X Dash COMING: Xenonauts 2 Confirmed, Going 3D

XCOM 2 is out this week and I’m pretty flipping excited. But what of people whose hearts yearn for X-COM, the bedashed original series Firaxis rebooted and dedashed? Good news: Xenonauts 2 [official site] is definitely happening. Bad news: it’ll arrive in 2017 at the earliest.

Goldhawk Interactive’s Xenonauts, which came out in 2014 after years in early access, is essentially a tweaked unofficial remake of UFO: Enemy Unknown (or ‘X-COM: UFO Defense’, whatever). It’s pretty great! The sequel will be a bit more adventurous, taking more liberties with the X-COM formula as it also switches from sprites to proper 3D.

Goldhawk explain:

“Some of the issues in the original game were caused by our lack of experience / lack of early funding, whereas others were caused by the constraints remaining faithful to the design of a game dating back to 1994. The experience and income we have accumulated from the development of Xenonauts mean that we can make a sequel that significantly improves and expands on the first game – and this time we can be more innovative than before.”

Expect redesigns of the aliens, air combat that’s less frequent but turn-based, a better interface, better modding support, better performance, and plenty of other things detailed on the game’s site.

Somehow, this isn’t an announcement – Goldhawk are simply saying they’re making it and explaining what it’s about. Except more info “in the next couple of months”. They’d said before that a sequel was “more likely than not” and muttered about plans so hey, it’s good to upgrade its status.

Goldhawk plan to once again take the Early Access path, but the game will be further along when they do that this time. “People expect more from Early Access games these days,” they say. We will be watching.


  1. Troubletcat says:

    Hype. I loved Xenonauts but felt that it was somewhat less than it could’ve been. Perhaps with a sequel… [excited gurgling]

    • BobbyDylan says:

      TBH, I’m not sure going 3D is a good idea. I feel that Wasteland 2 would have been a far superior game if it was more 2D like Pillars of Eternity.

  2. DrollRemark says:

    I liked the air combat in Xenonauts. Admittedly it didn’t really feel like you were a tactical commander when you’re telling your fighter pilots exactly when to dodge and shoot, but it was still quite tightly done. There was a real knack to mastering it.

    • Sorbicol says:

      Call me Mr Thicky but I could never get the hang of the air combat in xenonauts, I ended up being reliant on the auto resolve button.

      This however qualifies as good news. As much as I love firaxis’ reboot, Xenonauts certainly retained the tension creeping across a map wondering what was lurking in the dark of the original much better.

    • Ur-Quan says:

      I don’t know I found the air combat to be pretty bland and easily abusable. With the big UFOs all you have to do is get behin them and you can unload everything you have into them without any fear retaliation.

      • Chris Cunningham says:

        The big problem with air combat was that it was absolutely equipment-bound – if you weren’t keeping up with the available air tech (making it your first priority, basically) you had literally no hope against the next step up from the current UFOs except to save-scum and pray for the fairly lenient auto-resolver (which appears just to be a pure RNG – you can take down ships that you literally can’t carry enough ammo to kill directly) to bring you out on top.

        Anyway, this is straight to the top of next year’s wishlist. It was such a shame that the first one suffered due to choice of engine (something which also applies to UFO:AI, which despite being 3D is using tech that’s over a decade old now). I do hope that they retain the overall art style even with a perspective swap.

  3. PoulWrist says:

    Devs have been talking about this for quite a while on their forum :)

    Excited about this, Xenonauts had some good ideas and a sequel to build on those could be grand.

  4. fenchurch says:

    Actually enjoyed xenonauts more than the xcom remake. Maps and gamplay just felt more relevant and less “gamey”. Mostly regarding xcoms botched scouting mechanics.

  5. Hedgeclipper says:

    I was hopeing they’d take the sequel underwater.

  6. braven5 says:

    As a big fan of the origninal XCOM I did enjoy Xenonaughts, granted I still prefered the modern remake, I just found it more fun to play personally… That said however I will look forward to Xenonaughts 2.

  7. Great Cthulhu says:

    Xenonauts was great, but too grindy for my tastes. (The original X-COM was too, but those were different days.) I hope they’ll reduce that in the sequel. Apart from that, I found the first one to be very enjoyable.

  8. Chiron says:

    Hopefully it’ll be as easy to mod as the last game, I had to manually put making it worth manufacturing items back into the game.

    I want to supply 3rd world dictators with Plasma Rifles and make a tidy operating profit dammit.

    • Wisq says:

      I’m assuming you’re referring to the original X-COM strategy of always keeping your engineers busy making money for profit?

      I wonder if there’s a mod to just have your engineers quietly make you money when they’re not otherwise engaged. All the benefit without the micromanagement. Although I would probably tone it down a bit from X-COM levels, such that it’s roughly enough to cover base upkeep and salaries, and any real expenditures need your regular government funding + proceeds from mission loot.

      • Wisq says:

        “making money for profit” lol. Making items for profit, I meant.

  9. Unsheep says:

    Yeeez, X-COM Apocalypse 2 is on its way !

    The Firaxis reboots are deservedly successful, but Xenonauts was the X-Com game I wanted to play, apart from replaying the original games.

    The changes they are planning for Xenonauts 2 all seem very good, adding more strategic and tactical play is always a good thing, although I think the first game was already great as it was.

    I don’t mind waiting until 2017, I plan on replaying the first Xenonauts game and the original X-Com games before then.

  10. nailertn says:

    To me Xenonauts was THE successor to the original game, the Firaxis version felt way too simplistic on the meta game side and too RNG due mainly to small squad size. And while I would love to play a modern version of TFTD too, Goldhawk trying something new instead has me equally excited.

    • Immobile Piper says:

      TFTD that isn’t a lazy palette swap of the previous game would be awesome.

      • PancakeWizard says:

        TFTD was way more than a pallet swap. The underwater stuff felt way more intense and claustrophobic, the cruise ship levels were easily the best XCOM combat areas ever made and the coastal levels….well…yes the coastal levels were shit.

  11. Shadow says:

    Xenonauts was fine, but let’s hope this one has more soul and personality, and is less of an overlong grind.

  12. Replikant says:

    I like Terror from the deep, I really do. Apart from the ship terror missions a.k.a ship terrorist missing a.k.a where the hell is that last alien hiding.
    And only bringing underwater guns when you were actually doing a land-based mission.

    Anyway, there is a series of ‘realism’ problems with TFTD: I don’t know what stuff X-COM and the aliens are running around in, but water it ain’t. Movement speed is much to high. Also, why the hell do I need a high-tech flying suit to swim above the sea-floor? TFTD’s combat is a reskinned EU for the most part. Thematically it’s great, but suspension of disbelief is really hard work in that one.

    • Replikant says:

      This was supposed to be an answer to nailertn. Edit button?

    • Shadow says:

      Also, why the hell do I need a high-tech flying suit to swim above the sea-floor?

      Probably because you wouldn’t be able to swim in battle armour on your own. Especially as the suits grow in size.

      The main weirdness as far as immersion is concerned is the fact you can throw stuff around underwater just like you would on the surface. I hadn’t really thought about general movement.

      • Replikant says:

        Well, especially early on, with no armor, it’s should actually be much harder to walk on the floor, than to don an inflatable vest and just swim.
        Oh yes, good point, I had forgotten the grenades.

  13. Chaotic Entropy says:

    Brilliant! It was an excellent little game with a decent community, more power to it.

  14. Rhodokasaurus says:

    Oh man, good luck to them… I don’t think they really understand how difficult it will be to go 3D. Their first game took like 3-4 years, right? Go ahead and double that.

    • buzzmong says:

      To be fair, if you’d followed the game from pre-KS days, Goldhawk took ages with it because it was both a tiny startup operating on not a lot of funds and because they got shafted early on by a contract dev who lumbered them with a shitty end of life engine. The lack of resources meant they couldn’t afford do redo all the art assets in a new engine, so stayed the course but suffered a lot of pain on the engine-side.

      Swapping to Unity should see them plow out the game in a year or two as it’s a good engine and they’ll mostly be content creating, plus they’re now no longer a complete startup.

  15. Themadcow says:

    Tried twice to get into Xenonauts but something about the aesthetic just doesn’t work for me so it’s good to see them taking a new visual direction. For my money its probably Open X-Com > XCOM2 > XCOM (Mobile) > Xenonauts / XCOM (PC)