XCOM dev diary reveals the motives behind 2K's reboot

2K Marin's XCOM FPS reboot may look nothing like its top-down strategy ancestors, but according to its developers there's a lot of the old XCOM still lurking beneath its surface. Watch now as 2K explains why taking the franchise to street level makes sense, and how it plans keep some of the series' elements intact in this new developer diary.

 “XCOM is a really beloved franchise, and it's one that personally means a lot to me,” insists Jonathon Pelling, XCOM's lead designer. “It's a game that I treasured years and years ago, so it's super exciting to be able to come back and reinvigorate the franchise with a new entry that really adheres to the tennets of what made the original game so special.”

Justifying the genre swap, he adds: “Our telling of XCOM is an original story. It's about experiencing the origins of this organization from a really zoomed in and boots-on-the-ground perspective. We really wanted to make you feel like what it was like to be one of the squadies in the original game, and not the all-knowing top-down commando.”

Whether or not you jive with 2K Marin's vision, it's clear the studio is intent on honoring XCOM's roots. Being a business with bills to pay, it's also intent on bringing new fans into the fold, and that means appealing modern console players who – if we're being honest here – don't exactly line up in droves to buy top-down turned-based strategy games. It's a tricky balance to strike, and it will ultimately alienate more than a few XCOM die-hards. Still, isn't it better to have a modified XCOM than no XCOM at all?

Sep 23, 2011 


2K Marin


  • clubsandwich - September 26, 2011 8:57 a.m.

    My cat just bit my finger.
  • TheVoid - September 23, 2011 2:57 p.m.

    Admittedly I don't really mind what 2K is doing with this. In fact, in many ways I think it has tons of potential and could easily be the best X-Com "spinoff" to date (albeit not a difficult feat considering the half-baked nature of Interceptor and Enforcer). But as a HUGE fan of the original, it bothers me that 2K keeps insisting on how loyal they are being to the X-Com brand, while seemingly pulling the "rug that brought the whole room together" out from underneath it. They can throw in as many "nods" as they'd like in this FPS hybrid spin-off, but so long as they continue to ignore the potential in a modernized version of the insanely addictive and wonderfully dynamic original, I will continue to feel that the franchise rights are being squandered almost completely. Meanwhile 2K has become quite vocal in their insistance that nobody cares about turn-based strategy games anymore, but here's the thing: I didn't either until I played the original X-Com some 15+ years ago. I had basically ZERO exposure to turn-based strategy games up until that point and IMMEDIATELY fell in love with the gameplay. Somehow X-Com managed to make an otherwise perceivably boring game genre very fresh, exciting, tense, and even a little bit scary despite the oh-so-pixelated graphics and cumbersome interface. It basically did for turn-based strategy games what FF7 did for JRPGs. Of course, this was mainly due to it being so damn immersive, delivering the top-down "manage the base and financials" while alternatively serving up it's core "manage your squad at the scene of the crash", with both sides of the gameply impacting the other directly. It was, in a word, brilliant. But apparently not brilliant enough for 2K, nor today's gamers. Or, more accurately, probably TOO brilliant in a "the low hanging fruit is NEVER going to wrap their arms around this in any sort of (financially meaningful) way". So, fine. Do the "zoomed in origin story" as you would, 2K. I'll bite. Just give us the TRUE sequel (or reboot or whatever) that fans of the orignal have been clammoring for sooner than later. Otherwise what was the point in acquiring it? Is this it, really? And last but not least, hey 2K, let me ask you this: For all the "nods" and "respect" you are pouring over your upcoming release, why have I not heard thing one about destructible environments, which were a HUGE game-defining aspect of the orignal? There's not an X-Com fan alive that wouldn't put that front-and-center in terms of what made the game so great, but you've managed to remain pretty tight-lipped on that. Let me guess: The resources that could have been dedicated to that aspect have been reallocated to some lame "gotta have it" multiplayer functionality. Am I right?
  • troyroever - September 23, 2011 11:49 a.m.

    ppl need to stop bashing this game. its looks f*cking awesome. try it first before you bash, f*ckin haters.
  • InFeRnOg - September 23, 2011 10:57 a.m.

    "Still, isn't it better to have a modified XCOM than no XCOM at all?" No, no it isn't.

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