After last year’s E3, XCOM went completely dark. Between then and last week, no trailers, screens or information for the game were released. Rumors began to fester earlier this year that the FPS reboot was undergoing a major rethink. Returning to 2K’s booth a year later for a second look, I can report that that’s absolutely the case. Thematically it’s the same game, but mechanically, big changes – some worrying, some not – have been made to XCOM.
Let the case of old-school X-Com fans versus 2K’s XCOM revival now commence. The prosecution immediately presents its evidence: a simple copy of the original X-Com. “The evidence,” those gamers say, “will speak for itself.” And it does. Strategy, tactics, base management, research. Tiny gray men! If looks could kill, the entire jury would be in the defendant’s seat at this point. And 2K, of course, would be in a body bag.
2K, however – unfazed by an army of gamers and, in all likelihood, a small stack of death threats – presents its evidence. “We, too, believe our evidence will speak for itself.” It’s XCOM’s E3 demo. And it’s… still a first-person shooter. Things aren’t looking good for 2K. The jury grows restless and a chorus of dissatisfied grumbles echoes through the courtroom. But wait. Suddenly, an “OBJECTION!” so powerful it’d put Phoenix Wright out of a job.
“Just watch,” 2K insists, still shockingly composed, given the situation. And so we did.
Fantastic news, everyone! 2K Marin’s bringing back a certain classic turn-based strategy franchise that’s been out of action since before it became uncool to have “2K,” 2000, or some variation of that in your company’s name. That’s right: XCOM’s coming out of retirement with guns a blazing. Like, literally. It’s going to be a first-person shooter.
“XCOM is the re-imagining of the classic tale of humanity’s struggle against an unknown enemy that puts players directly into the shoes of an FBI agent tasked with identifying and eliminating the growing threat. True to the roots of the franchise, players will be placed in charge of overcoming high-stake odds through risky strategic gambits coupled with heart-stopping combat experiences that pit human ingenuity – and frailty – against a foe beyond comprehension,” reads the game’s website.
“By setting the game in a first-person perspective, players will be able to feel the tension and fear that comes with combating a faceless enemy that is violently probing and plotting its way into our world.”
Before you plan out a meticulous strategy involving pitchforks and torches, though, remember who we’re dealing with here. 2K Marin met and – in some ways – exceeded expectations with BioShock 2. It won’t quite be XCOM like you remember it, but just because you’ll probably spend more time outgunning aliens and less time outwitting them doesn’t mean it’ll be a bad game. Here’s hoping we hear more soon.