Departure of XCOM developer studio head confirmed

XCOM publisher 2K Games has confirmed that 2K Australia studio head Martin Slater has resigned from the company, fueling rumors that his departure had something...

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XCOM publisher 2K Games has confirmed that 2K Australia studio head Martin Slater has resigned from the company, fueling rumors that his departure had something to do with changes to XCOM. Earlier this month, a supererogatory tweet spilled word of Slater's departure, with another tweet later claiming there had been "some big changes since it [XCOM] was announced."

A 2K spokesperson confirmed Slater's departure to Joystiq:

Over the course of a project, development teams do change and evolve from time-to-time. While we can confirm that Martin Slater is no longer with the studio, there have been no changes to the way in which XCOM is being developed. The project continues to involve strong collaboration between our California and Australia locations and continues to be led by creative director Jonathan Pelling, a longstanding member of the talented team that worked on BioShock, BioShock 2, Freedom Force and Tribes.

The statement claims changes haven't been made to the process, but doesn't necessarily deny that changes were the impetus for Slater's absence.

XCOM's re-imagining as a first-person shooter was surprising, as was the revelation that it was coming from multiple studios. We'll have to see for ourselves if the game has undergone significant changes when it's shown publicly.

Editor-In-Chief
From The Chatty
  • reply
    February 28, 2011 4:30 PM

    Comment on Departure of XCOM developer studio head confirmed, by Steve Watts.

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      February 28, 2011 4:33 PM

      That's a little unsettling. Definitely not a good sign when the guy leaves over the direction of a project. Makes me wonder if he abandoned the titanic.

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        February 28, 2011 5:04 PM

        He probably realized that he doesn't want to get flushed down the toilet with that turd and left to do something better with his time other than destroy a franchise.

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      February 28, 2011 4:34 PM

      I bet he checked his email after a year of absence, saw this had nothing to do with xcom and was like "fuck this shit, I'm out"

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      February 28, 2011 4:39 PM

      dun dun DUNN

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      February 28, 2011 4:42 PM

      Maybe he just got tired of the stress from dealing with multiple studios on one project. I have to imagine that amount of collaboration would not be easy.

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      February 28, 2011 4:45 PM

      The statement also doesn't deny the existence of aliens; perhaps we should suggest that they do indeed exist then?

    • reply
      February 28, 2011 5:03 PM

      Summary: "XCOM publisher 2K Games has confirmed that 2K Australia studio head Martin Slater has resigned from the company, fueling rumors that his departure had something to do with changes to XCOM. "

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      February 28, 2011 5:09 PM

      The new XCOM game never made sense to me. Why use the name if you're not going to draw upon the existing IP at all? The only people who care about the name are people who played the old games, and if anything you're just going to piss them off by using the name but not using any of the lore or gameplay. Everybody else doesn't care. So why bother using the name?

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        February 28, 2011 5:13 PM

        I don't know how well the lore ties into it but Fallout 3 didn't use the same gameplay as the originals and I love that game.

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          February 28, 2011 5:23 PM

          Fallout 3 actually did really well with the lore and style, particularly in relation to Fallout 1. Fallout 2 was much wackier than Fallout 1 or 3.

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          February 28, 2011 5:26 PM

          They used the lore extensively, and even translated the gameplay into an FPS pretty well with Fallout. The new XCOM would probably be fantastic as a Rainbow 6 type game with base-building.

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            February 28, 2011 5:29 PM

            There's a lot they could've potentially done with XCOM, which makes the whole scenario even more strange. A Republic Commando-style game, with or without base building, could've worked well if they wanted something more accessible than Rainbow 6.

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            February 28, 2011 5:31 PM

            I've said it before but a new XCOM in the style of Valkyria Chronicles would be fantastic and would actually be a turn based strategy game!

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          February 28, 2011 5:31 PM

          It used the same overall theme and direction though, which is something XCOM is not doing.

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        February 28, 2011 5:15 PM

        Sequelitis. People are more likely to go see Inception 2 that is about cobblestone road laying pavement workers who are going through divorces than a new intellectual property.

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      February 28, 2011 5:27 PM

      What's up with certain words being displayed in bold? I can understand words like a game's title, but "tweet"? "Supererogatory"?

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      February 28, 2011 5:35 PM

      I'm not surprised. Hopefully this is a good thing for gamers and X-com fans.

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        February 28, 2011 5:36 PM

        I fear the opposite.

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          February 28, 2011 7:28 PM

          I beg to differ, the cancellation of this project will be a good thing for X-COM fans. The game borrows core ideas from the original X-COM but in no way really even resembles it in any way. These core ideas have even been borrowed or expanded on by games such as UFO: Extra Terrestrials and that game is no X-COM. You take these idea's and create a game out of it and this is what 2K has done but slapped on the name X-COM on it to get some attention and make a few extra dollars hoping to draw in the older PC gamer crowd. 2K and those responsible for this turd have honestly done fans and new-comers of the series a disservice by subjecting us to a POS that neither has anything to do with the original game and will fail to set a standard or desire for fans or developers to see/do anything else with the X-COM franchise in the future.

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            February 28, 2011 7:33 PM

            you can call me wrong later if you want because an opinion is an opinion, but i'd wait to hear more information before freaking out like this.

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              February 28, 2011 7:49 PM

              Can we call you wrong now, and remain conspicuously quite later if you are right?

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                February 28, 2011 7:50 PM

                quite quiet

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                March 1, 2011 8:45 AM

                no. i will keep track of all of you and ridicule you mercilessly when i'm right.

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                  March 1, 2011 4:00 PM

                  I will be the first to say that you are right about this game when the time comes and you can redicule me and publicly humiliate me for being wrong about this game. I will keep an open mind about this game to eliminate any unfair judgement. Keep me at the top of your list :P.

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              February 28, 2011 7:50 PM

              Hopefully on top of being a good game, they will add either more X-com lore or at least 1950s America UFO lore.

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                February 28, 2011 8:01 PM

                Hopefully everyone involved dies in a fire.

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                  February 28, 2011 8:04 PM

                  You forgot the secret words, "Would you kindly," die in a fire for making Bioshock: XCOM

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                    February 28, 2011 8:05 PM

                    I wonder if that will work on the people responsible for Shadowrun.

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                    February 28, 2011 8:07 PM

                    Nothing kind about it. In my opinion this game seems to represent what I hate about modern games, even more than Bioslack 2. Quit cashing in on franchises, start making games that stand on their own merit.

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                      February 28, 2011 8:08 PM

                      It's not even a cash-in on a franchise. The franchise is dead. That's what's so dumb about the situation.

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                        February 28, 2011 8:10 PM

                        That's the thing it only pisses off the people that love the original. I suppose it gets us talking about it but it's all pretty negative. I think at best they've got a minor success on their hands. Time will tell.

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                          February 28, 2011 8:15 PM

                          The truth is if its good, it will sell. The Xcom name gave it extra press. I guess the people making this game reallyy wanted to do an Xflies game set in the 50s and this is the best way they have to market it.

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                            February 28, 2011 8:17 PM

                            If it's good I'll buy it and eat my words. If it's average or worse I'll pass.

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                              February 28, 2011 8:18 PM

                              It could still be good and also be offensively nonx-com.

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                                February 28, 2011 8:22 PM

                                Like I said, if it's good I'll buy it and eat my words. If it's offensively non-XCOM than they should have just made a great game that stood on its own two feet. Everyone loves great games. Great games usually start off as independent IP's and they do something better than the competition. Mediocre games usually have to latch onto the past successes of other franchises.

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                                  February 28, 2011 11:04 PM

                                  For what it's worth, I WAS looking forward to the new XCOM, but only if they promise to call it something other than XCOM. This is clearly not an XCOM game, it's just using the name in a hope of stealing a few extra sales.

                                  Calling it XCOM is really, REALLY wrong.

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                        February 28, 2011 8:19 PM

                        If the franchise were dead, then why use the name? Why not a completely new ip?

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                          February 28, 2011 8:20 PM

                          That is exactly the question I've been asking. See my other subthread.

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                            February 28, 2011 8:22 PM

                            It seems that you are saying that 2K is being dumb by using the franchise and alienating fans of XCOM. If so I would agree.

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                          February 28, 2011 8:22 PM

                          My only guess would be that even if they do change it substantially, it's still easier/cheaper than starting from scratch.

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                            February 28, 2011 8:24 PM

                            How does that make any sense here? What is it that they are using that isn't made from scratch? Certainly not the art assets? The story? Really? They could have just licensed the War of the Worlds tv show from the late 80s.

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                              February 28, 2011 8:26 PM

                              Actually I was thinking of Dark Skies, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_Skies

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                                February 28, 2011 8:28 PM

                                They'd have to pay to license that , they already own X-COM and the IP isn't doing anything else.

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                                  February 28, 2011 8:31 PM

                                  Why didn't they save some cash and just be 'inspired by' the XCOM games?

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                                    February 28, 2011 8:33 PM

                                    They've owned the IP since '05 I guess they figured they might as well use it for something.
                                    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X-COM#Intellectual_property_rights

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                                      February 28, 2011 8:36 PM

                                      EA owned the rights to System Shock and still had the foresight to make Dead Space an independent IP.

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                                        February 28, 2011 8:44 PM

                                        And if the rights to X-COM were owned by EA we might see a similar thing, but they're owned by 2K who obviously have their own ideas what to do with their properties.
                                        I'm not saying I agree with it. The whole "existing IP is cheaper to produce even if you throw everything out" is a pretty weak argument to begin with. I'm just glad that they had the sense to leave the dash out of the re-imagining so that I can keep my memories of X-COM separate from my impressions of what we've seen of XCOM so far.

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                                  February 28, 2011 8:49 PM

                                  But the ip in this case is just the setting, the genre. Genres aren't really IP are they?

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                                    March 1, 2011 8:29 AM

                                    It really depends on how much of the existing stuff they made use of. Maybe there's a lot more going on than we were shown? Either that or they just wanted the name so that when people went "wtf is XCOM" and they google it and see the amazing response to the first X-COM games, that they pre-order it immediately.

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                              February 28, 2011 8:27 PM

                              I look at Dead Space. I thought that was a great game and found out after I played it that it was originally going to be System Shock 3. Now if it had come out as SS3 than I would have had higher expectations and most likely wouldn't have enjoyed it as much.

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                            February 28, 2011 8:26 PM

                            But they are starting from scratch. The only thing this new XCOM game shares with the old games is the name.

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                  February 28, 2011 8:06 PM

                  I hate the internet. Please don't say such things.

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              February 28, 2011 8:01 PM

              with respect, the original release of information regarding this game wasn't exactly what fans were hoping to hear or looking forward to all these years. I'm not going to condemn the new game, for all I know it could be fun. However the bottom line about what is known right now about the game is that it is radically different and not exactly what fans had in mind. Lets put things into perspective, lets take Duke Nukem for example. Lets make a game that borrows idea's from Duke Nukem 3D, get a bunch of one-liners some aliens unknown to the series and earth in trouble but instead of in the future lets put in in the 50's and have a different hero(s) and slap the title Duke Nukem Forever on it because the game will have similarities. That sure sounds ridiculous and for Duke fans, that would shoot the franchise in the foot more than its long history of issues. This is basically how I feel about what is happening to X-COM. I will certainly wait for more information to come out and then form my opinions on what is presented but I hope that you can see how myself and others might feel right now. For myself and I'm sure other fans of X-COM we are very concerned. I will take what you said as a sign that maybe favorable things are yet to come.

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                February 28, 2011 8:05 PM

                We can only form our opinions on the media that's been released. If they don't feel it represents the full game then they shouldn't have released it. I think we're seeing some backpedaling more than anything.

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                  March 1, 2011 8:47 AM

                  if you are taking what i'm saying as backpedaling you're mistaken. i love what we've released, and i'm excited about what you haven't seen. if that's not your cup of gaming tea, fine.

                  telling the devs to die in a fire is disrespectful any way you put it, though. for someone who loves gaming as much as you and i do, you'd think you'd not go there.

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                    March 1, 2011 4:08 PM

                    Yes, I was talking about you. I'm always talking about you. That's all I do.

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                February 28, 2011 8:21 PM

                for Dahanese: I'm just a little sore but not at the point of freaking out. I hope I at least made sense in my post above. I just think it was important to voice my opinion but next time I'll do it in a more constructive manner. :)

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            February 28, 2011 7:37 PM

            I agree, as an XCOM fan this game doesn't look like anything I want associated with the franchise. Make it a new IP and I might be interested.

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              February 28, 2011 11:24 PM

              Irrational made SWAT4 which would have been a great gameplay style for an X-Com game. You lead a squad of commandos to sites where aliens are and you succeed missions by capturing aliens rather than killing them. But that game probably won't sell well.

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                March 1, 2011 3:01 AM

                That was wht I was thinking. The gameplay of SWAT would really suit a first-person xcom.

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                March 1, 2011 4:21 AM

                They also made Freedom Force which seems to be perfect for an X-com style games.

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                March 1, 2011 5:06 AM

                Other than the commandos that's what I was led to believe this game was. You would return to your central base between missions, based on things you collected/did in the missions you could upgrade your base/knowledge/equipment and tool up etc for the next mission.

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            February 28, 2011 7:47 PM

            I thought they slapped the name XCOM on the blob shooting simulator. Not X-COM.

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            February 28, 2011 7:49 PM

            How is this a cancellation? One guy left the project. That's it.

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              February 28, 2011 11:06 PM

              The captain of the ship cant see the coast but has decided "I'll just be getting out here anyway, good luck lads!"

              That's never a good sign.

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      February 28, 2011 7:29 PM

      Yeah I was afraid of this :(

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      February 28, 2011 7:45 PM

      Why does everyone assume that this new X-Com will suck. Or that this guy quit over it being a bad game. I will wait to pass judgement when it comes out.

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        February 28, 2011 7:48 PM

        With the exception of American History X, I can't think of an example of a director quitting and two masters resulting in a good product. It isn't impossible that Xcom will be good, but it is improbable.

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        February 28, 2011 7:56 PM

        It might be a good game but so far everything we have seen has nothing to with X-com or 1950s ufo lore. It's like someone made a sequel to the Firefly movie and it was set in the 1930s america with Gansters dressed in clown costumes. Sure it might be a great clown gangster movie set in the 30s but it isn't what we want to see.

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        February 28, 2011 8:18 PM

        I liked how alien the aliens looked in the previews, other than the 50s schlocky blob things, there wasn't much concession to cliche.

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          February 28, 2011 8:21 PM

          I hated them. They are so mid 90s. If anything, the aliens are the number one thing I can't stand about the new Xcom. The second thing I hate the most is the Airforce, not the FBI investigated UFOs. its like they took no time to research the subject matter at all.

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            February 28, 2011 8:27 PM

            Lara croft in the new Sonic game! everyone would buy it!!
            i guess videogames dont use characters like the movies do yet. you have to use the name to get people to buy on opening weekend.

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        February 28, 2011 8:42 PM

        Because it's a pretty safe bet. How often does something like this produce good results? If it does, we all win, but it's not a stretch to assume that it will be less than stellar.

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          March 1, 2011 4:04 PM

          I liked the old x-com games, but this one looked neat to me as well and its one of the games that I was looking forward to playing. I just want it to be good, so I will hold out hope.

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      February 28, 2011 7:52 PM

      Now cancel the game and make a proper xcom game.

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      February 28, 2011 11:00 PM

      Oh dear. This has disaster written all over it.

      That, or maybe they have been ordered by management to change the game into a top-down isometric turn-based squad shooter, and he strongly disagrees with that design direction as no one would possibly want that...

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      March 1, 2011 4:15 AM

      I like the look of the game. Who gives a shit what its called. If its a good game, we all win, if its a crap game, you don't have to buy it. It won't change the Xcom games from the past and it certainly won't change your chances of getting an Xcom game like those you all so fondly remember, chances of which are already slim to none.

      Fallout 3 did pretty well like Xav says, that being successful hasn't given you all the Fallout game you originally went at the internet with pitchforks over, but at least we all got a good game out of the deal.

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        March 1, 2011 8:41 AM

        Pretty much everyone who loved the orginal X-com games gives a shit and this really isn't anything like Fallout 3 complaints. Fallout 3 was still a Fallout game. Same genre, same lore, and even the same universe. Per the information that is available, the only thing similar to this Xcom and X-com is the vehicle name. Most of the bitching about Fallout 3 came from one web site where the people hated Bethesda.

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          March 1, 2011 8:44 AM

          Also it doesn't help that there hasn't been a major turn-based game in the style of X-com in years and years while there are tons of FPS games out there now.

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            March 1, 2011 8:48 AM

            I can deal with the genre change. After all, Microprose was developing a FPS X-com game back in the day. I'm just surprise and disappointed they included nothing from the original games in terms of setting and styling.

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        March 1, 2011 4:11 PM

        We give a shit because this game will totally override the meaning and memory of the name X-COM in the future. One of the best games ever made, completely and utterly trashed for people who don't even know what it's about.
        Think people calling MW2 = MechWarrior 2 in Modern Warfare threads is annoying? This is an order of magnitude worse. And you will never hear the end of it.

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      March 1, 2011 9:10 PM

      Uh oh. He wanted it to be too XCOM-y, they wanted it to be more Call of Duty meets X-Files. The two briefly grappled, but in the end 2K won.

      OR conversely, the buyout rumors are true, Activision is consuming Take-2 quietly (and 2k along with it) and a few employees have become aware of it, are fighting to escape before The End Comes...