You better watch your back. Since we
XCOM: Enemy Within's
disruptive new faction Exalt, the quest to save Earth has been looking a bit more complicated. As we learn in a
new dev blog
from the DLC's lead designer Ananda Gupta, the "insular and self-serving" Exalt has its own agenda entirely.
"Exalt is a paramilitary secret society," Gupta writes. "Their goal is to capture the benefits of the aliens' arrival—their genetic project for humanity and their technology—and use those advantages to rule what's left of the world once the aliens have completed their plan and departed. And XCOM is in the way."
Confrontations with the Exalt revolve around dealing with the group's work creating problems within allied council territories. Exalt deploys propaganda to boost panic, sabotage to take a bite out of XCOM's cash flow, and covert hacking to disrupt any research progress you've been working on, according to Gupta. To counter these effects, XCOM troops will deploy in two new mission types in order to confront Exalt—Covert Data Recovery and Covert Extraction.
deals with an attempt at data recovery in a covert battle with Exalt, but as we learn from Gupta's update, the extraction mission type also adds an additional, objective-based twist to the XCOM metagame. In order to fend off the work of Exalt, XCOM sends out covert agents to perform counter intelligence against the terrorists. You have to recover these agents and their intel somehow, and that's exactly where the extraction missions take you—hacking comm stations and VIP recovery, according to Gupta.
With its initial release, XCOM nailed the sense of community, the feeling of "we're all in this together" that propels you against the alien invasion. To add a complicating element to that equation—Exalt—that works selfishly against consensus seems entirely appropriate, and also very human. XCOM: Enemy Within releases Nov. 12.