Turn-based post-crabpocalyptic strategy game Phoenix Point is on track for a September 3rd release, announced during yesterday’s Inside Xbox presentation at E3. The X-COM-alike is due to launch simultaneously on the Epic Games Store and now the Xbox Game Pass for us PC folks, but won’t hit Steam until a year later. It looks like it’s coming together nicely too, after a few bare-bones early backer builds. It seems that Snapshot Games head Julian Gollop (of the original ’90s X-COM) still has a few tricks to teach the young’ins. Below, a new trailer and a peek at the most recent backer build.
While a visual treat, the new trailer is more of a mood piece than anything really representing the game. Still, it gives us a nice up-close look at some of the gruesome mutant beasties that your troops will be shooting with very large guns at. The game is set after an alien viral apocalypse, which has turned much of Earth’s population into horrible arthropods. It’s not just a cool look, but reflected in the combat, which allows you to target anywhere., ala Valkyria Chronicles. Aim away from armoured crab shell and try to hit the squishy bits, or break dangerous appendages.
You can see a little of this in action in this developer walk-through of a single backer build mission, and you can see other improvements they’ve made in this dev blog. The latest version has new enemy types (ranging from very small to extra large) and the first look at player-made bases. Right now they’re just randomly generated as defence maps, but in the full game players will be able to build their own fort in the style of classic X-COM. They’ve also added the first wave of FTL-like story decisions to be made on the world map.
Probably the most striking thing for me is this single animated GIF, though. That’s dynamic physics-based damage, not a stock animation. It’s also extremely satisfying to watch on loop, and a good reason to use heavy cannons if I ever saw one. As bullet spread happens in a cone, similar to many first-person shooters, the position of every piece of cover matters, and it’s nice to see that there’s more to terrain destruction than fixed blocks of cover that either exist or don’t.
Phoenix Point launches on September 3rd on the Epic Games Store and via the Xbox Game Pass subscription. If you’re feeling daring, you can snap the former up cheap until June 13th in the current Epic Store sale, which cuts a flat £10/€10/$10 off many games, reducing it to £22/€23/$30.
See our E3 2019 tag for more news, previews, opinions, and increasingly surreal liveblogs.