X-Communique: Julian Gollop Speaks

RPS chum Al Bickham managed to get revered X-COM co-creator Julian Gollop on the blower recently, and got the fine fellow to chat about the making of the best game in the world evereverever. While it doesn’t go into Gollop’s feelings about the upcoming FPS from 2K (previously expressed here), he does say of the long-canned X-COM Alliance that “I was shocked. It was an FPS. It didn’t bode well basically. ” But let’s not dwell on the negative; the fun stuff is his talk about the random chance and strange arrangements which led to the original three X-COMs and their precusor, Laser Squad. Read, read.


  1. coldwave says:

    Next time I’m going to replay Valkyria Chronicles I’m going to say – “I’m playing Dreamland Chronicles, a faithful follow up to X-com made bt Gollop brothers” all the time.

    • DeepSleeper says:

      That’s actually a bit stunning. I’ve been thinking that something like Valkyria Chronicles was almost-perfectly what I wanted from a modern day X-Com sequel.

      Turns out, HEY, it could’ve been.

      Oh, that hurts. But… well, VC is good, and there’s a third sequel coming. It’s not quite X-Com, but it’s good anyway.

    • The Hon. Reverend Fred Gherkin says:

      That’s funny. I always think “I’m playing Shining Force 4, a faithful follow-up to Shining Force made by Camelot Software”

  2. Malibu Stacey says:

    Very interesting to read what killed all their games. I wanted Dreamland Chronicles to be released so badly.

    I wonder how well a smartphone version of Laser Squad Nemesis would do in the current market (as long as it had cross platform play). Few turns here & there on the bus or waiting for a train etc.

    Shame he ended up at Ubisoft though. Julian, Eric Chahi & Michel Ancel should get together & make games together for the good of mankind.

  3. sinister agent says:

    Julian now develops for Ubisoft.

    The X-Com licence was acquired by Firaxis in 2005, and now lies with take Two Interactive. 2K Marin, owned by Take Two, is currently working on the 50’s-themed franchise reboot, XCOM.

    Little short of tragic, really.

    • snv says:

      Oooh, so Firaxis ownes the license?? The turn-based games forge?

      If they hadn’t had it without using it since ’05 i would consider this promising info.

    • Stu says:

      There was actually a rumour doing the rounds about a year ago — before XCOM was officially announced — that there were two X-Com games in development: an FPS being developed by Irrational, and a turn-based game by Firaxis. So you never know…

    • CMaster says:

      Yeah, I was really intrigued to learn that Firaxis had grabbed the liscence. Especially as Sid has been fairly down on the “2 games in 1 game” thing in an interview.

  4. Patrick says:

    Julian now develops for Ubisoft. His current project is Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars, a squad-level turn-based tactical game, and launch-title for the Nintendo 3DS.

    Well I guess this is cleared up now.

  5. Arathain says:

    Pretty sure I played Julian Gollop at Laser Squad Nemesis once, when the Greys were first released. That was quite an honour. Given the Gollops’ tremendous talent for game design it’s both tragic and very puzzling that they haven’t had a more prominent role in the industry. They’ve surely had as much early influence on PC games as your Peter Molyneauxs and your Richard Garriots.

    I shall look into Shadow Wars with some interest.

  6. PJMendes says:

    It’s good to find out that Apocalypse’s mixed bag of graphics (from ok to “what where they thinking”) wasn’t their fault, and that TFTD had more staff, which ultimately produced a better sounding, better looking and better visually designed game than the first one.

    It seems from his wording on the interview that he was quite affected by the corporate handling of him, his company and his Intellectual Property.

    His career story is very motivating from an indie developer point of view (“indie” as in what was back in the day a normal developer, and is now called indie), someone who creates great and inspiring things, constantly innovates and takes risks, and doesn’t give up and leave the field even in the face of difficulty and corporate manipulation.

  7. Caiman says:

    Much as I love UFO: Enemy Unknown, Gollop’s greatest achievement will always be the simple perfection of Chaos. Thanks Julian.

    • Urael says:

      Absofragginlutely. I’ve lost more hours to Chaos than any other game in existence. It’s…perfect.

    • zapatapon says:

      But nobody seems to mention its spiritual sequel Lords of Chaos, which was absolutely incredible and my absolute favorite game back then (1989?).

      Rebelstar and Laser Squad bring back a lot of memories, too. The simple fact that all the little soldiers each had their own names and stats made you genuinely care for them, and this simple touch brought such a sense of involvement at the time. I still remember Captain Krenon and Corporal Jonlan. This was also the case in X-Com (although somwehat diluted by the randomization of names and stats) and unfortunately disappeared in Nemesis.

    • Caiman says:

      You know, I really tried to like Lords of Chaos but it just didn’t ever click. In fact it’s the Gollop game apart from Apocalypse that I played the least. It seemed like the greatest idea ever at the time (a bit like Magic and Mayhem in fact) but it just seemed too large for the Chaos concept. But then if you create something perfect, no matter how you tweak it you’ll never improve upon it.

  8. Robin says:

    Enough with the talking, I want a fucking new proper x-com game.

    (And I like a lot the retro-futuristic design of Apocalypse).

  9. Jonathan says:

    I’m really quite excited by the idea of a Gollop-developed handheld strategy game. It’s what made me switch from vague interest in the 3DS to zomg-must-have-it levels of interest.

  10. mmorpg games says:

    He is wasted after so many years of being a Ubisoft slave, X-COM is one of the best games i have every played, Apocalypse was good, had very good concepts, but it seemed unfinished, and it was.

    Thank god for publishers who frack games everywhere, other wise we could have real polished games.

    Capitalism, a love story…