From the award-winning creators of Civilization comes an action-strategy game about humanity’s last stand. Threatened by an unknown enemy, the Earth’s governments unite to form an elite paramilitary organization, known as XCOM, to combat this extraterrestrial attack. As the commander of XCOM, you control the global defense team in a battle against a terrifying alien invasion by creating a fully operational base, researching alien technologies, planning combat missions, and controlling soldier movement in battle.
Firaxis Q&A Session for XCOM: Enemy Unknown
1. What kind of games modes can we expect for the MP?
Multiplayer is a point-based deathmatch. Each player gets a fixed number of points, and they can use these points to buy any soldier, equipment item, or alien from the game. You build a custom squad that can be a mix of humans and aliens, and you face off against an opponent’s squad. Powerful units are more expensive than weaker ones, and you’ll need to think strategically in constructing your squad. To keep the game moving along, there is a time limit for your turn, so you’ll need to think quickly and carefully.
2. All game modes will be 1Vs1?
Yes, all multiplayer modes are 1 on 1.
3. Is there any other SP game mode besides Campaign? (Like a skirmish/scenario mode)
No, the campaign is the single player game.
4. Any chance of Randomized levels?
The order in which you encounter most maps (with some exceptions) is random because the campaign is procedurally generated, and there are enough maps that you won’t encounter the same map twice in your playthroughs. But the maps themselves are hand-made, which we found gave us a better variety of locations and maps that allowed for a variety of tactical choices. Even if you encounter a map on a subsequent playthrough, the aliens and their spawn points and patrol routes may have changed, or your starting location may be different, so it’ll feel like an all new experience.
5. What are the aspects of the original XCOM that you really wanted to capture, and what did you want to improve upon?
There are some things that we felt just were just a fundamental part of XCOM. It had to have a strategy game where you’re planning and preparing for the tactical game, where you’re guiding your troops on the field. It had to have serious consequences, like losing soldiers permanently, and the possibility of losing the campaign. And you had to feel some attachment for your soldiers and be able to customize them. So when you achieve success in the game, it makes you feel like you’ve overcome real odds and earned your victory. Once we knew what kind of experience we wanted to create, we spent years playing around with different mechanics in order to bring out more of what we wanted – which was for the player to create their own story of how they saved the world as head of the XCOM organization.
6. When playing the original XCOM I always had this uneasy feeling of dread and never felt safe because I knew all it took was one mistake to screw things up royally. Did you feel like you had to compromise that aspect of the original in order to make the game more newcomer-friendly?
Absolutely not! We go through great pains to explain to players that this experience isn’t like anything else out there. We’ve tried to make it clear to them that there are real consequences to their decisions – both their actions and what they choose not to act on – and that these will affect the result of their game.
When will we see the PC version, especially the PC UI?
We’ve recently shown the PC UI. Our first public reveal was at PAX Prime this year. We’re putting out more information about that the PC version in general in the coming days.
On a personal note, I love playing with the PC UI. There are times where I get goosebumps for how much it feels like you’re playing the original game – down to the “phone booth” indicator that helps you select your movement location.
Can we get a breakdown of what the different soldier classes can do?
Assault soldiers are masters of close combat. They specialize in using shotguns, which are very accurate and powerful at close range. Assault soldiers can learn abilities that specialize them for survival or for dishing out tremendous amounts of damage. Their signature ability, Run and Gun, allows them to make a double move and still attack during a turn, which is great for flanking and cutting down aliens. Just be careful not to leave Assault soldiers exposed and vulnerable to counterattacks.
Heavies are the master blasters. They carry light machineguns and rocket launchers, and specialize around either explosives or their LMG. Their signature skill is Fire Rocket, which isn’t just a handy way to kill aliens, but also a great way to remove cover, blow new holes in walls, and generally terrify the enemy. Of all the classes, though, they’re the ones who will spend the most time reloading, so keep your ammo use in mind, or you’ll find your gun empty on the turn when you need it the most.
Snipers specialize in precision damage at distance. Their signature ability is Headshot, which has a much bigger critical hit chance than a conventional shot. While you can specialize your sniper as the kind of soldier who finds the high ground and then commands the battlefield, don’t ignore the possibility of building him out as a hard-to-hit, scoot-and-shoot marksman who specializes in worming his way into position for the perfect shot before sneaking off into the bush. The sniper generally needs time to get into position to do maximal damage, so don’t forget your pistol and use the rest of your squad to give him time to get in position for the perfect killshot.
Support soldiers are the difference between success and a wipe – the class you’ll come to rely on to get you out of tough spots. Their signature skill is Smoke Grenade, which grants cover (and later on can provide extra bonuses) to units in its radius, which is a great way to bring the odds back in your favor if something goes wrong later on. Support soldiers are ideal combat medics, able to get the most use out of the Medkit to save their squadmates. They can also learn valuable abilities that supplement the rest of the team, which can be the wild card that wins the day. Need someone who can suppress enemies with the Heavy on one turn, rush across a map to stabilize that dying Assault soldier on the next, and bail out a flanked Sniper on the third turn? Bring a Support soldier – your troops will thank you.
Can a soldier in Overwatch shoot multiple times? (As in three Sectoids cross the road, does he get to shoot them all or just the first?)
Overwatch usually works against the first enemy that moves across the unit’s line of sight. The trick is that this is also true for aliens, so you can use a soldier who’s farther back and unlikely to be hit to burn an alien’s Overwatch before moving up a soldier who’s closer, and thus would’ve been more likely to be hit. There are abilities your soldiers can earn which allow them to take additional shots on Overwatch.
When you send out an Interceptor or Skyranger, will you get to follow it on the globe until it reaches its target?
Yes! There’s nothing like the tension of watching your Interceptor close on a new target, or your troops on their way into the field.
Is it a Steamworks game like Civilization V?
Yes, XCOM: Enemy Unknown is a Steamworks game.
Can you use the console UI and play with a gamepad, if you want to?
Yes! If you plug in a gamepad into your PC, the game will give you the option to use gamepad controls.
When we send troops out, do we see them assemble and run to the Skyranger in the antfarm view of the base? Do you see them return?
You’ll get a look at your squad as they muster for the mission, and you’ll watch the Skyranger depart and return.
When you customize your soldiers, can you change nationality and gender?
You can’t change nationality and gender, but everything else is open to adjustment.
Hardware requirements. Especially the minimum specs to play the game without too many compromises.
Additional Info: Initial installation requires one-time internet connection for Steam authentication; software installations required (included with the game) include Steam Client, Visual C++ 2008 Redistributable, DirectX and Microsoft .NET 4.
How has the involvement with the Civilization series impacted the development of XCOM Enemy Unknown?
XCOM: Enemy Unknown is a different kind of game from Civilization, but we’ve learned a lot of valuable lessons from making Civ games over the years. A lot of these lessons are simple things about how we make games here at Firaxis – we make a prototype early and we iterate on the design often. The designer listens to feedback from the players throughout the process. How do you get that “just one more turn…” feeling in the game? And when things get tough, it’s great to have Sid Meier as a resource to help.
Is there local multiplayer or is it limited to online?
XCOM multiplayer includes LAN play but not hotseat mode – there’d be too much cheating if you could see what your opponent was doing before he came out of the fog of war.
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