When X-COM cast off its hyphen and complexity to become XCOM, Xenonauts was handily here with old-school alien-busting. Now you can see how its sequel is shaping up, as developers Goldhawk Interactive are releasing development builds of Xenonauts 2 [official site] for free. You can play one single mission right now, then Goldhawk plan to expand this pre-alpha demo fortnightly. They’ll start charging money once the game’s in good enough shape but paying with feedback is peachy-dory for now.
Xenonauts 2 isn’t a direct sequel, instead going back to the Cold War era to reimagine Xenonauts (and X-COM) a bit. “We can be a bit more original and innovative in our designs this time around, as we are not constrained by the obligations of remaking the classic X-Com formula!” Goldhawk have said. It’s going 3D, for starters, while expanding the strategic layer and dabbling in story more.
Goldhawk actually started releasing Xenonauts dev builds quietly in January but now they’re reaching to a wider audience. Swing on by GOG, where the demo is distributed through the GOG Galaxy client.
“Why release builds of the game for free? The short answer is that our community is providing us a service just by playing the game and giving us feedback on it. The feedback of people who aren’t willing to pay $25 for an Early Access game is just as valuable as that of anyone else. We want to know now if specific things in the game really annoy players, or if our game runs badly on specific hardware combinations – if we only find that stuff out after release we’ll wind up with bad reviews and angry customers. If you’re interested in Xenonauts-2 then please come play it and give us some feedback on our forums – it’s cool if you don’t want to pay for the game while it’s still in Early Access, your thoughts are still really helpful.”
Goldhawk plan to release updated builds fortnightly on a Tuesday, starting February 28th. It’s free for now but will be coming paid to Steam Early Access later in development. The devs say, “we’ll probably only start charging for the game when the Ground Combat and Geoscape are working and linked together.”
For now, go! Shoot aliens! Tactically!