, the pre-X-Com history of the Alien War is a string of hilarious failures.

    • Griddle Octopus says:

      Yep, I did ask about what the rest of the world was up to whilst this was happening, but he skirted around it. I also am really tired of effing America and American interpretations of European history.

  26. JFS says:

    All I see is “USA USA USA, The Only Country That Ever Gets Invaded by Aliens (TM)”. Missed opportunity. It’s not really the Extraterrestrial Combat Force, it’s the United States Department of Alien Investigation. Meh.

    • Ravenholme says:

      And it makes no sense from the original X-COM’s back story, as iirc China or Japan was the first one to actually muster a proper response to the invading aliens, and XCOM was an international organisation, hence why you had to keep your various sponsor countries happy.

    • JFS says:

      Absolutely. Even if they make a FPS out of a strategy game with tactical, round-based combat, it wouldn’t be half as bad if they at least stayed true to some of the game’s principles and history.

      1960s America is all fine and dandy, but please use it in a game where it fits.

    • MonolithicTentacledAbomination says:

      The guys making this are in Australia, aren’t they? I’m a dumb yank, and I’d happily play “down under,” or in Greenland, or Mongolia, wherever. I live in America, I don’t need to play there, too.

  27. Cydonos says:

    I don’t know why I’m always suprised when a new xcom titled game comes out that completely throws away the original game’s roots.

    Really? Can’t you just TRY to build on the original design? Just once? It might actually work!

    • Dozer says:

      There is Xenonauts, which is pretty much exactly X-COM of old but with an up-to-date interface. Even has nonsense from the original like storing a continental-range attack aircraft and all its support equipment underground in an area the size of four staff canteens!

  28. karthink says:

    “Using your agents, but having these agents be individual but also class-based; how you upgrade them and what alien tech you give them, but we do keep a tight squad.”

    Jeez. Parsing this gave me a headache.

    I was hoping this would be a game that would play out reasonably different each time, but the tight scripting suggests it goes into the Bioshock/HL pile, not the Civ/SOASE/X-Com pile. A shame, that.

    • timmyvos says:

      What a shame.

    • Lilliput King says:

      (Un-ironically) What a shame. I too was hoping for the original x-com with swat4-like fps sections replacing the turn/tile based sections.

      When he mentioned set-pieces my heart sank. It’ll probably still be okay, though. It’s a cool setting and art style, at least.

  29. Wizardry says:

    I’m as upset about XCOM as the next guy, but this is just hypocrisy from gamers. Once upon a time (incidentally, before the first X-COM was released), CRPGs were ultra hardcore, statistic heavy, turn-based tactical games with player defined characters, a focus on exploration and an emphasis on solving puzzles. Nowadays they are all action games/shooters. X-COM used to be a hardcore turn-based tactics game with a strategy layer on top. Now it’s a shooter. So why don’t any of you attack the current state of CRPGs in the same way that you are attacking XCOM?

    • Cinnamon says:

      XCOM is more important and better than any CRPG so it is only natural that people are going to be more vocal.

    • karthink says:

      I can only speak for myself (and I’m not angry about XCOM/X-COM):

      I haven’t played any of the ultra hardcore statistic heavy turn based cRPGs you mention. The closest to this I’ve played would be Baldur’s Gate, and that’s not very close.

      I have played X-COM. I am disappointed with everything becoming an action RPG, but only inasmuch as they move away from Baldur’s Gate, or even away from KOTOR. Likewise, I am disappointed with XCOM moving away from X-COM.

      I think the uneven levels of complaining might stem from people having different references in mind.

    • gritz says:

      Except people around here (especially yourself) complain about the state of CRPG’s all the time.

    • Wizardry says:

      @gritz: Hmm. Yes. You’re right. The “bring back the glory days of Morrowind and Knights of the Old Republic” crew. Then there’s the “BioWare did romances so much better in Baldur’s Gate II” crew. How about the “Planescape: Torment is the pinnacle of RPGs” crew?

    • Premium User Badge

      Andy_Panthro says:

      I take it you missed the following:
      Ultima 8 (Super Avatar brothers!)
      Oblivion being a dumbed-down version of Morrowind
      Fallout 3 vs. original Fallout games (Oblivion with guns!)
      Various Mass Effect things (inventory in ME2 comes to mind)
      Dragon Age 2
      And probably everything ever written by Wizardry in these very comments threads, along with various others including myself.
      The state of cRPGs has been very well documented, but thankfully we have our old classic games and new indie games to play and don’t have to rely on “AAA” publishers output.
      Back to a more XCOM related bit, this is why games like Xenonauts, UFO: ET2, UFO: The Two Sides and similar are being watched with eager eyes.

      [edit] will leave this as it is, because it’s funny. Didn’t realise it was you posting Wizardry!

    • Wizardry says:

      Well, you see, you may have had a point, but this is exactly what I’m talking about. “Super Avatar brothers”, from fans of Ultima VII who hardly ever mention the Age of Enlightenment trilogy, a trilogy with turn-based combat. Complaints about Oblivion, from fans of Bethesda’s older single character real-time action RPGs. Complaints about Mass Effect 2 being watered down, from fans of the third-person shooter called Mass Effect 1. Bitching about Dragon Age 2, from the same people who feel that Dragon Age: Origins can compete with turn-based CRPGs in terms of tactical depth

      Sure, people bitching about Fallout 3 because they love Fallout could be valid as Fallout is indeed a turn-based CRPG. It’s not a tactical one, however, as it is single character, and it emphasises things like exploration, dialogue and multiple quest solutions, things that have become trendy ever since.

      CRPGs have shared a similar fate to the X-COM brand. CRPGs used to be turn-based and tactical, and so did X-COM. CRPGs today are basically action games or shooters like Oblivion, Mass Effect and Dragon Age 2, and X-COM today is a first person shooter. However, the existence of this XCOM game is causing the internet gaming community to rage, big time, yet most of those same people think RPGs started with Fallout in 1997, ignoring the golden era featuring party-based tactical turn-based combat.

  30. Frabble says:

    The more i read about this game, the more i want to punch the developers.

  31. Urthman says:

    Screenshots = 6. Screenshots with visible waist-high cover = 6. Screenshots where the waist-high cover is so blatant it ruins the immersion = 4.

    Estimated percentage of game ruined by artificial cover system = approximately 66.6666666666666666666666666%

  32. aircool says:

    Still not sure… Is it a proper turn-based game? Are Snakemen and Mutons in it?

    • JFS says:

      Who caaaares!!! It’s fancy! It’s Sixties! It has story! It’s Mass Effect with Americana! Yeeeehaaaaw!!!

  33. BobsLawnService says:

    Just some random musings :

    I was getting optimistic about this until they mentioned that it is going to be a story based game with scripted missions. A large part of what made the original game great was the fact that the story emerged from the gameplay and each story was different and about the people and technologies. It seems like game designers these days are just not good enough at designing gameplay to use this approach.

  34. Eightball says:

    “You played the original?”

    An amazingly ballsy question from the devs…

  35. jalf says:

    Rarrr raaaaagh rage!

    And with that out of the way, I think it looks really promising.

    Who cares about the name?

  36. Player_0 says:

    This sounds like another crappy Mass Effect game and here are reasons why it will suck from the interview.

    Pelling:Our view was to give you the central character and the two agents, as your right and left hand. They’re kind of; you almost equip your agents with… they themselves are equipped with various technologies and tactical capabilities, so what we want from the combat is to make it very, y’know, tactical but also not overwhelming in terms of its complexity.

    Pelling: You played the original?

    Pelling: Not necessarily; there’s variability in each class, in how you choose to upgrade. You might have a couple of very different Commandos.

    Pelling:Within America at that time you have a blossoming of the minorities and repressed parts of society coming out and having their voices heard, and some of the characters in your base are voices of those factions.

    Aliens are invading the earth and there will be people complaining about racism. I foresee a “proud” woman scientist rebelling against the paternal glass ceiling! And quests to deal with people’s “personal issues”. I don’t want the crap they think will make it an edgy and more interesting product, I want a good game.

    • Bret says:

      Another crappy Mass Effect?

      That implies several previous crappy Mass Effects.

      There was:

      ME1 (pretty good)

      ME2 (Excellent)

      And, uh…

      Alpha Protocol? I guess you could call it crappy, if you were desperate for examples. Still, there’s not that many GnCs out there, and most are good.

      What games you thinking of?

  37. Soon says:

    I’m hoping the story-based missions are the minority among random encounters (which I /think/ is what they’re doing?). Because that can work pretty well (the other UFO games did it); with research leading to you having to do something specific every now and then, for example. I was defending the game previously, thinking it held enough in common through themes and mechanics. But if the mission progress becomes linear and mostly story-based then it’s getting harder to do that as it would imply most of the other features are just dressing. It’s a little vague on how prevalent those missions will be.

  38. Pijama says:

    How did you endure that damn thing, interviewer? Those were some serious awful replies.

  39. Zenicetus says:

    Here’s what I can’t quite wrap my head around, with the game concept. It’s a cool idea to set a game in this time period, featuring be-hatted, trench coat-wearing FBI agents. But how does any FBI agent become a “Commando?” How does the cool aesthetics of trench coats and hats mix with armor and heavy weapons? I mean, look at the guy in the hat and glasses, wearing the sci-fi armor/backpack thing in the fourth screen shot. Right there, the cool 50’s-60’s aesthetics go out the window and just start looking silly.

    Maybe it’s just my USA-centric perspective, but this is just not what the FBI would be doing. We had other, better candidates back in the 60’s; CIA, Special Forces, and so on. It’s like they picked the FBI just for the visuals, and then slapped them into mashup of Call of Duty and Mass Effect, for no reason. Grrr. Maybe it plays better than it looks.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      X-COM, X-Files. Geddit?

      I doubt they’ve put much more thought into it than that. It’s clearly a (para)military thing, and it makes no sense to involve the FBI in anything beyond the scope of a major police operation.

  40. Dozer says:

    Wulf are you applying for the RPS writer’s position? If not, you should be!

    edit: reply fail. But since this post is here: what a shame this game isn’t Xenonauts. On the plus site, Xenonauts exists!

  41. Muzman says:

    I do really want to pile scorn on the pathetic whiny XFUCKINGDASHCOM purists, who won’t goddam shut up about their soul sucking turnbased dinosaur gameplay, for a while every time this comes up.

    But there’s a new Thief game in the works and I’m going to need all my scorn, because if they put fucking third-person perspective in that thing… So help me…

  42. Kolchak says:

    So let me understand. It has none of the aliens of X-Com. It plays nothing like X-Com. It doesn’t have any aesthetic similarity to X-Com.

    So why call it X-COM? Because of this uninspired Mass Effect clone we’ll probably never get a sequel to the original game. So thanks a lot 2K Games. I can’t wait for you guys to take Railroad Tycoon and turn it into racing game just because you guys like to rape our old games for no reason.

  43. gummybearsliveonthemoon says:

    Ah, 2K Marin, makers of the bugfree and so well supported Bioshock 2. They did such a good job of supporting their PC base there.

    *smap*

    That’s the sound of my wallet closing.

  44. Commissar says:

    This interview is exactly like reading a politician bullshit their way out of an awkward encounter.

  45. DarthBenedict says:

    Game Design 101:
    Copy Call of Duty.
    Remove everything enjoyable about Call of Duty.
    Put a list of Intellectual Property(tm) you own on a wall.
    Throw darts to decide the name of your innovative next gen experience.

  46. Premium User Badge

    It's not me it's you says:

    Unrelated to most of the comments here, but if I were aliens hell-bent on taking over this planet, the last place I’d land is in the populated area of the most highly armed country on this planet. I’d try the Australian desert, or maybe somewhere in Africa.

    • Matzerath says:

      The fault of almost all alien invasion stories/games/movies — surely it would be easier for aliens to blast us to oblivion from a high orbit rather than get all ‘hands/tentacles on’ and enter our airspace, or for Christ’s sake take the battle to Earth’s surface.
      The shocking exception to this: Starship Troopers.

  47. Kamos says:

    If making games with “old” mechanics is such a bad idea, why did Blizzard decide to make Starcraft II and Diablo 3?

  48. Robin says:

    >We’re going to make another cinematic shooter! (Behold: with cover mechanics too!)
    >But, how are we going to differentiate ourselves from the “another shooter vs aliens” label?
    >Why don’t we give it the name of an historical game? Xcom just fits it!
    >Awesome! And, being of a total unrelated genre, the anger of the old fans will keep up the buzz around it without the need for us to do anything!

    All my hate.

    • Kamos says:

      They should at least make it console only, to clearly tag it as crap.

  49. Fumarole says:

    You’ve also changed the combat structure to follow Mass Effect

    Of all the things to imitate from that game, they chose combat? Ugh.