First XCOM: Enemy Unknown Screenshots & Details

By Jonathan Barnes, 4 years ago
Last week, Game Informer dropped a cover story bombshell by revealing that Firaxis Games is working on bringing the XCOM series back to its RTS roots with

While many gamers rejoiced at the news, some said they would remain skeptical until gameplay, visuals, and details come to light. Fortunately for those gamers, the curtain is beginning to lift, starting with three screenshots showing some of that beautiful RTS footage, as well as some additional details courtesy of Game Informer.

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First and foremost is the timeline question. Many gamers are aware that 2K Marin is currently developing and FPS title simply titled In terms of the relationship between the two titles, the events of the shooter, XCOM, take place earlier than the events of the RTS, XCOM: Enemy Unknown.

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The developers at Firaxis have also clarified that the game will not be your typical StarCraft-style RTS. The real-time elements of XCOM: Enemy Unknown will be focus on the global view; basically the world will be evolving in real-time as the player keeps track of things like abductions and UFO sightings. Combat will be turn based while research and development can be done at the player's discretion and leisure.

This may sound a bit confusing, a blend of RTS and turn based, but Firaxis is breaking it down so that, while the world operates in real-time, the game switches to a tactical view with a turn-based format once a player lands for combat scenarios.

When in the strategic (RTS) level, players will manage things like researching alien technologies, submitting construction requests to engineers and foundries, interacting with the nations of the world to gain funding for XCOM, intercepting UFOs, leveling up soldiers, recruiting new operatives, and dispatching the Skyranger transport to engage ground combat operations.

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Firaxis also wants to make it clear that this game isn't so much a reboot as it is a "re-imagining". Many of the old XCOM tropes that gamers are familiar with are still going to be present, but with small tweaks and additions.

Finally (Firaxis can hear the griping already), the game isn't being "dumbed down" for a mass audience, but it is being "streamlined" to eliminate some of tedious micromanagement and boring mechanics. While this may set off the red alert in the minds of the hardcore fans, there are still serious repercussions for messing up: soldiers die permanently, the fog of war and line of sight are still hugely important, and you can still "lose the game" if you mismanage your assets poorly.

As with all newly revealed games, more details will trickle in as we grow closer to XCOM: Enemy Unknown's fall release.
Jonathan Barnes
Written by Jonathan Barnes
Jonathan has been a news/views contributor since 2010. When he's not writing reviews, features, and opinion pieces, he spends his days working as an informal science educator and his nights as an international man of mystery.