XCOM fans were understandably stoked to learn last week that Firaxis Games was developing its own take on the cult RTS franchise. Now, GameInformer has the first details from the (not-at-all-like-2K-Marin's XCOM) reboot, and it's looking like the game will be more of a re-imagining than a full-on remake.
According to the preview, XCOM: Enemy Unknown will not be a traditional RTS in the same vein as titles like Starcraft, but instead offer a mix of play styles. From their perch at XCOM's headquarters, for instance, players will be required to manage technology development, soldier recruitment, training, vehicle upgrades, and political dealings in a “real-time global view”. From this overseer position, players will then be tasked with dispatching the Skyranger transport to different alien hotspots around the globe, after which the game will switch to turn-based combat.
If it all sounds familar, that's because Firaxis is drawing heavily on the ideas and core mechanics of the original for inspiration. However, that's not to say it will be an updated clone. Speaking to how closely it will copy its source material, GameInformer wrote, “Re-imagining is probably a better term. Firaxis' XCOM: Enemy Unknown doesn't directly copy the underlying game systems – for instance, soldiers have different stats than they did in the 1994 original – but the concepts are still here. Players still have to manage multiple resources and threats on a global scale in a seemingly hopeless war against extraterrestrial forces with far better technology and capabilities.”
The preview also suggests Firaxis is also making XCOM more accessible by streamlining some aspects and slimming down on micromanagement. But rather than see this as a negative, the site insists this will do away with the more tedious aspects of the game, while keeping its challenge in tact, suggesting, “Soldiers still die permanently, fog of war and line of sight are hugely important in combat, and you absolutely can lose the game if you screw up too badly.”
These early details also came with a few new screenshots which can be see below, or in motion when XCOM: Enemy Unknown appears for PS3, Xbox 360, and PC later this year.