XCOM: Enemy Unknown

XCOM DLC: The PC Gamer Wishlist

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Now that mysterious hidden achievements on Steam have all-but-confirmed that a DLC release is imminent for XCOM: Enemy Unknown, it got us wondering--what kind of DLC would we like to see? Judging by what’s already been revealed, it seems like a good bet that the first pack will include six new missions (Confounding Light, Deluge, Furies, Friends in Low Places, Gangplank, and Portent) and at least one new “ally” character (Soldier? Civilian? ...Alien?) that can be taken into battle. Read on to see what else we’d like to see in upcoming DLC for XCOM.

Turn the tables

 

Alternate campaigns are my single greatest wish, as tough and replayable as the default one is. How about a campaign where we take the fight to the aliens? After establishing a hidden base on their homeworld, we could send out our spy satellites to locate key installations to cut off their infrastructure and production. Special missions could be unlocked to cause panic in their cities and make them lose funding. Special mission types would have you repelling attacks on your base. This would be a great campaign for a veteran squad, and a perfect context to add more ranks, more weapons, and tougher aliens to match them. --T.J.

Fire and flamethrowers

 

Fire’s actually an existing but underdeveloped mechanic in Enemy Unknown—the description for Titan Armor mentions that it “confers immunity to fire and poison,” when in actuality stepping into a raging flame won’t singe any of your soldiers in XCOM.

This hints that fire was cut as a combat feature sometime during development. Flames still erode buildings between turn phases, but we’d love to see it weaponized—none of XCOM’s guns let you attack more than one target. A flamethrower could inflict harm on multiple tiles on a single shot, dealing low initial damage but causing fiery pain over time. As a point of balance, a flanked flamethrower-er might be vulnerable to having his flame tank asploded. --Evan

Location diversity

 

XCOM's boards are good-looking and well-designed, but they're not especially diverse. Outside of office buildings, convenience stores, and similarly Western structures, all you get are generic forests. How about some desert? Snow? And why does Egypt look sort of like the American Midwest?

In the dream department: UFO boarding. Instead of waiting for extraterrestrial saucers to land, a new air vehicle lets us board them in-flight and struggle to reach the control room. Imagine the risk: capture the ship and you can take it back to base to study, or even deploy against enemy UFOs. Fail, and it goes down with your squad on board—a dice roll determines who survives. --Tyler

Abduction 2.0

 

“More victimization” feels like a weird thing to request from DLC, but hey, XCOM isn’t just about getting what we want, is it? Here’s a devious campaign event I came up with: mid-mission, what if one of your soldiers was unexpectedly stolen from you? They’d be abducted and indoctrinated into the alien force, reappearing in a later story mission as a particularly powerful human-alien hybrid that you’d have to kill.

Having one of your soldiers switch sides plays into XCOM’s theme of turning your enemy’s resources against them. Chryssalids provide a similar threat in the context of a single mission, but it’s a concept we’d like to see expanded upon: there’s something especially heartbreaking about having to kill a soldier you spent time developing. --Evan

Going bump in the night

 

Sure, your Heavy barely flinches over acing a Sectoid squad with a laser chaingun, but that’s probably because he underappreciates his predecessors’ fear of the night. The much-venerated XCOM: UFO Defense utilized dusk as a curtain: it penalized your field of view and increased your reliance on flares and the illuminating power of incendiary ammo. Darkness used to be a true mechanic in XCOM, not an aesthetic elment, and the nail-biting challenge of fighting aliens with perfect vision hiding invisibly in shadowy corners was wonderful.

Enemy Unknown needs meaningful night combat, and a potential DLC mission pack could embellish what UFO Defense started with night-vision goggles, a boost to panic chance, or new nocturnal aliens with Predator-like vision. --Omri

More character customization options

 

I can’t make a soldier who looks anything like Dana Scully with the current character creator. That makes me terribly sad, because Mulder and Scully were going to be my lead team. Instead, my crew is all hulking monster-men and women with straight hair and unnaturally puckered lips.

They don’t all look awful, but it’s very hard to create a decent likeness (my Riker up there is OK, I guess, though I wish I could change his country of origin). I understand Firaxis chose an aesthetic and stuck with it, but character creation isn’t about what Firaxis wants -- it’s about what I want: Dave Lister, John Carter, Tony Stark, Ellen Ripley. Just dump a file full of new hairstyles, faces, and body types on us and we’ll sort out the rest. --Tyler

More multiplayer options

 

Though some players may have welcomed multiplayer to XCOM with the same enthusiasm Earth’s nations showed to its alien invaders, the unobtrusive two-player mode is simple and…okay, maybe it’s too simple. Two-player deathmatch between mixed-species teams is fun and all, but I’d love to see more options, such as map objectives (say, first player to recover the downed spaceship gets an advantage), matches designed for humans versus aliens, a practice mode against the AI, and some modes other than pure deathmatch. In fact, let’s go crazy and add support for a third player! Don’t worry… with a small team and a strict time cap on moves, you probably won’t fall asleep between turns. Probably. --Chuck

What's at the top of your wishlist for XCOM's future?