One day ahead of the rollout of the XCOM 2 expansion War of the Chosen, creative director Jake Solomon, designer/programmer Joe Weinhoffer, and lead producer Griffin Funk hit Reddit to take part in an AMA, with questions ranging from specific details about gameplay to thoughts on the best game of all time.
Solomon seemed to find that one easy, selecting Minecraft above all others, while Weinhoffer hedged his bet somewhat, declaring it a tie between Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, his choice for greatest game, and World of Warcraft, his greatest time sink.
Back to War of the Chosen itself, Weinhoffer said Firaxis has "buffed a bunch of the late-game ADVENT enemies" in order to maintain War of the Chosen's late-game challenge, and warned that "if the Chosen survive that long they become VERY tough." They also confirmed that two versions of the SDK will be available: "The default will be a bare bones SDK, but if users want all of the content as well, then there is a beta branch set up for the SDK that you opt in to that wiil provide everything."
A point I thought was particularly interesting came in Solomon's response to a question about playing as the aliens in some future XCOM game. "Here's the thing I've never been able to get over when thinking about 'Playing as the aliens.' Is my emotional connection to my avatar/soldiers/base going to be strong enough to propel me through 30 hours of gameplay when it's not recognizable as human or earth?" he said. "There always has to be some projection of the player into the game world, and to make a narrative that's compelling (both the scripted narrative and the narratives that the player makes up in their head) the player has to be able to emotionally connect with the actors in the narrative."
"Being an invading alien race could definitely be fun for a few hours, but more than that and sustaining emotional interest in the fantasy would get hard. Not saying it can't be done. Anything can be done. But I personally think it would be very, very difficult, and might require more scripted narrative than we typically like to do in order to foster some emotional investment from the player."
Interestingly, he also said that XCOM 2: War of the Chosen is "is the best narrative work of the XCOM series by far," thanks to the efforts of writers Scott Wittbecker and Chad Rocco. "Narrative was really challenging this time because of the Chosen and all the permutations, but having actual characters to write for was a lot of fun and not something we've had a lot of in XCOM."
XCOM 2: War of the Chosen comes out tomorrow, August 29. Find out more about what it's bringing to the game right here.
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Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.