It Started With A Kick: A Xenonauts Preview

Imma gonna capture your core, little fishyman

I know exactly what I’m doing. Including when I screw up. When I screw up in X-COM, I invariably know that I’ve screwed up long before the results of said screwing-up actually come to pass. My soldier is out of action points and left standing in the open while an alien silently eyeballs him, or a yet-to-explode grenade lands casually at the feet of an innocent civilian. Next turn, I will pay for these mistakes. Pay in blood.

I make exactly the same mistakes, and knew exactly why they had come to pass and what punishment would follow them, in Goldhawk Interactive’s indie remake/reiminaging Xenonauts, which after three years of preorder-funded development today climbs about the wheezing Kickstarter bandwagon for its final furlong.

I also did all the same right moves, and climbed through the research and construction trees with steady, knowing purpose.
I knew exactly what I was doing, what I needed to do next and exactly where I was. Hell, I even put alien corpses in my soldiers’ backpacks just to check that I still could. Xenonauts is X-COM, and while it has made some noise about being its own game there’s simply no question that this is the purists’ take on the old Gollop classic, while 2K’s XCOM as an experiment based around some of X-COM’s major organs.

This might sound like caution, and I suppose it’s true that I would ideally like to be surprised as well as indulged by Xenonauts, but it’s also praise. Heartfelt praise. The single greatest compliment that I believe I could pay to Xenoanuts is that it takes the vast majority of X-COM and recreates it in a more modern interface in such a way that I was barely even conscious that the interface had changed at all.

Sure, it’s a little rough and ready in its current pre-alpha state, but it does what it needs to – helps the game flow rather than, as I must painfully admit, impedes it as the original X-COM’s monstrously-sized buttons do. Xeno’s UI is functionally very similar, but it’s the layout, the crispness and the neatness that gives it the modern look and feel it so needs. It’s possibly a bit too small and thus fiddly at high resolutions (i.e. 1920×1200, as I played it at) and I found a couple of teething issues, but I don’t doubt that’ll be in for a tinker in the months to come.

The overall look and art style, recently blessed with more detail and variety, has very much grown on me. I’ll confess that I did worry it was veering towards the bland in earlier glimpses of the game, but with more visual density in there, the addition of huge crashed UFOs sitting in furrows of apocalyptically-ploughed earth and most of all subtle but fluid and characterful animation on the soldiers and aliens has made Xenonauts’ battlefields into far peppier places to visit/explore/hide in. I’m really glad it’s 2D. It allows a sharpness and a detail that really suits it.

The major criticism I’d still level at it is that the aliens don’t seem especially characterful at present – higher resolutions again aren’t helping, as they look tiny and somewhat featureless at that kind of scale, but more tellingly I’m having to force myself to remember what looks like what and what’s called what, rather than having it organically lodge in my brain. Or perhaps I’m just too chained to the X-COM’s outerspace bastards and am subconsciously resisting replacing them.

There’s much that’s missing in the build I’ve played (which was a slightly earlier version of what’s been put out as a free demo to promote the Kickstarter), but more than enough is in there to prove that this has gone far beyond proof of concept. Even knowing I’d hit the wall of what was in the build, I kept playing because it felt so comfortable and I was slowly forming a certain attachment to my perma-scowling soldiers.

The core bones of X-COM are present and correct, from base to air combat to ground missions, and it’s possible in this build to go home from levels with a small haul of alien tech to research, then be toting laser weapons on your soldiers and Alenium Warheads on your Interceptors a little while later. Most of all, disaster and fatality is regular and swiftly-dealt, even though this demo build’s AI probably isn’t at finalised levels. X-COM has to be cruel, and Xenonauts is indeed cruel.

While I don’t doubt there’s all sorts of balance and mechanics programming to be sorted in terms of later aliens and weapons, art assets are, I suspect, the vast bulk of the remaining work. In this build, I didn’t see more than two types of ground level or UFOs, I hit a dead end in terms of what was left to research and my base never seemed under threat of invasion, and I guess that’s why devs Goldhawk have taken to Kickstarter.

I do have mixed feelings about existent projects doing that, but unlike Carmageddon or Leisure Suit Larry I suspect there really is no other funding recourse for a non-branded game like Xenonauts beyond the already-employed preorder system. If it helps them ensure a game that looks and feels more vibrant and varied, and takes away the very real issue of wage worries, then I guess I’m all for it even if I’d been hoping the game might have been closer to release by now.

It does feel like a cop-out to lean on the ‘hooray, it’s so much like X-COM!’ angle when writing about Xenonauts, but that is, after all, its raison d’etre. Before Firaxis’ game was announced, the possibility of ever seeing an X-CMlike as high-polish and faithful seemed to be practically zilch. As it is, they do seem to me like two very different games, ones that can sit comfortably alongside each other rather than battling for old strategy gamers’ attentions.

Much like we didn’t have any issue with X-COM and Jagged Alliance co-existing back in the day, these are, I think, two very different views of the same landscape. And two that I’ve been waiting for for what feels like forever. Finally having one of them sat on my hard drive – demo of a ludicrously early build or no – is truly exciting.

Xenonauts is now on Kickstarter, having pulled in $7,700 of its desired $50,000 at the time of writing. A substantial free demo of a pre-alpha build is also available here.


  1. Linfosoma says:

    The game so far looks great, but I’ve only tried it for a bit, Im saving it for when the final build comes out.

    • Makariel says:

      I’m on board since I played the eurogamer expo build and try to restrain myself from playing too much of the builds so far to save all the suspense and excitement for when it’s finished :)

  2. Vinraith says:

    This looks more and more promising. As soon as they secure a DRM-free release option for Kickstarter supporters (which the FAQ says they’re looking into) they’ll have my money.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      yea, my hesitation at $20 would probably be overcome with if they get a drm-free version

      • Chris England says:

        Sadly we’re apparently too expensive for GOG, but we are indeed looking into other alternatives. That being said, it’s already possible to download the game from Desura without using their client and totally DRM free, so even if we can’t find someone else to do it then that is an option.

        • Vinraith says:

          Thanks for the information, Chris. The Desura option might bear clarifying on the Kickstarter page, actually, for folks like me that tend to be a bit twitchy about DRM.

          • Balm says:

            It’s such a weird situation.

            Big publishers, like Ubisoft, use marketing to ensure that the game sells and can ignore that tiny fistfull of potential customers who care for DRM, in favor of making game unpiratable.

            Where developers, that are not backed by a publisher, have to try and please every potential buyer and do everything short of torrenting the game themselves.

          • mixnsyv says:

            Give-You-a-Surprise Wooden Box (Practical Joke,) to scare him! Ha ha! link to

          • Josh W says:

            It’s a different kind of marketing, based on clarity and responsiveness not on spectacle.
            It’s harder to do, but like a tough mountain plant, it grows in places the other marketing can’t touch.

            Edit – And importantly, it’s also much more honest!

        • killias2 says:

          Yeah, this is what confused me.. isn’t the Desura release DRM-free?

        • LintMan says:

          @Chris England – Strange Loop Games (makers of Vessel) distributed their DRM-free pre-order copies bought from their website through the Humble Indie Bundle download system. I’m pretty sure they haven’t been part of any actual bundles, so it might be a service they offer. Maybe that could work out for you guys too?

          • Chris England says:

            Yup, we’re going to get in touch with the Humble Bundle store guys because they’re known for being completely DRM free and it’d be good to have them as a sales option. The Desura DRM-free download is available but it’s not quite as immediately accessible so I’d rather it wasn’t our primary DRM-free method.

        • kraken says:

          Too expensive?
          They have witcher 2 at a pretty high price there.
          How come yours is too much?

        • Triblitz says:

          GoG also just released Alan Wake for 30$. Could your information be dated?

          • spinefarm says:

            You compare a game developed by a lot more people to an Indie game…nice :)

        • Subject 706 says:

          I pledged $100. Disappoint me at your peril :)

        • wcanyon says:

          What? They have Witcher 2 and that’s $40 or so. They lied to you mang.

      • Joshua Northey says:

        I am confused what exactly do you object to regarding DRM? I would like it if the game came with ice cream and my very own personal laser rifle, but that isn’t really realistic now is it?

        • Hoaxfish says:

          It is realistic to see a new game released DRM free though.

          As much as I enjoy some of the idea around Steam for the community features, I don’t honestly see a need to tie my game to a 3rd-party service/login/etc (security breaches and all).

          • Joshua Northey says:

            Its 2012 not 1995, and even then you had code books.

          • Hoaxfish says:

            I bought Grimrock DRM free last month, the 5 or so kickstarters I’ve backed all claim to be DRM free, the various Humble Bundles come in DRM free flavours… unless I’m mistaken?

          • sophof says:

            Steam is not necessarily DRM (although admittedly it usually is). For instance my copy of X-COM that I bought of steam can be started fine without steam. Probably a lot of my other games as well, I just haven’t had a reason to try for any others yet.

        • ObiDamnKenobi says:

          yeah, same. You expect car dealers to have the cars unlocked with the key in? Sure no DRM is nice dream but it has never ruined my day and it’s understandable so I can’t bring myself to make a big deal about it.

          That said, anyone who pirate this game must be the worst scum imaginable! And should have their balls shot into space, with them attached

      • miuyabz says:

        Please, please tell me you have at least heard of XCom Util, or even Extender ? All those “quirks” were fixed years and years ago.

  3. Donkeyfumbler says:

    I really hope it makes it’s Kickstarter target (and more) because it’s clear from the current build that it has the potential to be a fantastic game as long as they have enough time and, more importantly, money to iron out the rough edges and make it shine.

  4. Craig Stern says:

    Awesome. The original X-Com delivered absolutely everything I wanted except for a useable interface–as long as Goldhawk get this right in Xenonauts, my money is theirs.

    • realmenhuntinpacks says:

      Well you’ll be happy then, functionally it’s pretty perfect. Pre-ordered way back, whilst I was experiencing a periodic UFO re-visit. And the atmosphere’s just right in my opinion. However, it’s a little bit on the unplayable side (as in, you can get a great idea of what it’ll be but don’t expect to be able to lose yourself in it just yet) just now, although there’s no doubt in my mind at least that it’ll come good soon enough. As everybody keeps saying, if you liked UFO (or more accurately loved it, in the restraining-order-on-Julian-Gollop sense) there is absolutely zero reason you shouldn’t be funding this, or at least vibrating excitedly. Bzzz.

      • Craig Stern says:

        You had me at the first 10 letters of “functionally”–Xenonauts is now officially the fifth project I’ve backed on Kickstarter.

  5. Meat Circus says:

    I’d already pre-fundled this on Desura, but you know what? I’m feeling generous.

  6. pitak89 says:

    I always get excited when older games are remade.

    I wasn’t a PC gamer back in the day, so I never really experienced them, and It’s hard to get into nowadays because of the old interfaces and compatibility and whatnot.

    They got my support :)

    • Hoaxfish says:

      It’s still nice to see, just as a way of showing that genres don’t simply die just because they’re not FPSes or technology at the time is now old.

      I could’ve played some of these “refreshed” games when they were originally released, but simply never did, so I still enjoy the “modern” opportunity along with everyone else who isn’t main-lining nostalgia.

  7. Brahms says:

    So should i get this? I’ve ever played XCOM.

    • PoulWrist says:

      You could try the demo build, linked on the kickstarter page. Should contain 1 month or so of ingame time with all the basic elements; strategic play, research, base attack, terror site mission, air combat and ground combat.

    • Sorbicol says:

      I don’t say this lightly but XCOM really is one of the best games I have ever, ever played.

      Will be downloading the demo tonight and throwing money at them as soon as I have a new job confirmed. Which shouldn’t be too long I hope.

    • Joshua Northey says:

      If you like strategy games generally, or tactical turn based games especially, you would love X-COM.

      The interface is quite dated now, but it is easily a top 10 game all time in any genre (adjusting for when they were made), and personally I would put it number 1.

      MOO, JA2, Civ2, Halflife, Starcraft, those are the games I associate with its level of quality. Just my opinion.

  8. Dys Does Dakka says:


    And you who happen to be reading this should pledge all your money to these nice people as well.

    -Well, all of your money that you didn’t already pledge to Wasteland 2, that is.

    Pledge, pledge, pledge… /twitch

  9. Brise Bonbons says:

    I’ve been waiting for this Kickstarter so I could give them more money than they were accepting for preorders on their site. Unfortunately I’m not super excited about any of the rewards on offer; I was really hoping for a boxed copy or something nostalgia-inducing of that sort.

    Might wait a while and see if they add some new enticements. Also I’ll have more money to toss around in June. :P

    Anyway, best of luck to them. I hope this Kickstarter manages the 300% plus overfunding some of the much more hypothetical games have done recently…

    • Chris England says:

      Boxed copies are very expensive to make in small quantities, I’m afraid. That’s the main reason why we’re not offering them.

      • Brise Bonbons says:

        I understand, sir. Sorry to be so bitchy about it. I should be more constructive than “bah, I don’t like any of these rewards, give me different ones!” Sorry about that.

        I guess the problem for me is that I already own a frightening number of art books, and the prospect of more is slightly depressing on a personal level. I love the art in the game, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not a product I jump at these days. Also inconveniently I don’t wear Tshirts very often. Just my luck.

        I am curious to see more on the poster, at least, before I settle on a backing level.

        Also good luck on the kickstarter – although it seems you won’t have much trouble meeting your goal based on the current trend!

  10. JFS says:

    Phew, this is the first time I’m seriously considering backing a larger sum to get “into the game”. While I wasn’t that hot on becoming an NPC in Wasteland 2, being a soldier in a modern-day X-COM really rings a bell with me.

  11. Big Murray says:

    I really don’t understand this whole “You will receive five digital copies of the game” business … so you’re going to copy the game into five different folders and give it to me five times, or something? I don’t get it.

    Why would you need more than one copy of a DIGITAL game?

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      You get 5 licenses for the game.

      • Unaco says:

        And that means?

        • sneetch says:

          Five licences equals five Desura or Steam keys.

          Can I have a Steam key for Xenonauts?
          Yes, you will on release. We have now signed a distribution deal with the good folk at Valve.

          Xenonauts will use Desura for distributing pre-order builds until the game is finished, which is a similar service to Steam but is more geared towards indie games.

          At release, all pre-orderers and Kickstarter backers will be given the choice of a Desura or Steam key for their pre-order.

          • Mario Figueiredo says:

            I’m sure Unaco knows that. He was just asking me to be more more verbose and actually explain it better, for the benefit of our friend.

            You did save me the work, though :)

          • sneetch says:

            Yeah, I reckon you’re right and Unaco must know, he’s been around long enough. :)

          • Unaco says:

            Actually, I was a little confused as to what ‘Licence’ referred to in this instance… and that it was the reward for $500. Makes sense now.

    • sneetch says:

      Yep, like Mario said, you get five licences, one for yourself and four as gifts for friends and family.

  12. Mario Figueiredo says:

    Well, will definitely put my money in. Good luck to the team and I’m sure they will get way more than the 50k requirement. This is the closest I will probably ever see again to XCOM. It’s also shaping up to be a great looking game. A game I and a few of my friends will be avid players.

    But here’s my only criticism: When I started reading Alec’s post, and realized the project had been included in KickStarter, my immediate reaction was “they are finally going to include multiplayer!”. Alas, they won’t. And that is very disappointing. I could already see me and my friends enjoying some nice LAN weekend afternoons.

    • Wisq says:

      I’d love to see them at least support hot-seat (or PBEM) two-player humans-versus-aliens gameplay.

      X-COM had that (sorta) via XComUtil, which could simulate the end-of-turn mechanics and then change the sides, such that you were now playing aliens. You ship the game save off to your friend, they swap sides and play as aliens, they ship it back, you play as humans, repeat.

      Xenonauts has the opportunity to recreate that in an actual legit way, potentially with added bonuses like “replay of the last turn” so you could actually see what you would normally see (open combat + hidden movement + glimpses of stuff) if you were playing it locally — rather than always coming back to your turn and saying “good god, what happened here??”

      • malkav11 says:

        I think that would be a fine addon later, but the core of X-Com was and is singleplayer, and I would not support spending time, money, and attention on multiplayer features until the singleplayer game is done.

  13. LieutLaww says:

    To give to your friends perhaps ?

  14. LintMan says:

    Please, please tell me the Xenonauts UI fixes the “quirks” of the original XCom, such as if you produced too much ammo, it could fill ALL the inventory slots on the loadout screen, leaving all the rest of the stuff inaccessible. Or that if you accumulated more than 128 of certain items, they could “wrap around” to negative values.

    As for the devs using Kickstarter for an already well-advanced project: I’m fully in support of that. Just like with Steve Jackson Games’ Ogre kickstarter, where the game was largely done. The infusion of kickstarter money – especially strech goals – can help improve the final product.

    If it helps them get the game out on time and maybe with some extra features, that sounds great to me.

    • Craig Stern says:

      Right, there are a million reasons you might need Kickstarter in the midst of development. Besides: unless you’re Tim Schafer or Brian Fargo, it’s a hard sell asking people to pitch in funds without a pre-alpha build to show them what they’re contributing to.

    • MrPyro says:

      Equipping soldiers works more like XCOM:Apocalypse, where you equip your soldiers in base at your leisure, and then they go into all missions with that loadout, rather than loading people and guns onto a ship and sorting the loadouts at the start of every mission. It should automatically re-equip expended ammo/grenades as well, which I always found a bit unreliable on Apoc.

      Seriously (and I say this to anybody reading the thread) the demo is free and doesn’t require a pledge, so download it and give it a swing, and if you like the look of it pledge some cash to make it even better.

      • LintMan says:

        @Mr Pyro – That’s good to hear, thanks. I’ll check the demo out.

        @Craig Stern – Yeah, it definitely makes for a better pitch when you already have something solid to show you’re capable of getting it done And it also means I’ll be paying now to get a game October 2012 instead of, say, November 2013.

    • sinister agent says:

      I’m pretty sure you’d have to do extra, deliberate work to make a new game duplicate those bugs in the original.

      I’ve played it for a few hours and it works and is generally fine. Although it’s clear that it’s not 100% finished, and I had some weird issues getting some of the buttons to acknowledge that I’d clicked on them, it doesn’t impede play.

    • mckertis says:

      “Please, please tell me the Xenonauts UI fixes the “quirks” of the original XCom”

      Please, please tell me you have at least heard of XCom Util, or even Extender ?
      All those “quirks” were fixed years and years ago.

      • LintMan says:

        @mckertis – no, actually I hadn’t heard of either of them. Thanks, maybe I’ll check them out.

  15. Hendar23 says:

    On my first deployment, my first guy was shot dead dead instantly on stepping out of the transport craft by an unseen sniper. When I got the rest of the team off the chopper the rookie with the RPG misfired and blew up himself and two other squad mates. This caused the rest of the survivors but one to panic and either freeze on the spot or drop their weapons and run. The one remaining soldier with his wits together shot at an alien, missed and killed a civilian.

    I LOVE IT!

  16. Joshua Northey says:

    I totally went in for the $200 and my own character in the game. It is a dream my 14 year old self would have been horrified by me passing on, so it was a must. Best of luck to them making this everything I know they (and I) want it to be!

    Maybe I will try out the alpha again and give them some notes.

    • Andy_Panthro says:


      Couldn’t resist getting my face and name in there. Will have to try and get a photo of myself looking surly enough to be a proper Xenonaut.

  17. Brosepholis says:

    I bought into this very early by preordering sometime last year, but I’ve been a bit unimpressed at how development has panned out. The character art, in particular, is very drab. I threw money at the project because of righteous indignation over FPS-COM, but honestly if I’d known about the Firaxis remake at the time then I wouldn’t have been interested in this.

    • Joshua Northey says:

      Honestly the early part is always the fun part, making the main engines, fleshing out the art and mechanics. The hard part is always the end, when you are hunting bugs, balancing, ingratiating the different pieces.

      Lets hope they pull it off and have the discipline to honor the amount of money that has been put into the project..

    • buzzmong says:

      The art style is a personal choice though.

      I happen to really like it as it fits with the 70’s Cold War theme, besides, lots of it is due to change or be updated anyway, especially the Basescape UI.

    • Hendar23 says:

      I really like the drap art style. It’s about a Cold War era world fighting a grim battle for survival against impossible odds. It think it suits it fine. If I had one gripe about the original it would be the cartoon style.

    • PoulWrist says:

      I see them as completely capable of co-existing. They’re different games and they’re both probably awesome.

    • Josh W says:

      Yeah, I really like the way the art styles and moods have diverged; firaxis x-com is all “yeah, we’re an elite force, we can do this”, and xenonauts is more “oh crap, loads of ground to cover and no real understanding of our enemies”, you can imagine that the former organisation has much better moral doing the same job.

  18. Lemming says:

    I wont be backing this as the new XCOM game will scratch that itch, but I wish them luck. If I were them I’d really push for a Linux and Mac release as that will give them a larger foothold against the friendly competition.

    • subshell001 says:

      For the record I was able to get my copy sort-of working in Wine with little to no effort. So I would imagine that with some actual effort someone could get it working almost perfectly!

  19. Crimsoneer says:

    I’d buy in, but 20$ when the final game will retail at 25$ just isn’t worth it for me, especially on KS where I have no guarantee of even getting a finalised product. Can’t help but feel it will probably be discounted lower than 20$ as soon as it comes out.

    • Joshua Northey says:

      I don’t think the kick-starter is meant to be a “deal” it is meant to help get the project done. If you are just looking to save money and don’t care about the health of the industry or supporting the games you enjoy then buy everything 9 months after release for 50% off.

      • Crimsoneer says:

        Yeah, I guess maybe I’m a bit too much of a sceptical bastard. I just don’t like funding projects when it’s purely charity, which this mostly is. I find the best KS projects make you feel like you’re making an investment into a project – getting in early and at a slightly discounted price and an opportunity to decide what form the game will take. This is just being charitable – which is fine, just not really affordable for a poor student like me.

        • theleif says:

          All the games I’ve backed on kickstarter I’ve backed for purely egoistical reasons. I see the possibility of playing a type of game I really want to be made, and I know that by giving the developer money now, they will have more funds to actually make said games.
          I am also at the same time perfectly aware that some, or even most of the games I’ve funded can, and possibly will disappoint me. Like with most investments, you run a risk of not getting back what you invested.

    • Hendar23 says:

      It looks like it’s already well on the way to being finished, and they have a distribution deal with Steam so that makes me confident enough it will be finished. Most Kickstarter don’t have much more than a few bits of concept art. These guys have a playable demo.

  20. mckertis says:

    I’d love to see a Xenonauts mock-up of a equipment screen for soldier named Gertrude Shultz.

    • RakeShark says:

      I think their FAQ/forums said that implementing female soldiers in Xenonauts would be too much work on the art side of things, citing things like equipment variation visuals and such stuff. Which is a shame.

      • Joshua Northey says:

        Frankly it is more realistic without the female soldiers anyway. Despite what you might see in the movies there are little to no female rifleman, and basically zero female special operations soldiers. The bodies just aren’t built the same (not to mention all the sociological factors).

        • PoulWrist says:

          And while I’m all for equality for women, shoehorning them in everywhere doesn’t do anyone justice… the “women are men” thing just doesn’t work.

        • RakeShark says:


          Despite what you might see in both focused and mainstream coverage, there are female soldiers, riflemen, and combat-ready troops. They are currently not “considered” frontline troops, nor are they advertised as such, but in my time in the US Army, I have seen females do foot patrols, man vehicle-mounted heavy weapons in convoys, and be a part of high risk operations from a position other than sitting behind a desk miles away. In the Marines, even more so. It’s a sociological brickwall that assumes females are incapable of doing any war-associated task at the level a man can do. At some point in the future, females will be part of the frontline infantry in my country. It’s never been a question of ability, it’s been a question of societal comfort with the idea of females being in the line of fire.

          And besides, realistic? Aliens dude. Aliens.

          In anycase, re-reading the posts in question about “why no females”, they’ve specifically said that because creating new art for females to be soldiers would take a massive amount of work and time (as stated above, creating body variations for equipment in both the loadout screen and the mission map), it would not be a part of the release. There is hope for post release additions.

          I apologize if this seems like a rant, and it is a little bit. But your reasons for the lack of females irked me the wrong way. The reasons for no female soldiers from Goldhawk is less irk-some and, while disappointing, understandable in the long run.

          • Joshua Northey says:

            Oh there certainly are females, but if you were hand picking a squad of elite and experience combat soldiers to fight aliens exactly 0% of them would be women.

            We aren’t talking just grabbing any old soldier here, women can certainly do foot patrols, but there are women in these elite special forces for the same reason there aren’t women on professional hockey of football teams.

          • Joshua Northey says:

            Just to clarify I liked the women soldiers in XCOM too, I was just trying to look on the positive side of no female soldiers (realism). Sorry if it came across in a way that offends you, but the facts are what they are.

          • Havok9120 says:

            You’re quite right that women can and, now, do all of that. You’re also totally wrong if you think that that would be at all accurate in the period. Women weren’t even cleared for non-combat roles near the front until the 80s, at least in NATO/WP forces. Women couldn’t even be combat pilots until the 90s, let alone serve in ground combat roles. And, like the other guy said, female SFs don’t really exist even now.

      • Lakshmi says:

        Noo I was really excited about that – then I saw no females. Bah.

        • TheWhippetLord says:

          Obviously that’s why everyone in the Xenonauts UI art is so miserable-looking. Interplanetary warfare isn’t fun without girls. :P
          (just kidding btw, I love the art style. And I’m sure it’ll be easy enough to mod in some female portraits if Goldhawk don’t manage to get them in.)

          Looks like the KS is going to happen – $35k as I type. Eat cash, alien scum!

    • mckertis says:

      Oh god, i dont actually give a crap about female soldiers, i just wanted to see the name Gertrude Shultz slapped over a picture.

  21. buzzmong says:

    I’m a big fan of this project and I like where it’s going, the progress I’ve seen has been great.

    There are perhaps some caveats that need to be added to the demo though such as:

    * Lots of art, especially Baseview art (and the entire base UI) is only at placeholder level, it’s being redone.

    * Enemy AI is again, a placeholder. Proper AI is coming soon (the AI chap has just moved house)

    * It’s not yet “feature compete”. Lots of things including various environmental effects (ie, poison gas), flamethrower code, stun baton code etc… are being worked on currently.

    * It’s not balanced yet. Chris changes a few things based on forum feedback, but it’s nowhere near ready for a proper round of balancing.

    It IS however, very much playable and a proper modern update of UFO:EU, just with lots of improvements and tweaks.

  22. lethial says:

    Good to see the game being kickstarted. I already preordered but I just can’t help but contributing more. For all the complaining that I do about the current state of the game industry, the least I can do is to put my money where my mouth is. Good luck guys!

  23. NekroJakub says:

    Read that as ‘Psychonauts’. I keep dreaming…

  24. wcanyon says:

    Just heard of this, 30 days left and they’re very close to 50% funded. Looks like it’s a slam dunk. Very happy because I pre-ordered this and was concerned it would disappear when the other XCOM showed up.

  25. Miles says:

    I was really hoping the Kickstarter will be an occasion for them to pledge Mac and Linux support, even at high funding targets, like most Kickstarter projects have done, but sadly nothing has changed. Hopefully they will before the end of the Kickstarter, though I cringe each time a developper advertises Wine as a solution for Linux users. I though we were past that era, but apparently some devs didn’t get the memo.

  26. Britpunk says:

    Actually no – will not be doing this. i paid my cash already thank you. I’m actually quite livid that they would now pursue the KS route, having done the ‘pay us and we might give you a product in the future maybe’ thing for what – two years now?

    This just seems like “we know you gave us some money already, but give us some more and we might actually produce the thing you paid for! also, if you give us loads and we’ll spend two seconds typing your name into a random name generator!”

    • Havok9120 says:

      Eh? You know that the Alpha is both playable and really good right? And that they could finish that without issue, but they have other ideas that they would like to execute. Not to mention that allowing more than just Chris to work on the project full time brings all kinds of useful things into play.

      I probably won’t contribute to the KS either as I’m a bit tight on funds at the moment. That said, there’s no need for the rant when they’ve obviously made a ton of very good progress.

      • Britpunk says:

        Yes I know these things, but kickstarter to me is now broken. it was fun while it lasted, but it has lost all meaning.

        It started off as a means to ‘do’ projects, but take this example:

        link to

        So Amanda Palmer (this would be the same AP who is Neil Gaiman’s wife – that is, ultra successful AP from Dresden Dolls who is married to an extremely successful writer) wanted $100k to do an album. currently over $600k is promised. Does this now mean we get 6 albums? or does it instead mean we get exactly what was promised, whilst she gets some exciting new tax filing to do? I’m guessing the latter.

        Meanwhile a nameless industrial band I adore is on its second KS, and yet has already provided a demo version of its album that the KS was supposed to be paying for, even though the KS doesn’t end for another two weeks (also they only wanted 2.5k to pay for his album, so where the frig does AP’s £100k come from) – and I love this industrial band, but I really don’t want to be paying for something they’d basically already done anyway and that i will happily buy once its done.

        Finally, given the recently highlighted KS shennanigans of unfunded KS projects that are getting done anyway, and potentially fraudulent KS and vanity KS projects, I simply refuse to have anything to do with this movement.

        Which is a real shame…..If Xenonauts had started this way, i’d have been for it, but too late now.

        And god, if Zomboid goes KS now i’ll be writing to my MP or summat.

    • buzzmong says:


      To be fair, Goldhawk have been pretty honest why they’re using KS. They’ve got enough money to finish the game from the pre-orders. That’s not an issue, you will get the game they’ve sold you. The KS money will be used for extra features and polish, hence only asking for $50k.

  27. Corrupt_Tiki says:

    Never played Xcom, and it’ll more than likely burn my eyes if I try play it nowdays.
    if I could get it to work on W7 64bit..

    But all these salivating xcom fanatics have actually finally got me interested in this game, I’ll keep my eye out for final release :P

    • Themadcow says:

      Xcom still looks OK in Windowed mode in something like DOSBOX. I’ve been playing it recently on my 1080p monitor and found it absolutely fine. Granted, it looks like a game that was made in the mid-90’s – but it doesn’t destroy your gaming experienxe unless you have a fundamental opposition to playing anything from that era.

      Xcom isn’t about the graphics, it’s about sending your bunch of excellently named squaddies into a bloodbath and laughing as you phone the bodybag stockist for a new shipment…

  28. Alexandros says:

    Chris England and the rest of the team have poured their heart and soul into this project. It is clearly a labour of love and it’s shaping up to be an awesome game. I have preordered the game already but I will give more money if it’s needed to achieve the funding goal.

  29. Gwyddelig says:

    I think it’s safe to say that I am hugely, hugely excited about this game. While I’m also very excited about Firaxis’ take on things, it doesn’t speak to my giddy, teenage self in the same way as this.