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XIII, the cel-shaded shooter starring bored David Duchovny, is getting a remake

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The 2003 shooter XIII is best remembered these days for a couple of things: Very distinctive cel-shaded graphics, and an astonishingly flat vocal performance from David Duchovny. (Seriously, the man sounded desperately bored.) I have a vague recollection of enjoying it, although the details are too elusive to say for sure. I'll soon be able to find out for certain, though, and without any of the dicking around that's typically part-and-parcel with getting old games running on new PCs. 

Based on a mid-80s Belgian graphical novel series by the same name, XIII is a story-driven FPS about an amnesiac soldier who awakens on Brighton Beach with nothing but a key and a strange tattoo. He's also been accused of killing the President of the US, which makes investigating his past and clearing his name a tricky proposition. It's not the most innovative setup for a story you'll ever run across, but the big hook is in the telling, with cel-shaded graphics and comic-style pop-up panels and onomatopoeia sound effects combining to give it a real graphic novel style.

Duchovny got lead billing as the game's hero, but it also featured Adam West in a supporting role, and he brought his AW-game: You can get a sense for that (and the extent of Duchovny's phoned-in performance) in this brief cutscene. (Spoiler warning—it reveals kind of a key plot point, although it doesn't make much sense in isolation.) 

"Revisiting this game came naturally as we felt this unique kind of story driven FPS experience was missing in today’s gaming landscape," Francois Coulon, head of production at publisher Microids, said. "Our goal is to bring XIII’s compelling story to a new generation of players with the best possible graphics and animations." 

Developer PlayMagic said the graphics, sound, and animations will be updated, while gameplay mechanics "are being reworked in an effort to modernize the experience in a way that encompasses the original spirit of the game." 

XIII is scheduled to launch on November 13. Pricing hasn't been announced yet but PlayMagic said that more information will be revealed soon. 

Andy Chalk
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.