They Shall Not Grow Old: The XCOM Memorial

By Alec Meer on December 11th, 2012 at 1:00 pm.

So many friends, loved ones, dead pets, Auotobots and French philosophers have fallen. We’ve each of us made decisions that led to loss of noble life in our attempts to save the Earth from the malevolent alien hordes of XCOM. Briefly, we mourn their loss. Then, all too soon, we move on and forget them forever.

It is time to more meaningfully honour the fallen. Uh, via Facebook.

The XCOM Memorial Wall is something that Firaxis should probably kick themselves for not including within the game itself. So, no automatically posting upon the death of a soldier here, but instead loading up Facebook and DIYing the whole thing yourself.

That said, the act of manually entering all the information (nationality, class, rank, number of kills, preferred weapon, etc) about a lost XCOM soldier does create a sort of reverence that just pressing a button to auto-post would not offer.

It’s kind of silly, of course, but I do like the idea that one’s own memorials join many others from across the world – creating that sense that, truly, this was a global war on extraterrestrial terror. Clearly, the most important element is entering the cause of death – browsing the wall, I was browsing the individual stories all those other players had created for their short-lived heroes. And the offensive names too, naturally.

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47 Comments »

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  1. Loque says:

    A memorial for dead videogame characters… to be shared on Facebook?

    I’ll be honest: I find it ridiculous.

    • f1x says:

      Usually I would say the same, but after playing quite a lot of Xcom, I too feel overly attached to my soldiers, when one of my veterans die is like … OH WHY YOU SIROINKALOT WHY YOU

      so paying a homage seems quite… adequated

      • Gwyddelig says:

        I had two assaults in my current game, both of whom were ripping up trees for me in the early missions. They were insanely badass, making all those 25% hits to save my over-exposed and decidedly green hide. Then, at sergeant level, one of them did a a run-and-gun too far. He got fried by a floater. Since then, the other fellow has been promoted all the way to Colonel and is the #1 sh1tkicker in my roster. If only his late buddy could see him popping those xenoskulls for fun now.

        In the context of this game, a memorial wall like this makes perfect sense.

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    • JackShandy says:

      I’ve been naming all my soldiers after friends and posting a screenshot on their facebook wall when they died. This seems like a pretty good idea, to me.

      Edit: and boy, that massive wall of dead soldiers is pretty great. “Died like he lived: yelling “This isn’t statistically probable!””

      • werix says:

        I did the exact same thing. After I beat the game on normal, I jumped up to Classic on Hardcore mode, solicited squad members from friends, and had a FB photo album detailing mission reports, leveling up, and of course deaths.

        I was not prepared for Hardcore classic, and lets say the project did not last long, though it was fun while it lasted.

      • NathanH says:

        Exactly, I did this, and was posting screenshots on Facebook, would have been great to have had this thing when playing. I would normally never dream of using a facebook app for a game, but this would have been perfect.

      • Gwyddelig says:

        LOL

        I think I might be doing this next.

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      If it was an actual memorial you’d have a point. Clearly it’s not – it’s a fun piece of meta-gaming. Like that map of all the player deaths in Just Cause 2.

    • Zogtee says:

      RIP Colonel Bozo, who I accidentally dropped in a small room surrounded by five angry Mutons. Oh, the plasma. How it burned.

  2. pakoito says:

    Señor Butts: death by anal probing.

    WAT?

  3. Premium User Badge

    Gap Gen says:

    A wall of stars might be more appropriate. Or a conspiracy to cover up the embarrassing reason for their deaths (you dashed them into a group of mutons, they were mind-controlled and you accidentally told your sniper to pop their head open rather than the Sectoid Commander mind-controlling them, you bunched up your soldiers and they were grenaded, etc).

  4. secuda says:

    Colonel Leeroy Brown
    Charging fearless in to battle while screaming his name.

  5. Premium User Badge

    jezcentral says:

    I was browsing my dead soldiers last night, and it would be nice to have a note of how they died. I have one name I just don’t remember. No idea who he is/was.

    I spent a good 15 secs wondering about him.

    I can’t remember his name now. Lost in time, like tears in rain.

    • Atrocious says:

      The tragedy!

    • Premium User Badge

      Gap Gen says:

      I guess the game could even record their last moments with a video, so that you could remember when they were torn apart by a cyberdisk and bled to death feet away from a medic. Or like you say, at least have a textual thing like a letter to their family, explaining that they were mauled by a pack of Crysalids because their commander wasn’t hyper-cautious about unit placing for a single turn.

      • Hahaha says:

        That would be pretty sweet

        Obligatory pic
        http://i50.tinypic.com/169n3vq.png

      • SanguineAngel says:

        Yeah, missed opportunity really. When Jake Solomon originally described the memorial wall it did sound a lot more epic. I like having the list as is but would far prefer a little bit of personality to it.

      • Premium User Badge

        Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

        Dear Mrs Doomed-Squaddie,

        It is with a heavy heart I must tell you that your husband was killed on Tuesday while fighting aliens in China. I realise this may come as a bit of a shock, since you thought he was working for a double glazing installer in Croydon that happened to operate a 24 hour glazing service out of an immense and heavily guarded underground vault, but he was actually covertly battling extra-terrestrials as part of a top-secret multinational organisation.

        I was not fortunate enough to know your husband for long, but in that time, I legally renamed him “Pantsy McPantsPants”. I gave him bright pink glowing armour to wear during stealthy night missions and I had him adopt an electric blue Guile haircut. On my orders he also grew a Hulk Hogan-style beard.

        “Sandwich Maker”, as he was affectionately known to the squad, will be missed for his ability to throw a smoke grenade, run a bit, and use the same bandage three times. Before mission deployment he was always headbanging gently to some music only he could hear, and in his downtime he ran on the treadmill – sometimes for days on end.

        Sadly, he died during Operation Uproarious Bucket, when, acting under orders, he charged a Chrysalid with an empty rifle after I forgot to tell him to reload. You might take some comfort from the fact that the Chrysalid that erupted from his rotting, shambling carcass had a highly successful (if brief) career, as it brutally slaughtered a building full of orphans with its razor sharp claws and incomprehensible alien rage. It was finally taken down by a grenade – which also killed the rest of his squad. I’m given to believe that the dropship pilot who witnessed it was quite distressed.

        To commemorate this irreplaceable soldier, we stuck a knife in a table and bought a robot mini-tank that will perform about a dozen times as effectively as he did.

        Yrs. Sncr. &c,

        A. C. “Custard” Smingleigh (Lord), OBE (Withdrawn)
        Brigadier, Her Majesty’s 3rd Mounted Extremely Irregulars (Catering), (Discharged, Dishon.)
        Supreme Commander (Confirmed) and Saviour of Earth (Provisional), X-COM

  6. Premium User Badge

    Bluerps says:

    I never changed the name of my soldiers (or anything else, except for class-specific colours). I still got attached to them, though…

    • Premium User Badge

      Jonfon says:

      I was the same. Never changed anything about them and yet got very attached to them. Was heartbroken when my main sniper, Colonel ‘Lockdown’ Brown got rocket-sniped by a Sectopod from halfway across the map, critically wounding her and then as I breathed a sigh of relief killed by the car she was sheltering beside instantly exploded.

      Mainly because my other sniper was a Squaddie and hence pretty useless mind.

  7. tkioz says:

    I feel like I should mock this… I really do… but damnit! I just can’t… because I’ve I want to enter the name of Major James “Zulu” Hill, one tough SOB that took a plasma round in the chest on the Temple Ship after making it all the way to the bridge during my first Ironman Classic.

  8. Premium User Badge

    aego says:

    What I would really have liked for Firaxis to implement (and maybe it’s not too late for a patch or a mod) is short death cutscenes for your soldiers, similar to those dash runs. As it is now, the death of a soldier is a pretty dry affair, sometimes you don’t even see it on screen due to camera positioning.

    It doesn’t even have to be anything special, just a close-up and maybe some slo-mo to mark the death of a loved soldier. Gruesome details would be welcome, of course, with additional blood and innards thrown about for effect, maybe even dismemberment, depending on the cause of death. And reserve the more dramatic and longer cutscenes for the higher-ranked soldiers, so as not to devalue them by seeing them all the time on harder difficulties. Another idea would be to have slightly different post-mission cutscenes, if you sustained casualties.

    Come to think about it, this could just make the game unbearable, considering the claw that grips my soul every time my little men die even now.

  9. povu says:

    It’s better than Square’s quickly withdrawn Facebook marketing attempt at least.

  10. Mrs Columbo says:

    I’ve still not played beyond the first mission in X Com – I found the mouse a bit fiddly when trying to view different vertical levels on a map. Has anyone tried it with an X Box controller and, if so, is it better?

    • fauxC says:

      I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I switched to an Xbox controller and haven’t looked back since. It’s much more comfortable. Makes sense when you consider it was designed with consoles as the primary market.

    • NathanH says:

      You can remap elevation-change to keyboard if the mousewheel is giving you problems.

    • Spider Jerusalem says:

      i played the tutorial with the mouse, then played the rest of the game with a ps3 controller. makes a world of difference.

    • Mrs Columbo says:

      Thanks all for the advice. I’ll plug in the pad and see what it’s like.

  11. spindaden says:

    No one said any …FACE thing yet, i feel all weird inside.

    BOOKFACE!

    That’s better.

  12. Jahkaivah says:

  13. KaMy says:

    How cute. Now can we have a patch that fixes all the crap that doesn’t work correctly instead of a useless facebook memorial that few people will play with before forgetting it ever existed ?