OK, I admit it: I am as cynical as you when it comes to half-suspecting that enormously ambitious, fanbase-courting independent projects announced before work on them has even begun carry the dread stench of vapourware. I’ve been very interested in Xenonauts for some time, if faintly horrified that lead designer Chris England claims he made the final decision to pour his life savings into funding an X-COM remake based on an offhand oh-if-only comment I made on RPS, but I confess wasn’t entirely convinced it would see the light of day. Partly this was due to the many tales of infamy concerning amateur game devs who started working together remotely without ever actually meeting – online tensions can run so high – and partly because I’ve been waiting a long time for an X-COM remake that actually feels anything like X-COM. It is not in my nature to believe that dreams can come true.
A playable build of Xenonauts was on show in the RPS-sponsored Indie Arcade at the Eurogamer expo last week, and pretty much everyone I spoke to about it said the same thing: “well, it’s X-COM,” they offered with a wide grin. They didn’t say what worked or what didn’t or what they’d change or anything like that – they just said “it’s like X-COM.”
I can’t think of a greater compliment for any game.
Read the rest of this entry »