Before you hit the battlefield in XCOM: Enemy Unknown you’re going to want to decide who to take into battle. Obviously part of this is going to be based on the class, abilities, and items that your units receive, but there’s another important element that you have control of: their name.
Naming your squad members adds another layer of enjoyment to Enemy Unknown by creating a personal connection to your soldiers. That said, it’s sometimes hard to think of what to name them, as you might find yourself creatively tapped out sooner than you think. That’s what we’re here for. We’ve put together a list of different themed squads to make your XCOM experience even better.
Name them after friends and family
Why it’s awesome: This is the most obvious course of action, as well as the most dangerous. Naming your units after yourself, your nearest friends, and your beloved family members should give you plenty of different options to choose from, since you’re likely not going to run out of names for people you know.
Why it’s terrible: That said, it also makes things much more depressing--watching your best soldier get gunned down is sad enough as is, but watching your best friend get slaughtered? Well, that might be too much to take.
Name them after US presidents
Why it’s awesome: Head over to Wikipedia and pull up a list of all of the former US presidents and you’ll have 50 well-known historical figures to name your characters after. It also benefits from the game assigning random nicknames, creating the likes of Thomas “Werewolf” Jefferson and John F. “Claymore” Kennedy (who, in an unrelated stroke of luck, ended up randomly becoming a sniper, something we had absolutely no control over).
Why it’s terrible: Most of them are already dead, so watching them die in battle isn’t all that bad. The real issue is that a majority of them are old white men with white hair, so you’re not going to have much in the ways of squad diversity.
Name them after pop stars
Why it’s awesome: There are plenty of pop stars to choose from, and as many women as there are men, so you’ll never be at a lack for choosing names. Every battle is win-win, too, since either you’ll successfully beat back the alien swarm or you’ll watch musicians you hate being blown to smithereens.
Why it’s terrible: There’s a good chance you’ll walk into a battle ready to rock, and walk out with “I Want it That Way” stuck in your head. The horror. The horror.
Name them after video game characters
Why it’s awesome: If you’re a fan of GamesRadar there’s a good chance you have an encyclopedic knowledge of video game characters, so there’s no way you’re going to run out of Marios, Master Chiefs, or Ash Ketchums to name them after. Plus, you might even get to see Isaac Clarke strategically dismember some aliens in XCOM!
Why it’s terrible: It’s going to be super hard to make characters that actually look like the in-game characters for a majority of your favorite games. Good luck customizing a marine to look like Sam or Max, or somehow creating a soldier that could pass as Pikachu.
Name them after cartoon characters
Why it’s awesome: You can create the dream team you always wanted! Have Darkwing Duck fight side-by-side with Mickey Mouse and Samurai Jack.
Why it’s terrible: For the same reason that the video game characters one is terrible--good luck creating Jake from Adventure Time in human form in the game’s character creator. It’ll also be pretty sad to see the characters you grew up watching on Saturday morning get killed in bloody explosions.
Name them after your enemies
Why it’s awesome: Just like the pop stars, you’ll get the satisfaction of seeing your worst enemies killed in battle. Though your soldier’s deaths might still be sad, it’ll be slightly less depressing when you realize that it’s the kid that picked on you at summer camp.
Why it’s terrible: Because you’ll be rooting for your enemies, obviously. Normally you’ll want to celebrate your successes, but when that jerk who stole your boyfriend/girlfriend saves the day you’ll be filled with rage. Be sure to play on a harder difficulty if you use this.
What’s in a name?
Those are just a few of the naming techniques we’ve tried and enjoyed in our time with XCOM: Enemy Unknown. Be sure to let us know in the comments if you have any other, and we’ll be sure to add them to the list!
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