Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

Around four months ago, I flew to San Francisco to see XCOM, 2K Marin/Australia’s remake of my favourite-ever videogame. Where once it was a turn-based strategy game, now it’s a first-person shooter. This upset one or two people. All that time, I’ve had to be quiet, despite my previews appearing in PC Gamer and Official Xbox Magazine UK – games publishers, I love you, but your print/online emargo split is just dark-ages idiocy.

Now, at frigging last, I can talk about it. There’s a preview over on Eurogamer as of right now, though I do advise picking up the PCG issue for more details still. Read at least one of previews first, then come back here, because I’m afraid I don’t have time today to re-describe the game in this post (but will definitely unfurl my thoughts >about what I saw tomorrow). Back? Well, okay then. Below is a long interview from that showing in March, never before published, with three members of 2K Australia – Creative Director Jonathan Pelling, Art Director Andrew James, and Studio General Manager Anthony Lawrence. We talk about why it’s a shooter, why set it in the 50s, how it references the original, how it’s going to escalate and, yes, the possible fan reaction. (more…)>

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

Me! I saw XCOM! Me! And I still can’t bloody talk about it>. But I can direct you to buy, beg, borrow, steal or consume the latest issue of PC Gamer UK, which contains a big-ass feature wot I wrote about 2K Australia/Marin’s controversial do-over of The World’s Greatest Videogame™. What I can say – I hope – is that the feature goes into why the game is a lot> more interesting than the infuriatingly brief press release suggested. The issue’s lurking on the shelves of UK agents o’news now, or you can buy a copy direct from here. Free delivery, I’m told. Oh, and the feature also includes the largest picture you’ve ever seen of a Sectoid from the original X-COM. We’ll be spilling XCOM details on this very website in a few weeks: print/online embargo splits are absolutely ludicrous in this day and age, but there you go.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

The enduring question around 2K Australia’s upcoming XCOM FPS has been “why not just come up with a new IP?” Well, that three posts about X-COM each clocked up triple-figures of comments on Wednesday is the answer to that. A secondary question is “why is everyone so upset that it’s using the X-COM IP?” The IP is not what’s important about X-COM. In terms of fiction, X-COM has only ever been about killing aliens. The important thing is having a game that plays as X-COM did, with its sublime multi-genre cleverness. While it’s unlikely a major publisher would tackle it, the door is not closed to someone else doing that. As has been mentioned by various people, someone like Stardock would be insane to not pick up this baton – there’s a vast and willing audience out there.

First out the gate, though, is indie title Xenonauts, which is militant in its desire to do X-COM properly. It also has a cute genesis – its lead designer Chris England (who is indeed from England) says he was inspired to create an X-COM remake after we wished for one on our podcast. Aw! (more…)

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

Funny thing. Whenever I try to write about X-COM, as in X-COM the game, not X-COM the place in my heart, I stall. It’s too big. I need to do it at the right time (or perhaps for the right paycheque, I suspect). Where to start? Where to end? There have been superb summaries, makings-of and play diaries. It’s a well-documented game, for sure. Yet I’m not sure there’s been that simple one-two punch of why> our collective knickers remain so thoroughly entwisted by it. Perhaps the words of one are not enough. Let’s try the words of many. (more…)

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

Oof, tough day. I totally get why people are upset, but once again it’s worth waiting for a few more details before you decide the new XCOM is the end of all that is sacred. Maybe it will be, maybe it won’t, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a little honest hope. Today does, however, spell the end of a decade-long dream that someone would throw really serious money at resurrecting the fantastic hybrid genre 1994’s X-COM created. There is a great sadness there – so many ideas left to die, never bettered in the long gap between then and now. So let’s be hopeful, cautiously or otherwise, about XCOM, but let’s also raise a glass to X-COM. We owe it so much, and we may never see its like again. Sniff.>

This is the first of two posts exploring why I (and many others) unwaveringly believe X-COM is one of the most important and greatest games ever made. We’ll talk about the game itself in the second one, but first please allow me to indulge myself with this autobiographical prelude. This is why X-COM matters to me. (more…)

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

Yeah, you heard me. X-COM, the game to end all games, is finally getting its long-rumoured remake/sequel. [Boom. Internet explodes.]> Wahoo, basically. Yes, it is indeed a first-person shooter – it is extraordinarily sad to wave away X-COM’s traditional genre, but c’mon, did you really think a AAA title in 2010 (or 11, or whenever it ends up being released) was going to be a turn-based strategy game? Let’s wait and see where they take it, at least.

Contrary to ancient prophecy, this tantalising do-over isn’t being made by Ken Levine, but rather is pitched as a game from 2K Marin, the Bioshock 2 chaps. Though it also seems 2K Australia (née Irrational Australia) are heavily involved. Sparse announcement details and the first in-game screenshot are below…

(more…)

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

Not at all inspired by John’s visual homage to Day of the Tentacle, I find myself compelled to present this large roster of attractive images from a game I’m rather taken with. UFO: Enemy Unknown, also known as X-COM: UFO Defense, is an exciting new science-fiction tactical action game from British developers Mythos, due for release in October 1994. You’ll need to make sure your IBM-compatible personal computer has been upgraded to 2Mb of RAM and a VGA monitor for this one!

(more…)

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