When to shoot twice: XCOM's Rapid Fire probabilities broken down

Tyler Wilde at

You're near the end of an especially hairy XCOM: Enemy Unknown scenario. An alien has one health, and you have an Assault specialist in firing range. Should you use the Rapid Fire ability for two shots at a 15% reduced hit chance, or take one shot? You could make the decision with your gut, or you could do the math, as University of Kent Research Associate Neil Brown has done. In a blog post today, Brown answers that question and others with numbers and glowing probability graphs.

PC Gamer UK Podcast: Episode 76 - An Incredible Amount of Forking

Chris Thursten at

Graham, Rich, Chris and Tom F return after a long hiatus, discussing Little Inferno, XCOM, The Walking Dead, playing competitive games in order to relax, the ethics of teleportation, and what Worms says about you.

Good news, European Earthlings! XCOM: Enemy Unknown is finally out!

Marsh Davies at

Just in case you've been sealed in a laboratory within a secret subterranean military complex for the last week or so, we bring you the shock news that XCOM: Enemy Unknown has been released! And now, finally, in Europe, too! And that it's also really quite excellent - as you will discover by reading our XCOM: Enemy Unknown review.

And after you're done reading the review, why not bone up on the alien threat with our massive XCOM: Enemy Unknown guide? Or, if you've already mastered the elementary aspects of Earth defence, you might take a look at our XCOM Ironman video guide, for the best survival strategy in the game's hardcore mode. (Good luck with that.)

Have a look inside for our screenshot gallery - though, spoiler-averse players be warned, it may dispel a few of those titular unknowns.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown Ironman video guide: saving the Earth when every decision matters

Chris Thursten at

I have failed to save the Earth many, many times. More elite soldiers under my command have been summarily shot in the face by 3ft tall aliens than I can remember. Since we received early access to XCOM: Enemy Unknown I've played almost thirty hours of the game in Ironman mode, where every choice, mission and death is permanent. I've not saved the world, but I've learned a few things.

Win a copy of XCOM: Enemy Unknown, a Razer Lycosa keyboard and a Razer Imperator mouse!

Marsh Davies at

To celebrate the launch of Firaxis' brilliant Earth defence strategy game, 2K Games have teamed up with Razer to give away an awesome gaming bundle to five lucky, talented and probably rather dashing PC Gamer readers.

Each winner will receive a copy of XCOM: Enemy Unknown in an actual box, a Razer Lycosa keyboard and a Razer Imperator mouse, both of which, rather more obviously, also come in boxes. The keyboard is described on Razer's site as a "nexus of dominion", which sounds like the kind of thing that might come in handy when facing down a terrible extraterrestrial threat.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown dev's three top tips for taking down ET

Marsh Davies at

By now, you’ve probably got stuck into the XCOM: Enemy Unknown demo and are jonesing for the full release of Firaxis' spectacular remake of the turnbased strategy classic. The known unknowns are no longer unknown - but what about the unknown unknowns? We'll be bringing you a huge guide to light every corner of XCOM's world at the game's launch, but for now, we’ve asked lead dev Jake Solomon for a few of his tips regarding the game’s early enemies. “Every alien has multiple counters,” he says...

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.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown demo released

Marsh Davies at

XCOM: Enemy Unknown's demo is now available! Download it now from its Steam page, marshal your elite forces at your secret underground base, and then plant your heavily-armoured jackboot into ET's behind. Alternatively - and this is really the more likely scenario - watch as your heavily-armoured jackboot is blown clean off your leg, and a host of horse-sized insectoid creatures eat your friends' faces.

PC Gamer UK Podcast: Episode 75 - Undercover T-Rex

Chris Thursten at

Chris and Toms Francis and Senior introduce new Web Editor Marsh Davies to the podcast, discussing Hotline Miami, Guild Wars 2, Universe Sandbox, Planetside 2, XCOM and more, including the Steam charts and your questions from Twitter.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown: Sid Meier not the only heroic game developer cameo

Marsh Davies at

Legendary Civilization game developer, Sid Meier himself, made a cameo appearance in an E3 trailer for XCOM: Enemy Unknown - now the lead developer Jake Solomon confirms he will not be the only game industry stalwart to turn up as a playable character.

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.

New XCOM Enemy Unknown design and art videos released

Henry Winchester at

2K Games have just released a couple of videos, one of which makes the enemy very known. In the first lead designer Jake Solomon bangs on about how good the original XCOM is, and how developers Firaxis are trying to emulate it without abandoning the original fanbase. In the second (after the jump) art director Greg Foertsch talks about how good the original XCOM is, and how 2K Firaxis are trying to emulate its stylised look. Warning: incessant, intrusive sub-X-Files midi music plays throughout both videos.

Everything you need to know about XCOM: Enemy Unknown

Graham Smith at

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."

XCOM delayed between one and 12 months

Rob Zacny at

Take-Two announced today that XCOM, which was projected for a March release, has been delayed until fiscal 2013. For those of you who don't speak Accountant, that's sometime between April 2012 and March of 2013.

Take-Two did not explain the delay, and it could be that it wants XCOM to get some distance from its other early 2012 shooters, The Darkness II and Max Payne 3. Or perhaps they want to avoid Mass Effect 3. Or aliens did it.

But I think we've overlooked the most obvious explanation.

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.

Xenonauts Dev Diary: Exclusive first ground combat screens and walkthrough

Goldhawk Interactive at

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!

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.