Enemy Yours: Watch An Hour Of The XCOM Remake

By Alec Meer on August 29th, 2012 at 8:00 pm.

I’m about to conduct another interview with Firaxis on the subject of their upcoming X-COM remake, and fortunately I go in armed with the knowledge lent me by watching around an hour of live-streamed footage. You can watch it too, because you are dear to me. It includes two missions of the game (one of which is a Terror Mission) and a wander around the base, narrated enthusiastically by three Firaxicons, and it’s meant that all the various elements I’ve heard about the game, both changed and reverential, finally fell into place. I understand, now, how this thing works. And I think it looks really rather fine – whether or it not it’s entirely X-COMmy, it is definitely a game I want inhabiting my hard drive. Here, take a look for yourself.

I especially liked the bagpipes.

Thanks to Kadayi for sending that my way. Now, I go to ask a man some questions.

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85 Comments »

  1. PostieDoc says:

    yay

    • dontnormally says:

      FYI unlike every other video player ever to ever be on the internet ever, clicking the video does not pause. It instead goes to another website and screws up your viewing pleasure.

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    Rikard Peterson says:

    Video starts 5 minutes in.

  3. felix6 says:

    Did I see a Xbox 360 controler? :/

    • Dominic White says:

      Yep, it’s a turn-based game, so it doesn’t matter what controller you use, so you can quit kvetching! They confirm that they’re playing the PC version, but the UI morphs into the 360 version if you use a gamepad.

    • Max Ursa says:

      in the vid i think they say that the pc ui is getting its final tweaks ready for viewing at PAX. they used the controller as its easier for the guy to sit back in view of the camera and control the game rather than have him leaning forward over a mouse and keyboard. the version they used in the vid is the pc version.

    • f1x says:

      What if I tell you that using a gamepad for PC gaming is actually quite nic…oh noes they are coming for me, rnd29340

  4. Therion_I says:

    Watched it yesterday but I might watch it again now. I’ve gone from quiet resignation in fear of a dumbed down console version of my absolute favourite all time game to eager jumpy-up-and-down happy cant wait to get my hands on it anticipation in the last few months.

    The UI in this Video is the console version which is why they are playing it with a gamepad. They are showing the PC UI at PAX in a couple of days. Cant wait!

  5. Kimau says:

    Watched it LIVE was brilliant. Also they are showing the PC interface at PAX and this is the awesome talk they mention at the end of the video which they are streaming.

    http://prime.paxsite.com/schedule/panel/xcom-enemy-unknown-a-thousand-stupid-ideas-on-the-road-to-glory

  6. Mctittles says:

    So far the game looks too easy for my tastes. The team started outside the ship, they moved most of their troops right in harms way and shot directly at the aliens. Not much strategy or setup needed on whatever difficulty they were playing.

    Also, outfitting and leveling troops replaced by perks? I’d like to equip my guys before I go on a raid.
    Were they just selecting missions from a menu? I didn’t see them fly around the planet to get alien crash sites. Is their a grand strategy or just linear mission choosing?

    Oh and the cheesy dialog from the troops plus color scheme makes this seem more like playing with action figures than an alien invasion.

    From the glowing articles about this game lately I guess I had my hopes up too much.

    • Dominic White says:

      “So far the game looks too easy for my tastes”

      You did see the second mission they played, right? Where an up-armored veteran almost dies on turn 1, and is finished on turn 2? And they’re playing on Normal. Non-Ironman.

      They state that nobody in the dev team has even beaten the game on Impossible Ironman. One guy got kinda close, but not even the developers can manage it right now.

      • Mctittles says:

        That’s good, hopefully the higher difficulty will be better.
        I saw the second mission too, but they didn’t seem to be really thinking out their moves much either.

        • Max Ursa says:

          they’re not going the live stream them talking about the game and carefully deliberating over each move. yea the guy playing was rather poor but hes having to talk to the camera, the two guys with him and play the game, so i can cut him some slack.
          they didnt show any interceptions or anything like that as they were just going from one saved point to another, each at the start of the mission with boots on the ground.

      • colw00t says:

        Not to mention that they’ve pretty clearly given the squaddies fairly advanced gear for the enemies they’re facing. The original got a bit easier once you had some veterans with Heavy Lasers, too. And the guy playing had a well-disposed RNG in a couple of places. I doubt the game is going to be too easy. This was on Normal, which we already know has at least two difficulty levels above it: Classic and Impossible.

    • Drake Sigar says:

      The first thing most RPSers will do is select ‘classic’ mode.

      • Goldeneye says:

        “Classic”? Why not “Impossible”? Or combine Impossible with Iron Man for maximum challenge?

    • Azradesh says:

      It’s like you didn’t pay any attention or even watch it. Outfitting is not replaced by anything. You still have to research, buld and pay for all your equipment just like the old game.

      “Oh and the cheesy dialog from the troops plus color scheme makes this seem more like playing with action figures than an alien invasion.”

      Did you even play the first game? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pX0Cm3N_n6k
      Remind yourself.

    • Mctittles says:

      Yes I have played the first one:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qj10vtwuq1Q
      Remind yourself?

      • Azradesh says:

        OMG that’s so gritty and real!!!! Clearly not cartoony at all! :O

      • Ruffian says:

        I fail to what your complaint is? Moving your soldiers off the back of the craft to the ground was a big deal? How else are you supposed to shoot at something, if not directly? And how is putting soldiers in full and half-cover putting them in harms way? Seems like you’re complaining to complain to me. I don’t see anything that is a huge departure from the first game in there, other than better graphics (aside from the things that they haven’t shown, which you seem to have decided would therefore be non-existent)

    • luukdeman111 says:

      of course, the difficulty is quite objective….BUT……

      you can still equip your troops…(they mentioned armour several times in the vid so i have no idea where that idea is coming from)

      they were not selecting missions from a menu, they were loading savefiles because they wanted to have something interesting to show us… you can’t blame them for that… so you clearly didn’t watch… or at least listen, to the entire video. And that’s okay, but don’t start ranting then that several thing aren’t in the game.

      and… cheesy dialogs can be turned off and to me this game looks grittier then the original….

    • Goldeneye says:

      “Were they just selecting missions from a menu? I didn’t see them fly around the planet to get alien crash sites.”

      They were loading missions from the saved game menu if you noticed. It’s not representative of how you select missions on the geospace.

      Also, they repeatedly emphasized that they were playing on Normal difficulty, hence why it would seem too easy. Take note that they still lost men anyway.

    • aircool says:

      Mctittles; feel free to post your Ironman Mode Completed screenshot the day after release.

  7. Dominic White says:

    Watched this yesterday as well, and it really does look like something special. The underlying gameplay mechanics seem to have gotten more abstract and almost board-gamish (I’m kinda reminded of the Doom board game in a lot of respects), but the actual presentation has gotten far more intuitive and cinematic.

    I dig just how very deadly it looks. A veteran guy in heavy power armor dies in two hits, and there’s all the standards in there, like super-risky stun-prodding of sectoids, destructible terrain, mobile mini-tanks and cyberdiscs ruining everything when they die.

    They use vertical space very interestingly, too. Lots of multi-layered buildings, obstacles that can be climbed on top of, and grappling hooks to traverse really high structures.

    • Azradesh says:

      I hope they have bigger maps though. I loved plodding through a whole office complex in Apocalypse.

      • Victuz says:

        That reminds me I never really got around to playing apocalypse… I played pretty much every game in the series and the unofficial sequels but never that one (or interceptor). I think I have to get around to it.

        • Advanced Assault Hippo says:

          You should. It’s actually my personal fave of the series.

        • colw00t says:

          Don’t play Interceptor. Seriously, it’s not worth it. Go read a Let’s Play of it if you must, but you aren’t missing anything. It’s not as bad as Enforcer was, but it is still really bad.

          I loved the huge levels in Apocalypse but it did tend to drag on while you looked for the last Multiworm.

  8. Lemming says:

    it looks great, action-cam and all. “Run and gun” seems a bit of an over-powered move though.

    • Azradesh says:

      It seems to be countered by “Overwatch” pretty well.

      • Silvermarch says:

        Haha, yeah. Lightning Reflex counters that (a bit) though.

    • Premium User Badge

      Napalm Sushi says:

      ‘“Run and gun” seems a bit of an over-powered move though.’

      It’s not readily noticeable in the video, but you can only use it once per mission.

      EDIT: Oh. Ignore me. I was misinterpreting several things. I agree with you now.

      • Goldeneye says:

        Actually if you look at the Assault soldier on the next turn after he uses it, “Run and Gun” is grayed out with a “T-2″ tag on it, indicating that he can only use it again after two more turns. So you can’t use Run and Gun every turn.

  9. L3TUC3 says:

    Take my money.

  10. The First Door says:

    I never played the original UFO: Enemy Unknown (sorry about that) so I have been watching the build up to this with slight confusion. After that though, I have to say I’m very excited at how good this game looks, even knowing I’ll be utterly terrible at it.

    Incidentally, more developers should just show off an hour of their game rather than spend all that money on pointless pre-rendered or live action trailers. Makes me much more likely to pre-order.

    • Donkeyfumbler says:

      I totally agree. The trailer that was released just before this actually put me off the game but I sat and watched the entire hour of this last night (which is about 55 minutes longer than any other internet video I’ve ever watched) and now couldn’t be more excited for it. First day purchase for sure.

      If someone could put me in suspended animation until the 12th October, I’d be very grateful.

      • The First Door says:

        I’m really baffled by the current trend for live-action trailers for games. Give me an excited developer showing off his game any day! Of course, part of it might be that you only see game play from developers who are actually proud of their game…

        • Victuz says:

          I think the issue is a lot of marketing guys see that as a risk. Firaxis seems to do that because they seem certain their games will meet the expectations of the public (they’ve done pretty much the same thing for civ 5), but it’s always a risk. What if players realize that the game is not what they were hoping for in terms of the mechanics? And hell you only have to look at the amount of publishers at conferences that flat out say “no recording of any kind” when they show off their product.

          And than there is the issue of “staging” what’s going on. In my opinion the less staged it is the more powerful effect it’s going to have on the people who watch it

          • The First Door says:

            I’m sure you’re right, but it is a silly way to think, isn’t it? Tricking people into buying your game is never going to make people like you!

          • Victuz says:

            But it’s going to trick a lot of people into buying your game.

          • Milky1985 says:

            It is a risk from the marketing perspective, look at the borderlands 2 stuff from a couple of weeks ago. Rather than focusing on the game content they were showing, everyone was instead focusing on the “girlfriend mode” comment and people were busy sharpening pitchforks and adding fuel to the fire of their torchs.

            if its a tightly controlled live action trailer you would not have this.

            Unfortantly with the internets(and gamers) tendencies to read into something something that isn’t there, along with the quickness of the pitchfork sharpening, marketing departments do see it as a massive risk and do back away from it.

    • Lemming says:

      Showing an hour of their game shows confidence in their product, which is good. pre-rendered and live action trailers are just to hook you whether the game is good or not. I’m sure most of those ads are made before the games are even half finished.

  11. TsunamiWombat says:

    want

  12. aircool says:

    This is gonna be great… I’ll fight anyone who disagrees.

    • Shodex says:

      Fight me. I think it’s going to be great too, but we should fight anyways.

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    Maltose says:

    I want you in my hard drive.

  14. Victuz says:

    Well… damn, now I’m hyped :/.

    I’ve tried following the game with calmness in my mind expecting something good but trying not to get excited so that no matter if it meets my expectations or not I come away feeling satisfied (in either a happy or a smug way)
    Now all that is in ruins! “THANKS” RPS!

    Anyway unless I got that wrong (and please do correct me if I’m wrong) customizing the look of the armor is a locked feature for anyone except for people who pre-order or buy it day one? That’s kind of annoying, I understand the hair being a bonus but locking a whole feature like that seems kind of evil. But I hope I just misunderstood what they were saying.

    “Spoilery” EDIT: Forgot to mention, anyone else hoping that they manage to make the ending into something different than just “kill x stationary motherbrains/computers”? It always seemed a bit anticlimactic to me where you go through armies of the bad guys at the end just to do that.

    • Lemming says:

      If they’ve got any balls, it’ll end with the distress call from Mars being sent back to Earth.

  15. noom says:

    Decided to have a quick check on RPS before going to bed. That was an hour ago. I’m so gonna sleep in tomorrow now. Damn you Alec.

  16. Dr. Shenanigans says:

    The way that the Cyberdisc opens up to shoot and closes himself as soon as he gets damaged reminds me of Ramiel, from Evangelion, which is a pretty awesome thing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8HqgM1qcdo

  17. Pindie says:

    I don’t mean it in a bad way but it looks very much like Incubation, which you should play if you haven’t.
    The difficulty is kinda medium. It feels like when reducing the number of squad members they made up for it with health points since the aliens are just as plentiful as they used to be.

    The “step out of cover to fire” mechanic is replaced by cover mechanic now. It is a gameplay change since in Xcom you could choose not to peak out and not to become a 20% to hit target/ get spotted at all. Now it kind of assumes you want to peak out of cover all the time.
    I did not see grenade and explosives being used to flatten the terrain and I only noticed microdestruction, so this is definitely not like the original game where you could just take out buildings. On the up side you can still drive a tank up the stairs.

    Sadly the textures seem to be in console resolution. Sharp details did not come out of screen like glass shards. I understand PC UI is wip.

    • Victuz says:

      I’m not sure about the building destruction, they said it’s pretty early in the game so quite possibly later on it will expand in that terms.

      What I want to see is Blaster Launchers… screw rocket launchers I want to path a blaster bomb past a corner above a building and than spiking down and forward into a sectoid face.

  18. Slinkyboy says:

    I didn’t watch it since most of you said they’re playing the console version, fuck that. I would probably cancel my pre-order after watching ><
    Yeah I'm that finicky.

    Wait for Pax.

    • Max Ursa says:

      its not the console version, its the pc version just them using a controller and therefore the UI showing appropriate buttons.
      after watching this i have preordered.

    • Goldeneye says:

      The version showed off is the PC version, but using a gamepad and Xbox 360 UI. There are a couple of things that definitely prove they were playing the PC version: the “exit to desktop” on the main menu, and the Steam overlay that pops out once during the video.

  19. Motorheadache says:

    Thanks for the post RPS.
    Nice job 2K, you’ll be getting my money.
    Cheers.

  20. S Jay says:

    If there was any doubt about buying it, there is no more. Just waiting for the pre-order at Steam or whatever.

  21. Ruffian says:

    Can’t Wait!

  22. Strangerator says:

    I could nitpick about some things, like line of sight seeming to be a little too generous or the displays of alien/xcom health. But right now, all I am doing is trying to figure out how long I have left to wait to play this. Looks about right level of difficulty for “Normal” by today’s standards. Ironman classic seems like the way to go.

    The guy playing really didn’t have much of a coherent tactical plan, which is why he lost men on each mission. I wonder if he was playing reckless intentionally to show how deadly the game could be if you screw up?

    • colw00t says:

      I think he just isn’t very good at X-COM. Plus he was distracted by having two guys yelling at him and trying to be interesting for the camera at the same time.

  23. Kalil says:

    Is there a torrent available for this? My third world internet does not allow for pleasant streaming

  24. Fluidum says:

    The video is stuttering and the alternative on youtube requires registration.
    Are there any other sources?

    I love UFO, played it’s “coop-mode” with a friend back then, one of our greatest teenhood memories.

  25. Laurentius says:

    That looks, I don’t know there good bits in it and very un-UFO like as well. Yeah, as someone said it looks like a polished board game, which is nice but not for my taste. Having a chain of preset of single player missions is huge step back in strategy game like UFO was. The scenery is also very confined but I guess that was inevitable with removal of TU and tucked MP. Probably MP players maps are use in single player.

    • Azradesh says:

      Why is it that so many people are so pants-on-head stupid, that they can’t see the devs are loading SAVE GAMES!? Missions work the same way as the 1st game, pay attention, look and bloody listen.

      • sophof says:

        Take a look at newspapers, now you know why they are the way they are. Most people don’t have large attention spans and just want to be confirmed in what they already believe ;)

        OT: I actually really love the streamlining I see here. Tactical decisions are still essentially the same and they’ve added good bits imo with cover/flanking/suppressing. Basically the upgrade xcom needed.
        Don’t know about the restrictions in squad size and map size though. They seem very console inspired and a step back. Also somewhat disappointed with the textures. I guess the destructible environment is otherwise too big a strain on these memory-lacking devices.

        Really waiting for the steam pre-order now, although I do not approve of this pre-order exclusive nonsense, would rather get a 10% discount or something.

        • Goldeneye says:

          The textures are oddly low-quality in the gameplay vid, and we know that the Xbox360 can run better textures than that on all the previous XCOM console demos we’ve been shown, so it isn’t a case of console requirements.

          I get the feeling that the PC build they played wasn’t graphics optimized, hence they had to tone it down to run well for live streaming.

  26. Drayk says:

    Ok… It’s amazing. The game looks incredible. LOVE Xcom i was really scared too.

    I think they got me at minute 8 with the grapling hook.

  27. Premium User Badge

    SpakAttack says:

    Sold! (although can’t find the special edition in the UK)

  28. SwedishChef says:

    I have only watched the first half of the video due to time constraints but did the level seem really small to anyone else? Other than that the combat looks great. I will most certainly get this one.

    • Weed says:

      I’ve watched it a couple of times now. I really want to see the next live stream where they have the PC UI working.

      I’ve ordered two copies of this game (one for my kid as well) so don’t get me wrong. but I agree with several here that the map size seemed a bit small (for today’s games).

      I was sad to learn that missions do not start from inside the troop carrier.
      It didn’t seem like x-com operatives stopped their advance (move) when coming into view of aliens. Is this true? Anyone know?
      I still wish there were larger squad sizes of 8 or more.

      After watching this though I definitely headed to the pre-order page. I like what I see. Tactical decisions, flanking, overwatch, etc. Still great stuff.

      Can’t wait to see forest, desert, snow maps, and the inside of alien ships, and whatever other “bonus” features the devs have planned to make their re-imagining of the game better.

  29. BrendanJB says:

    I really love how earnest Jake and Greg are. It’s very obvious they love the source material and have tried their hardest to maintain the original thematic principles of X-COM, while bringing the idea in to the modern gaming era with an updated GUI and reconfigured mechanics. I was cautiously optimistic about the game, but after seeing this preview I can safely say they have confirmed my purchase. The game looks exactly how I imagined it in motion.

    Some people might be put off by how many changes have been made, but personally, if I wanted to play X-COM unchanged I would just boot up the original on Steam. I am looking forward to a new experience with similar mechanics. Well done, Firaxis. Well done.

  30. JavJav says:

    I’m surprised that no one mentioned the music in these missions. It was one of the most amazing aspects of the original, and while this is rather impressive in some aspects, I found the battle soundtrack quite generic. The dread seems to be amiss.

  31. MyBrainIsMelting says:

    So, a city level is just one building?