Steam Next Fest's big strategy hit was made because its dev loves XCOM and played it for "hundreds of hours" - but also has "so many problems with it"

Tactical Breach Wizards
(Image credit: Suspicious Developments)

One of Steam Next Fest's biggest strategy hits came about because its developer loves XCOM so much - but might also hate it a little bit, too.

Tactical Breach Wizards is an upcoming strategy game that puts both a magical and riot police-style spin on the likes of Into the Breach. Launching next month, it recently appeared in the latest Steam Next Fest, where it made an impressive splash. It came 18th in Valve's charts of the most-played demos in the Fest, and was one of the third-biggest strategy game available, behind Metal Slug Tactics and The Alters, the new game from Frostpunk studio 11-bit.

Tactical Breach Wizards' compact maps and  focus on crowd control are certainly of Into the Breach's Kaiju battles, but the game came about because of a very different strategy game. In an interview with GamesRadar+, director Tom Francis explained that the idea behind his game "started with XCOM." Confessing that he's played Firaxis' genre juggernaut for "hundreds of hours," Francis also admits that "I love it, but I have so many problems with it." 

"It makes you care so much, you get so invested in it, and it's so compelling," he explains. "And then often your people die because you just didn't realize that if you moved them over there, they wouldn't be able to have that turret. And you couldn't have known that before you did it, and now it's too later to undo it, and now your best character is dead forever."

I bounced off XCOM 2 for this exact reason, and Francis is far from the only person to mourn a veteran character who died cheaply in the game's unforgiving,, permadeath campaigns. Tactical Breach Wizards might have established itself into a different kind of game, particularly thanks to its narrative spin, but after all those dead soldiers, perhaps it's no surprise that someone is pushing back against the meat grinder that XCOM can sometimes feel like.

Think you can do better than me? Check out our list of the best strategy games.

Ali Jones
News Editor

I'm GamesRadar's news editor, working with the team to deliver breaking news from across the industry. I started my journalistic career while getting my degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick, where I also worked as Games Editor on the student newspaper, The Boar. Since then, I've run the news sections at PCGamesN and Kotaku UK, and also regularly contributed to PC Gamer. As you might be able to tell, PC is my platform of choice, so you can regularly find me playing League of Legends or Steam's latest indie hit.

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