If the single player campaign of XCOM: Enemy Unknown is not enough to get you excited, then perhaps maybe mutliplayer will be. Lead designer Jake Solomon knows the risks of adding multiplayer to a traditionally single player series, as he tells Eurogamer.
“You would expect people to be very excited. But sometimes people are like, it’s a single-player game, why do they need to ruin it with multiplayer? Sometimes you’ll hear that and you’re kind of like, well…”
However, the multiplayer in Enemy Unknown has been in the works ever since the project began and has been treated as its own separate entity separate from the campaign.
At its core, it’s a simplistic take on the traditional gameplay the series is known for, a squad of aliens and a squad of soldiers duke it out until one team is entirely wiped out. Each team will start with a predetermined amount of points used to create units, and from there imagination takes over. Players can create an army of trash mobs and over-run their opponents, or they can put points into creating quality units and get a decent battle going.
Time will also play a huge part in matches, giving each player a customizable amount of time for each round. The default is set at 115 seconds. Large groups of units require a lot of time to position, making trash mobs tricky to effectively take over a battlefield, but stronger units require more time to fire weapons with their extended battle animations.
Either way, developer Fireaxis will watch the multiplayer closely and make changes depending on popular strategies and overused units. Multiplayer is considered outside the canon of the game’s universe, and is thus the only way to control alien units.
XCOM: Enemy Unknown will be released on the Xbox360, PlayStation 3 and PC on October 9th.