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Why Did 2K Games Turn XCOM Into A FPS-Tactical Game Hybrid?


If you’re old enough to remember XCOM, MicroProse’s X-COM, was a strategy game that looked something like this.




XCOM, the 2012 reboot from Bioshock developer 2K Marin, is a first person shooter with tactical elements. Time units are still in the game, but work differently. When you step back in tactical mode Agent William Carpenter pulls out a gigantic cell phone and spends time units to order the two agents traveling with him on the field. He can make one of them create a combat shield to absorb enemy fire from the Outsiders, aliens made out of living technology.




Why the big change? "We just thought what would be really interesting in an origin story is coming back and putting your boots on the ground and seeing what these guys are going through, first-hand. That’s what we really wanted to explore," answered Drew Smith, Producer, in a Siliconera interview.


"At the same time, we wanted to keep the pillars of what we believed are the most important things of the original XCOM, you know, strategy, strategic play in the base, and tactical combat in the field. Research, which is huge – going back, capturing the other technology, subverting it, using it against them, which was obviously a big part of the original game. Having your agents, making them meaningful to the player, and giving the player meaningful choices with the agents and their paths. That’s what we really wanted to focus on and bring to bear."


XCOM has a system where you can capture alien technology right on the field. Once in your possession, you can either bring the technology back to your base and research more powerful weapons for your team or give the enemies a taste of their own medicine by using it on the battlefield immediately. In a hands-off demo, 2K Marin staff captured an alien turret and later dropped it into a room surrounded with enemies. The turret only lasted for a few seconds, but it was powerful enough to clear the area.


We’ll have more XCOM coverage on Siliconera soon.

Siliconera Staff
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