UFOgle: An XCOM Enemy Unknown Gallery

You’ve read an awful lot about XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Firaxis’ remake of the original, the legendary X-COM, in our fact’n’theory-fat 13,000 word interview with project lead Jake Solomon here, but the only images we’ve been able to show you thus far are tiny 600 pixel jobbies you need to squint at to make much out. How cruel we were. But how lovely we now are: here are 16 high-res shots to scrutinise for signs of extra information, tribute and/or betrayal. Click on each – including the one above – for an embiggened version.

Additionally, an American magazine is now hosting an ‘interactive’ look at the XCOM: Enemy Unknown base on its website. A few new images (including squad character customisation and vehicles) are to be found within, as well as names and some details for the various rooms that’ll comprise humanity’s first, last and only defence against the most tactical scum of the universe.

Sounds like a meaty mix of old and new, though I’m a bit panicky that I can’t see the Alien Containment room in there. Trying to capture live aliens, often at the cost of my own guys’ lives, was one of the most tense and chaotic parts of the original game: I hope it’s still in there. Plus I want to be able to watch capture aliens being taunted/bullied by my troops in the new, living base. It’s possible Firaxis simply aren’t showing off all their cards yet, though.


  1. noom says:

    Was there any news of a release date as yet? Did I miss that or have they not said anything..?

  2. Meat Circus says:

    An awful lot? I haven’t read NEARLY ENOUGH.

    If only RPS employed Johann Hari.

    • leeder krenon says:

      His articles would feature “quotes” from the aliens.

    • Icarus says:

      Quotes from the aliens that mysteriously resemble large chunks lifted wholesale from other magazine articles, y’mean?

    • PoulWrist says:

      If only you could talk to the aliens. Now that would be something!

  3. Siimon says:

    Where do I pre-order?

    (Also, why does logging in take me to the main RPS page instead of back here to the article/comment section I’m trying to get to?)

  4. Torgen says:

    That’s not a cyberdisk. That’s something designed by someone who likes Transformer toys too much. (grump)

    • zaphod42 says:

      I think you’re going overboard. As long as it moves like a cyberdisc, and functions in gameplay and fights as a cyberdisc, its a cyberdisc. I actually like that they tried to update the art, the basic floating saucer was kinda old fashioned, and I don’t know how practical a flying saucer on that scale would be.

      Looks like GLaDOS to me, and I love it :)

      Do you really want purple floaters with a grey bag coming out the bottom? If you’re going to remake XCOM, you should pretty much keep everything as it is, perfect gameplay really, and just update the art. If you don’t change the art, then what is the point?

      If you like xcom so much, go play it! Why do you want to pay somebody money for something you already have?

    • Luomu says:

      I still think they screwed up the redesign on sectoids – I find the originals creepier. The new ones seem to move more like feral monsters as well (as much as it’s possible to discern from a few screenshots).

    • ceriphim says:

      That cyberdisk or whatever is absolutely terrible. Horrible. In fact, I saw it and was thinking it had to be placeholder art.

    • Nafu says:

      I think they’ve done an alright job of the character (re)design (there’s some rather interesting concept art on another site), but there are aspects that bother me. Foremost is the fact that their sectoids look like hunched, scampering, mindless, bottom-tier cannon fodder. Stand upright, please.

    • Joshua Northey says:

      Yeah I have to say that I am not crazy about the direction they have gone on the sectoid and cyberdisc art, but honestly if the gameplay is good who cares? I still play the original and the art in that is (by todays standards) laughable. I could probably make better art!

  5. Torgen says:

    Also, I really really really hope you can zoom in on your base. The devs calling it an “ant farm” worries me. The fact that it is multi-level leads me to fear that there will be no base defense missions.

    • jimmm25 says:

      I don’t think the base will actually look like it did in the picture, I think that was a way of showing all the rooms in one picture, if you go on to the american magazine you can clock on each room to zoom in so it looks like the picture was just made for that. I think the base may end up looking a lot like that though, but more zoomed in so you can see the detail.

    • zaphod42 says:

      @jimm25 I disagree. They wouldn’t be showing screenshots at this point if that was the case, these are the earliest impressions we’re getting, and they should know how this will look. I think putting that picture out was their way of saying “here’s OUR base screen”. Its definitely not prerendered or a mockup, so that is going in the game.

      If a vertical display screen like that goes in, then your base has to be organized that way. You can’t have a cutaway view and then it ends up bases are built in a top-down 2D view like the original xcom; that would make for a terrible side cutaway view.

      So bases are going to be stacked vertically in the new game. This is extremely concerning.

      I could be okay with it, but it asks the next question, how are base attacks going to work? The massively vertical layout doesn’t seem to jive with the mostly flat screen of XCOM tactical, with a few different levels for buildings. It would require you to constantly flip up and down and up and down to different levels, and keeping track of the elevators or stairs or however your soldiers are expected to get between levels would be awkward and tedious.

      In short: I think they’ve nixed the base assaults. And that is REALLY worrying. They were talking about the mission types, how the original game just had the 2 (investigating a downed craft, or a terror mission where aliens attack civilians) and how this game would have those two and more. He mentioned a possible “abduction” scenario which sounds pretty exciting. But he didn’t mention your base being attacked, and it seems like that would have been the moment to mention it. It seems like he almost forgot that base assaults were a feature of the original game, so their game has everything the old one did, but maybe they forgot. O_O

      On the other hand, maybe they do have everything the old game did, and they found a different way to work it. We can only hope.

      But they did say they’ve been playtesting it and going back to the drawing board, cutting things that don’t work so well. And they already cut time units. And they’re trying to make it console-friendly.

      Worries that XCOM may be watered down for console may be accurate. Stupid, stupid consoles.

      XCOM is a friggin PC game. How can you not target PC first? I guess I understand doing a console port (although, with XCOM’s nature, I might just keep it as PC myself. Does every Civ get ported to console? Do they sell well on console? I can’t imagine…) But they almost seem to be focusing on console first, and PC second, as every developer does these days.

      And then developers wonder why people don’t buy on PC. BECAUSE YOU DON’T RESPECT IT, DUH. SELF FULFILLING PROPHECY GUYS.

    • MCM says:

      There are no base defense missions. They already confirmed that multiple times.

    • nanowired says:

      Sounds less X-commy by the minute.

  6. deadly.by.design says:

    I somehow missed playing the original in the ’90s, but this remake interests me.

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      I also missed it back in the 90s, but apparently you can still play it just fine.
      In fact, I did so last week.


    • MadMatty says:

      Snarkiness aside, Xcom 1 & 2 still have perfectly nice pixel isometric 3d graphics, and the complexity and masterfull balancing of the gameplay still beats the vast majority of turn based strategy games out in the past 20 (!) years since it came out.

      Well worth a check out- i even played it around 2007 on the crappy computer at the mental hospital with no inet (trying to hide xcom launch icons from the dude who thought he was being contacted by aliens, just in case)



      also, great atmospheric background music

    • Hanban says:

      Is there any fan updates of Enemy Unknown? I played it back in the day and am trudging through it again, but it is awfully slow and cumbersome.

    • Andy_Panthro says:


      There’s an open-source version of Enemy Unknown here: link to openxcom.org

      Also there was a big updated version called The Two Sides (included multiplayer and playing as the aliens in single-player), but they cancelled it because they were worried about being sued. A lot of it was playable though: link to ufotts.ninex.info

      Thirdly there’s UFO: Alien Invasion, a freeware game based on UFO: EE here: link to ufoai.ninex.info

      And lastly the rather excellent looking Xenonauts (which I’ve pre-ordered): link to xenonauts.com

    • deadly.by.design says:

      I have no problems with retro graphics. It’s old GUIs that I have more trouble with.

      Will the original’s selection of units, etc, drive me nuts? That happened when I tried to replay Warcraft a few years ago.

  7. AmateurScience says:

    I have (belatedly) just started playing the original for the first time. It really stands up. I am not ashamed to admit that I may have dismissed some of the obvious enthusiasm Alec and my fellow commenters have as rose tinted spectacles.

    But it really is rather good.

    Also I properly jumped about 6 times during my first night mission when sectoids ambushed me.

    If they can capture even some of the original’s atmosphere and gameplay they’ll be on to a winner.

  8. tur1n says:

    I’m glad the corny names right out of the phone book are back. Gertrud Schulz. Good luck finding a person under 60 with that name.

  9. zaphod42 says:

    Looks really, really nice. I’m super excited for this. Most of those screenshots look amazing, and if anybody knows how to do this, it’ll be Firaxis. I have high hopes. Love the destructible terrain, the geoscape, and the way the enemies look. Love the new thin men too, good idea.

    The Base screen is my main concern. I wish you had asked more questions about how this is going to work. Did I miss that part? I think I read all 3 parts. Can we still build our base? Can our base still be attacked? How is that going to work, from the side view?

    And now I’ve got to go play the original again… So good. So very good.

  10. StranaMente says:

    The science labs seem to have some sort of containment room in them. Possibly?

    • zaphod42 says:

      Alien containment WAS a pretty big feature of the original. Maybe they merged the two buildings, or maybe that is the alien containment, and the science lab looks different? Hard to tell at this point.

    • frenz0rz says:

      I find it quite funny that they’ve got a science lab and a laboratory as two seperate rooms. Isnt “science lab” short for ‘science laboratory’? So you’ve got the laboratory and the science laboratory. Does the bog standard laboratory not have any science in it? Is it some kind of home economics laboratory?

      So many questions!

    • yhancik says:

      Why contain it?

    • oatbag says:

      Labs boost science output, as workshops boost engineering output, it says. Also it becomes clear that base building/design is still an element (which some of us were worried about earlier). Being able to design your base layout puts us one step closer to the possibility of base attacks, but that will remain to be seen.

    • MCM says:

      Capturing live aliens was important in the original, but the “alien containment” room you had to build in the game was nothing but a stupid way of preventing you from doing live captures in the first week.

    • outoffeelinsobad says:

      Old men.

    • Deformed_Transformed says:

      Saying the original UFO Enemy Unknown is a PC game is just simply incorrect. Infact it was almost immediately released to the PS1 so it was formatted for console intentionally, not as an after thought. Get your facts straight.

  11. Drake Sigar says:

    *Fapfapfap* Yes, yeeeeeees, zoom in! I want to see the moistness of their eyeballs!

  12. oatbag says:

    Looks like science lab has an alien containment section (see thick glass cell/operating room).

    As long as there is enough other customization relating to bases traits/perks/whatever to compensate for no new bases and no base design, I’ll be content.

  13. PodX140 says:

    Am I the only one not liking what appear to be health bars? I loved the lack of them on enemies, it lead to some very questionable times. “Can I kill him with this snap shot? Or will he be able to take it then kill me?”

    Otherwise, very eager.

    • ItalianPodge says:

      Completely agree, just posted the same thing further down (forgot to refresh the page before writing it). For me it’s similar to Jagged Alliance Back in Action not having fog of war, it reduces the suspence and allows too much information to make advantageous decisions.

  14. Droopy The Dog says:

    Is it me or are all the male soldiers rather portly?

    Best of the best sure have let themselves go.

  15. hosndosn says:

    an American magazine

    Did I miss some reason to hate Game Informer or something so you never mention their name? I mean it sucks that they seem to buy their exclusives left and right (which makes you wonder how neutral their coverage is) but is there more?

  16. nimzy says:

    Not much to quibble over, (other than to hope I get to choose what the nicknames are) so it’s time to get cosmetic:

    Where are the bright blue/purple spandex jumpsuits? :V

    Furthermore I notice a distinct lack of hairbands and hairstyles that wouldn’t look out of place in 80s music videos. Give us hair! No more bald and boring spess mehrines!

  17. ItalianPodge says:

    Very excited about many aspects of this game and having read the interviews I think it is in good hands.

    What do people think of the aliens having health bars though? One of the sources of suspense in the original was not really knowing when the alien you had shot 5 times was going to spin around and collapse. By seeing how much you are damaging them takes away some of the uncertainty so personally I hope it is an option to disable them.

  18. TormDK says:

    Nice interactive ant farm they have on that american site – why can’t we have nice things?

    It’s shaping up to be a great title, and Q3 can’t come fast enough. Any chance RPS will be doing more hard boiled questions on the various classes our soldiers can get?

  19. Antsy says:

    This can’t come soon enough for me. Slightly wary of that ” Y to scan for UFOs” button though. Building radars sites and then having to press a button to scan sounds horrible. Hopefully its a specialy researched bit of kit rather than the norm.

    • frenz0rz says:

      Perhaps you just press that button to unpause the geoscape, and they’ve worded it in a rather silly (but cool sounding) way?

  20. outoffeelinsobad says:

    The lady hiding in cover there with the shotgun has shells strapped to her arm, legs, and waist. Much like in the loadout screen in the original.

    I approve.

  21. RegisteredUser says:

    I spill my drink.

    Sure hope you get lots of grenades to lob, too. Explosive mayhem and destruction of surroundings.
    God, this game could be so god damn much FUN if they only were to do it RIGHT and with death and destruction in mind as an option on S&D missions vs kidnapping via alien-stun gas etc..
    And has anyone yet asked whether there will be soft vs hardened armor spots given that now I’ve seen some of these enemies? I.e. shooting or stabbing from behind causing more damage to some?
    Or shooting someone in the FACE / eye?


    Or, at the very least, give us the tools to mod in “in the face shooting”.

  22. Sfitz says:

    The sectoids have heart-lights now, just like ET! :D

  23. buzzmong says:

    The shots only show four squad members.

    Not sure I like that if that’s actually how it’s going to be.

  24. Deformed_Transformed says:

    Maybe it is smaller maps, so a smaller squad is all you need?

  25. Deformed_Transformed says:

    The Muton kind of look like turtles…

  26. pistolhamster says:

    I am not even sceptical any more. Not one ounce of original IP has left Firaxis for more than a decade. But they do solid remakes that hasn’t disappointed me. Refining with a good sense of making fun meet canon.

  27. aircool says:


    Plus Tau Sniper Drone :))

  28. SiHy_ says:

    It’s strange what a brand name can do to a person. If this was called anything else I would think it looked quite exciting. Guess I’m just a no good UFO fanboy. Oh well, there’s worse things to be a fanboy of.

  29. Koning_Floris says:

    Love the Men in Black reference.