Whatever happened to the other XCOM, the 2K Marin-made shooter which was revealed long before last year's XCOM: Enemy Unknown made everyone, except you, happy? It's a question we've already asked several times here. We ask it because we don't know the answer, and unless anyone involved feels like getting their Talpidae on and sneaking us some info, we won't know until 2K reveal all. Which appears to be something that will happen rather soon. There's a viral campaign of sorts, there's a mysterious package being sent to games sites which aren't us, and, well, there's a blog post. That kind of undermines the air of mystery, I guess.
First up, let's look at this pair of live-action videos related to the catchy phrase "What happened in 62?" There isn't much to mine from them, though pausing the bike video when the picture flickers reveals the date 'April 26', which is more than likely when we'll actually be told stuff.
That latter one comes with the following summary:
"When we covered things up, no one knew what happened. But that's not right. People need to know the truth. The truth cannot be contained much longer."
Well, they've been containing the truth for about three years now. It's about bloody time, innit.
These videos follow the news that websites and videos for the XCOM shooter as-was were quietly removed recently. On a similar note is the fun but unsubtle package of mystery goodies sent to Videogamer, which they comb through in the below:
Oh, Matt, you're so young. Latin! The words on the lighter are Latin! And they translate to, er, 'scrape true.' Perhaps that can be extrapolated to 'scraping together the truth' or suchlike. Any language scholars able to offer a second opinion on 'eradite verum?'
Anyway, all this subterfuge and speculation is almost academic, as 2K have today announced that the much-delayed, much-sneered at attempt to turn XCOM into an FPS (again) is about to break cover any day now. In this short post, they tease that:
"the game has undergone an evolution since we last showed it to you at E3 2011. Firaxis’ critically acclaimed turn-based strategy title, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, has reignited the classic franchise and we feel that the time is right to deliver a new experience within the world of XCOM.
The creative development of this game has been a collaborative process of discovery and iteration. 2K’s culture allows our studios the freedom to refine their visions, to explore new ideas, and to deliver the best possible experiences for players. Through this exploration, 2K Marin has refined their vision, and as a result the game has evolved into a high-stakes narrative experience imbued with core XCOM concepts."
Um. That basically sounds like the same thing they've been saying for the last three years. Although, perhaps, it does imply that this new game will be more XCOMmy than previous iterations were. A few months ago, leaked images did suggest the game had morphed into a third-person, squad-based affair, which while not TBS could perhaps be said to be closer to X-COM than the FPS concept was. But we shall see. The success of Enemy Unknown has likely had a significant effect on 2K's thinking about this license.
More recent rumour has it that the whole 'XCOM' thing was going to be dropped in favour of a new title, 'The Bureau', but the 2K post suggests this is going to have definite XCOM ties. XCOM: The Bureau, maybe? And the whole 60s timeframe would make it a prequel to Enemy Unknown, whose little-discussed Outsider alien bore a certain resemblance to the transforming, angular, shard-like enemies (how does someone with inflexible crystalline nostrils breathe, anyway? Or is that just not a thing for space aliens anymore?) of the early XCOM footage. Or maybe that's just empty speculation.
Oh, and we get this picture too, which looks very much like a hybrid of the ops room from Enemy Unknown and the original XCOM shooter reveal:
2K appear to have registered this website too, which is a holding page for now, but keep a close eye on it. In fact, touch your eyeball to your monitor right now, and hold it there until April 26th. It's the only way to be sure.
If you'd like to refresh your memory on what XCOM was going to be like when last we heard of it, have a look at the not-yet-killed video here.