Censory Perception: The Bureau – XCOM Declassified

I love XCOM, X-COM and pretty much any variant thereof. Heck, I’d probably buy X-MOC, a spoof version in which the invading aliens are broad parodies of Z-list celebrities, provided the combat was turn-based and the deaths were permanent. The idea of an alien invasion in a period setting that permits excessive use of fedoras and chain-smoking agents is also pleasing to my aesthetic sensibilities, so it’s odd that The Bureau: XCOM Declassified isn’t causing me to polish my shiniest shoes in preparation for good some old-fashioned investigation and elimination. Like the evidence of extraterrestrials that the agency is so keen to censor or destroy, the footage of the game in action is perplexing, if not outright alarming. It looks like XCOM but where is the ‘end turn’ button and why do these agents have so much techno-magic? Take a look.

The Bureau: Spats Effect? The game is out at on August 20th in North America and reaches these shores on August 23rd.


  1. The Sombrero Kid says:

    i liked the look of the game this replaced, this doesn’t look very good.

    • Gap Gen says:

      I’d say the same thing, but just to mess with the heads of the developers. “No, wrong!” *slap* “No, the other way was better!” *slap* “NO” *slap*

      • Trent Hawkins says:

        Just because it’s different, doesn’t mean it’s better.

        • Gap Gen says:

          I’m mainly being silly. Ignore me. And yeah, I liked (and like) the 50s feel, when you’re taking on aliens with WWII-era sidearms.

          • TsunamiWombat says:

            From what I understand you start out with 50’s era fire arms. Alien and energy weapons is stuff you have to research. Just like real X-Com

    • Kobest says:

      It exactly looks like the recent XCOM, but with a third person perspective.

      I know it was said a lot, but boy, I would have jumped on the first iteration of XCOM with the FPS view and geniunely interesting setting and enemy.

      • Zenicetus says:

        It doesn’t look like an alternate perspective view of XCOM to me. Not my games, anyway. These agents are way too aggressive in running up to the aliens, and the aliens are much more stupid. Most of what we see in this trailer would get your squad killed in XCOM:EU.

        That’s my main beef with these previews. It looks like Call of Squad Duty, not something where your guys are in danger, usually outclassed by the enemy, and you have to use cautious tactics to survive.

    • Deadly Sinner says:

      Unless you are talking about the very first iteration, I’m going to have to disagree. Going on just the trailers, the current version looks to lean more to the tactical side than the previous version, which seemed more interested in the shooty bits.

    • maximiZe says:

      I agree. For The Bureau they somehow managed to make the art/level design ridiculously sterile and take cover camping to a whole new level.

      • v.dog says:

        Agreed. They went from these polymorphic organic-tech black cubes (is is an alien, an environment, a weapon or a ship? yes) to – greys.

        I’m just a tad disappointed.

  2. wspray85 says:

    Mass Effect gunplay with a pause, plan, and go function. Maybe. More quality XCOM would be good but this one has been in the pipeline for years.

    • Snargelfargen says:

      It actually reminded me more of Rainbow 6 Vegas’ squad commands. It had a really intuitive system for commanding a squad and coordinating attacks on rooms. Expanding on that could actually make a really fun squad tactics shooter. The Mass Effect series’ combat is similiar I guess, but it’s frankly kind of clumsy and relies too much on ranged “magic” abilities (some of which have entertaining effects, but don’t require any thinking beyond checking if the enemy has shields up).

      We’ll see what happens though, pretty sure this game has been in development hell since sometime in 2010.

      • Cryptoshrimp says:

        Man, I would love to play Rainbow Six Vegas: Cold War Alien Edition. Hope you’re right and this is something like it.

      • Moni says:

        Aww, now I’ve been reminded that I really love Rainbow Six: Vegas, it has probably the best cover-based gunplay. I thought the team commands felt good, but were actually a bit useless though.

        The Division looks like it could have similar cover mechanics, so it would be nice if there was a single-player mode where you could control a couple of teammates.

        • Snargelfargen says:

          Yeah, cover-shooters have the potential to be pretty good so long as they embrace the slower-paced gameplay and really try to encourage a deeper level of tactics or squad management. Not that Vegas was complex by any means, but those pauses behind walls could be put to good use, figuring out how to flank the bads, and directing team-mates . It needs relatively detailed level design too, with multiple paths and vertical spaces.

          I have to agree that Vegas’ squad commands are mostly useful in the planning stages of an assault, but that was also quite a bit of fun, as the game always encouraged scouting and attacking simultaneously from multiple fronts.

          After writing that, I’m starting to really want RainbowCom: UFO Vegas to become a reality. Not likely though :(

  3. lowprices says:

    While I’m still going to wait for more information (like some reviews), I’m willing to give this the benefit of the doubt for now, given who’s making it. I guess it helps that, as much as I enjoy X-com, it’s not one of those totemic games for me, so I’m happy to see it twisted into new shapes.

  4. Dowr says:

    Pause-n-plan features in real-time combat is just oxymoronic.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      Surely it would be more oxymoronic to have “pause-and-plan” in a turn-based game?

  5. Ernesto25 says:

    Ok i am not interested anymore compared with the last trailer.

  6. Jams O'Donnell says:

    It kind of makes me think of Full Spectrum Warrior.

    disclaimer: I have never played FSW. Maybe it is more accurate to say “it kind of makes me think of what I think FSW is like.”

    • Jimbo says:

      FSW isn’t like what you think it’s like. Or this isn’t like what you think it’s like. Possibly both.

      • Diziet Sma says:

        I dunno, I played Full Spectrum Warrior and absolutely loved it. There’s certainly enough of that in here to ring some of those bells.

  7. SaVi says:

    Unlike the first time this game was announced, there is now a decent turn-based, square-moving xcom which I had some good fun with, so if they do make a shooty one now, good for them. Maybe I’ll even play it? The cube aliens were kinda cool and unique, but this iteration takes a few hints design wise from the turnbased one looks interesting too.

    I am curious though if the black goo also had its own fans.

  8. TormDK says:

    Looks interesting enough. Looking forward to more gameplaye videos.

  9. Chris says:

    “Heck, I’d probably buy X-MOC, a spoof version in which the invading aliens are broad parodies of Z-list celebrities”

    What an absolutely splendid idea for a mod.

    Seriously who wouldn’t want to shoot Peter Andre in the face?

    Who wouldn’t want to blow Paris Hilton into greasy smoke?

    Whacking Z-listers sounds quite cathartic, Jade Goody, Jedwood, Katie fucking Price, the Go Compare guy, Noel Edmunds, Sarah Palin, the cast of CSI, and Kate Silverton ALL DEAD!


    Fuck that, I’m an atheist, and I would PRAY for this mod!

    Please oh please, someone make this happen.

    • Skull says:

      Jade Goody has already been dead a while now mate….

    • Skipperoo says:


    • Blackcompany says:

      I came here to see Lord Custard Smingleigh’s (no doubt witty and clever) reply to this very topic.

      Alas, it is yet early. I shall continue to wait and watch. And hope….

  10. Ross Mills says:

    This is one of those games that I’m very, very dubious about, but want to be good, so I’ll wait for the reviews…

    • BobbyDylan says:

      Agreed. I felt the same for XCOM EU, and was pleasantly surprised. Maybe this will be good, but I;ll wait to find ot.

  11. Jason Moyer says:

    Looks pretty crap compared to the original iteration of this game. Thanks internet for whining about that, by the way.

    • Turkey says:

      I’d feel bad, but I got a fairly decent Xcom game out of it. Sorry about your black goo shooter.

  12. fiendling says:

    Hmmm… I think it looks pretty good.

    The only jarring aspect of the trailer is the anachronistic contrast of the 60’s suits and hats with the futuristic alien weapons the agents use.

    Why not employ futuristic / alien body armour as well?

    • Snargelfargen says:

      No doubt they are assets left over from the previous version of the game.

  13. Fox89 says:

    I thought that looked really good! The tactical squad command side of things looks to be pretty intrinsic. Hopefully it will play along the lines of something like Conflict: Global Storm or at least a more tactical Mass Effect.

    I was a bit dubious about everything but the aesthetic before, but now I’m pretty interested. I hope there’s some kind of strategy management in between missions: weapons research or base building, that sort of thing.

  14. PopeRatzo says:

    Third-person cover shooter.

    Kill me now.

  15. tnzk says:

    Just to repeat what’s often been said,

    Blast you internet for whinging so much and destroying what seemed to be a pretty intriguing first iteration of an XCOM shooter. This totally looks designed-by-comittee feat. community backlash. No soul at all.

    • Sidewinder says:

      And to repeat what’s so often been said in reply: we got a proper-genred (if unhyphenated for no discernible reason) game out of it. If that’s what whining gets, it’s hard to argue with it.

    • Ahtaps says:

      I think what you really mean to say is “Blast you 2K for taking people’s feedback and going in entirely the wrong direction with it.” Internet whinging is always going to happen, but it is still ultimately the recipient’s choice as to how they respond and whether it is in a way that makes things better.

      Take these examples:
      – People were generally happy with the revised ME3 ending after the internet whinged.
      – People are generally happy with Microsoft’s revised XBox One vision after the internet whinged.
      – People were very happy with not getting SOPA passed after a huge whinge from the internet.

  16. Oathbreaker says:

    Oh look. Someone took an old beloved franchise and threw in a bunch of the latest FPS-craze Mass Effect stuff with deployable turrets and super weapons and whatnot. Nice fedoras, though.

    I’ll pass. I’d rather play Chaos Gate.

    • PopeRatzo says:

      Mass Effect was never an FPS.

      If this was actually an FPS like originally announced, it would be much more interesting. The last thing I want to see is another third-person, console-centric cover shooter like this thing.

  17. jonahcutter says:

    Going to sign on the “original iteration looked more interesting” wagon.

    Somewhere in my mind, it actually had a heavy investigation component. And then 1940/50’s weaponry vs very alien aliens.

    I don’t know if that was actually the case, but it sounds fantastic to me. And would of fit in with the idea of a kind of clandestine war between humans and aliens, decades before the actual open invasion and warfare of XCOM:EU.

    And because of the “Enemy Unknown” subtitle and gameplay of EU, it could of built into the storyline and gameplay of The Bureau that keeping events secret was paramount.

  18. Wonderboy2402 says:

    They could have made a cool first person horror shooter from the perspective of a x-com agent… Perhaps with asymetrical multipayer too.

    Instead we get mass effect with 10 ft distant gun battles and waist cover.

  19. Silenus says:

    I confused about something. This isn’t the same game being introduced here (link to youtube.com), is it? In other words, there’s going to be another ‘proper’ XCOM game, right? An expansion or sequel to XCOM: Enemy Unknown, yes?

    • buzzmong says:

      Yes, we’re going to get another turn based tactical/management game. Whether or not you deem it “proper” is a personal thing.

      I like XCOM:EU, it’s certainly a good game, but for me, the few things it does well and the interesting bits it does differently, are let down by some pretty poor design choices mostly revolving around the entire strategy/economy side when put against the original game (which wasn’t perfect either, but it was deeper and more engaging).

      I really hope Firaxis’s second go, with a bigger budget and more faith in the game concept, will allow them to really expand the areas the reboot was lacking.

  20. Outsider says:

    Looking forward to this. Also, great writing Adam, as usual.

  21. feverberries says:

    gameplay mechanics actually look pretty interesting. i thought this was gonna be generic FPS from what i’ve seen earlier (years ago). not that it would still come anywhere near Enemy Unknown.

    does it have any base/squad management and research stuff in it? if not, i’m still not interested.