XCOM 2's "Dark Events" will change the game in unpredictable ways


Near the end of the XCOM 2 'Welcome to the Avenger' trailer that surfaced in August, we caught a brief glimpse of something called "Dark Events." The narrator described them as "enemy black ops projects" and made it very clear that they're all different kinds of bad news. He wasn't kidding.

Dark Events, as Firaxis explained today, are "counter-operations" undertaken by Advent—that'd be the human organization that's collaborating with the alien invaders in this alt-universe XCOM—that will begin to occur once your team starts reclaiming territory. Each Dark Event that's successfully executed will inject a random modifier to the gameplay, some of which will have a real impact on the action.

"[Dark Events] run the gamut from something as small as improving Advent soldiers’ gear in the field to more dramatic gameplay changes such as deploying a UFO that will hunt the Avenger," Firaxis wrote. "Advent can also negatively affect XCOM supply drops and, in a far more chilling Dark Event, hide extra Faceless amongst the populace of each mission. Rapid Response poses another massive threat to XCOM, guaranteeing Advent reinforcements will be deployed during all Guerrilla Ops missions. We’ve also heard reports of Advent employing Viper Rounds—poisonous ammunition made from Viper venom."

That's apparently just a small sampling of the Dark Events that Advent will be able to roll out as it loses ground. Players will be able to prevent them from taking effect, however, by launching Guerrilla Ops against them. All in all, it strikes me as quite similar to the randomized missions in XCOM: Enemy Unknown, but with far more dire consequences for failure. I think that sounds pretty cool.

XCOM 2 comes out on February 5, 2016.

Andy Chalk

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.