XCOM 2: War Of The Chosen coming August 29th

As expected, Firaxis announced a full-fat XCOM 2 [official site] expansion at the E3 2017 PC Gaming Show, promising “new environments, new enemies and new XCOM forces”. It’s called War of the Chosen and the trailer shows those Chosen, the “ultimate enemies of XCOM”. They are three champions – nemeses perhaps – and they will grow up in strength through the game, learning new skills and abilities.

On top of that, there are resistance groups to win over, new zombie-like hordes that will attack aliens and humans alike, and a whole lot more. It’s “twice the size” of the original XCOM’s expansion.

The three Chosen are the Hunter, the Assassin and the Warlock, and they’re mirrored by the three resistance groups: Reapers, Skirmishers and Templars. If you’re able to earn the trust and support of the resistance groups, presumably by assisting them and striking back against the aliens, they’ll provide you with the most powerful soldiers ever seen in an XCOM game.

Skirmishers are alien defectors, Reapers are saboteurs and Templars have powerful psionic abilities. These latter sound interesting, gaining more power over time. You can save this to unleash their most deadly attacks, but you’ll need to provide protection, or you can fire off weaker abilities more frequently.

All of this sounds like tactical combat changes rather than strategic level additions, but the Resistance and the Chosen will actually operate on the strategic map.

One of the biggest additions will be in the new environments though. Ever wondered what the abandoned cities of the XCOM 2 world look like? Well, they’re not abandoned at all. They’re full of people but those people have turned into monsters. Zombie-like mutants who attack in heaving great hordes. They’re attracted by the sound of battle, and they’re just as likely to tear through the aliens as your own forces, which will lead to three-way scraps in the city environments.

If the Chosen resemble the enemies produced using Mordor’s Nemesis System even a little I’ll be delighted. And I have to say, I was expecting Terror From the Deep as an extra underwater map layer, but this seems like it’ll add far more than a new set of map terrain and enemy types.

There will also be some RPG type stuff, with soldiers forming bonds that’ll make it even more heart-breaking when they die. So, new ways to die, new enemies to kill you, and more reasons to care about all the lives lost. Delicious.

37 Comments

  1. rustybroomhandle says:

    I hope this is not another one of those expansions that are embedded into the original campaign. Otherwise, more XCOM, bring it!

    • ElementalAlchemist says:

      It is.

      • rustybroomhandle says:

        Well bah. Great way to take a tightly designed game and dilute the heck out of it.

        • Optimaximal says:

          I don’t agree that Enemy Within diluted XCOM – I played both vanilla & updated versions and found the tweaks and changes in EW + the interwoven plot worked well – but hey, horses for courses.

          Personally, I’m glad XCOM 2 is sat in my pile of shame – I hated restarting XCOM once I got hold of EW as the new stuff was fairly late game, so maybe that’s where you’re coming from?

          • Maxheadroom says:

            that’s exactly my feeling. Just picked up xcom2 in the summer sale last week. Not that far into it but I know when I finish it I wont really feel like starting over with a few extra bells and whistles.

            Kinda like watching a film then watching the Directors Cut immediately afterwards – curious as to whats different but not enough to sit through it all over again

  2. Xocrates says:

    Most of this looks really interesting, but I really do not like that it appears to happen on top of the current campaign instead of as a new campaign. The current game already has a bunch of stuff I don’t have room to use, particularly with the DLCs.

  3. fencenswitchen says:

    That I did not expect. First impression: Well, we somehow have seen it all. A little orkish, those PSI people. Stealthy Hunter guys, Advent Deserters and *sigh* Zombies. But anyway, it could work great as a game with all those different types. And I love that they really put some work into this to push it further. I have great trust in you, Jake Solomon :)

  4. Zenicetus says:

    Yeah, if it’s concurrent with the main campaign, that’s not good. Maybe they’ve figured out a away around that.

    I’m also wondering how that zombie horde thing works within the turn-based structure of the game. Each of your soldiers only gets one shot per per turn (with a few exceptions). I can’t see that one scene with the team surrounded by zombies turning out well.

    • Xocrates says:

      The DLCs already toyed with the “vastly outnumbered” thing, though not to the unrealistic extent that’s shown in this trailer (in what’s obviously a cinematic, so I wouldn’t count with it being representative), mostly they just make those enemies have very few hp, so any hit will kill them, meaning every ability that allows you to attack more than once or does aoe is really useful.

      In other words, grenadiers and gunslinger sharpshooters.

      • ElementalAlchemist says:

        It’s an endless horde though, so killing them is pointless. It’s basically just a reskinned timer mechanic more or less.

        • Xocrates says:

          Timers don’t punch you in the face though.

          Killing all of them may be pointless, but ideally you should be able to kill the ones you need to kill with as few actions as possible.

          • ElementalAlchemist says:

            Depends on whether you are talking literally or metaphorically. Both are intended to stop overwatch camping by imposing harsh penalties.

        • aldo_14 says:

          A timer mechanic that you can use against your enemies, though.

    • colw00t says:

      I’ve played a few tabletop games that deal with hordes by having damage dealt be divided amongst the horde. So if they have 2hp each, and you do an attack for 7 damage, you kill three and wound one. Maybe something like that?

      • Askis says:

        Or the zombies act like a wall, fight long enough and a horde appears on one (or more) of the map borders, which moves every turn.
        Any combatant in direct contact with it takes damage, don’t move out of it and they get overwhelmed.
        Doing damage only delays it or breaks it up for a short while.
        So it’d force soldiers and aliens out of cover, to fight in what remains of the map.
        Kind of like Battlegrounds circles (or whatever game did it first), only with zombies.

        And the more I think about it, the less fun that sounds, even if it was a timer replacement on one map type.
        But at least it wouldn’t be a bunch of 1-2 hp enemies clogging up the enemy detection list.

    • Optimaximal says:

      Once you got the hang of it, quelling a zombie hoard caused by a rampaging Chrysalid was fairly simple in XCOM.

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      Tam-Lin says:

      Apparently the mechanic is like the sniper’s Serial capability (I think that’s the one), but for all soldiers: if your shot kills a zombie, you get another shot, until you run out of ammo.

  5. brucethemoose says:

    I hope it’s not ridiculous like the alien hunters DLC.

    I mean, XCOM is difficult. That’s part of the game’s appeal. But the hunters that can move after every action you take, have multi-row hitbars, that can pop up out of nowhere during a normal firefight… That’s not an “encounter”, it’s just an random event that kills 1/2 your team and forces a emergency extraction.

    If it’s anything like that, I’ll pass on this DLC for sure.

    • Xocrates says:

      Alien hunters is interesting in that I feel like it is the most XCOM 2 thing to ever XCOM 2.

      When XCOM 2 came out people complained it was too hard – which I agreed with – but the thing is that it’s only hard the first time playing because every enemy is designed to surprise you in unpleasant ways, in subsequent playthroughs that surprise is gone and the game actually becomes significantly easier that XCOM:EW.

      Alien Hunters manages to bring back that sensation of “oh shit, I’m fucked” into every playthrough and I suspect that’s exactly what they wanted.

      However this is just a roundabout way of saying “don’t count on the expansion being easier”. I doubt it will be as insane as the Alien Hunters stuff, but I will admit that once they announced the repeating super aliens I started dreading the moment one of those AND an Alien Hunter boss decided to show up at the same time.

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        Big Dunc says:

        My favourite moment in XCOM 2 happened when the berserker queen showed up during a mission and was instantly killed by a gunner.

      • brucethemoose says:

        Yeah, they are alot easier once you know their behavior.

        But still, when they show up during a bug firefight, there’s not much you can do.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      I don’t know what you’re talking about, they’re obviously easy.

      link to youtu.be
      And I just know that’s going to embed even though I don’t want it to…

  6. Jane Doe says:

    Yay… more stuff to shoot at… blargh…

    Instead of one series of repetetive and boring EXALT missions, we seem to be getting three of them now.

    The trailer looks like a DLC for DOOM or Mortal Kombat, not XCOM.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      I think you may be very slightly underestimating the importance of things to shoot at in xcom, personally. Well, I for one am pretty interested in the potential (it’s early days yet, fair) for a little more character in the things we’re shooting, in maybe shooting something I’m personally acquainted with from past shootings. Maybe hating something for some reason OTHER than it just having a barrel of hitpoints or poison or whatever. Maybe hating it because it shot one of my dudes previously and now my OTHER dudes are out for revenge.
      Yknow, I think I have pretty simple dreams.

  7. fearandloathing says:

    Bit hesitant about them chosens, but that aside it seems great. Three-way battles and new factions can add a lot if properly introduced, and even if Firaxis fails, there are tons of modders who can turned this into gold.

  8. Kakrafoon says:

    Well, that Reaper faction sounds proper post-apocalyptic and guerilla-like. I bet they’re going to be my favourite chums. Can’t say the same for the rest of the stuff in the XPACK, especially the Chosen themselves. They look like lizard people from Morrowind who found Judge Dredd’s second best armor in a space garage sale.
    Let’s see how the expansion is going to mix up the gameplay. It seems they put great effort in replayability, which is good. Praise Solomon!

  9. Raoul Duke says:

    Great, so having largely failed to respect any of the lore from the original UFO/X-COM, they are now turning their already unfaithful reboot into basically a fantasy game, complete with bloody mages and orcs.

    Why not just come up with your own IP rather than urinating liberally on an existing one? X-COM (real X-COM) is about slightly 1950s-ish sci fi aliens as seen in the X-Files, Close Encounters, etc. And they are supposed to be alien, not specific alien-people with specific personalities and human-ish faces and understandable motivations.

    Grr… *wanders off muttering angrily before someone tells him to go and play Xenonauts which is NOT the same thing…*

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      Close. Go and play X-Com/TFTD/Apocalypse. They still exist, they’re still great.

      I mean that in the least confrontational way possible, incase it wasn’t clear. I just think there’s room in the world for (good) reboots and this is one. It does not in any way reduce the (still fantastic) originals.

  10. racccoon says:

    Its milkbottles & spaceships! :) <–meaning, sweet.

  11. Comco says:

    I’m a bit disappointed no other Star Wars fans picked up on the voices of those new characters. The first alien sounded a lot like Marc Alaimo (Gul Dukat), and the chick in the hood sounds like Marina Sirtis, Counselor Troi on the Battlestar Galactica! There’s a few other familiar sounding voices in there too but I can’t pick them…

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      I’m very tempted to accuse Mr Long-Haired Alien of being Chris Sabbat, who suddenly seems to have become as omnipresent in videogames as he is in anime, but I’m not quite certain.

  12. second_hand_virgin says:

    I need mechs (better than the one from previous DLC, which is mostly useless and not worth pimping in upgrades)not another game with hordes of undead and some alien “wizards”. It’s just plain stupid.

    • ElementalAlchemist says:

      Solomon tweeted that SPARKs are getting an upgrade/buff (some of which sounds like just officially implemented existing mods), but even so I wouldn’t hold your breath on them being as good as EW’s MECs.

  13. AyeBraine says:

    Should say that Enemy Within also looked a little weird (not AS weird, mind) to an EU player. Maybe it will all fall together nicely, and become the new “canon” like Meld and MECs and bionics did. Still weird.

    But the reason I’m even wasting space here is that they brought a strange, ugly, poorly modeled child of an SVD and an AK into the game! The gun nut in me both cringes and rejoices at the same time.

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