XCOM: Enemy Within isn't just Us vs Them. Firaxis' massive expansion is set to introduce a brand new human enemy faction, Exalt, who wreak havoc around the globe unless you hunt them down and rip their shadowy organisation to pieces.
After successfully managing to defeat one of their cells in our hands-on preview, but taking two losses in the process, I sat down with lead designer Ananda Gupta for a lively chat about what Exalt bring to the XCOM storyline and gameplay experience.
Jonathan Lester (Dealspwn): We've finally met The Enemy Within: Exalt, the new human enemy faction. Can you tell us about them? What's their deal? What's their objective?
Ananda Gupta (Firaxis): Exalt is a paramilitary secret society. Their goal is to subvert, infiltrate and overthrow the council and to seize control of alien technology; to seize this power. In this way, they're opposed completely to XCOM.
Visually, they look kinda dapper. They could be anyone, they could be walking down the street next to you, be at your job, but when they get the call, they go to their secret compartment and - whoosh! Ready to go. They prefer to wage their campaign against XCOM not in the open, but from the shadows. They place covert cells around the globe that XCOM can hunt down using intelligence scans. They'll prepare operations to launch against XCOM; things like propaganda to increase panic, sabotage to go after your credit reserves and research hacks to go after your research.
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XCOM: Enemy Within is looking seriously impressive ahead of its November launch, but lead designer Ananda Gupta would love to take on the strategy franchise again. Apparently it's down to Firaxis and 2K Games - and perhaps how well Enemy Within is received at retail.Click here to read more...
Following some cheeky viral trailers, 2K Marin has officially told us to expect a reveal for their troubled XCOM shooter "in the coming days." So, Friday then. According to a new blog post, this new title has "undergone an evolution," and will offer a more story-driven take on the franchise.Click here to read more...
An odd live-action teaser suggests that 2K Games are set to make an announcement on April 26th. The strange video, which shows a child merrily cycling in 1962 along before noticing something in the sky, contains a cleverly-hidden mention of "Apr 26th" and "2K" (look at the right-hand side of the screen from 0:15).
So, 1962. 2K. Strange happenings. This all points to 2K Marin's XCOM shooter, which may have been completely rebranded following the icy response to its initial reveal. Since its official site and YouTube videos were taken offline a few days ago, a Friday re-reveal is looking very likely indeed. UPDATE: now this is happening.
The future of 2K Marin's XCOM reboot, which was announced and even showcased before Firaxis' stunning strategy effort was even a thing, is now in serious doubt. 2K have shut down the official website and made every single gameplay trailer and video private, not a good sign by any stretch of the imagination.
So why are 2K turtling up? It's possible that the controversial game has been canned outright, repurposed or renamed - so will either get a big new re-reveal, receive a name change or die in ignominy. More as we hear it.
After being thoroughly upstaged by Firaxis' strategic masterpiece, 2K Marin's controversial XCOM shooter was put onto the back burner, but apparently it's still cooking away. During their third-quarter financial call, 2K revealed that the project is still in full production and slated to release in the next financial year: i.e. before April 2014.Click here to read more...
Some screenshots purportedly from a marketing survey have arisen that suggest 2K Marin's XCOM - you know, the other game that was original destined to be a tactical FPS before sinking without a trace - may have changed form, with the images hinting towards a third-person tactical shooter, not unlike SOCOM.Click here to read more...
To step onto the show floor on Press Day at Gamescom is to experience the calm before the storm: the lull that comes ahead of a quarter of a million people over four days. Of course, up in the meeting rooms it was anything but calm, with journalists and suited businessmen scurrying frantically to and fro, desperately trying to remain faithful to a packed schedule of appointments on the first day of the show. We were no different in this regard. Having shared our highlights from the array of press conferences yesterday, here's a brief look at some of the best things we saw from Wednesday.
Eagerly anticipating a behind closed doors action regarding Capcom's official announcement of Remember Me, one could have been forgiven a pang of disappointment at its no-show follow up in Cologne. However, visiting Capcom this morning did bring the opportunity to finally try out DmC and see if it actually warranted the suspicion/scepticism/vitriol/cautious appraisals that its been treated with ever since Ninja Theory relaunched Dante as a swaggering teen with the cheekbones of Eddie Redmayne.
Happily, a spot of hands-on delivered an impression that may hopefully allay the fears of some series fans out there: setting aesthetic opinion aside, the game really does play like in a manner befitting its title.
Ninja Theory have proven that they can do combat – Heavenly Sword was evidence of this. Unfortunately, Enslaved rather indicated that they could also create a game that, for all of its strengths, failed in the action department. A Devil May Cry game needs to be slick, it needs to be responsive, you need to feel both empowered, but constantly alert to the creatures around you – aware of your own substantial ability to deal out damage in a variety of cool and acrobatic ways, but also wary of the dangers that the demonic beasts around you can pose.Click here to read more...
Originally due for release this fiscal year, 2K Games' XCOM - the FPS from Bioshock 2 developers 2K Marin - has been pushed back into the next fiscal year, with a company report now outlining release plans for the window between 1st April 2013 and March 31st 2014.Click here to read more...
We all love to look forward to the coming year with hearts full of hope and reckless schoolboy optimism. And with good reason. We've certainly got a lot to look forward to in 2012, and though we say this every year, the games lineup really does look absolutely spectacular.
However, balance is the key. While we're salivating with lust just thinking about some of 2012's killer titles, we're also more than a little concerned about how some of them are shaping up. Worried, even. Some of these games are looking incredibly shaky or have a mountain to climb in terms of living up to expectations... and though we genuinely hope that we're proven wrong, we just can't shake off some persistent nagging doubts. Join us, if you will, for an unfettered and uncharacteristic celebration of cynicism and paranoia as we round up 2012's most potentially disappointing games.Click here to embark on our cynical voyage through 2012 >>
Reaction to 2K Marin's XCOM revival was mixed at best when it was revealed that the much-loved series would be rebooted in FPS form. 2K have apparently taken that on board, pushing XCOM's release window back to 2013, and allowing Firaxis' more traditional strategy title XCOM: Enemy Unknown to take precedence in 2012, all according to issue 226 of Game Informer.
Appetite for a new XCOM title hasn't dwindled here at Dealspwn, and with StarBreeze Studios' Syndicate reboot shaping up pretty nicely, there's no reason to say that it won't be everything we dare hope for. [IGN]
As part of their recent Q2 financial report (logging net losses of $47.3 million but an upward trend), Take-Two has confirmed that 2K Marin's XCOM shooter reboot will be delayed into FY 2013. Note that this doesn't necessarily mean 2013 itself, rather, its launch window is technically between April 2012 and May the following year. It's unclear exactly why XCOM will miss its projected March release date, but we can surmise that Take-Two want to space out their titles throughout the coming months... and possibly avoid directly competing with Starbreeze's Syndicate reboot in the process. Not to mention Mass Effect 3.
From what I saw earlier this year, XCOM is actually shaping up surprisingly well... but it will need to offer an unimpeachably strong experience to soothe the frustrated anger of Julian Gollop fans. Here's hoping that 2K Marin will take full advantage of the extra time.
Mere words cannot adequately describe how shocked, confused and disappointed the gaming community became when 2K Marin announced that they were interpreting the venerable X-COM franchise as a linear first person shooter with investigation and survival horror elements. What were they thinking? How could they get it so utterly and completely wrong? Why, 2K? Why?! The pre-E3 trailer did little to clear up the situation, instead intoducing some brightly-lit cover combat sections that seemed at odds with the moody visual style they were shooting for. With the burning need to know more throbbing at the front of my mind, I sat down in their lavishly-appointed demo theatre... where 2K Marin wasted no time in admitting that they'd made a huge mistake.
X-COM isn't about tight scripting and gunplay, they explained. The series hinged upon high strategy and non-linear decision making, and after stepping back and looking at the project objectively, they realised that they'd have to go back to the drawing board in order to do it justice. The first person perspective has remained, but now the action takes a back seat to clever tactical play and the ability to fight the campaign against the otherworldly Outsiders on your terms.
My cynicism and suspicion soon turned into cautious optimism and excitement after watching the demo, and I'll attempt to explain exactly why.
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2K have dropped us a line to let us know that XCOM, the FPS reimagining of the classic tactical franchise from 2K Marin, will be launching in early 2012 on all formats. That's right, XCOM has now been officially confirmed for the PS3 as well as PC and Xbox 360. We have a new trailer, full release date and a few new details after the jump - but to be honest, we're not quite sure what to make of it yet.Click here to read more...
The XCOM series is fondly remembered by fans for its hardcore, thoughtful strategy and ramped difficulty curve. The decision to leverage the franchise into an FPS came as a disappointment to many, but it appears that 2K Marin have tacked the license onto a game that they've been planning for some time.
"We've been working on this game on and off for around five years now, before BioShock 2, before BioShock. So when the chance came to use the XCOM license, it was a great opportunity to take some of those game ideas and blend everything together." - Jonathan Pelling, 2K Marin creative director
Apparently the research aspects of the XCOM series will make it to 2K Marin's FPS, but it'll feel like an entirely new IP. With any luck, it'll distance itself from the original franchise enough to be criticised on its own merits. [Kotaku]
As I mentioned yesterday, many pundits and gamers are still a little worried about EA's decision to set upcoming FPS Medal of Honor in an ongoing warzone... as well as putting players in the shoes of Taliban insurgents. A number of critics and pundits are feeling a little uneasy about the content (saying so in previews)- and the game has come under fresh attack from Fox News over the weekend. The news anchor, a mother to a soldier killed in the conflict, denounced MoH as being completely "disrespectful." [GI]
The official EA line is that their average age for target consumers is 39- and that being able to play as Taliban is much the same as playing cops and robbers back in childhood. After all, "in Medal of Honor multi-player, someone's gotta be the Taliban." This would have been a suitable place to call a deadlock- but there appears to be a little dissent in the DICE Camp itself. Producer Patrick Liu has actually agreed that this content could could be construed as disrespectful when interviewed by PSM3 last week.
"I think it is a fair point,"
"We do stir up some feelings, although it's not about the war, it's about the soldiers. We can't get away from what the setting is and who the factions are, but in the end, it's a game, so we're not pushing or provoking too hard." - Patrick Liu
It's time to get involved, FPS fans. Is Medal of Honor's Afghani setting genuinely disrespectful? Or is this just political correctness gone mad? Have your say in the comments!
Most Crackdown 2 players will have already sterilised Pacific City of all enemy activity (and stood on all those vital... buttons), but Ruffian's new Toybox expansion will "soon" be with us. According to Ruffian's twitter feed, the MS testers are currently vetting the product- and "loving it" to boot. They're "close..."
The Toybox DLC will add the Keys To The City cheats for maximum destruction as well as new armour colours, gear and avatar awards. [via VG247]
Remember the Dare To Be Digital Indie Games competition? We brought you the shortlist a few months back, and the three winners have finally been decided by a panel of elite judges from several different triple-A developers. Without further ado, here they are!
Congratulations, guys! The three winners won a £2500 prize as well as BAFTA nominations. We'll be keeping a close eye on these budding studios and their future endeavours.
Infinity Ward has been hemorrhaging staffers thick and fast these last few days, and the news of Respawn Studio's creation has led to four more devs quitting the Activision-run developer. Lead designers Steve Fukuda and Zied Reike have flown the coop (according to the latest report by Kotaku), both of whom have been a key part of Infinity Ward since its inception in 2002. Programmer Rayme Vinson and Lead Artist Chris Cherubini have also jumped ship.
Whilst Activision claim that they still retain a "deep bench of proven talent," this latest move demonstrates that their dirty tactics of withholding royalties simply isn't keeping their troubled studio in line. Turns out that developers work better when they're happy rather than slaving under a "climate of fear". Funny, that. [Gamesindustry.biz]
Anyone remember X-COM and Syndicate? These two classic strategy titles provided hard-as-nails strategy action nearly two decades ago, but have now been slated for a next-gen reboot.
2K Australia and 2K Marin will be shoehorning the X-COM universe into a first-person shooter. We half-expected Ken Levine's studio to be dealing with the remake (as rumours have been circulating for months), but it seems that Bioshock 2 has cemented 2K Marin's credibility as an FPS developer.
"With BioShock 2, the team at 2K Marin proved themselves as masters of first-person, suspenseful storytelling, and with XCOM they will re-imagine and expand the rich lore of this revered franchise. Players will explore the world of XCOM from an immersive new perspective and experience firsthand the fear and tension of this gripping narrative ride." - Christoph Hartmann, 2K President
Apparently, this FPS will combine new shooting mechanics and suspenseful storytelling with tactical strategy and planning. We'll bring you more as the story develops. [Kotaku]
In other news, EA-owned Starbreeze Studios has applied for three patents for Syndicate, the cyberpunk RTS/RPG hybrid that wowed gamers in the early 90s with brutal gameplay and impressive tactical scope. Details are still thin on the ground, but these patents almost certainly suggest that a remake's on the way. Whether or not Syndicate will be remodelled into an FPS remains to be seen. [VG247]
I know this is a 'soft' story, but it's always great to see a community band together and help out one of its own. New York Street Fighter forum Shoryuken has been raising money for Chris Hu, a fellow SF fan who tragically lost his home, possessions and savings to a fire. Apparently they've raised over $1000 already.
We'd like to salute this group of kindhearted gamers and thank them for raising the profile of online communities everywhere. [via Joystiq]
Let's face it: £2 really won't buy you much entertainment these days. It certainly won't get you into a film (at least, not one worth watching), it won't cover the cost of a good book and it usually won't net you a decent game. Hell, it'll barely cover the cost of a newspaper! This weekend, however, you can pick up the entire X-COM series for a measly two quid on Steam. That means you'll be able to snag five full games for less than a supermarket sandwich.
The X-COM series made its debut in the mid-nineties with X-COM: Enemy Unknown, which is generally considered to be one of the finest tactical strategy games ever made. It challenged players to equip and field elite squads of shock troops in turn-based isometric combat; whilst also having to deal with fragile international politics and budgetary reviews after each mission. Terror from the Deep and Apocalypse further expanded on the formula with a wider selection of enemies and improved AI that punished the overconfident and rewarded faultless tactical precision. They're difficult games, but the sense of accomplishment is well worth meeting the steep difficulty curve head on.
The package also includes two spinoffs: a flight simulator and a fast paced third-person shooter. They're frankly not in the same league as the originals, but they provide an enjoyable diversion that warrants their 40p price tag. Plus, the shooter is actually a lot of fun- and is the perfect way to blow off steam after a few tense, nail-biting missions!
The X-COM games may look dated, but they provide a deep tactical challenge for even the most hardened strategy veterans. If you value substance over style then you should seriously consider picking up the whole package this weekend!
Thanks to Cuddy at HotUKDeals!