Has-Been-Cognita: Klei’s Next Now ‘Invisible, Inc’

It’s dangerous being an international master of espionage. In between all the hideously interesting intrigue, early exposure to crazy cool tech, and bottomless piles of hot, filthy sex that just happen wherever you are, there’s all sorts of horrible stuff. You could, for instance, get captured and have your memories wiped, your entire identity brainwashed away as though merely gum on an old tennis shoe. I assume that’s exactly what happened to Klei’s espionage XCOM Incognita, which is now going by new alias Invisible, Inc for mysteeeeeeeeeerious reasons. I have inquired for further information, but for now we’ll just have to make do with a new trailer and information on the Early Access alpha‘s latest major update.

The latest alpha update includes multiple major changes. There’s now a meta game that lets you earn points whether you win or lose games. Points go toward unlocking new teams and choices, and will apparently be used for even more aspects of the game in the future. The newly rechristened turn-based sneaker also flows differently now, with corporations selected for infiltration at random rather than by players. Meanwhile, to the great relief of many fans, early game difficulty has been rebalanced, especially in terms of level generation and item stats.

Perhaps most interestingly, playing levels as non-lethally as possible now grants you a monetary reward. An entirely non-lethal run will yield 500 credits, and each kill costs you 100 credits. The idea is to incentivize stealthy play over more traditional turn-based tactical combat. Makes sense too, given that the game’s sort of called Invisible, Inc now.

Has anyone been playing the Early Access version of this game? What do you think? It hasn’t been getting as much chatter as Don’t Starve did back in the day, but it’s also a very different sort of game. Do you think Invisible, Inc has the potential to be equally great?


Top comments

  1. The Random One says:

    Wait, puns? *repeats name several times, very slowly* Oooooooh. So that's why everyone likes that name.
  1. Choca says:

    Good to see a nice big update, the game is fine but the alpha got bland quick without new content to test. Looking forward to check out the new stuff.

    • Choca says:

      Played the new update earlier today, they’ve added quite a bunch, it’s looking good.

  2. karthink says:

    ” An entirely non-lethal run will yield 500 credits, and each kill costs you 100 credits.”

    I hope playing non-lethally is intrinsically satisfying as well, otherwise they’re making the same mistake Deus Ex: Human Revolution made in tying it to an external reward. Dishonored too, come to think of it.

    I also wonder if this is the first of the many games inspired by the (Firaxis) XCOM’s ground combat we’re getting.

    • FunnyB says:

      Shadowrun Returns had a similar combat system as well, IMHO.

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      Last time I played it—November, I think—non-lethal wasn’t intrinsically satisfying.

      Apart from 1 agent type, being stealthy meant half the movement points, i.e. it took twice as long to get anywhere—and some rooms you just couldn’t enter stealthily at all (e.g. guard watching the door).

      Knocking out guards was generally doable (either with dart guns or by running up to them and doing it), but they’d only be knocked out for 1-3 turns, meaning you end up with a fully alert armed guard behind you really soon. Unless you left an agent behind to stand on their square, but then you can’t really use the agent for anything else.

      Killing the guards would result in the response team counter being advanced by 1, meaning you had less time to get out overall.

      At that point, I found a mix of stealth, non-lethal, and lethal to work very well, choosing an approach situationally, based on the room layout, where I was trying to get to, other guards around, etc. That worked pretty well—but trying to only use one approach—even for a credit bonus—would be frustrating. And having a monetary penalty for killing seems unnecessary.

      Well, it’s an alpha. A real alpha—they’re still changing the way the game plays a lot. To keep it fresh I’ve been only playing it after every few updates, and it sounds like it might be time to jump in again.

    • tetracycloide says:

      Human revolution may have tied non-lethal to an external reward but that certainly didn’t preclude sneaking up on people and knocking them out from being satisfying.

      • Josh W says:

        True, me and my brother would systematically empty areas using the fact that they covered each other’s patrol routes, and even though what we were doing was quite mechaicaly maximisation in one respect, it was still really fun.

        On a related note, that ai feature is presumably supposed to make the game harder? It always seems to be a way to make people go on longer and longer patrol routes with less and less support. I’d much rather it if people starting disapearing means that they start travelling in pairs with more complicated patrol routes, that way people trying to avoid them all could knock a few out then start running rings around them, and people trying to clear the level would face progressive difficulty.

    • BisonHero says:

      Playing nonlethally in Human Revolution was pretty satisfying, in the sense that if you didn’t play that way, you were screwing yourself and it was occasionally frustrating. Lethal takedowns had an ungodly noise radius that alerted any guard within ~20 meters, and even headshot-with-silenced-pistol was a risk because when guards did lethally, they still cry out briefly or something, with a noise radius of maybe a few 2-4 meters.
      Basically every kill had some kind of noise radius, whereas nonlethal takedowns are completely silent, as are all of the nonlethal weapons.

  3. amateurviking says:

    Continually impressed with the diversity and quality of Klei’s output. Tempted to jump in on this.

    • Shockeh says:

      Was just pressing the Comment button to say the same – Klei consistently impress me, and know what makes a game really fun. I almost wish they’d do a bigger title, but I also appreciate the fact we get a new game from them pretty regularly.

  4. bills6693 says:

    I hope this turns out really well. I have faith in the turn-based side from what I’ve seen, and I’m sure what they’re going to do with it will end up in good places. My main point of interest/worry is the ‘meta game’. I want this to be expanded a lot, I would love a corporate headquarters of my own, money buying new gear, experience for my guys, training, and most of all getting varied job offers from companies wanting to steal other companies secrets, as well as the option to raid places yourself and keep/sell on what you find.

    Additionally, more hidden things in levels, dead ends but also non-objective safes and such to crack for additional rewards – don’t know if its in there but hope so or that it will be.

    But my hopes are high and its all shaping up well anyway. As for the name change, I’d speculate legal issues, some other game having too similar a name basically and they’re avoiding conflict over it?

    • Xocrates says:

      The official reason for the name change is that Invisible, Inc tested better than Incognita.

      • Shadowcat says:

        I’d imagine they’d have been scrambling to change the name from the moment someone thought up “Invisible, Inc.”

        That name is genius.

        • bills6693 says:

          I must be missing something in the name… I like Incognita and don’t really understand whats great about Invisible, Inc.

          • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

            It’s a pun!

            If you don’t get it, watch the end of the video again.

          • SuddenSight says:

            For me, three reasons:

            Reason the first: Invisible Inc. is an alliteration. Alliterations are cool.

            Reason the second: The name makes no sense if you think too hard about it. Incorporation requires that you file documents of incorporation with some country. So to be incorporated, Invisible Inc. must have filed documents with some country somewhere. Which would place them under the jurisdiction of that country. Which is kind of the opposite of what you would expect from a high-flying international spy ring.

            Reason the third: it’s a pun.

          • Lamb Chop says:

            Reason the fourth: And how would they write up those documents of incorporation so as to disappear? The pun is even more clever than you think.

  5. RedViv says:

    Puns 1, Latin 0.

  6. Xocrates says:

    Been playing this on and off since the alpha first came out. It truly is a really enjoyable game, but it’s still very much an alpha with a lot of things in flux – the last update I’ve played fundamentally changed how the points for hacking things worked, for instances.

    I’m really happy to hear about about the difficulty rebalance, the game was getting pretty hardcore last time I played (though I expected that was more because they were putting everything in them in order to test – basic guards had all but been replaced by elite versions, for instances)

  7. Cytrom says:

    I’d rather play a game that looks like the animated cutscenes in the video… kinda reminded me of No One Lives Forever. Btw what the hell happened to Monolith?

    • LionsPhil says:

      Contract J.A.C.K. and F.E.A.R. happened.

      It actually reminded me more of Evil Genius, if only because of the camera angles during the snippets of gameplay, I guess.

      • bills6693 says:

        Hadn’t thought of it before but actually yeah, it does kinda have an evil genius vibe. Those over-the-top movements of the people and the camera.

        Man, a tie-in of this game and evil genius :P I send my minions to go steal some item, and then I actually play out them stealing the item!

    • amateurviking says:

      Guacamelee has a similar art style. Is awesome. A 2D-explorosuplexathon.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      They’re making a MOBA now. As is Ironclad, btw. Seriously.

  8. Foosnark says:

    I tried an early early alpha thingy and found it was incomprehensible and fiendishly difficult. I decided I’d wait for some updates before messing with it any further. Maybe now’s the time.

  9. jonahcutter says:

    Klei continues to impress by quietly producing quality, innovative games. I really think they are one of the preeminent game companies in the industry today. And without any media posturing or drama.

    Invisible, Inc has had an excellent foundation to build and tweak. It’s sleek and fun, though a bit simple so far. The basics are there though for a compelling game. And with Klei’s track record, I’m confident it will continue to grow in leaps and bounds, and on a regular basis.

    The original name was superior. It summed up the game better: remaining anonymous. The new name just feels like a throwaway pun. Cute for a moment because of the pun, but a bit bland and frivolous as an actual title. Feels like a bad, cancelled-mid-first-season, sitcom title.

  10. XhomeB says:

    Oh dear, that is one terrible name change. It sounds so generic now…
    Anyway, the game has a lot of potential. How stealthy can you be? Do you see your enemies’ cones of vision or something along those lines, so you can knock them out and carry unconscious bodies away?

  11. mwoody says:

    I’ll spell it out for those who, like me, kept reading out “incorporated” and hating the name:

    Read the name as “Invisible Ink”.