I think Adam has been at the air conditioning again, because there’s a lot of XCOM in the air today. First came news of lookalike Shock Tactics and now we’re talking Xenonauts 2 [official site]. The sequel to the first strategy homage, inspired by Ye Olde X-COM With A Hyphen, has been dropping free public builds of the game as they work. This is their alternative to early access, developers Goldhawk have said previously. “The game is currently free because we don't think it is good enough to charge money for,” they said. “Don't expect too much!”. If you’re still into it, however, an update for the build has just added the reaper alien, introduced new weapons, fixed bugs, and reworked some of the maps.
You can read all the update notes in this post by studio head Chris England and you can get the early build itself on GOG (although the client is required). More interesting I think is Goldhawk’s reasoning behind the free build route.
“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.”
That’s an admirable stance in a world where the early access bakeries are stuffed with paid products that probably could have been left to rise for another few months. Does that bread metaphor make sense? I don’t know, I’m very hungry.
Adam liked the first tribute act very much, and we’re told that the second is going a 3D route. Like I’ve just said earlier today, aping XCOM always seems a risky endeavour. But they will continue to bring out fortnightly updates to the early build, before eventually going the paid-for Steam early access route.