That Much-Delayed 2k Marin Shooter Is Not An EXCOM

By Alec Meer on April 24th, 2013 at 7:00 pm.

This boy transforms into Cthulhu. Calling it now.

Whatever happened to the other XCOM, the 2K Marin-made shooter which was revealed long before last year’s XCOM: Enemy Unknown made everyone, except you, happy? It’s a question we’ve already asked several times here. We ask it because we don’t know the answer, and unless anyone involved feels like getting their Talpidae on and sneaking us some info, we won’t know until 2K reveal all. Which appears to be something that will happen rather soon. There’s a viral campaign of sorts, there’s a mysterious package being sent to games sites which aren’t us, and, well, there’s a blog post. That kind of undermines the air of mystery, I guess.

First up, let’s look at this pair of live-action videos related to the catchy phrase “What happened in 62?” There isn’t much to mine from them, though pausing the bike video when the picture flickers reveals the date ‘April 26′, which is more than likely when we’ll actually be told stuff.

That latter one comes with the following summary:

“When we covered things up, no one knew what happened. But that’s not right. People need to know the truth. The truth cannot be contained much longer.”

Well, they’ve been containing the truth for about three years now. It’s about bloody time, innit.

These videos follow the news that websites and videos for the XCOM shooter as-was were quietly removed recently. On a similar note is the fun but unsubtle package of mystery goodies sent to Videogamer, which they comb through in the below:

Oh, Matt, you’re so young. Latin! The words on the lighter are Latin! And they translate to, er, ‘scrape true.’ Perhaps that can be extrapolated to ‘scraping together the truth’ or suchlike. Any language scholars able to offer a second opinion on ‘eradite verum?’

Anyway, all this subterfuge and speculation is almost academic, as 2K have today announced that the much-delayed, much-sneered at attempt to turn XCOM into an FPS (again) is about to break cover any day now. In this short post, they tease that:

“the game has undergone an evolution since we last showed it to you at E3 2011. Firaxis’ critically acclaimed turn-based strategy title, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, has reignited the classic franchise and we feel that the time is right to deliver a new experience within the world of XCOM.

The creative development of this game has been a collaborative process of discovery and iteration. 2K’s culture allows our studios the freedom to refine their visions, to explore new ideas, and to deliver the best possible experiences for players. Through this exploration, 2K Marin has refined their vision, and as a result the game has evolved into a high-stakes narrative experience imbued with core XCOM concepts.”

Um. That basically sounds like the same thing they’ve been saying for the last three years. Although, perhaps, it does imply that this new game will be more XCOMmy than previous iterations were. A few months ago, leaked images did suggest the game had morphed into a third-person, squad-based affair, which while not TBS could perhaps be said to be closer to X-COM than the FPS concept was. But we shall see. The success of Enemy Unknown has likely had a significant effect on 2K’s thinking about this license.

More recent rumour has it that the whole ‘XCOM’ thing was going to be dropped in favour of a new title, ‘The Bureau’, but the 2K post suggests this is going to have definite XCOM ties. XCOM: The Bureau, maybe? And the whole 60s timeframe would make it a prequel to Enemy Unknown, whose little-discussed Outsider alien bore a certain resemblance to the transforming, angular, shard-like enemies (how does someone with inflexible crystalline nostrils breathe, anyway? Or is that just not a thing for space aliens anymore?) of the early XCOM footage. Or maybe that’s just empty speculation.

Oh, and we get this picture too, which looks very much like a hybrid of the ops room from Enemy Unknown and the original XCOM shooter reveal:

2K appear to have registered this website too, which is a holding page for now, but keep a close eye on it. In fact, touch your eyeball to your monitor right now, and hold it there until April 26th. It’s the only way to be sure.

If you’d like to refresh your memory on what XCOM was going to be like when last we heard of it, have a look at the not-yet-killed video here.

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72 Comments »

  1. ru_disa says:

    I think it’s “Erase the Truth”

    • Wut The Melon says:

      I second that, albeit my capacities as a ‘language scolar’ are limited. My Latin is a bit dusty…

      EDIT: I’d say ‘Erase the true/that which is true’ if you want to be very literal : P

      • ru_disa says:

        That’s right, your translation is more precise. “Erase the truth” would actually be “Eradite Veritatem” (?)

        • weevilo says:

          It’s been quite a few years, but I think eradite is the imperative form of eradare (to erase), and it’s odd they use verus instead of veritas, the former has a more abstract platonic notion of the true (verum, bonum, pulchrum – the true, the good and the beautiful being a popular phrase). So it has the meaning of a command, as “Erase the true!”. I agree with wut and ru_disa, that this was probably poorly translated and should have been “Eradite veritatem”

          • Tacroy says:

            Now write it out a hundred times, and if it’s not done by sunrise I’ll cut your balls off.

          • SwENSkE says:

            Thank you Sir, and ‘Hail Cesar’ and everything.

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    • Faxmachinen says:

      Fear not, for I am in no way an expert in Latin! Google translate says “Eredite verum” means “Believe the truth” though.

      Edit: Google translate also says that “compransor” means “TABLE-COMPANION”, which is obviously wrong as it means “breakfast companion”, so take it with a grain of salt.

      • ru_disa says:

        Wait, I think the sentence was “Eradite Verun”, with an “a”. I think Google Translate believes that you wrote “eredite” but you actually meant “credite”.

        (actually, I haven’t even watched the trailer yet… why don’t I go ahead and watch it before talking out of my ass…?)

    • PacketOfCrisps says:

      My Latin isn’t very good but I thought it was more along the lines of “learn the truth”, or perhaps “learned truth”?

      EDIT: That would be if it was spelt erudite, rather than eradite, of course. Apparently eradite is a word, the earlier posters are correct.

      • belgand says:

        I suspect that the close resemblence between “learned truth” and “erase the truth” was quite intentional. Even more obviously since it comes with an ashtray and, IIRC, is suggesting that you should burn it after reading.

  2. N'Al says:

    Well, I for one was actually looking forward to the Xcom shooter – or, at the very least, willing to give it a chance – particularly after Firaxis got the go-ahead on the TBS version. I just hope The Bureau retains some of the good ideas the Xcom shooter seemed to have (and, yes, there were some, even if the internet seemed to want to shout down everyone else who disagreed at the time).

    • jonfitt says:

      I was too, but the reports I read about the actual gameplay made it sound quite dreary. The 1960s, MiB, Alien Conspiracy, setting might be fantastic, but a dreary game is not going to save it.

      Let’s hope they completely rethought the actual game part.

    • DClark says:

      Yes, I think that was the only problem with the original unveiling of this game. It had been a long time since X-COM and another game was well overdue, then they release information on the FPS first which caused an uproar. Had they leaked information on XCOM: Enemy Unknown before or at the same time as this XCOM FPS I think it would’ve been much better received. The comments about strategy games didn’t help matters either. I was intrigued by the game when it was announced but I was disappointed that the XCOM reboot was going to be a FPS; since then I’ve played Enemy Unknown and I’m satisfied with my turn-based XCOM fix so I’m even more open to the thought of adding a (hopefully well made) XCOM FPS to the brand.

      I hope they actually try to tie this FPS into the same ‘reality’ as Enemy Unknown, with this game being Enemy Unknown’s ‘scouting mission’ 50 years earlier to see if there is intelligent life on the planet and if we are ‘worthy’ of the events of Enemy Unknown. Or it could be a rival alien race that could appear in an Enemy Unknown sequel.

    • Milky1985 says:

      I was looking forward to it when they had those flying enemies that seemed to drop other enemies, the initial (i think) video that implied that there was black ooze turning people into aliens, as you were going through the missions it was infecting more and more of the area forcing you to decide to run early and save what you can or stay and fight against increasing odds to save more people and get more stuff to take back. It looked interesting as it seemed to say the higher level you were equipment wise the longer you could stay and maybe even stop the black ooze/liquid whatever it was.

      Then the next trailer i saw people hiding and shooting behind chest high walls and sandbags and all the aliens bipedals and my heart sank.

      • Groove says:

        Exactly. I thought the concept was interesting, some of the alien designs were quite wonderful and the whole thing was a bit 1960s-Men In Black-Ghostbusters (excellent). Then an actual gameplay video and oh shiiiiiiiiit. The cover shooting couldn’t have been less inspired, and stupid given that you were wearing a suit and hiding behind a fence from an orbital death ray. Even the more X-comie parts looked pretty terrible since they were so shoe-horned in. And I guess you don’t investigate any more, you just shoot stuff. And when reality warps and your enemies appear out of the walls you just fire a gun at them because that’ll probably work, right?

  3. staberas says:

    wait they didnt used the lighter with the documents to reveal the TRUTH 1!!!!!>!!

    • Lev Astov says:

      Oh, good call! Are you referring to that trick where you write with lemon juice, which can only be seen if you heat up the paper until just before it burns? They could well have hidden messages within those documents that way.

    • Max Ursa says:

      they had a blank postcard…. gently heat the postcard like one of those stripper mugs and the picture will change.

  4. Dominic White says:

    I think the game actually looked pretty interesting. Rabid X-Com fans were baying for is blood 24/7, but apparently just because it was using the name. Now they have been calmed by the release of a proper turn-based tactics game (and Xenonauts is just about to go into beta, too), so things are cool now, right?

    Right?

    Oh, who am I kidding. Commence the nerd-rage.

    • Grygus says:

      Maybe. People aren’t much interested in a completely unrelated game with XCOM splashed across the box for no real reason other than justifying the textures used. The initial announcement seemed to indicate that was exactly what was in store, so you got displeasure. More information has muddled this somewhat; I think most people are waiting to hear more, and if the game is actually using XCOM’s setting/vibe/atmosphere then everyone who doesn’t hate shooters on principle will be fine with it (depending on quality, obviously.)

      I pretty much hate shooters on principle, but No One Lives Forever was great, so anything’s possible.

      • Cleave says:

        i dunno Grygus they seem to be taking quite a lot of influence from XCom in that video with the home base, going out for missions, research and equipment etc. and that was before it was pulled to be redone. I don’t really see the point of an XCom FPS without mutons, chrysallids, sectoids and the rest of the gang mind.. hopefully that’s what they’ve been adding.

    • Tannhauser says:

      Good to know that everyone who disagrees with the great Dominic White is an irrational moron, and can be instantly dismissed as a rabid fan. It isn’t like you have likewise staked yourself on one end of the issue, and shouldn’t be instantly dismissed as an ideologue like those ignorant fools who disagree with you.

      • Phantoon says:

        I’d like to have you ALL staked for your adamant refusal to be reasonable.

  5. Penguin_Factory says:

    I actually thought the initial Xcom shooter they revealed years ago looked really creative and unique, but every subsequent piece of information made it seem more mundane. I’m hoping whatever we actually get will be closer to the initial concept than the third-person game it was seemingly morphing into.

    • Bhazor says:

      The first announcement made it sound great. All about quietly investigating weird happenings, pursuing bizarre blob aliens and fleeing giant 2001 obelisks like a 1950s X-Files.

      Since then everything has gone down hill. The cool blob aliens were replaced by guys with a particle effect, the investigations have vanished without trace and the E3 “gameplay” footage made it look like a linear shooter with half hearted squad customisation taped on. The phrase “as a result the game has evolved into a high-stakes narrative experience” doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence.

      Really I have to wonder if those early promises ever existed or whether it was just Molyneux like vapourware.

  6. AlwaysRight says:

    NOSTRILFACE

  7. darkChozo says:

    I’m hoping that the general reaction to this is a bit less vitriolic now that we have a “proper” XCOM game (and from the sounds of it, more on the way). The actual game looked like it could be good, and the XCOM universe would be a pretty interesting setting for a vaguely horror-ish tactical-ish shooter.

    • abandonhope says:

      As someone who loathed everything about FPS Syndicate’s existence, I feel that Enemy Unknown created a pool of good will extensive enough to cover even a bad XCOM shooter. I agree that XCOM’s universe is probably strong enough to support a properly made shooter, but I’m also okay with a re-brand.

      • N'Al says:

        Ah, yes, forgot about Syndicate. That was indeed crap… :-/

        • Grey Poupon says:

          I actually liked it. While it obviously didn’t do justice to the IP, the game had some nicely designed places and enemies. It wasn’t good enough for me to play it all the way through, but FPS games rarely are. I just never figured out what was so wrong about the game apart from it’s name.

          Or maybe I just like bad games.

          • N'Al says:

            Don’t care much about the name being Syndicate.

            What bothered me more was that it was simply so boring, particularly given Starbreeze’s pedigree in creating interesting shooters prior to this: both Riddick games (even though the Dark Athena campaign already was slightly less interesting than Butcher Bay) and The Darkness. The Syndicate FPS was a game just crying out for a less linear, hub-style design imo. Just imagine being able to properly explore the floating city, for instance, having to find different access terminals to make your way through it, etc.

            Instead, all I can (vaguely) remember of the game are a shootout in a nightclub, the bit where you lose your powers and finding a dead enemy agent ‘a long way from home’.

  8. mrmalodor says:

    I want to believe.

  9. Jeff_Lebowski says:

    Never did understand the rage at this game. The old video looked like I game I’d love to play.

    • The Sombrero Kid says:

      yeah i agree, don’t get why everyone shat on a game that looked promising rather that the millions of games that come out every year that everyone knows is going to be utter shit.
      it seems like if your game is so bad people just disregard it you get a free ride but if your game looks good you get crucified cause it wasn’t great.

      • Bhazor says:

        It was the creative lead saying things like “Strategy games are no longer contempoary”. As this was coming from 2K, a company whose best selling franchise at the time was Civilization, many were raging,

    • Dusk108 says:

      The initial trailer actually looked terribly generic to me. Looked like a reskin of most military FPS games out there, which is where the rage came from. A deep intelligent strategy and resource management game was going to be turned into yet another shooter for pubescent snot nosed brats. Later information that came out actually made it sound more interesting, but the original trailer was boring and mundane as hell.

      Everything that came after just felt a little panicky. Like “No no, we would never do that… (pst quick give me something to work with, what did the old xcom do other than have aliens?)”

      • Bhazor says:

        “no there is no way to control your AI partners”
        Three months later
        “So you can press the command button and order your AI partners to use their magic powers”

  10. The Sombrero Kid says:

    I’m not going to lie, I clicked on this because of the pun.

  11. Gap Gen says:

    It’s about time someone made a game about Algerian independence.

  12. Hilden2000 says:

    I hope they just go all out crazy with this, tons of non-generic weapons without a carry limit, more enemy types than the bismuth aliens they’ve shown, the WORKS.

  13. Asurmen says:

    Use the lighter on the black stuff? Either you get something useful, or stuff burns. Either way, fun!

    • Strangerator says:

      I would guess that stuff is wax, so it should melt into a nice puddle! Maybe something is trapped in the wax?

    • Josh W says:

      Save first though, just in case..

  14. Michael Fogg says:

    Marine Shooter 2000! That’s something I’d play!

  15. F3ck says:

    Based upon that lone remaining video…and my eight or so hours with XCOM:EU (which, other than the story bits, held no allure by mid-game)…I think I’d very much like to play that game…

    …sucker for the shooters (esp. those heavy on the story/atmosphere, interspersed with shooty bits)…can’t help myself…

    …and never really understood the exaggerated anger at these remakes/re-imaginings/reboots (a la Thief, Syndicate, etc)…I mean, who gives a shit?

    …if your life is so bereft of legitimate grievances that these are your big concerns, then you are a fortunate soul indeed.

    • jonfitt says:

      Later gameplay videos revealed it to be a lame third person cover shooter. It looked really tedious and those who saw it at E3(?) came away very unimpressed.

      • F3ck says:

        Oh…I see…that doesn’t sound very good at all.

        Come to think of it, I can’t recall any TPS that I enjoyed…but I could be wrong…am I wrong?

    • SwENSkE says:

      Oh yes, that’s a very strong argument you have there, good Sir, there are people starving in Africa so how can people even think about complaining about games. Or for that matter read about or even play games.
      Hush RPS, I demand you take this site down as long as the world is not like garden eden. Well, except for the snakes, maybe.

  16. Kein says:

    I lost track of what is this article about at first video. Then I didn’t even bother anymore.

  17. 1Life0Continues says:

    I’m not alone in seeing a little green man in the bottom right of the first picture, am I?

    Am I?

    *panicked looks*

  18. Muzman says:

    A town incident map with crosses and stuff on it takes me back to It Came From the Desert. Now I want a first person remake of that. (probably discover hither to unknown zillions of purists hiding in plain sight who shriek “BETRAYALLL! CHANGE THE NAME OR BE DESTROYED!!” as soon as someone tries it)

    • Asurmen says:

      As long as it keeps the music. That music made the game. I still find myself humming it to this day.

  19. misterT0AST says:

    The arcane of conjugation still remains obscure to the perfidious Albion.
    I think the verb “erado” was chosen for its resemblance with “erase” rather than actual linguistic accuracy.

  20. buzzmong says:

    Again, I’ll repeat what I’ve said multiple times about this game:

    The “first reveal” version of it, with a heavy emphasis on investigation and large dollop of combat simply being optional or even deliberatly avoided, sounded awesome.
    The only problem at the time was that it was called XCOM. Just XCOM. If it had a subtitle or just dropped the XCOM name all together I would have been even more excited.

    Then it slowly turned into that horrible squad based third person action game. Which looked boring and highly unoriginal.

    Hopefully this will see a return to the original and more interesting premise.

  21. drcancerman says:

    Something will be revealed on april 26th .. from the video of the kid on a bike, on the right side of breaking film(gotta stop it at the right time to catch it)

    Yeah, I feel awesome and amazed I discovered something no one knew! (Shut up, let me bask in my grandeur, and if anyone already knew this, its a pure lie! Like the Russian meteor…shuddup!)

    *shoves finger in the ear* ANANANANANANANANA I don’t wanna hear it! Nor reading anything, or the last paragraph of the RPS post NANANANANANANANA I’m not listening!!

    • Gap Gen says:

      He’s just admiring all the Soviet nukes visiting from Cuba.

  22. Lagwolf says:

    Don’t give a damn what it is called… what I saw of it looks interesting.

  23. valz says:

    Actually, _XCOM: Enemy Unknown_ did make me happy. Thanks for jumping to conclusions about me, Alec.

  24. FunnyB says:

    Has there been anymore news about the XCOM: EU sequel/expansion/DLC that might or might not be Te22or from the D22p? I find it strange that they just posted that small teaser video and after that we have heard nothing.

  25. bill says:

    The shooter always looked pretty interesting – it just wasn’t what X-COM fans wanted. Now that they have what they wanted, I guess we can get the shooter too. Everybody wins*.

    *The only way to win is not to play.

  26. Groove says:

    Matt! Get back to reviewing alcohol and board games!

  27. m_a_t says:

    Just so it be known how much of an annoying bean counter I am: this is not a microfilm. It’s just a piece of regular 8mm ;)