XCOM: Enemy Unknown

PC, PS3, XB360, MAC, IPAD, IPHONE OS / Strategy / Release: Oct 9, 2012 / ESRB: M

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XCOM: Enemy Unknown E3 trailer looks nothing like XCOM: Enemy Unknown

XCOM: Enemy Unknown E3 trailer looks nothing like XCOM: Enemy Unknown

How exactly can one sell a turn-based tactical game to the E3 audience, those hooting, hollering troglodytes who clap and roar because they recognise a character in a video game? The approach taken by XCOM: Enemy Unknown, at least, is to pretend you're something else entirely with a very flashy E3 trailer.

Watch: And I would've gotten away with it too... »

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XCOM: Enemy Unknown preview

XCOM: Enemy Unknown preview

Firaxis has a daunting challenge to overcome with XCOM: Enemy Unknown. As a true successor to the beloved strategy classic, it has to sate the expectations of those that played the 1993 original. But, it needs to be flashy enough to catch the attention of the modern console gamer. How does one go about making a turn-based strategy game appeal to the masses?

Simple: stay as true to the original X-COM as possible. Fighting an alien invasion where the stakes are so high makes for great drama, no matter what the genre. Thanks to the game's unforgiving and brutal difficulty, every move matters that much more. Whereas other games had me mowing down hundreds of enemies, Enemy Unknown made me feel like every decision I made was crucial.

Read more: No more action points »

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XCOM: Enemy Unknown coming October 9, PC special edition announced

XCOM: Enemy Unknown coming October 9, PC special edition announced

Although 2K Marin's first-person reboot of XCOM has disappeared into the ether, Firaxis' strategy game has been dated. XCOM: Enemy Unknown will be available on PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 on October 9th.

Of course, no release date announcement is complete without mentioning pre-order bonus incentives. Pre-ordering the game from select retailers will entitle you to the "Elite Soldier Pack." This DLC add-on includes a classic X-COM soldier, inspired by the original UFO Defense. Soldiers can also be customized with a Deco pack and "complete color customization."

Read more: Special Edition exclusively for PC »

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XCOM: Enemy Unknown embraces gaming's 'renaissance of difficulty'

XCOM: Enemy Unknown embraces gaming's 'renaissance of difficulty'

XCOM: Enemy Unknown is a re-imagining of the turn-based tactics and RPG elements found in the original X-Com: UFO Defense. Enemy Unknown producer Garth DeAngelis recently talked about the game that core fans of the series have been waiting for, and the focus on accessibility while keeping challenges in-tact.

"We look at games like Demon's Souls and Dark Souls and Minecraft and Dwarf Fortress, and we think there's a little bit of a renaissance of difficulty in games. Gamers are buying those experiences, clearly, and they're not easy games," DeAngelis said. "They're challenging. You can lose. You can fail. And failure is part of games. So we wanted to bring it back, and we thought, you know, it's a pillar of X-Com."

Read more: 'Iron Man' mode for veterans »

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XCOM: Enemy Unknown PC packs mod support, unique UI

XCOM: Enemy Unknown PC packs mod support, unique UI

Firaxis is ticking a lot of the right boxes in "reimagining" the much-loved tactical series X-COM for modern audiences with XCOM: Enemy Unknown, certainly more than the FPS XCOM. The developer's shared a few details on the PC edition now, ticking more boxes with support for modding and a "unique" UI especially for PC.

Read more: Console interface? "No, no, no. Nooo. Oh man, no," says lead designer »

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The procedural world of XCOM: Enemy Unknown

The procedural world of XCOM: Enemy Unknown

XCOM: Enemy Unknown was a breath of fresh air for long-time X-COM fans, terrified of 2K Marin's FPS reboot of the franchise. The bullet point of features for Enemy Unknown sound like a wishlist for fans of the original: strategy, character customization, and yes, perma-death.

However, one feature stood out in my hands-off demo of the Firaxis-developed turn-based strategy game. Enemy Unknown features randomly selected levels and procedurally generated layouts that make it "impossible" to see everything the game has to offer on one playthrough.

Read more: Replayability is a huge design pillar »

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Xenonauts dev promises 'proper remake' of XCOM

Xenonauts dev promises 'proper remake' of XCOM

Xenonauts was a game born of adversity, a direct response to the first-person shooter XCOM. Developer Goldhawk Interactive wanted to craft its own re-imagining for fans of the original strategy game. But Firaxis has since announced its own official strategy XCOM, Enemy Unknown. It seems the two would butt heads, but Goldhawk lead Chris England sees a clear difference between these offerings.

"Nobody's really done a proper remake of XCOM without changing the fundamentals, I don’t think even Firaxis are doing it."

Read more: 'They're making a much more progressive remake of XCOM' »

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Sid Meier wants to expand XCOM: Enemy Unknown's appeal to action gamers

Sid Meier wants to expand XCOM: Enemy Unknown's appeal to action gamers

For classic strategy fans, the announcement of XCOM: Enemy Unknown was a breath of fresh air. Rather than take the series in a radical new direction (like its cousin, simply titled XCOM), Enemy Unknown pays homage to the older title. Apparently Firaxis feels the same way, and creative development head Sid Meier feels the game could potentially draw in different types of gamers.

"In our dreams we pull in strategy game players, we pull in action players, we pull in RPG players," Meier said.

Read more: 'An action gamer might think strategy is pretty fun too' »

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XCOM creator calls FPS direction 'disappointing'

XCOM creator calls FPS direction 'disappointing'

Julian Gollop, creator of the original X-COM game, hasn't had a hand in the XCOM first-person reboot from 2K Marin, nor the more recently announced strategy game, XCOM: Enemy Unknown from Firaxis. It's clear which one he prefers though, sharing his thoughts on the strategy game and calling the shooter direction "disappointing" for its departure from the series' roots.

"I thought it was a great shame because it was going down the same route as some of the previous X-COM sequels, like Interceptor and Enforcer - in other words, going completely against turn-based combat," Gollop said.

Read more: Are turn-based games a 'completely niche market'? »

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XCOM: Enemy Unknown is 'reimagining' of 1994 game

XCOM: Enemy Unknown is 'reimagining' of 1994 game

Firaxis gave us a pleasant New Year's surprise last week with the announcement of XCOM: Enemy Unknown, and now more details are slowly dripping out about the classic-styled real-time strategy game. The game is a reimagining of the original XCOM, taking place before the upcoming XCOM shooter.

Read more: What's being tweaked, what's staying untouched »

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XCOM: Enemy Unknown is Firaxis-developed strategy game

XCOM: Enemy Unknown is Firaxis-developed strategy game

The reveal of 2K Marin's first-person XCOM reboot was not entirely well-received. "If they want to make a generic FPS where you fight aliens, why the hell bother using an existing IP that almost single-handedly created a completely different genre?," Shacker Mad Brahmin Disease asked nearly two years ago, when the reimagined game was first unveiled.

While few doubt 2K Marin's ability to make a fine FPS, XCOM fans were disappointed that the franchise was straying so far from its strategy roots. Capitalizing on that sentiment, 2K Games has another XCOM game up its sleeve--a strategy game from Civilization developer Firaxis.

Read more: A 'full-on strategy game' »

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