2k Marin

2K Marin hit with significant layoffs

Ian Birnbaum at

According to Polygon, 2K Marin, which worked on BioShock, BioShock 2, BioShock: Infinite, and most recently The Bureau: XCOM Declassified, is undergoing a “staff reduction” of unknown size and scope.


The Bureau: XCOM Declassified review

Ian Birnbaum at

The Bureau: XCOM Declassified underwent a tumultuous, prolonged development, so it’s understandable that some of its pieces are polished but so few of them fit together. The resulting puzzle-piece jumble is best forgotten in favor of last year’s far-superior XCOM: Enemy Unknown or other recent third-person action games like Mass Effect 3 or Saints Row IV.

The Bureau: XCOM Declassified trailer psyches up for launch

Phil Savage at

There's none of the potentially interesting strategic squad management in this brief look at The Bureau: XCOM Declassified. We're in launch trailer territory, where traditional values hold the day: values like tone, and story, and dapper men giving speeches about serious threats. Because, while a world in which the Cold War cooled early sounds pleasant, when the alternative is weird cube aliens invading '60s surburbia, it's probably not worth the trade.


The Bureau: XCOM Declassified puts permadeath on display in new video

Patrick Carlson at

A new video from The Bureau: XCOM Declassified puts a goofy spin on self-sacrifice and permadeath in the upcoming third-person shooter. It's obvious that when you're repelling an alien invasion—and with Cold-War era technology, no less—you may have to make some tough decisions. Bu no matter how unhinged you are as a squad leader, the new trailer gently reminds us, "you only live once."


The Bureau: XCOM Declassified covers up radial wheel, exposes permadeath

Phil Savage at

The radial wheel is one of those strange oddities of PC porting. There's nothing particularly wrong with having one - a benefit of the mouse as an input device is that we can click anywhere on the screen, including on a slightly too big wheel of abilities that has no real correlation to our control setup. But it is one of those telling markers of the care - or potential lack of - put into a conversion. So it's nice to see that XCOM spin-off The Bureau will ditch the circular eyesore in favour of a flat row of bars to click/hotkey through.


The Bureau: XCOM Declassified trailer shows enemies unknown (and a few Sectoids)

Phil Savage at

Here's the new trailer for The Bureau: XCOM Declassified, showing even more of its surprisingly tactical looking third-person combat. In it, you'll see some enemies and abilities familiar from Firaxis' XCOM: Enemy Unknonwn reboot, integrated into a cover and squad management system that's almost Mass Effect-like in the way it lets teammates combine their skills.


Slick '60s dude battles aliens without losing hat in The Bureau: XCOM Declassified trailer

Tom Senior at

Watch, as the The Bureau: XCOM Declassified, the shooter that 2K Marin have been working on for the last few years morphs before your very eyes into a game that looks a lot more like XCOM: Enemy Unknown, albeit with a slick early '60s sheen. The combination of otherworldly antagonists and everyday bureaucratic fustiness is fertile ground, if the success of the X-Files tells us anything. But Scully didn't have a glove that could lift things up so Mulder could zap them, and Mulder rarely wore a hat. What was Chris Carter thinking?

Cult '90s television aside, Declassified is looking good, as Craig Owens discovered when he played it for our Bureau hands-on. See it in action in the latest trailer.


The Bureau: XCOM Declassified trailer shows tactical battles, DLC info reveals PC redactions

Phil Savage at

Here's a trailer for The Bureau: XCOM Declassified's 'Battle Focus' feature. From the footage included, it appears a more suitable name would be the "turn it into XCOM: Enemy Unknown" mode. It lets you intersperse your third person shooting with tactical planning, skill deployment, and that shield UI that tells you when you're in cover. It's probably the most like 'XCOM' the game ever looked.


The Bureau: XCOM Declassified trailer gives up its secrets

Phil Savage at

This is seriously sloppy redacting on behalf of the recently uncovered The Bureau: XCOM Declassified. Oh sure, they wipe the key nouns out of the text screens, but then they intersperse it with cuts of game footage showing everything. Characters, locations, enemies... It's like they actively want people to know about their upcoming game.


Bureau de change: XCOM shooter breaks cover as The Bureau: XCOM Declassified

Phil Savage at

2K Marin's XCOM shooter went dark soon after the release of Firaxis' successful XCOM reboot. But was it missing? Dead? Captured by overzealous strategy fans? Actually, it was all a ruse. The game has now resurfaced under the new legend The Bureau: XCOM Declassified. And it's almost ready to blow the whistle on the eerie underbelly of 60s suburbia, with a release date of August 20th. A live action trailer has also appeared. Don't be fooled; it's clearly a diversionary tactic.


Fresh pics suggest that the XCOM FPS may now be a squad-based third person shooter

Tom Senior at

Some images from a recent marketing survey have been sent to Kotaku, showing what could be the latest iteration of the XCOM first person shooter that's been knocking around for years. Kotaku report that the survey blurb suggests that it's still being put together by 2K Marin with the same 60s setting, but is now a third person shooter with squad control mechanics. One question asks whether the testee would respond favourably to a lower price point, set at $30 instead of $60.

2K have responded to say "we have not made any new announcements regarding the XCOM title currently in development at 2K Marin, and it is our policy not to comment on rumors or speculation." You'll find some of the screenshots sent to Kotaku below.


Cool insights from a candid and funny BioShock developer commentary

Tom Francis at

JP LeBreton was the main designer on the planty bit of BioShock: Arcadia. He recently joined his friends from the Idle Thumbs podcast to play through some early sections of BioShock, including his own, and talk about how they were built and why. You can watch the whole thing on their Twitch TV channel, but since I don't entirely trust you to do that on my vague recommendation, I'll mention a few of the many interesting things I learned from it to sway anyone who hasn't already clicked that link.


XCOM shooter delayed again

Tom Senior at

2K Marin's oft-delayed XCOM shooter has retreated further into the mists of time, and is now divined to arrive sometime "during fiscal year 2014." Blue's News gleaned this blue news from Take Two's fourth quarter financial results, which also revealed a drop in profits, as expected. GTA V will fix that soon enough.

The XCOM shooter has had an outwardly troubled development process so far. Last summer, narrative director Jordan Thomas announced that the team had gone back to the drawing board and made some “aggressive design changes” to bring their shooter closer to the X-Com strategy games of old. "Candidly, it just wasn’t “XCOM” enough for the hardcore fans of the original games at 2K Marin, who serve as our creative conscience," he wrote.


XCOM trailer shows mission map, customisable squad mates and mad science

Tom Senior at

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There were rumblings of discontent when 2K revealed their FPS reboot of X-Com. Questions were asked. Where are the turns? Where's the world map? Where's the ability to customise your squad and research new weaponry? "Right here!" says the latest trailer, detailing the map of the US where you can select your next mission, the RPG system that lets you customise your team mates and the research facility where mad-haired scientists are hard at work electrocuting themselves in the name of science, devising new human/alien hybrid technology for your squad. That's all very nice, but WHERE ARE THE TURNS?

The hub bits back at base where you can shoot the breeze with team mates look like a nice change of pace from the slightly stiff cover-to-cover shooty sections. This is probably the most encouraging bit of footage we've seen of XCOM yet. Check out the full E3 XCOM video walkthrough for 22 more minutes of XCOM in action.


XCOM video walkthrough brings 22 minutes of joy/heresy

Richard Cobbett at

Here's 22 minutes of XCOM, using footage shown as part of this year's E3 demo. The video was posted with a written introduction from narrative director, Jordan Thomas, which 2K invites everyone to read before watching. He describes how the original iteration of XCOM was "way too much within our creative 'comfort zone,'" saying that "it just wasn't "XCOM" enough." The team have since gone back to the drawing board, and made a number of "aggressive design changes" to make XCOM a more tactical experience. Click "read and comment" below to see the whole message.

It's may not be the turn based strategy game fans wanted, but could 2K Marin's take on alien hunting be an awesome game in its own right? The video comes with added narration from Jordan Thomas (writer of the very underrated Bioshock 2) and producer Harvey Whitney. Skip to 1:30 to look at the base, 3:30 to meet some of the agents you'll be getting shot in the face when aliens attack, and 7:30 for shooty action. Then, check here for our impressions.


XCOM screenshots have Titans, force fields and portals

Tom Senior at

Many found the new E3 XCOM trailer a bit underwhelming. It was the first peep we'd seen or heard from the game since last year's E3, and it made XCOM's visuals look dated. Graham got a proper look at the game, and happily reports that it's much better than the trailer implies. Now we can get a closer look at the game with nine new screens, showing some scenes of invasion, including reality warping portals and the terrifying floating Titans - living stone discs that can fire lasers.


XCOM release date revealed in new trailer

Tom Senior at

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After months of media silence on XCOM, a sudden trailer has arrived along with a release date! XCOM will be coming out on March 6 next year. Official word says it will be a "tactical action experience set in mid-century America, where the player leads an elite field team of specialised government agents into battle," which, along with the clips in the trailer showing you ordering your men around, suggests that it'll definitely be a squad shooter. Will we get to configure their load-outs, give them names and then get them all horribly killed in the same way as we could in the original XCom? Here's hoping. We'll know more come E3 next week.

For more XCOM goodness, check out last year's E3 trailer, and our XCOM preview.


The XCOM E3 demonstration

Evan Lahti at

I've never been so excited about being a government employee. Your job description as a member of XCOM, the secret arm of the FBI, includes dark science, shotgunning alien blobs, and saving pearl-wearing housewives from extraterrestrial death. XCOM is an "organization to fight the unknown," 2K Marin studio director Martin Slater says, as we begin our demo of the game on the E3 show floor.


XCOM E3 trailer: oily in-game footage

Tom Senior at

The first trailer for the new XCOM game has arrived, giving us a slightly terrifying first look at 2K Marin's modern re-imagining of the classic strategy series. Both the hazy '50s style and the explosive gunplay are on show, but the real stars of the trailer are the genuinely disturbing new aliens, with their frenzied, unpredictable movements and horrifying tendency to leap at the faces of their attackers. We're looking forward to obliterating the alien menace when the game is released, sometime in 2011.