Irrational on Rumored X-COM Revival: 'Don't Believe Everything You Read'

While rumors and at least two separate resumes have suggested that the next project from BioShock veterans Irrational will be an X-COM revival, studio president Ken Levine has touched upon the subject, warning fans to keep their expectations in check.

"Without saying what product we're working on, there's stuff you read about us that has some validity, and stuff that has no validity whatsoever," he states in the February 2010 issue of print magazine Game Informer. "I can't say yes or no to any particular thing, but I can say this: Don't believe everything you read."

Irrational's BioShock (2007) and Mythos Games' X-COM (1993)

He adds: "It's amazing the stuff you read confirmed about yourself nowadays."

Having recently switched the name of its Boston branch back to Irrational--Irrational's offices were rebranded 2K Boston and 2K Australia upon the completion of BioShock--the studio has been working a project, now known to be code named Project Icarus, since 2007, with job listings suggesting a shooter with multiplayer.

But don't read too much into the code name, cautions Levine. "Because then we're setting ourselves up for catastrophic failure," explains art director Nate Wells, referring to the mythological Icarus. "Our reach will exceed our grasp and we will fall to the Earth."

Whatever Icarus turns out to be, it's previously been described as "pretty crazy ambitious, with Levine further teasing Game Informer that "it will come as a complete surprise, and it won't be a surprise at all, in some ways."

As for when Icarus will be revealed, Levine says "we're going to be dark on the project we're working on for a little while longer," noting "we appreciate everyone's patience."

And though Levine didn't say much else on Project Icarus, he did comment on the age-old rumors that internal studio drama, specifically being difficult to work with, caused a number of former staffers to transfer to BioShock 2 developer 2K Marin:

It was a little frustrating for us, because it made it appear that there was some kind of situation that there just wasn't...Take-Two had a business need to build a studio, and they wanted to expand development capacity. BioShock 2 wasn't the project for us, and it wasn't like they weren't going to make BioShock 2--they need to make BioShock 2. So we chose five people...for us, it was important that the people who had been with us for a long time--that we protected that group of people so we could have our core here. They needed a person who could lead that group creatively, and I think Jordan [Thomas] is definitely the guy that can do that...Jordan is a real talent.

Chris Faylor was previously a games journalist creating content at Shacknews.

From The Chatty
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    January 16, 2010 10:26 AM

    I would KILL for a proper X-Com remake.. 100% turn based, very deep, levelling, etc..

    Now excuse me while I wipe that drool.

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      January 16, 2010 12:49 PM

      100% turn based : YES
      Very Deep : (I'm assuming research, manufacturing, perhaps being able to tweak my laser rifle to produce a stronger shot at the expense of accuracy, or a weaker shot for tighter auto-shots) : YES
      Leveling : (I'm assuming being able to make my soldiers stronger by having them train while I watch the night sky's, one day at a time) : YES

      Please to Add :

      Multi-player : It is my life's ambition to lead a squad of war tempered sectoids into combat, seeing them run with a Heavy Plasma rifle that weights more than they do.

    • reply
      January 16, 2010 2:54 PM


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      January 16, 2010 7:27 PM

      Check out UFO Extra Terrestials it's not too fancy but a complete remake with barely any changes to gameplay.

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        January 17, 2010 6:05 PM

        Yeah! I bought it, and have been pimping it on the shack too :P

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      January 16, 2010 9:06 PM

      If Irrational were going to cut themselves off from 2K and go back to being an indie studio I could see a turn-based X-Com remake being done but turn-based games just aren't going to cut it with the kiddies who's attention spans are nonexistent.

      A real-time action based version of X-Com would work but then the purists would scream bloody murder (then again, Fallout fans did the same thing but that didn't stop Fallout 3 from selling very well).

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        January 16, 2010 9:18 PM

        Purists will boycott it, but it would still sell millions

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      January 17, 2010 2:10 AM

      Yea I totally agree. X-Com were one of the first games I played on the PC and it's still to date one of the best games ever.

      The depth of the old games were great, with researching alien technology and then developing them, upgrading your ships in speed, armor and weapon power.

      Remember the old "Blaster"? The gun you could steer the bullet that then exploded, taking out entire rooms or even having the power to blast trough the walls of the UFOs =)

      If anyone ever made a real remake of the old X-Com games it would be a blast. Turn based, depth, leveling and, with the use of todays computers, real time physics (I love how you could blast out an entire lower floor of a building and not have the upper stores fall down =).

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      January 18, 2010 11:30 AM

      I cant understand why this hasnt been done yet :[

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