XCOM 2 features native Steam Controller support; other gamepads not supported yet

As Firaxis warned back in June, gamepad support for XCOM 2 just isn't in the cards at launch. Well, not all gamepads anyway, because thanks to a collaboration with Valve, the latest game in the series now features native support for Steam Controllers.

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The fight against hostile extraterrestrials begins anew today with XCOM 2. It's a PC-only game, so console users are missing out on this sequel to Enemy Unknown. But not only is it exclusive to the PC platform, it appears that it doesn't even have gamepad support to make the sting a little easier for console players.

Valve (via Polygon) points to native Steam Controller integration, thanks mainly to a direct collaboration with developer Firaxis to implement situation-specific control schemes. The touchpad can be used in Geoscape and Tactical view, while touch menus can be used to select abilities. Valve is pushing this idea a little further by discounting bundles that package together XCOM 2 and the Steam Controller by 40 percent.

However, the big loser here appears to be every other gamepad. Not only are Xbox and PlayStation controllers not supported, neither is any other gamepad manufactured specifically for PC use. Firaxis stated to IGN in the past that gamepad support is in the works, but a text-heavy interface makes it less than ideal for the moment. For now, XCOM 2 will only run on Steam Controller and the old-fashioned way: mouse and keyboard.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

From The Chatty
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    February 5, 2016 2:14 PM

    Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, XCOM 2 uses native Steam Controller support; other gamepads not supported yet

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      February 5, 2016 3:25 PM

      This is awful news because XCOM controls wonderfully with a gamepad. It's arguably better than a mouse/keyboard because of how quickly you can input commands

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        February 5, 2016 3:33 PM

        i have a steam controller tho, so this sounds cool to me

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          February 5, 2016 3:45 PM

          How are you liking the steam controller? Worth picking up?

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            February 5, 2016 4:02 PM

            I love it. Very easy to setup/switch out, the controls are responsive, battery life has been good. The touchpad takes some getting used to, but I like it. I don't know that I'd go so far as to say that it's as good as a mouse (accuracy-wise) but that's probably a personal thing.

            From what I've seen though, some people have the opposite experience overall and hated theirs, but I don't know why.

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        February 5, 2016 4:05 PM

        Not XCOM 2, the sheer number of interface details would make gamepad support quite challenging.

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        February 5, 2016 5:08 PM

        I played the much of the last one with a gamepad because it felt better and more accurate for moving to a specific position. They tweaked this one so it is definitely more natural to point and click with the mouse. Plus there's still hotkeys for speedy inputs on everything, which you can put on the mouse & keyboard to your liking.

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        February 5, 2016 6:44 PM

        I liked the first one better on Mouse+Keyboard anyway, but XCOM 2 is designed purely around a mouse and keyboard interface. Remember there isn't even a console version of this game.

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        February 5, 2016 8:36 PM

        Arguably? I would like to see it actually argued for once. Because it ain't so unless you refuse to use hotkeys or something dumb like that.

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          February 5, 2016 8:45 PM

          The mouse cursor to move was real fiddly when moving players on turns in the last XCOM. So many times it selected the wrong tile or piece of cover for me. Until I stumbled up on the fact you could hold down the move button so it behaved like the gamepad where you can precisely select the spot before you confirm.

          That was pretty much the only advantage, aside from the smoother analog camera movement with the stick over wasd and mouse edge scroll. And the fact that you could sit back in your chair or couch.

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      February 5, 2016 3:34 PM

      So um how different is the UI from the console? Because if it's fairly similar than lolz.

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        February 5, 2016 3:36 PM

        Console?...

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          February 5, 2016 3:40 PM

          I fail, I thought it was console and pc like the first.

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        February 5, 2016 3:39 PM

        It's PC only for now so no console ports which is probably one of the reasons why this wasn't implemented at launch

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          February 5, 2016 3:46 PM

          does it still use the same awful ui from the first game though?

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            February 5, 2016 3:48 PM

            Yeah totally. The only difference is the new abilities and a new skin but otherwise it's essentially the same.

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              February 5, 2016 4:05 PM

              This is really not true

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                February 5, 2016 5:14 PM

                I don't see how it's different. It's been updated because it's a sequel but otherwise the basic layout is the same as it was on EU.

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                  February 5, 2016 5:15 PM

                  There are a lot more details and interface pieces, they're also much smaller and more subtle, I'm just thinking of looking at this on my TV and there are a bunch of things that you could miss easily

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                February 5, 2016 5:18 PM

                A lot of the menu stuff in game and out is close to or pretty much the same and would be extremely navigable with gamepad stepping and button prompts, but some text and selection buttons have shrunk a bit, and the tactical map is totally different and mouse driven, obviously.

                They could make it work, but unless they really changed the scale of some stuff which would also force them to adjust some layouts as well, it wouldn't be worth it for TV distances anyway. Unless you have bionic eyes. I can barely read the research text on items as it is from a foot away on my native res. The UI scale is the same size no matter what from what I could tell, so it would benefit from a larger display than mine.

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                  February 5, 2016 5:20 PM

                  The geoscape was the first thing I thought of

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                    February 5, 2016 5:26 PM

                    Yeah I don't blame them for not having controller support built in. It's going to be difficult to get it to work right but if Blizzard can get Diablo 3 to work with a controller, I imagine Firaxis can get it to work on X2

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            February 5, 2016 6:45 PM

            No. The UI in the first game was fine. But they've tuned it up and tweaked it quite a bit. It's far more streamlined this time around. Works wonderfully.

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      February 5, 2016 4:05 PM

      PSA - The Steam Controller is 40% off if you buy (or pre-ordered) XCOM 2

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        February 5, 2016 5:16 PM

        Only if you preordered it from Steam though, so I got hosed on that deal since i used GMG

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          February 5, 2016 6:16 PM

          Yup. Same here. A shame, because I'd have jumped in at $30, but I already have two XBox controllers (one wired and one wireless) for my PC, so I'm not inclined to go get another controller for no reason unless there's a deal.

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        February 5, 2016 6:12 PM

        Fuck that shit.

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      February 5, 2016 5:22 PM

      I've read elsewhere that XCOM 2 is text heavy and designed to be played up close on a monitor, rather than a TV. So even if a Steam Controller works great with it, youl'll likely still have an unpleasant time trying to read the text if playing it on a TV from your sofa. And that's a real turn-off for me.

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      February 5, 2016 6:40 PM

      ive sold off my steam controller. single worst controller that doesn't have madkatz on it that ive ever used.

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        February 5, 2016 7:02 PM

        Ehhehehehehege

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        February 5, 2016 7:37 PM

        I love mine. I wasn't crazy about it when I first got it... it took some time to get used to it. Once I discovered the community sourced configs which you can browse and download from within each game page, I was hooked. There are people who take a lot of time to map so many features to parts of the controller and make it work very well. There is one which basically maps pretty much everything you need to accurately fly a ship in Star Citizen to the Steam controller... and it works very well. Same with Elite: Dangerous. Once you get used to using it and get the right profiles, it's an incredible piece of hardware.

        I can see why people wouldn't like it, but I think it's brilliance can easily be missed at first glance. It's a very cool thing.

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          February 5, 2016 8:39 PM

          i tried, i tried to like it. tried lots of the configs. but its just too clunky.

          games dropping it from being usable just because my mouse happened to move. or it totally not working in menus or at all in games. having the bindings all set but then it not working at all.

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        February 5, 2016 8:19 PM

        It is literally the best controller.

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          February 5, 2016 8:39 PM

          to be honest an orb360 was better than this back in the day