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Space Oddities

Spent last week reviewing UFO: Extraterrestrials for Eurogamer. Ended up being very mildly warm towards it, which was more than I was expecting. Because it’s taking from such a well-conceived source – UFO: Enemy Unknown or X-COM: UFO Defence, depending on whether you’re in Europe or the US*, it ends up often being highly entertaining because it’s such a determined plagiarist. And God knows, everyone would like a decent successor to the Gollops’ masterpiece.

I suppose that’s one of the most interesting things about it. While true, it’s not really fair to paint them as just plagarists. They’re more akin to a covers band for a group who’ve long split. While other people have taken some stuff from X-COM – the UFO: Afterlight/Aftershock/Aftermath series – this is something that’s deliberately much more faithful. Even then, it’s not good enough. There’s a determined mod community around the game who are increasingly altering closer and closer and closer to what they’re actually looking for. In most mod communities, there’s a clear division between the developers and people who like the game enough to want to mod it… but here, perversely, the fanbase for the game aren’t actually the fanbase for the game. They’re actually the fanbase of an entirely different game… exactly the same as the developers. They’re like the Rabbis in Pi, searching for the name of God by re-arranging the alphabet of whatever.

Of course, it’s interesting to wonder whether “A New X-Com” is even achievable. For both sides of the argument, see this debate between a load of journos and Devs over at Quarter to Three.

If you’re interested in investigating, it’s available to purchase by Digital Download over at Matrix Games, but only if you’re in America. Everyone else will have to go down the shops, seemingly. How 20th-century.

*Dunno what it’s called anywhere else. Sorry!

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Kieron Gillen

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Kieron Gillen is robo-crazy.

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