Xenonauts began life as a reimagining of the classic turn-based strategy game X-COM: UFO Defense. But where 2012’s excellent XCOM: Enemy Unknown modernized the setting and recreated the franchise’s systems in broad, easy-to-read strokes, Xenonauts threw itself headlong into the details. From individual, grid-based inventories to a line-of-sight cover system and destructible environments, every mechanic from the classic has been reimagined, rebuilt, and given an extra layer. The result is a deeply engaging, indie version of an alien invasion that stands toe-to-toe with X-COM—the classic and the reboots.
Scary thought: We almost lived in a world where a tactical wizard-on-wizard RPG from the creator of X-COM would never have been. Julian Gollop's Chaos RebornKickstarter campaign teetered between nabbing the public's monetary thumbs-up or the eldritch maw of oblivion as it entered its final week of funding earlier this month, with Gollop himself tweeting the "nail-biting conclusion" of the drive's dwindling hours. At the 34-hour mark, the campaign's Summon Moneydollars spell finally reached the $180,000 goal, climbing over $210,000 in funding by the timer's end.
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.
Sid Meier is second only, perhaps, to Tom Clancy in the ranking of “guys with their names at the front of game titles.” Unlike Clancy, though, Meier actually had a hand in developing legendary games like Sid Meier’s Civilization, Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri, Sid Meier’s Pirates!, and the original X-COM.
Per the cool cats at Eurogamer, Danish studio Full Control has announced that the company has signed a licensing agreement with bitComposer Games to develop and publish a new (hooray), turn-based (hooray), multiplatform (hmm) game in the Jagged Alliance franchise.
This week, Tom Francis, Graham, Rich and Owen convene to talk about Rayman Origins, Fifa, Diablo 3, Skyrim DLC, DayZ, Bohemia's Carrier Command Remake, X-COM, Ghost Recon Online, the Steam charts and your questions from Twitter. All in all, it's a very positive experience.
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Well, this is nice. The first moving images of XCOM: Enemy Unknown have appeared over on RPS. It gives us a good five minutes of combat and a quick run around the new-look "ant farm" base structure. You'll be able to determine the layout of each room, unlocking new avenues of research. Placing certain facilities next to others will lend them adjacency bonuses, so you'll have to plan your warren carefully.
Combat is looking very slick.. The "glam cam" gives the soldiers gives each soldier their own procedurally choreographed moments of heroism and the alien beasts can charge right through walls to crush your troops. Destructible cover: confirmed. If you want more on Firaxis' re-imagining of the classic series, here's everything you need to know about XCOM: Enemy Unknown.
Since XCOM: Enemy Unknown was announced, fans of the original have been juddering with excited questions. We don't know all the answers yet, but we've gathered together the XCOM facts we know and answered the most common queries below, including choice quotes from PC Gamer's interview with lead designer Jake Solomon. For more details, and some exclusive screenshots, check out the latest issue of PC Gamer UK, or subscribe at a discounted rate.
Are the original creators involved at all?
No, but lead designer Jake Solomon has contacted Julian Gollop since going public. "I've actually been in touch with him, on a very high level. Not in terms of - you know, I've asked him to adopt me. But no, I have reached out to him in fact in a very short exchange, so I'm guessing he doesn't hate me, and that's good. He's a personal hero of mine so I've tried as much as possible to honour him."
More screenshots of XCOM: Enemy Unknown have appeared on Game Informer, illustrating two combat missions featuring some familiar enemies. The first encounter has a three-person squad taking on a squad of aliens that have decided to invade a convenience store to grab a can of Coke. The heavy weapons guy gets pinned behind a van, and a soldier must take to the rooftops to get a firing angle and distract the monsters. That frees up the heavy, who unhooks his boomstick and slots a rocket through the doorway, obliterating the alien menace and saving vital Coca Cola stocks for the coming war.
They also manage to raid the mulchy green invader remains, finding alien tech to send back to base. in XCOM, your scientists can dismantle alien tech to learn how it's made, and incorporate that tech into new toys for your ground-assault teams. Here are nine screenshots from the fight.
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.
When 2K Games announced its reimagining of the classic X-COM franchise (now called XCOM), many fans were disappointed to learn that the new version would abandon the 1994 original's turn-based isometric combat in favor of a first-person real-time style. But one X-COM fan, Chris England, seized the opportunity to announce his already-in-the-works homage to X-COM: UFO Defense/Enemy Unknown, Xenonauts. Developed by England's new independent development studio, Goldhawk Interactive, Xenonauts aims to recapture the glory of defending Earth from alien invaders by downing UFOs, engaging the surviving aliens, and capturing their technology to research and turn against them.
Until now, Goldhawk has shown off only the global management and air combat portions of the game, but today, in his first PC Gamer Developer Diary, England exclusively reveals the meat of Xenonauts: tactical combat, in which your ground troops engage the aliens. Click Read More to get your first look - and read the July issue of PC Gamer US for the exclusive hands-on preview!
Every year, thousands of games are pitched, hundreds are released, and just as many... simply vanish. In most cases, we never even hear about them. Sometimes, the code can be on the verge of hitting the shelves, only for the company to fold or the publisher decide to cut their losses. We've been on a nostalgic trip through our back issues to remind ourselves of the ones we were most disappointed not to get the chance to play, both because we thought they were going to be great, and because we just really, really wanted to see what the hell some of our favourite developers were working on.
Here's our list. Share your biggest non-release regrets in the Comments...
One of Rock Paper Shotgun’s readers spotted this fan-run freeware project to resurrect the original X-COM: UFO Defense (aka Enemy Unknown) as a multiplayer game. It's called UFO: The Two Sides, and it lets you take control of either X-COM or the invading aliens (in multiplayer only). I just played the public beta, and it’s awesome.