I’m super excited for XCOM Enemy Unknown, and I think most fans from the classic 1990s strategy series are as well. Many of these fans also dismissed an early build of 2K Marin’s first-person shooter XCOM game announced back at E3 2010. Despite looking like a solid FPS with a 1960s retro feel, many were peeved about the classic strategy game being revived as a FPS, very similar to the treatment given to Syndicate by EA, and not much has been seen of the game since brief flashes at E3 2011.
Of course, Syndicate tanked pretty hard, and 2K probably doesn’t want to release their own major flop in the face of angry fans. Kotaku reports that a reader was emailed a series of screenshots and a marketing survey asking if they would rather purchase this forgotten XCOM game as a $30 digital distribution title or as a $60 retail copy.
Rather than a first-person shooter, the game has been revamped as a third-person tactical shooter, similar to Rainbox Six or SOCOM. Players will command a group of units much like the older games, only they’ll be doing it from the ground level while participating in the fire fights. It’s a step in the right direction to inject a bit more strategy.
However the game’s graphics and art style look much uglier than the original build, so 2K Marin, the developers behind BioShock 2, should give themselves a lot of time to polish with the the huge launch window they’ve given themselves.
Director Morgan Gray stated last year to VG247 that the game had been getting a bit of an overhaul during its long silence.
“We’ve been focused less on how to make it less like BioShock and I would counter and say we’re trying to make it more like X-COM. … It’s been like going to X-COM boot camp for the team, creatively – really understanding the core of the franchise.”
The narrative director, Jordan Thomas, also stated to PC Gaming that widespread changes had occurred
“It was kind of a run-and-gun affair, without a lot of focus on the command of your squad, or indeed on tactical play itself. Candidly, it just wasn’t “XCOM” enough for the hardcore fans of the original games at 2K Marin, who serve as our creative conscience. So over the past year, we’ve made some pretty aggressive design changes, in pursuit of the feelings that we experienced when we played the original games.”
2K Games has refused to comment on this rumor, stating that they have officially announced nothing on the matter, but most likely a combination of everything that has gone sour has caused them to really rethink their plans with this one. Between the negative backlash, the glowing reception of XCOM Enemy Unknown, the failure of Syndicate, the long silence, the extended delays, the departure of the lead designer and art director, and the changing of development teams have put the publisher in the hurt locker with this one.
All said and done though,without this lost XCOM game’s massive backlash, I have a feeling XCOM Enemy Unknown might have never happened. Thanks for taking one for the team!
No specific date has been given, but 2K estimates it could be anywhere from April 2013 all the way into the spring of 2014.