Important XCOMmunication: Floaters Return

By Alec Meer on May 1st, 2012 at 9:30 pm.

Much as I love X-COM and would have as many of its turn-based, slow-scrolling babies as it asked me to, I would have zero hesitation in demanding one important change from it – to change the name of hovering alien foe known as the Floater. No, no, no, NO I’m not going to tell you why. If you don’t already know you live an enviably innocent life. And probably haven’t read many issues of Viz.

Distressing name or no, Floaters will not remain a thing of the past, having recently been confirmed as making a redesigned appearance in this Falltumn’s XCOM: Enemy Unknown.

This via TameGrailers, which also has some footage of Floater 2.0 in its latest episode and the following brief description:

“The re-imagined enemy will live out his life of pain and rage in the highly-anticipated reboot coming later this year.”

Er, his what? OK then. I guess I’d be a bit miffed if someone took my legs off too. But having a jetpack would probably go a long way towards making up for it.

The new guy looks rather Stroggified to me, which I don’t have immediately joyous feelings about, but am happy to be convinced otherwise. I know being a purist can only make things miserable for everyone involved, the purist especially.

Additionally, we discover that he’s “really, really aggressive”, can “teleport anywhere around the battlefield” and “will operate in packs.” His ass sounds as thought it might quite bad to me, I must say.

I shall endeavour to track down more details on Floaty-pants here, and other matters of X-import, and bring it to you soon. In the meantime, here are two dev diaries which contain information and footage. Sometimes at the same time. Videos are clever!


Oh, and I have been remiss in my nostalgic duty, have I not? The original Floater looked like this:

You may remember them as being (and I quote the UFOpedia) not particularly dangerous, and probably being too stupid to possibly live a life of pain and rage. But they had a natty cloak and a single giant metal testicle, so that was alright.

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36 Comments »

  1. sinister agent says:

    Spoilers! I don’t want to know what kind of aliens I’ll be fighting. Discovering it for yourself is half the fun.

    (it will be a shame if the new floaters are not endearingly crap, though)

    • lasikbear says:

      it will be a shame if the new floaters are not endearingly crap, though

      so you are saying the originals lived up to their name?

    • Ironclad says:

      Oh god a terror mission! There’s going to be crysalids or cyberdiscs and mind control, or …

      Floaters? Oh, time to have fun!

      • sinister agent says:

        But a terror mission means they’ll have their terror weapons! And with floaters that means…. oh. Ahaha, look at the big puppy! Who’s a good reaper? Yes you is. You is, yes you is. Catch!

        • Haphaz77 says:

          Haha. Nice. I think in nearly 20 years of playing that game, I’ve lost about 2 soldiers ever to Reapers. Hilariously inept combo them and Floaters. Best thing to do with Floaters were mind control them, drop their weapons and hover them into the air then let the AI take control back. Deal with that! – they couldn’t and would hover around randomly.

          • mckertis says:

            “I’ve lost about 2 soldiers ever to Reapers.”

            At least they were there.
            In 20 years of playing TFTD i’ve seen a Triscene exactly once.

    • Eddy9000 says:

      I reckon they’ll keep coming back no matter how many times you try to get rid of them.

  2. bohzak says:

    “The re-imagined enemy will live out his life of pain and rage in the highly-anticipated reboot coming later this year.”

  3. povu says:

    I’ve got those in my eyes.

  4. Reefpirate says:

    “His ass sounds as thought it might quite bad to me, I must say.” What IS this? What now??

  5. Phasma Felis says:

    Man, I am looking forward to this like wow. At least 75% of the changes they’ve proposed are positive to me.

  6. Palehorse says:

    I must say, I heart Firaxis for doing this.

    Every time I get more XCOM news it’s a struggle to remain aloof and not dive headfirst into the long, drawn out agonizing waiting game. Reading every forum post, digesting every new preview for new content.

    Surely there must be another big release I can focus on to keep my – oh hello Diablo 3.

  7. TormDK says:

    “Down here we all float…..”

  8. kud13 says:

    ah, floaters.

    or “flyers”, as they were known in the Russian translation.

    they were so fun to snipe with those laser rifles…..

    now, the much, much, MUCH more important question:

    Will there be Chryssalids?

  9. Lemming says:

    “The new guy looks rather Stroggified to me,”

    It matches the the new mutants.

  10. b0rsuk says:

    Does anyone else think the new X-COM… looks bad ?

    All those killcams and dynamic cameras make it look like a game that is fun to watch. But not to play yourself. You no longer control what is shown, the game throws you around. It’s a cutscene posing as a game.

    • Strangerator says:

      That was a little sad when they asked what new feature they were the most excited about. “The glam cams I guess.” Ack, does that mean there won’t be an option to turn them off?

      Watching the progress of this game has been an exercise in watching massive chunks of an artwork extracted, and with each extraction we are told “nothing to worry about here!” I guess about the 10th time I’m told not to worry about something, I start to get a little nervous.

      • kud13 says:

        I find myself pretty ambivalent about this.
        The interview with the lead designer brings some hope. due to the fact that he seems to appreciate the things that made the original great.

        I’m not thrilled about kill-cams, but they aren’t a deal-breaker either. And, honestly, I don’t blame the devs for being excited about a “modern” feature–if they told us “we’re most excited about providing the authentic 1994-like experience”, i’d raise my eyebrow quiizically, for the simple reason that I already have the original on Steam (and I don’t even need steam running to play–imagine that, Khemm!)
        I’m not a time units purist either–we’ll see if the new system works as well.

        My biggest concern is the lack of base defense. It’s the only thing I genuinely, active do not like. But even that is not a deal-breaker at this point.

        Considering Xenonauts is also coming out pretty soon, it’s a good time to be a UFO fan.

    • mckertis says:

      I guess you wouldnt like Super Robot Taisen, then.

    • Matzerath says:

      I’m still coming to terms with the fact that it all takes place at a gas station.

    • MFToast says:

      I’m not quite sure why we’re all shocked a game might be different after 15 years. I do agree, though, the “glam cam” could be extremely annoying if it’s done badly. That was an automatic off for me in FO3 and New Vegas, was extremely distracting in the middle of a gun fight. At any rate, it really seems we’re getting quite a limited scope of the whole game as far as artwork and level design go. I’m still excited to check it out.

  11. coldvvvave says:

    Various reasons.

    a) teleporting somewhere blindly is not a good idea
    b) teleporting somewhere high may be dangerous so you want a backup in case teleport requires a cooldown
    c) teleporting won’t get you a high ground advantage on a flat surface, jetpack on the other hand

    • Groove says:

      a, b and c are all very good points.

      I’d never thought of it before, but jetpack + teleporter is actually really smart. Especially for blind teleporting, just teleport higher than you need to give yourself a safety buffer. I also don’t think I’ve ever seen it in fiction before. Kudos to Firaxis.

  12. JB says:

    Also, with no legs you’d fall on the floor when you tele’d in, right?

  13. Groove says:

    Is it just me, or has there been about six months of silence on the OTHER new X-Com?

    If so, then why? Hmm?

    • subedii says:

      Because it’s been put back by about six months IIRC.

      And personal conjecture on my part? That’s because they realised that they were getting ZERO positive feedback from the fans (defeats the whole purpose of even using an IP in the first place), when it wasn’t outright negative. In what games media had played the originals, pretty much every preview I read had some sentence along the lines of “it looks nice, but it’s not X-Com”

      Even the dedicated XBox and Playstation coverage was relatively “meh” on it. It looked like a 1950′s take on Mass Effect, or a reworked Bioshock, what else was there to say? The previews were optimistic, as they always are, but they didn’t really have anything else to say about the game to draw people’s attention.

      I mean speaking personally, I wanted a game more in the vein of the originals at the time, not doubt. But I was willing to give it a chance at being a good, if wholly unrelated game. The problem is, when they showcased all the footage, I didn’t even think it looked all that interesting.

      Say what you want about the Firaxis X-Com, like it or dislike it, but when the devs speak about it you can honestly tell they’re huge fans of the originals, they’re constantly talking about all those classic aspects, and how they’re trying to re-capture that feeling.

      Every time the devs at 2K spoke about the FPS version they were making, I just got the impression that they had a game they wanted to make that was wholly unrelated, and the name “X-Com” got slapped onto it. Because much like nature abhors a vacuum, apparently marketing feels the same way about “new” IP. It felt as if they were constantly trying to justify, at every stage, why they were even calling it X-Com. I’d see devs constantly say sentences like “In X-Com… (pause)… In our version of X-Com”. Or talk about how brilliant the original games were, but in the most vague and nondescript terms because they genuinely had little to no experience of the titles and had now idea of how to relate the two games that were supposed to be related.

      In short it was a mess. I think 2K realise that as well now. Which is why I think the big pause is one of two things:

      1) They’ve gone back to tweak it some more in a deeper attempt to somehow relate the FPS version more to the original game.

      Or

      2) They’ve decided to leave that job to Firaxis, and have instead decided to make it the best FPS they always wanted to, but without caring too much about trying to relate this to the other games because that was limiting them.

      Hey, I could be completely out on both of those, that’s just my impression on where they may be going given how things have gone so far.

      • Groove says:

        That’s a lot to reply to, but suffice to say I agree with almost everything you said.

        I HOPE they’re taking the distraction of the proper X-Com to make some changes, since the game as-demoed seemed like being such a dedicated FPS was stopping it being X-Com in any meaningful way, while having to be X-Com was stopping it from being a good FPS.

        It looked kind of like a first-person ME, with the conversations replaced with wafer-thin strategy. Which is NOT a compliment.

  14. cybrbeast says:

    WTF teleport? Seems like a stupid and annoying feature. Stupid because if the aliens could teleport why don’t they all use it? Annoying because I would be pissed if this thing teleported behind your group and killed one of you characters. With teleport you can never predict where the enemy will go, so it takes away from the strategy IMO.

  15. Joshua Northey says:

    I think there is some decent chance that when they said “teleport” they meant “moving around the map really quickly and unexpectedly”, and not you know, actual teleporting in addition to the jetpack.

  16. Phasma Felis says:

    That APE graffiti in the background is actually short for “Angry, Pain-filled Existence.”

    Fact!

  17. Dozer says:

    In the original game, they did use an antigravity device rather than a jetpack.

  18. Kefren says:

    I like the original floaters. One of them once floated past and upper floor window, looked in, and shot me. I’m not too fussed with them changing so much, but the chances are I’ll just keep replaying the original. It feels like home.

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