Hotly-anticiapted tactics game Xenonauts 2 finally has a release date, and we'll be able to play it on July 18th, 2023, seven years since it was confirmed and six years since the first demo. Developer Goldhawk Interactive and publisher Hooded Horse have announced that it'll release into Early Access on Steam.
Xenonauts 2 a game in the vein of XCOM, but rather than the radical redesign of the original formula that was XCOM 2012 and its sequels it's a hardcore reimagining of what the original XCOM series could have become. Xenonauts 2 is described by the developers as a further layer of rebirth: " Xenonauts 2 is less a direct sequel and more a re-imagining of the original vision, featuring a modern engine, a new setting, and refined mechanics built for long-time fans and new strategy gamers alike," they said in a press release.
It's still the same gameplay, though: Aliens are invading earth and you need to stop them. Players will construct bases around the globe in an alternate timeline where the Cold War never ended. They'll be heads of a multinational organization, controlling soldiers in turn-based ground combat and fighter jets in real-time air combat to respond to UFO incursions.
Where Xenonauts diverges from the modern-day XCOM games and more resembles the Enemy Unknown of the 90s is in its hardcore combat realism and complex strategic simulation. Managing different fronts in the war is crucial, requiring you to defend your bases against enemy assault while expanding your organization to cover larger areas of the globe.
Xenonauts 2 will make that even more complex. It'll be adding an even larger class of aliens to fight, for one, but it'll also add "human sympathizers trying to further the enemy’s cause." That detail alone signals an interesting redesign, from the ground up, of the first Xenonauts game.
Xenonauts 2 is one of the reasons we cited to call this an amazing year for strategy games. I'm very excited to see how it goes, and I think anyone invested in strategy games should keep their eye on this one.