Alienated: Some New Xcom E3 Screens

We have a map like that in the office, but it shows movements of Melton Mowbray pork pie vans

Xcom, then. Irrational’s upcoming re-imagining of a strategy classic, transplanting all those government men and sinister aliens into a tactical FPS. Will it be any good? We couldn’t say. Alec broke our crystal ball years ago because he thought it was a trackball. Maybe you can help? We had a trailer earlier in the week, and now we have some new screens you’ll find after the jump. Gaze into these screens, reader. Run your hands over your monitor. What do you see?

Click for bigger, as usual.

By the way, if you’re not pretending to be Deckard in Blade Runner by saying “Stop. Enhance 34 to 46” and so on when enlarging images on RPS then you should probably start. It’s fun!


  1. The Tupper says:


  2. Ross Mills says:

    The trailer was a little disappointing. I’m very much hoping it was just a bad trailer. I need this game to be good in order for me to survive!

    • Rii says:

      The debut trailer was great, the more recent one not so much. I’m witholding judgement, but off the back of that trailer I’m rather less sanguine about the prospects for this game than I was before.

  3. soldant says:

    I don’t know why, but I like the screenshot with all the monolith block things.

    • Moni says:

      Yeah, very melancholy. It also kinda reminds me of Reboot, but darker and more black.

  4. Moni says:

    Huh, if you look at the East coast of the North America out of the corner of your eye, it kinda looks like a chicken.

  5. timmyvos says:

    If I remember correctly, they also showed that the interesting parts of XCOM (not shooting humanoid aliens but those blobs, like the original) was removed in favour of, you guessed it, shooting at humanoids to make it more like Call of Duty and they removed the stealth in favour of cover based shooting.

    • Milky1985 says:

      With the generally dumbing down (sorry sorry, I should say “making it more mainstream”) its to be expected, games with shooter mechanics that don’t have humanoid enemies get marked down, also games with no cover shooting get marked down (apparently just crouching now doesn’t work).

      hell if you compare the stealth gameplay of metal gear solid 4 to metal gear solid 1 you can see that even the stealth games have been “made more mainstream” to increase there appeal.

      unfortantly it does mean my interest in games is dropping, there are a few games i will not be getting this year until they are cheap, mass effect 3 (mix of “will get the edition with all DLC , and , “its just a sodding shooter now, it even had a turret section in the e3 trailer”), gears of war 3(i know its not pc but seriously, hows is it different from 2 except the introduction of a female character to make it less gay?), the new cod will be ignored as well and thats just a small list of the games i am no longer interested in because nothign new is happening.

      Yet the people that play said games have a habit of having a go at people who try to take there series in other directions (i.e. nintendo, sega, squaresoft in some ways but not in others)

      unfortantly the crowd lured by the PS3 and 360 is slowly destroying my pasttime :(

    • Ringwraith says:

      One thing to remember is that footage of stealth-based gameplay doesn’t make a very exciting trailer, so don’t completely discount it yet.
      Although the original plan with it was have some missions where not a lot is happening yet and you actually have to investigate what’s going on before it goes to pot and becomes too much for you to handle.

  6. Spacewalk says:

    I’m seeing blue but not much orange.

    What kind of a video game is this?

  7. Zurechial says:

    The Deckard comment made me laugh. I never thought of doing that before. I will now.

    The last screenshot reminds me of Nova Prospekt. And that’s about the most excitement I can muster for this game.

    • Rikard Peterson says:

      I don’t remember that line. It’s been too long since I played the game.

      Unless you’re talking about the movie, but why would you want to go around quoting a movie? That’s inconceivable! You killed my father – prepare to die.

    • The Hammer says:

      Gah, I was just about to post “Hello Nova Prospekt!”

      That’ll teach me for waking up in the afternoon. :(

    • karry says:

      Cue Machinae Supremacy track.

  8. Danorz says:

    i see… a lot of getting talked at by a ragtag bunch of 50s cliches in my future, and no real overall strategy. i see lots of setpieces, and a game with no replay value, i see a game i can only lose by dying in combat.

    • Urthman says:

      That’s really the acid test isn’t it? Whether or not the allegedly “strategic” decisions can effect the outcome of the game, or if they’re just an upgrade tree with an elaborate interface.

    • Erd says:

      One of things I liked about X-com was that if in the early stages of the game if you were new or weren’t paying a whole lot of attention you could lose an entire squad, but that wouldn’t end the game for you. So I’m interested to see if you can die in combat AND win.

    • Gormongous says:

      I understand being optimistic, but as was mentioned on the Jumping the Shark podcast, there’s currently a raging debate at 2K Marin over whether your squadmates will die permanently when killed in combat.

      Personally, I find it worrisome that they didn’t have all this figured out day one, but since their willingness to expand the design doc has added things like commandable squadmates, I won’t complain too loudly.

  9. Dana says:

    Mission selection screen. Team selection screen. This one will have more to do with traditional Xcoms then I thought it would.

  10. buzzmong says:

    Hmm. This new trailer has made me dubious. I really took a shine to the interview/preview version shown last year, quite fancied the more investigative and running away side with stealth thrown in, but this new trailer goes and shows it off like a balls out combat game. Which would be terrible as they are a dime a dozen at the moment.

    Still quite like the 50’s setting and it looks as if they’ve still got the operations centre bit in, which could add some more depth to the game if the trailer is the way it’s gone “on the ground” as it were. I hope the trailer is just the marketing department’s work and is only representative of the latter stages of the game (where more out and out combat is acceptable providing the game has some form of conflict escalation).

  11. JohnnyMaverik says:

    Irrational? Wha… since when? I thought this was 2K Marin (which is linked to Irrational I’ll grant you but saying they ARE Irrational is a bit like saying Mythic are Bioware… although to be fair they probably would have done a better job on Dragon Age 2).

    • Unaco says:

      That’s meant to be irrational (with the lower case ‘i’) meaning to display or to be affected by loss of usual or normal mental clarity… rather than the company Irrational. The devs are irrational, hence the making of this game.

    • JohnnyMaverik says:

      Well surely then it should read “The irrational upcoming re-imagining”, not “Irrational’s upcoming re-imagining”.

      Not that I really care… I’m just saying.

    • Justin Keverne says:

      It’s more like saying Turtle Rock Studios are Valve. 2K Marin are making XCOM, they are made up of 2K Marin and the the studio once known as 2K Australia. 2K Australia was originally Irrational’s Australian branch.

  12. rhizo says:

    Looking at those mission selection triangles on the map I can’t help but think that this game is going to miss all of the perceived randomness in the encounters and rather just have a bunch of different paths through the missions. While that might still make for some enjoyable gameplay, the randomness was one particular aspect that I appreciated a lot in the originals. This game might turn out well, but I’m genuinely glad that there are plenty of other “remakes” that better adhere to the strategic aspects.

  13. Vexing Vision says:

    I like the hats. I hope we can buy more.

  14. DK says:

    Good to see the “aliens” just happen to look like exactly like humans, use weapons that are exactly analogous to human weaponry and rely on plopping down useful waist-high walls everywhere. Whatever would a console-shooter protagonist do without waist-high walls everywhere.

    • Urthman says:

      Can anyone really think cover systems are so awesome they justify the ridiculous restraints on level design they require?

      It’s like it’s 1998 again and every game, no matter how pretty the textures, is made of boxy polygons.

    • Erd says:

      Yeah, honestly I always thought cover systems where the cruel necessity of “realistic” damage systems, i.e. dying in 4 bullets. Never mind you can sweat out 3 bullets like wolverine.

  15. Unaco says:

    This really doesn’t look like it will be the sort of game I’d want to play, and I’m a huge fan of the original X-Com games. If it was like the original games, with Global Strategy and local turn based tactical encounters, that would be ‘groovy’. I’d be down with that. In like Flint, you could say. If it was something like a SWAT 3 or 4 in the tactical encounters, which were all procedurally/randomly generated (and not all pre-scripted) depending upon the state of the world and your choices in a Global Strategic view, then I might be tempted. But, as it is, it looks, to me, so far, that this is going to be a heavily scripted, semi linear, ‘tactical’ shooter. If it does that very, very well, then I might have a look at it. But as it is, I’m just going to ignore it.

    Ignore it. Allow it to co-exist, peacefully, with myself and my tastes and my opinions on video games. Just ignore it…

    Wait, what? Sorry… forgot this is the internet and a video gaming site.

    Wah! Why are they r*ping my beloved franchise? This is all that is wrong with the video game industry. These people have no decency and should be burned at a stake. Surely, this is a joke.

    Oh piss off. Seriously? Honestly, it makes me right fucking angry that they could kill off one of my favourite franchises – a series arguably like no other, which I’d really grown to love – and replace it with that. I mean, for god’s sake, just use a different name! That is NOT Brothers in Arms…..

    Emmm… I mean, X-Com. This is NOT X-Com.

  16. KillahMate says:

    “FPS”? Sure. “Tactical”? I’ll believe that when I actually see it.

  17. Tei says:

    I have seen people compare the game to Mass Effect. Something that make sense to me.

    Is easy to me to imagine this:
    link to
    ..but with america 50’s graphics style.

  18. Lars Westergren says:

    It’s funny how many people say they liked the first trailer and hate the second…. because when the first trailer came the outrage was deafening. Back then it seemed that only one poster in twenty said “looks cool” or even “lets wait and see”.

    I like the increased emphasis on research and strategy in the new trailer. The cover shooter stuff indicated – less so.

    The monoliths look like New York is attacking smalltown America. A metaphor for fear of the future?

    • Rii says:

      “I like the increased emphasis on research and strategy in the new trailer.”

      It’s the difference between a teaser vs. theatrical trailer. The teaser got by on sheer atmosphere and did it well. The research and strategy elements could simply be assumed from information the devs put out, it wasn’t a mark against the teaser that they weren’t actually shown. Whereas this more recent trailer is showing off the actual game and doesn’t look nearly as interesting.

      I still have faith in 2K Marin off the back of the superlative Bioshock 2, but I hope the more recent trailer is not as representative of the game as it appears to be.

  19. Sorbicol says:

    Nope, no good. No matter what I do to regard this game on it’s own merits, I can’t get past it not being a tactical turn based game

  20. kenoxite says:

    Ah, good to see those aliens are only buggering the U.S. of A. in this sibling(?) of X-COM.

    Although that probably means that the rest of the World has already succumbed under the alien mighty lasers and are their collaborators now, as the puny weasels all us non-american are.

  21. Tom OBedlam says:

    Hell yes!

  22. Andy_Panthro says:

    Is it just me, or in the screenshot with the red car, does it look a bit like Tiberium? What with it looking like it’s sprouting up from the ground there. (I realise it’ll probably be elerium-115)
    Perhaps they should have gone for an alternate FPS C&C game. That might have worked quite well these days. C&C Renegade meets Medal of Modern Battlefields 3: The manshoot.

    • DK says:

      That stuff growing out of the ground next to the car is actually one of the waist-high walls growing. You can see them in their full waist-high glory in the screenshots that show the fully alien-ified areas.

  23. The_Great_Skratsby says:

    I see wonderful visuals but I don’t see no X-Com.

  24. Robin says:

    All my hate.

  25. hosndosn says:

    My crystal ball says agents will have 2 skills and a perk with 5 increments each. Also that it will mostly be a generic shooter with some alibi “Press ‘A’ to strategy!” bits thrown in to keep the “core elements” (lol) of the original XCom.

  26. meatshit says:

    I can’t put my finger on it, but something about the art style really turns me off. The aliens are interesting enough, but the rest is just painfully dull and looks like it’s from 2003. Maybe it’s intentional due to the 1950’s suburbia setting, but dull is dull.

  27. gulag says:

    I see Brothers in Arms, with character and squad RPG style progression and semi-procedurally generated levels tied together by a rubber-band linier story threading an almost direct path through a largely notional choice of missions. Hopefully you can suffer an actual set-back by having key agents die on-mission.

    But then again, I’m largely optimistic, and I haven’t cleaned this thing in a while.

  28. aerozol says:

    Enhance. Enhance. Enhance.

  29. zeroskill says:

    I wonder what the Gollop brothers think of this.

  30. kud13 says:

    so… Bioshock: suburbia, with token research/agent selection, and now featurign chest-high tactical combat.
    hope it rots in no sales hell.

  31. BobsLawnService says:

    I actually feel like the trailers and screenshots capture a certain X_Com atmosphere. If they get the scavenging of alien tech at the beginning right – grimly clinging on until your technology can match the aliens. It might just work.

  32. vodka and cookies says:

    Kotaku have a preview up on their site and it seems to bear a strong resemblance to Mass Effect 2. It actually sounds a lot better than I though it would be, but the jury is still out.

  33. JonasKyratzes says:

    I love innovation. This is not innovation. This is simply destruction of something that used to be great.

  34. Navagon says:

    “Alienated” How very apt.

    This does nonetheless look like it could be a good game in its own right. Maybe if they successfully revive the license they’ll do something more strategic with it in future. Of course that’s a wildly baseless hope. But a hope all the same.