New World Disorder: XCOM 2 Announced

It’s happening. We suspected it would but that hasn’t prevented a swift happy dance before posting of the news could commence.

XCOM 2 [official site] is coming in November of this year. No underwater shenanigans and no race into space. Instead, Firaxis are proposing a grim future in which the alien invasion was eventually successful, leaving humanity as second-class citizens on their own planet. A couple of decades after the war, XCOM re-establishes itself as a hidden force of freedom fighters, striking back against the new world order. Procedural levels, new soldier classes, a mobile base, deeper modding support and more more more. Screenshots and details below.

I’m going to quote directly from the press release so that you can have unfiltered knowledge and I can get back to unfiltered celebrating. I’ll quickly say this though – I’m glad that this seems to be a sequel that builds on the qualities of its predecessor in sensible ways. I think everyone wanted randomised maps and it’s great that we’ll finally have them. I was unsure about the classes when XCOM was announced but they’re the cornerstone of its tactical combat and the cleanest way to expand on that combat.

And the setting makes perfect sense, hopefully allowing for the recognisable environments that are part of my best memories of the series (chrysalids in city streets! Cyberdiscs fucking up a petrol station! Floaters in a cafe!) while showing the effects of two decades of alien influence.

And the mobile base might just be the key to a smarter strategic game? Hope springs eternal.

XCOM 2 transports players 20 years into the future, where humanity lost the war against the alien threat that has established a new world order. The secret paramilitary organization known as XCOM is largely forgotten, and must strike back to reclaim control of Earth and free mankind from the aliens’ rule. XCOM 2 is currently scheduled for release in November 2015. The game will also be coming to Mac and Linux via Feral Interactive.

In XCOM 2, the roles have been reversed, and XCOM is now the invading force. They are hampered by limited resources and must constantly evade the alien threat in their new mobile headquarters. Players must use a combination of firepower and stealth-like tactics to help XCOM recruit soldiers and build a resistance network, while attempting to expose the evil alien agenda and save humanity. XCOM 2 will introduce gameplay features such as procedurally-generated levels, which will make each experience unique to the player, as well as offer a much deeper level of modding support. Additionally, XCOM 2 will offer a variety of new content including five updated soldier classes, increased soldier customization, more alien and enemy types, evolved tactical combat and more.

November seems an awful long way off all of a sudden.

181 Comments

  1. shaydeeadi says:

    Sounds decent.

  2. Bull0 says:

    Called it! Couldn’t be more excited about this.

    • LexW1 says:

      I wish I could be that excited, but Firaxis have such a godawful record on story and atmosphere for me that I’m really not.

      The underlying gameplay in XCOM was solid, though not really as interesting as it could be (I fell into a standard plan – which continued to work perfectly – much earlier and much more easily than other tactical games, and the out-of-mission elements were more chore-like than interesting), but the plot was dull-as-ditchwater, and the world/setting/visual design was also deeply unexceptional (and I can see the latter appears to continue here).

      Beyond Earth was pretty tragic story/plot/atmosphere-wise, and the dull visual design (colourful-but-somehow-colourless and indistinct) and it’s gameplay was flatly inferior to Civ V, despite being a sequel and having amazing sources it could have drawn on (but didn’t, because of stubborn and rather smug-seeming designers).

      So I’m not super-hopeful about this – I mean, in an ideal world in draws on stuff like Apocalypse and does interesting things – but I think realistically, given Firaxis record, it will draw on absolutely nothing, and will basically be a re-worked XCOM with flashier weapons and armour and perhaps less research and more looting.

      I hope I’m wrong and it’s actually something special, but even XCOM itself was “good” rather than “great” game so…

      • Bull0 says:

        No way, it was an excellent game. Game of the year for me by a mile. Is Beyond Earth really so bad that we’re just going to start labelling Firaxis a bad developer and assuming the worst about all their projects now? That’s dumb. I mean, Beyond Earth was bad, but come on.

        • LexW1 says:

          No, based on the trend from Civ V onwards we can label Firaxis very clearly a developer who:

          A) Has repetitive and uninspiring visual design.

          B) Has terrible writing and plots which completely lack the hooks which should pull you into the game.

          C) Pretty much totally ignores atmosphere.

          The gameplay of all of their games since, including Beyond Earth, has been at least solid.

          XCOM was dragged down by the above points, and further by the fact that the base/equipment-building, researching and maintaining gameplay was pretty much dire and devoid of interest. So it was a good tactical combat game with pretty inappropriate visuals, a terrible presentation of the conceptually interesting plot/characters, and a tedious strategic side. Which leaves it good, not great, in my book.

    • colossalstrikepackage says:

      I’m excited with Bull0. Really freaking excited.

    • Rikard Peterson says:

      Ah! That explains the current COM on Steam, that made me finally get the Enemy Within expansion. (Odd pricing though, where the complete pack cost less than Enemy Within on its own.)

      • Rikard Peterson says:

        Don’t know what happened there – I was pretty sure I’d typed “the current XCOM sale on Steam”. (Disqus would be nice.)

  3. Anthile says:

    I need this.

  4. Xocrates says:

    I’ll be honest, I do not recall the last type I got so hyped by a game announcement. Maybe Starcraft 2?

    • Press X to Gary Busey says:

      These positive feels. It’s been so long. :’)
      Even more so when it’s such a reasonable time frame from first teaser to release in this age of either perpetual Early Access alpha or three years AAA hype.

      • Haphaz77 says:

        Aye. It’s great not having to wait longer than November. Because even that is too far away.

  5. Banks says:

    partyhard.gif

    Sounds really interesting.

  6. mattevansc3 says:

    So its UFO:Aftermath then?

    • Tycow says:

      One of my favourites. Buggy, with a few odd design flaws, but a fine game overall! :-D

      • mattevansc3 says:

        I love the entire trilogy and as a whole I’d even say its the better than X-COM. As you said its got its glitches and weird design choices but it also pushed further than any other game in this family. While XCOM was stripping and simplifying the game for the benefit of a wider audience and Xenonauts was just happy trying to emulate the original X-COM the UFO series were bringing in factions, scavenging, diplomacy, RPG elements, changing geoscapes, story missions and golf balls. The mod scene pretty much reinvented the second game and made it better again.

        • Tycow says:

          Oh agreed x100. AS was my favourite of the bunch, and my perfect game would have been AS mechanics with the atmosphere, grittiness and graphics of AM.

          I couldn’t get into AL despite repeated attempts… they took the wacky cartoon thing a bit too far IMO.

          • Tycow says:

            Unfortunately, AS no longer works on my new laptop. All I get is an Assert_Fatal error for line:379 – “no suitable pixel format found”. I’ve tried using both graphics cards in this thing, compatibility mode, the community patch, widescreen fixes to no avail :(

            Damn you lack of edit!

          • Plyskeen says:

            Tycow, UFO: Afterlight didn’t work for me on my laptop due to it not liking the integrated graphics card – but it did work on my desktop (which has a discrete one).

            Regarding the XCOM, didn’t like the first one (no time units, no joy), but I did like the UFO series. Either time units or pausable pseudoreal time are fine (Or both, as in XCOM: Apocalypse), but two-moves-per-turn is simply awful.

          • Plyskeen says:

            Ah shoot, I meant to say the the problem was having a laptop with two graphics cards – it seems that the engine does not like that.

          • Tycow says:

            Thanks for the tip Plyskeen, but I think it’s specifically the graphics hardware in this laptop (AMD and Intel) or WIndows 8 at fault. My old laptop which had two graphics chips (nVidia and Intel) and Windows 7 worked fine. :(

    • EhexT says:

      Hopefully this is going to include most or at least some of the Long War improvements.
      Crucially: A strategic layer that isn’t shit. No “choose 1 of 3 missions, auto-fail the other other two” idiocy. Less bad skills. A difficulty curve that isn’t inverted.

      It’d also be nice if they put the visual-only gunfire they had in the early version of XCOM back in. Fights look really boring unless there’s tons of suppression flying around without it.

  7. Scelous says:

    Hm. I really, really like the concept. A part of me feels burned, however, since my hard-won success in XCOM apparently was for nothing.

    • Rizlar says:

      Clearly it was decided that my last six classic ironman attempts are canon.

      • Dawngreeter says:

        I actually laughed out loud. You, sir (madam?), deserve a cookie.

    • HidingCat says:

      I know, I’m feeling the same way. All that hard work; blood, sweat, tears; all didn’t mean squat.

    • melnificent says:

      So the council pulling my funding after the “incident” with the petrol station and the rocket launcher were real.

    • jonahcutter says:

      It might still be possible to justify having won the game, and still lost somehow after the events of the game.

      The Volunteer doesn’t actually die at the end of the first game. It’s all implied/revealed that it was all basically a test for humanity to see if they could beat the invasion and develop a psionic to that strength. At various times throughout the game Chen will even wonder if the aliens don’t have an ulterior motive for their invasion.

      It may be a bit of a stretch, but it might be possible to justify having beaten back the first invasion as canon.

      • Haphaz77 says:

        That’s what they did in the old X-COM universe. I can definitely see blowing up the Alien mothership being canon. The Second Wave options are a clue; there was a second wave after that!

        • jangove says:

          I certainly can imagine that the first invasion represents a reconnaissance in force from a force that simply vastly out-matches Earth.

    • PikaBot says:

      Think of it this way: in the failed campaigns you ran before you managed to nail it, the fight goes on.

    • Zenicetus says:

      I’m sure they’ll find a way around it.

      Like… we only fought the first invasion wave, and were overwhelmed when the aliens pulled Plan B out of their ass. Or whatever they use for an ass.

    • Premium User Badge

      Bluerps says:

      Maybe the victories of the first game are the reason that there is still any XCOM left in the second game. I don’t think they are just going to write it as “… and then 5000 alien ships appeared at once and XCOM couldn’t do anything because they only had 20 soldiers and one Skyranger.”

      I just hope it’s a continuation from the first game in some way, and not a completely new story. I kind of want to see Shen and Vahlen and Command Center Dude (hm … *google* … his name is Bradford, apparently) again.

      • thetruegentleman says:

        Given that people seem to be living in tents outside of the Advent cities, and that Advent has a statistic listing the number of people who have moved to their cities, it seems probable that the aliens decided to respond to human resistance by wiping out all the major cities, effectively eliminating all the governments and robbing XCOM of its ability to resist. In a game where XCOM is defeated, there is no need for that, as each government surrenders of its own accord.

        It’s probable that the aliens staged a second invasion that simply overpowered all the nations simultaneously, leading XCOM to go into hiding with what little it could take from the base in the hopes of staging a resistance in the future, since XCOM knows that the aliens won’t risk exterminating humanity and probably can’t afford the energy needed to keep a massive occupying force on Earth permanently.

    • mattevansc3 says:

      Well if they allowed us to build more than one base and go on more than one mission at a time maybe we could have repelled the second invasion.

  8. melnificent says:

    5 months away. This is how you reveal something. Lots of information and a release date of within 6 months.

    Rumours are PC Exclusive, so is that indicative of sales failure on console or that PC is the goto for anything strategy related.

    • jondare says:

      As i said somewhere else, they’re also teasing steamworks mod integration, which obviously isn’t possible on consoles, and depending on how deep the integration is, it might just have cut out the possibility of an easy port.

      • Skull says:

        Would Steamworks integration equal no console release? I can’t see it myself as Skyrim and other games don’t seem to have a problem. However, I sincerely hope you are right as the consolation of Enemy Unknown turned a classic into a ‘acceptable’ game.

  9. Infinitron says:

    What, no mention of it being PC exclusive? This is huge news.

    • Premium User Badge

      neffo says:

      Are you going to feel betrayed when it appears on console?

      The controller interface for XCOM was actually properly good, by the way.

  10. Rizlar says:

    Yes yes yes please.

  11. SanguineAngel says:

    I like it!

    Although, are XCOM the bad guys here? The New World looks delightful! And I am not convinced by their second class citizen spiel when all these shots clearly show an economy run by humanity (products and architecture are obviously Terran) that appears to benefit from knowledge and advenaces filtering through from our alien overlor- brothers.

    • Horg says:

      I, for one, welcome our new alien overlords and will prove useful by rounding up other humans to work in the off world mines.

    • LionsPhil says:

      It does rather look like you’re playing “freedom fighters” in the most euphemistic sense.

      • EhexT says:

        So far only Red Faction Guerilla had the balls to make the player a genuine “freedom fighter”. I can’t see Firaxis doing that.

        • LionsPhil says:

          Just Cause 2 encourages you to pack a hijacked plane with explosives and crash it into buildings, not necessarily military in nature, to raise the “chaos” level and destabilize the government.

          Just sayin’

    • mashkeyboardgetusername says:

      So, the mixed-teams multiplayer (assuming it’s still in) may actually make thematic sense?

    • Zenicetus says:

      I’m sure ancient Rome looked shiny to all the slaves working there too. Harrumph!

      Looks like it will be fun to blow up some of that scenery in the screenshots. Too many pastel colors; it seems a bit Disney-fascist. My XCOM team will fight to bring back the drab grays and browns of the early 21st Century.

  12. XhomeB says:

    Oh wow, they insist on keeping that FUGLY art direction. Bloody why, the original UFO:Enemy Unknown looked awesome with its cool, campy comic style. It still has that irresistable charm, the XCOM reboot was flat out dated and bland in terms of visuals, way too Mass Effecty/Gears of Wary (especially in terms of character proportions).
    XCOM, Beyond Earth, and now… this?

    Those screenshots look terrible. TERRIBLE. I’ve seen indie games with more much pleasing to the eye visuals (see Invisible, Inc). Sorry.

    • Bull0 says:

      The art for the original UFO was fucking all over the place, man. What game were you playing?

      • jezcentral says:

        But, but anime and comic book and pixel art mix perfectly!

        Also, however terrifying the Chrysallids were on the battlefield, they become fluffy little bunnykins once they were on the slab (before you did the post mortem).

        • Joshua Northey says:

          At the time, pixel art demanded things be oversized because you needed to do that to have any detail. That theme just looks silly in 3D in my opinion. Looks like some kiddie anime from Japan.

      • Press X to Gary Busey says:

        I quite like the art style in both the reboot and the originals, but here’s a friendly reminder why Terror from the Deep was best (Apocalypse is a mess art-wise with its three different mishmash styles):
        link to i.imgur.com I’m sorry about the quick MS Paint mess but that’s all I had to work with at the moment.

    • Joshua Northey says:

      I really really liked XCOM, but I agree the art direction on the units and weapons was just terrible, and this sadly looks like more of the same. I hate hate hate the oversized everything, its drifted too far from realism towards cartoony.

      • Asurmen says:

        Because Guile haircuts, wieldable guns that are basically the same size and massive shoulder pads are realistic (except for the 80s) :p

      • The_invalid says:

        I totally disagree. Sure, the art style may not have been ‘realistic’, but the art team did a great job of keeping everything totally readable on a crowded battlefield, which is bloody difficult to do. At any given moment you can tell exactly what’s going on at a glance. You know what each member of your team is equipped with, what they’re doing, etc. From an art/design/interactivity standpoint I consider that a far greater win than some slavish concession to authenticity / grittiness / whatever.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      On the other hand, I really liked the art direction so I am very pleased.

    • The Godzilla Hunter says:

      I don’t know, they seemed to have fixed the character proportions in those screenshots.

      • JamesTheNumberless says:

        I don’t know why people care about character proportions, Is something wrong with me? the first one looked good and more importantly *felt* good to me.

    • yurusei says:

      The only design that bothers me is the new Skyranger. Anyone getting Cylon Raider vibes from that one?

    • jonahcutter says:

      Totally disagree with you.

      XCOM’s art style is like Silver Age comic art. It’s simple by today’s standards, and “cartoonish’ the way old Jack Kirby art is “cartoonish” compared to somebody like Jim Lee. But really it’s very clean and puts an emphasis on shape, form and silhouette. It lets you easily read what units are while zoomed all the way out.

      The units and environment create great compositions from just about any angle. And that’s because its shapes and forms, and the outlines they create, are so well considered. Because it’s turn-based, you’re staring at essentially static images most of the time. But it still evokes energy and movement.

      And when things do move the animations are excellent. Dynamic and full of energy. And they read so well again because of the distinct forms.

  13. Sidewinder says:

    Although I disagreed with many of the changes the reboot made, I could understand the rationale behind each and every one of them- with a single exception. Please, please, PLEASE, Firaxis- let us shoot and then move this time.

    • XhomeB says:

      It’d be a good start, I really missed the freedom action points provided. They should also fix the beyond awful, gamepad friendly interface and base building.
      In general, I didn’t enjoy the reboot much. I felt I was following some scripted pattern, a “story mode” instead of playing an actual strategy game. Way too many limitations getting in the way of the fun factor.

      • gwathdring says:

        Why can’t it have a gamepad friendly interface? That seems like a rather pointless thing to “fix.”

        • XhomeB says:

          Because the gamepad-friendly interface in XCOM felt absolutely awful when using k&m.

        • HuvaaKoodia says:

          “gamepad friendly interface” is probably just bad wording, think along the lines of “gamepad focused interface”.

          In multiplatform projects the most cost effective solution is to design the interface based on the least versatile input device. Doing this unfortunately means the k&m support is slapped on top of the gamepad interface rather than designed and implemented as a separate entity.

      • melnificent says:

        The gamepad friendly interface was nice. Meant that gaming on the large TV was possible without having to find somewhere to use the mouse.

      • HuvaaKoodia says:

        I agree with your analysis. They took out too many features and streamlined the rest. As such it just couldn’t live up to the original. An unfair comparison in some sense as X-Com is a more simulation focused game.

        On the other hand this sounds like it might work better for me. I’m less inclined to draw those comparisons when the overall design is sufficiently different.

    • Timbrelaine says:

      Is anyone else concerned by the combat-hoodie / machete-sword? Just me?

      Although the mobile base is a fantastic idea, and pretty much justifies the sequel by itself.

      • MattM says:

        Yeah, I feel like swords would be a bit silly in this game and a hoodie in combat is a peripheral vision eliminating joke

    • Raoul Duke says:

      Not just shoot and move, but also shoot and shoot, and shoot at arbitrary points in space and not just pre-determined “acceptable” targets. Not being able to shoot down walls etc was one of the many silly changes in the reboot.

  14. Solidstate89 says:

    a grim future in which the alien invasion was eventually successful, leaving humanity as second-class citizens on their own planet.

    They finally confirmed Half Life 3!

  15. EighthNote says:

    Obviously I’m excited about a new X-COM, but “combination of firepower and stealth-like tactics” and “procedurally-generated levels” makes this sound an awful lot like Invisible, Inc. – and it would be really hard to make a better game than Invisible, Inc.

    • Scelous says:

      Well, one easy way to make it better than Invisible, Inc. is to have guns with more than one bullet, which I think XCOM 2 will have. So in that sense, it’s already better.

      • jezcentral says:

        MOAR DAKKA!

        Let’s face it, if you ARE going to make a game as good as, or better than, Invisible Inc, copying certain things about that game wouldn’t automatically be a bad thing.

    • jgf1123 says:

      Invisible, Inc. is what I was first reminded of too.

  16. dangermouse76 says:

    S.W.O.R.D !
    Faints.

  17. Cockles says:

    Please, for the love of god Firaxis, pleeeeaaaaase tell me Michael McCann is doing the soundtrack again. It was so good last time around.

  18. shibz says:

    As much as I want another xcom (and hopefully a better ) game. How the hell does this work from a story point of view.

    • Solidstate89 says:

      It’s honestly not that far out of reach. Using all the resources of all the major nations of the world, you were just barely able to defeat a single invasion party on a single Mothership.

      Imagine them sending a couple dozen, or a couple hundred more of those Motherships after we (Humanity) proved to be a bit of an issue.

    • amblingalong says:

      Easy. Two months after the ending of XCOM a bigger alien fleet comes and blows everything up.

      Whether that’s narratively *satisfying* is another matter, but considering the presumptively huge percentage of player games ended in failure, I’d argue it’s entirely appropriate.

    • PikaBot says:

      Seems pretty easy to me. It’s a sequel to your failed campaigns, not your successful one.

    • mattevansc3 says:

      Well the mothership from the first game could have been a rogue element. The next invasion could be your standard B-Movie/TV Show plot line where they come bearing an olive branch of some description such as a plentiful pollution free energy source and/or miracle cures for cancer. This then allows them get their tendrils in and start stealthily ruling the world.

    • Bull0 says:

      It’s fairly clear we were playing into the aliens’ hands the whole time in the first game, and at the end we really just proved their point – we didn’t defeat anyone as such. This would be a perfectly logical next step, even assuming the “winning” ending of the first game is canonical.

    • Premium User Badge

      RaveTurned says:

      ***Spoilers for XCOM final mission follow.***

      The alien voice-over from the final mission implies the aliens have been taking species from many worlds and experimenting on them to make some kind of perfect being. One of the things they’ve been struggling with is creating a being that’s not just physically strong, but also psionically gifted. My guess is the fact that humanity managed to initially fight off the invasion and discover their own psionic potential in the process merely demonstrates their potential, making Earth a priority target for the invaders to further their genetic experiments, and a good reason to send an overwhelming force to capture the planet and subjugate the species.

      • Bull0 says:

        Exactly. And Dr. Shen points out pretty early on that if the aliens actually wanted to conquer us, we’d have been powerless to do anything about it. I’ve seen this “I fought for nothing” argument plastered all over the internet this afternoon and I really don’t understand how you can arrive at that conclusion if you actually played the game.

    • husky65 says:

      The story perspective is pretty easy, to use a WW2 example, the XCom enemy unknown campaign was, from the alien perspective, Dieppe, what followed a few years later was Normandy.

      Now we are in the post war occupation period.

  19. amblingalong says:

    So I loved both XCOM and X-COM, and I’m thrilled they’re making another one (with procedural maps!), but I have to say the ‘mobile base’ part is disheartening. Obviously it’s way too early to judge, but the base-building aspect of XCOM games is so crucial to the franchise, and one of the awesome things procedural maps might bring is dynamically generates base defense missions (as in the original, where you get scouted out, and then a battleship comes to invade, if you don’t shoot it down)… really wish they weren’t moving away from that.

    Like I said, this game could be (and probably will be!) awesome anyways, just something that stuck out.

    • jalf says:

      I don’t think those two things conflict. When they say mobile base, I imagine a big modular thing that can be expanded and repurposed. Which means base building would still be a thing, and it could still be attacked.

    • Zenicetus says:

      A big submarine would be a logical mobile base, except for the mention of “no underwater shenanigans.” I’m having trouble imagining anything else that would be mobile, big enough to hold a research lab and engineering section, and launch transports for missions.

      • Zenicetus says:

        Ah… okay, just saw the trailer and it’s apparently a big aerial transport. Seems like a big thing to hide from orbital surveillance, but maybe it’s cloaked or something.

    • Anthile says:

      I sincerely hope it’s going to be like this: link to memoryade.com

    • Haplo says:

      The official site mentions being able to reconfigure and build rooms on the Avenger (the mobile base thing).

  20. Hanban says:

    This is great news. The original release and Enemy Within have been among my favourite games released in the last couple years.

  21. lowprices says:

    AAAAAAAAHH!

    Er. I mean.

    Oh good. I am quite excited about this.

  22. Themadcow says:

    Cautiously optimistic that this could deliver more of the original X-Com experience than the 2013 game did. Also, there’s a faint whiff of Jagged Alliance about the setting.

    • Raoul Duke says:

      They will need to, and should, change quite a few things to make it more like the original.

      – Proper inventories for soldiers
      – More flexible mechanics than move/action
      – Enemies that don’t cheat by magically spawning and then getting a free shot at you
      – Some actual base management that matters
      – Truly random missions where the outcome isn’t a forced choice to fail one mission to succeed in another
      – Less focus on ‘perks’ and ‘classes’ and that other console-y garbage.
      – Simulated shot physics that allow the player to shoot wherever they want, rather than magic hit calculation on pre-defined targets

      • Haplo says:

        Hmmm. I have differing views on a lot of these.

        Free-targeting would be nice.

        Otherwise, I prefer the remake over the original 9 times out of 10. The original is a great game and the core gameplay conceits hold a lot of appeal and charm, but I typically find the game having a few elements that bog things down and draw stuff out (I never like having to run around a map searching out that one last measly sectoid).

        Part of that is that I personally don’t care much for the idea of the original’s inventories making a comeback, I always found them to be kind of a chore to handle. I had zero complaints with the new system.

        I feel move/action actually covers most actions I’d want to do, because action is a pretty broad field. The only changes I’d prefer here are making it action/move and maybe action/action.

        Although I’m not a fan of the triggering mob of enemies format, not least of which because of the rather awkward metagamey stuff it tends to inspire in veteran players, it’s worth noting that they don’t instantly get a free shot at you- they all move right into cover, even if they spawn and move into your LoS on their turn. They get a ‘free shot’ if you trigger them with your very last move. In my view, that’s not much different from in the original, having your character move into a spot, get cut down by overwatch, then having the rest of your opponents get in a ‘free round’ of shooting as well.

        In my view, perks and classes were a great idea. They added variety, gave soldiers specific, specialised roles and had you engage with diverse and clever use of complimentary power sets to open up options. Furthermore, I think it’s pretty disingenuous to refer to perks and classes as ‘consoley’ garbage, especially considering that a class-and-perk system is predominant in the majority of C-RPGS, pen and paper RPGs… It’s definitely more of an RPG element than it ever is a consoley one.

        I really don’t know what you’re referencing by ‘base management that matters’. The only difference I can think of between original and remake is that one uses an ant-farm system, not a top-down, and the remake one uses adjacency bonuses and a tighter field of construction. If anything to me that sounds more involved than the original model.

        And I have zero clue as to what you mean by missions re: forced choices to fail in order to succeed in another. Absolutely zero. Feel free to elaborate.

        • rmsgrey says:

          I’m pretty sure the forced failure thing was referring to the “here are three missions at once; you can only tackle one of them”.

          As for the base management, in the original game, after the first few months, you could go entirely self-funded by manufacturing and selling Laser Cannons or other profitable equipment. Also, unlike Enemy Within, when a base gets invaded in the original (which only happens if you didn’t take out the scout that found your base, and didn’t construct good enough defences) the invasion plays out on the actual base layout, not on some preset map that has no relationship to what you’ve actually built.

          The original X-COM games were a base-management sim with added combat missions, where the XCOM game is a series of combat missions with a cut-down strategy layer. As I recall, Apocalypse even came with the option to auto-resolve combat missions in order to focus on the rest of the game…

  23. mwoody says:

    Wow, this has potential; I am cautiously excited.

    And for those who don’t like how it makes your victory in the previous game feel hollow, remember the original games: X-Com Apocalypse was based on the story premise that blowing up the enemy base in X-Com Terror from the Deep made Earth’s surface uninhabitable. THAT was hard to swallow.

  24. PeopleLikeFrank says:

    I like that even as a hunted guerrilla organization, they still take the time to paint an origin flag on the back of the operatives’ armour.

    • Bull0 says:

      Yeah, that made me chuckle. I’m glad they’ve kept it just because it ties it in with the first game but yeah, pretty stupid choice for a guerrilla force.

      • Rizlar says:

        Or perhaps it’s all just hand-me-down armour from the old XCOM squad and these new guys are all from Ghent or something?

      • PeopleLikeFrank says:

        I should say, I guess, that I am actually happy about this, even though I had to laugh about it in the trailer. I like the little flags even if it doesn’t make any narrative sense.

  25. Humppakummitus says:

    All I want for the sequel is a suitably climactic last mission and no more enemy spawn points.

  26. elasticman says:

    (Just fyi, this post contains *SPOILERS FOR HOTLINE MIAMI*)

    ………..

    I like this idea that a few people have mentioned that this is a sequel that proceeds from a state of failure rather than success. I seem to remember Hotline Miami did a similar thing about half-way through, where a fail-state that you blithely reload from turns out to be the point from which the narrative proceeds, and your eventual “success” turns out to be a coma fantasy. (Am I remembering this right? Kind of want to play Hotline Miami again now.) Not that I expect XCOM 2 to be as self-reflexive as HM, but it’s a fun conceit to kick around anyway.

  27. jezcentral says:

    One bad thing about the all-knowing internet is that, if I had just seen that trailer, and it wasn’t on the official website, or prefixed by 2K and Firaxis, I may not have known what the game was, and suddenly been hit with the closing words “Welcome back, Commander”.

    I would have utterly lost my shit.

  28. Synesthesia says:

    Hype!

    Though, i’m a bit worried about the procedural maps. I actually loved the designed maps of the last one, and procedural generation for man made spaces can be lacking sometimes.

    Proper map design for a strategic game is a bit necessary for it not to feel unfair. A bad seed can get your squad killed without a chance for retaliation.

    • Synesthesia says:

      Also, here’s the trailer, for some reason it isn’t on the post:

      • mashkeyboardgetusername says:

        Two thoughts on that trailer:

        (1) What is it with aliens/baddies and red lights being shone vertically upwards? They were in this, Saints Row 4, and Blood Dragon. I think we should be told.

        (2) None of those X-COM soldiers were dressed in bright pink. I don’t understand. It’s possible for them not to be dressed in bright pink?

      • Premium User Badge

        RaveTurned says:

        Oh man, I was quietly containing my excitement until I saw that. I may have just yelled something about snakemen out loud.

      • master thief says:

        01:40 “Slave, I make my third wish! I wish to be an all powerful genieeeeeeeeeee!”

    • Merlin the tuna says:

      Yeah, for all my quibbles with XCOM (an excellent but not perfect game), the lack of procedural maps was not one of them, and I think it’s something that “the community” focused on rather foolishly.

      Random maps in a turn-based strategy opens the window for a lot of annoying difficulty variation – I’d rather feel like I was winning and losing based on the quality of my tactics than on whether the map happened to pick an RNG seed that gave me a ridiculous (dis)advantage. And one of the things that Jake Solomon mentioned in various post-mortem conversations was that the had initially gone with procedurally generated maps from XCOM 2012, but the various procedures they put together to build them all either yielded maps that weren’t interesting, or maps that were “differently the same.” Meaning the specifics would change from map to map, but you were still ultimately moving from cover to cover in very similar patterns.

      • Zenicetus says:

        Many of the complaints (including mine) weren’t focused on the lack of procedural maps per se, but that having decided on handmade maps, they just didn’t make enough of them. There was too much repetition.

        The second or third time through the same map, your squad has a tremendous tactical advantage, even if the aliens are seeded differently (usually due to higher-grade forms as you progress). You know where the hard cover is, and you know where the sniper positions are. You know to get your squad-sight sniper up on the roof of that bus that’s always at the lower right side of the city square map. It takes the fun out of it. The Enemy Within expansion added more maps, which didn’t completely solve the problem, but it did help.

        I know procedural maps can have problems, but as long as the game creates a freshly generated map if you reload and start the mission from scratch, that will solve problems with unwinnable map generation.

        • Synesthesia says:

          When so many people play iron man, i don’t think reloading the map is a sensible solution.

        • LionsPhil says:

          Those silly Ironman types may disagree.

        • Merlin the tuna says:

          Oh, I do agree that additional maps would’ve helped, especially if they had enough to make them locale-specific like the Slingshot maps. I never quite got over the number of Kenyan McDonalds I needed to defend.

          But I’m also reminded of how EW repurposed one or two of the existing maps. There’s a gas station map in particular that’s close to a 100% copy of a map from the base game, but it starts you on the opposite end and feels completely new as a result. Obviously not every map could work that way, little tricks like that could expand the map pool very nicely without requiring a ton of rework.

      • Synesthesia says:

        “Random maps in a turn-based strategy opens the window for a lot of annoying difficulty variation – I’d rather feel like I was winning and losing based on the quality of my tactics than on whether the map happened to pick an RNG seed that gave me a ridiculous (dis)advantage.”

        Exactly this. Blandness of procedural generation notwithstanding, actual player decision making can be designed into a level. I’m worried.

        • PoLLeNSKi says:

          They could quite easily feed results from every player on each map they come across into a nice big database to rate the difficulty automatically…

          Kinda how frozen synapse works with it’s RNG terrains.

  29. Okami says:

    I watched the trailer and I have to say that the civilization the aliens built on earth actually doesn’t look to bad. There’s no trash, no polution, there are hover cars and the security guards and checkpoints don’t look more menacing than what most people on this world have to put up with every day. Also there seem to be a lot of different species peacefully coexisting with each other, while humanity hasn’t even managed to coexist with itself for the last few thousand years. These XCom dudes seem like a bunch of xenophobic terrorists who are willing to risk the lives of innocent humans in order to satisfy their racist killing urges.

    I hope you can play the Aliens in this one.

    • Synesthesia says:

      Forced coexistence under a police state is truly the ultimate solution.

  30. Premium User Badge

    teije says:

    The alien overlords seem to have gone to the same designer that Star Trek TNG did.

    Looking forward to this – should be good.

  31. Smion says:

    Bah, XCom aren’t terrorists!

  32. Premium User Badge

    gritz says:

    4 player online co-op campaign, please. PLEASE

  33. Cronstintein says:

    I like the freedom fighter idea as a framing device. It gives them room to do something different from the classic xcom. I’m struggling to maintain my cautious optimism and not go ally hyper-fanboy.

    Please be good!

  34. thecaptainjimbob says:

    All this talk of the sequel being a continuation of failed campaigns puts me in the mind of Bioshock Infinite. Doesn’t hurt that it comes from the same publisher as well.

  35. Hensler says:

    As soon as I read this headline, I took of my pants, took of my underwear, and swung my genitals around like a helicopter blade for at least 5 minutes. I am so freaking excited.

  36. Jericho says:

    Hmmm… I noticed on the website that XCOM’s helicarrier-esque base is called the “Avenger”. That’s a little too on the nose with the Marvel references, isn’t it?

    Not that I mind! It seems that we’ve got classes capable of using melee weapons now, plus drones and grenade launchers, so that’s all cool. I’m a bit sad to see that they weren’t able to add one of the most fan-requested features: Trained attack dogs, man’s best friend against the Xenos threat. But I’ll take RC drones any day, any week! Hell yes!

    Who knows, with mod support we may see those trained alsatian’s yet!

    Also, it’s worth reminding everyone that the Long War for XCOM: Enemy Within is nearly complete (currently in beta, version 15e, but the release candidate should be ready by the end of June). So if you’re hankering for more XCOM right now, that’s a great way to scratch that itch!

    • Merlin the tuna says:

      I… don’t think that’s a Marvel reference. I think they just want to avenge something. Which is actually more than can be said for the Marvel team.

    • Scruffylooking says:

      The ultimate craft you could build in the first X-COM was called “The Avenger”, so I bet it is a homage to that.

    • Haphaz77 says:

      Also the last mission in XCOM is ‘Operation Avenger’. I guess having the game pick a random operation name for the last mission could have gone a bit wrong…

  37. DaceX says:

    I kinda like the UI changes shown in the second screenshot,looks a lot cleaner.You can actually see how your hit% and crit% is calculated, without using another menu. But you can´t see the enemy health bar. Maybe upon activation, because they are clearly not aware of the soldiers present,which is interesting in itself.May give options for more stealthy operations. We shall see.

    • Jericho says:

      I wouldn’t examine the UI too closely until we get to see actual gameplay or the game is very near release. The UI for XCOM EU went through a lot of last-minute cosmetic changes.

      What I wonder is if they were able to take many of the fan-made mod hacks to the EU/EW UI to heart when designing the new one. There’s a lot of quality of life improvements that came about from fans that would be a shame to not see implemented in the sequel. There’s mod support from the get-go this time around, but sometimes you have to take the popularity of certain mods into account when designing sequels. *COUGH* SkyUI *COUGH*

      • Merlin the tuna says:

        Any in particular you recommend? Long War gets the most press as far as XCOM mods go, but reading the patch notes for those was kind of an emotional rollercoaster. I started around “Awesome!” then drifted to “Hrm I guess that’s cool” to “Uhhhh” to “Oh christ why would you want [i]that[/i].” Some minor QOL tweaks might be fun to tinker with though.

        • Jericho says:

          As far as mods available on XCOM Nexus go, most of the UI mods by SpazmoJones and Tracktwo are great, but they also mostly assume you’ll be using Long War and are not compatible with vanilla EU or EW. In fact, almost no mods work with EU anymore since most of the modding tools made be the community require assets and scripts only available in Enemy Within’s code.

          Off the top of my head, there is a mod that allows you to see the sight radius of unactivated pods of aliens (so you can skirt around them or set up ambushes), another that lets you see hit point readouts of UFOs so you know how damaged they’re getting from your attacks, and another that adds a motion tracker device to the game that acts much like the motion tracker from UFO Defense. There are numerous others, but just about every single “quality of life” mod has been incorporated into the final version of Long War.

      • DaceX says:

        True enough. Kinda forgot how drastically some things can change within half a year of developement.

        Regarding mods,I´m curious how many elements from the Long War-Mod they will implement, alongside other mod-ideas,generally speaking. They have shown their support of this whole fan-improvement-thing by getting Beaglerush to stream the Long-War version in their Firaxis o´clock streaming schedule.

        And yes,SkyUi was a viewtiful blessing

  38. aircool says:

    Skirmish vs AI would be cool, just for those times you can’t be arsed with all the base building stuff.

    Anyway, at least I can now lose on Ironman mode knowing that it’s canon.

    • Zenicetus says:

      I wonder if this means the MEC Troopers won’t be featured as much as in Enemy Within? They don’t seem like a good fit for the underground freedom fighter scenario, since they wouldn’t exactly blend into the population. Maybe they’re downsized as more of a Deus Ex cyborg type that can blend in. That might be cool.

  39. Premium User Badge

    Big Dunc says:

    Looking forward to this hugely. November seems like a long way off, but it’s probably only a (failed) Long War campaign away…

    And is that a hint in the trailer that melee weapons will be included this time around?? I certainly hope so.

  40. Jenks says:

    I hope the dropping of console versions doesn’t also mean the dropping of native gamepad support.

  41. mattevansc3 says:

    Didn’t enjoy the first XCOM. They took a simulation game, stripped out all the simulation and replaced it with too many “gamey” systems. This one looks like its going to be its own game so I’m not overly pessimistic about it.

    Hopefully they move away from the standard R&D of previous games. Instead of going through the tired rigmarole of beat new alien, find gear, research gear, get better gear, beat new alien, find gear, etc lets have something a bit more varied and narrative based. Raiding the alien R&D to get prototype weapons, hacking their communication lines , stealth technology, that type of thing.

    Also some variety in missions would be brilliant. Stealth missions where the objective is not to be noticed ie not shooting everything that moves. Assassinations, snatch and grab or even X-COM Apocalypse style building destruction and demolition. After X-COM, XCOM, UFO:A and Xenounauts the standard kill all aliens missions (terror and base maps are just variations on this) get a bit tiresome.

    • Premium User Badge

      gritz says:

      So you want a simulationist game that is driven by narrativist systems. Okie dokie.

      • Emeraude says:

        All systems don’t have to be interact on the same level.

      • mattevansc3 says:

        If you feel that narrative has no place on simulation games then you have very little understanding of war or history.

        Wars are full of small “narratives” that directly influence that war’s progression. While we were capable of breaking the code from the Enigma machines in WW2 it wasn’t quick enough and had minimal impact. It was planned missions to capture the Gedania and Lauenburg that netted the UK the relevant documentation to decode Enigma coded transmissions as they were being sent. Operation Overlord (the Normandy landings), the First 1,000 Bomber Raid, Operation Chastise and Operation Bulbasket were all specialised missions that had an impact on the course of the war.

        Narrative missions are merely specialised missions that guide the direction of the game.

        • Premium User Badge

          gritz says:

          Simulationist design, which you said you favor, is based entirely around the importance of emergence. Narrativism is inherently deterministic, and can even be taken as a “gamey” system because of that.

          But thanks for recapping the Imitation Game for me.

          • Josh W says:

            I think you’re being a little restricted by your definitions. Dwarf Fortress, the famous simulative game, relies explicitly on modelling the required elements for the kinds of stories the brother’s making it could imagine. Narrative sets their lense for the kinds of interactions they are going to emphasise, and then those interactions are made flexible and inter-related such that strange mixed versions of the stories can appear.

  42. LionsPhil says:

    Also, I am pleased to see that the snakeman army has started practicing gender diversity.

  43. Colwolf77 says:

    So this is XCOM 2 – Enemy Known?

    • LionsPhil says:

      XCOM 2 – Enemy Acquainted, But It’s Not Like We Hang Out Or Anything

      • mattevansc3 says:

        XCOM 2 – We met once at a houseparty and added each other on Facebook.

        • Hedgeclipper says:

          XCOM2 – They’re like that guy everyone hates but you have to invite to the party because they’re your sister’s snakeman-friend.

  44. Premium User Badge

    Panther_Modern says:

    XCOM: The New Order

  45. Jungle Rhino says:

    Goodness me – just fininshed cleaning all the j1zz out of my pants!! Hooray for XCOM2. I’m in my 30s, with fond memories of university spent playing terror from the deep on my dads old PC with a very old CRT monitor that needed constant refocussing with a screwdriver.

    That being said XCOM Enemy Unknown is a masterful game. It is fairly easy to build a simulation – the real art to Game design is distilling the core elements down and turning it into compelling gameplay. XCOM EU did this almost perfectly.

    This sequel looks like more of the same – so hooray. Although I need to remain cautiously optimistic. With new systems come new risks of the designers messing it up. But I remain hopeful. They have their mandate given the success of XCOM EU, the world is ready for more turn based strategy games with high production values!

  46. voodoo child says:

    Well time to repeatedly fail iron man runs in anticipation.

  47. montorsi says:

    Awesome, can’t wait. Hopefully it retains the ability to draw upon custom name lists for our soldiers. I know you can rename them but I like having, for example, a complete list of social media friends appear randomly in game instead of having to fill them in myself.

  48. Alien says:

    The new XCOM was a clunky dumbed down console game – miles behind the orginial. I doubt some “nice” changes will make XCOM 2 a better game…

    • mattevansc3 says:

      Sometimes it only takes a few changes to fix something. XCOM’s problem was that it dumbed down the X-COM formula while trying to still be X-COM.

      The storyline and setup seems to cater to XCOM’s limitations. We now have a plausible reason why you’ve only got one base and why you’d have to pick one of three missions. The insurgents setup explains why we are using smaller squads.

      XCOM was a poor X-COM but not necessarily a poor game in its own right. Purely the act of distancing itself from X-COM will make it seem to be a better game.

      • Alien says:

        Thanks, good point. Yes, XCOMs gameplay seems to be better suited for “guerilla warfare”.

  49. edwardh says:

    There’s only one thing I care about – will it actually be turn-based this time around? Considering the success of the “first” one, I doubt it, so… moving on.

    • Steve2911 says:

      Wait what? The first game was turn based and hugely successful… Why in the hell would they not make the second one turn based too? There’s zero indication that it wont be, and the screenshots so far indicates that the basic gameplay setup will be very similar to the first one.

      • edwardh says:

        I’m on a mobile connection with only a few MB to spare, so I won’t look up the video but I’m pretty confident that I once watched one and it was NOT turn-based.
        Hybrid-shit is NOT turn-based. Final Fantasy for instance has not been turn-based since… I think IV?
        All that stuff is semi-turn-based. Or semi-real-time. Whichever way you want to see it. And I can’t stand it.

        • Steve2911 says:

          The player takes a turn, then the aliens take a turn. Not quite sure what else to say to that…

          I’m sorry if an ATB system hurt you when you were young, though.

        • Rikard Peterson says:

          You may be confusing it with some other game. XCOM is as turn-based as it gets.

  50. Goldeneye says:

    The official site explicitly points out that the Avenger (your mobile base) can be configured and upgraded.