XCOM's Got Blob Zapping, Research Cameras, And Lots Of Great Suits

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Posted by Jeff (3416 posts) -
So far it's been pretty easy to spew negativity about 2K's upcoming XCOM update. Considering the classic games in the series were turn-based strategy games and this one is a first-person shooter, getting cynical about the entire process while waxing poetic about how "they don't make 'em like they used to" is pretty easy, especially when you've only seen a couple of screenshots. At E3, the game's developers were running a brief demo of one mission from the game. Between looking at that and hearing about their plans for completing the game, I'm of the mind that XCOM's got a chance to be very cool once it's finished.

It's the 1950s and you'll play the game as William Carter, an agent for XCOM--a special task force charged with keeping the world safe from an increasing alien threat. The organization operates out of a secret airplane hangar, and from here you'll choose your next mission, choose some weapons to take out into the field, and manage your team's research to help them develop new weapons to assist you in the fight. There seems to be some sort of freedom in your mission selection, and there were three different choices available on the map during our demo, and each one offers a different mix of the game's resources. The missions are said to be generated, not individually scripted, which means if you need specific things--like a specific precious metal used to build weapons--you can repeatedly take on those types of missions. The mission map also has a color coding to it that lets you know how happy each of the 48 states is with your progress. Though not explicitly stated, keeping them happy is probably key to keeping the money flowing in your direction, as it was in previous games in the franchise.
  
        
After soaking in a bit of office atmosphere, heading out into the field is as simple as getting into your car. You can bring field agents along with you for assistance, as well. The mission we were shown had the XCOM team heading out to a quiet (too quiet!) suburban neighborhood that was under attack from blob-like aliens. After stalking a few blob slime trails, Carter came upon a dead body, covered in more goo. This is where you can get out your research camera and snap a photo, which gives you a quick analysis of the situation (the guy was asphyxiated by slimy goo, no surprises there) and there seems to be some sort of longer-term research benefit, as well.

The actual combat of the mission came when Carter and his team finally found some screaming survivors, attempting to fight off a pack of blobs. The blobs themselves can seep through walls and jitter around in a very unorthodox way, making them hard to hit with your standard issue shotgun. This was the point when switching to a big lightning gun made a whole lot of sense. Zapping the blobs appears to be a lot more effective, and after hitting them for awhile, their cores are exposed, giving you a chance to finish them before they can suck enough goo back onto themselves to continue blobbing around. The cores appeared to be quite resilient, but that's where the "blobatov" comes in. Earned via research, the blobatov is a grenade made from blob goo that acts a lot like napalm, giving you some great-looking fire effects after it hits. With the blobs burned and the survivors saved, it then becomes time to finish the mission by getting back to your car.

Of course, at this point the entire area was attacked by a big UFO that kept reshaping and reforming its polygonal elements to make different shapes, almost like something out of a Rez boss battle. In between fits of looking quite cool, the ship attacks humans, beaming them up with a cool-looking pixel/block effect. Getting back to the car isn't quite as easy as it sounds, apparently.

This was the end of the demo, but between its striking looks and the promise of various types of resource management, XCOM looks incredibly fascinating. Unfortunately, just like everything else that looks incredibly fascinating, XCOM isn't due out until sometime next year. In the meantime, keep watching the skies.
Staff
#1 Posted by Jeff (3416 posts) -
So far it's been pretty easy to spew negativity about 2K's upcoming XCOM update. Considering the classic games in the series were turn-based strategy games and this one is a first-person shooter, getting cynical about the entire process while waxing poetic about how "they don't make 'em like they used to" is pretty easy, especially when you've only seen a couple of screenshots. At E3, the game's developers were running a brief demo of one mission from the game. Between looking at that and hearing about their plans for completing the game, I'm of the mind that XCOM's got a chance to be very cool once it's finished.

It's the 1950s and you'll play the game as William Carter, an agent for XCOM--a special task force charged with keeping the world safe from an increasing alien threat. The organization operates out of a secret airplane hangar, and from here you'll choose your next mission, choose some weapons to take out into the field, and manage your team's research to help them develop new weapons to assist you in the fight. There seems to be some sort of freedom in your mission selection, and there were three different choices available on the map during our demo, and each one offers a different mix of the game's resources. The missions are said to be generated, not individually scripted, which means if you need specific things--like a specific precious metal used to build weapons--you can repeatedly take on those types of missions. The mission map also has a color coding to it that lets you know how happy each of the 48 states is with your progress. Though not explicitly stated, keeping them happy is probably key to keeping the money flowing in your direction, as it was in previous games in the franchise.
  
        
After soaking in a bit of office atmosphere, heading out into the field is as simple as getting into your car. You can bring field agents along with you for assistance, as well. The mission we were shown had the XCOM team heading out to a quiet (too quiet!) suburban neighborhood that was under attack from blob-like aliens. After stalking a few blob slime trails, Carter came upon a dead body, covered in more goo. This is where you can get out your research camera and snap a photo, which gives you a quick analysis of the situation (the guy was asphyxiated by slimy goo, no surprises there) and there seems to be some sort of longer-term research benefit, as well.

The actual combat of the mission came when Carter and his team finally found some screaming survivors, attempting to fight off a pack of blobs. The blobs themselves can seep through walls and jitter around in a very unorthodox way, making them hard to hit with your standard issue shotgun. This was the point when switching to a big lightning gun made a whole lot of sense. Zapping the blobs appears to be a lot more effective, and after hitting them for awhile, their cores are exposed, giving you a chance to finish them before they can suck enough goo back onto themselves to continue blobbing around. The cores appeared to be quite resilient, but that's where the "blobatov" comes in. Earned via research, the blobatov is a grenade made from blob goo that acts a lot like napalm, giving you some great-looking fire effects after it hits. With the blobs burned and the survivors saved, it then becomes time to finish the mission by getting back to your car.

Of course, at this point the entire area was attacked by a big UFO that kept reshaping and reforming its polygonal elements to make different shapes, almost like something out of a Rez boss battle. In between fits of looking quite cool, the ship attacks humans, beaming them up with a cool-looking pixel/block effect. Getting back to the car isn't quite as easy as it sounds, apparently.

This was the end of the demo, but between its striking looks and the promise of various types of resource management, XCOM looks incredibly fascinating. Unfortunately, just like everything else that looks incredibly fascinating, XCOM isn't due out until sometime next year. In the meantime, keep watching the skies.
Staff
#2 Edited by Gutlieb (87 posts) -

Interesting

#3 Posted by Terranova (582 posts) -

I have to say when i first heard of this i was like what are they doing turning X-com in to a FPS but this doesn't sound to bad, will keep a eye on it see how it goes.
#4 Posted by Skytylz (4029 posts) -

I like the way this game looks.

#5 Posted by lemon360 (1102 posts) -

Great.

#6 Posted by The_Laughing_Man (13629 posts) -

Wonder if this is a 360 timed exclusive like Bioshock was. 

#7 Posted by Daveyo520 (6651 posts) -

I am very much looking foreword to this. I love 50's era alien stuff.

#8 Posted by Jimbo (9772 posts) -

Any word on the squad control stuff yet?  Is there any?

#9 Posted by Wildfire570 (719 posts) -

Sounds interesting enough, I am a sucker for shooting aliens.

#10 Posted by ZeroCast (1869 posts) -

So I heard you like zapping blobs...

#11 Posted by ZmillA (2260 posts) -

I just don't like the blobs they seem like really boring enemies to me.

#12 Posted by limewizard (192 posts) -
@ZmillA: I have a feeling they might add a few more enemies into the mix later on down the line. 
 
IN other news, I really am I enjoying the look of how this is looking.
#13 Posted by Olivaw (1215 posts) -

Still love the look of this game! Stark 50's aesthetic vs weird, non-euclidean aliens is a great dichotomy.

#14 Posted by Food (382 posts) -

I'm doubtful about their ability to keep randomized FPS missions interesting for a whole game but it looks good so far.

#15 Posted by jagenheim (147 posts) -

I wish they wouldn't have named it XCOM. It would have been such an easier sell if they just named it 'It came from outer space!' or something more 50s like. 
Using the XCOM name affects us who loved the game negatively because we want our turnbased squad combat. Those who hated turnbased squad combat will not look twice at this game either. That leaves basically those who never heard of XCOM, so why even pick the name to begin with? 
 
BTW, I need to check the wiki, but wasn't there an XCOM reboot a couple of years ago? XCOM: Apocalypse or something like that. Flight Sim if memory serves me correctly. How did that one fare?

#16 Posted by CaptainFish (454 posts) -

Were any of the housewives you saved, desperate?

#17 Posted by Scorch (55 posts) -

Eh, F3 was a good post-apocalyptic game but a terrible Fallout game, I don't see how referencing that would reassure the XCOM fans.

#18 Posted by CrossTheAtlantic (1145 posts) -
@limewizard: @limewizard said:
" @ZmillA: I have a feeling they might add a few more enemies into the mix later on down the line.  IN other news, I really am I enjoying the look of how this is looking. "
Yeah. I have a feeling that as the missions progress the variety of alien types and/or their numbers will vary.  
 
Really interested in the game now that we've heard a little more about what's going on in it.
#19 Posted by WilliamHenry (1200 posts) -
@jagenheim said:
" I wish they wouldn't have named it XCOM. It would have been such an easier sell if they just named it 'It came from outer space!' or something more 50s like. Using the XCOM name affects us who loved the game negatively because we want our turnbased squad combat. Those who hated turnbased squad combat will not look twice at this game either. That leaves basically those who never heard of XCOM, so why even pick the name to begin with?   "

Do you really think that those who hated the previous games will automatically hate this just because of the title? Thats being a bit cynical. Surely those people will at least see a trailer or some screen shots or something. Who just hears a title and makes up their mind on whether or not to play it in that instant? Especially if its a new game in a franchise that hasn't been around in a while.
#20 Posted by Pie (7053 posts) -

This game looks really awesome, maybe it's just me and my fascination with aliens and government shenanigans but damn this looks awesome. 
Really dont get all the hate and little interest in it  

#21 Posted by 34wsdfsdfwe (153 posts) -
@ZmillA said:
" I just don't like the blobs they seem like really boring enemies to me. "
Yup. There has to be more interesting enemies than these blob mobs. I don't know if they could have chosen a worse enemy in their first presentation.
#22 Posted by Rocospi (262 posts) -

So is this being made by the same people who did Bioshock 2? 
Because then I'd be skeptical because honestly Bioshock 2 was mediocrity wrapped in a plastic box.

#23 Posted by OrgunUK (78 posts) -

Gotta admit, when I first heard they were making XCOM into a shooter...well, I did groan :) But the more I keep hearing about it the more it doesnt sound so bad.

#24 Posted by Protome (346 posts) -

The gunplay looks a lot like Bioshock....that's a shame.

#25 Posted by Nirven (4 posts) -

Me and some other guys are making a remake of the first original x-com game, though with some modifications. For example, you can now play multiplayer 1 vs 1, aliens vs x-com with all the good parts included, such as base building and researching. We are currently updating the graphics as well.

Check out our project at http://ufotts.ninex.info/

There is a demo you can try but it´s pretty outdated. We will soon release a new version which is much more stable and fun to play. Cheers!

#26 Posted by jagenheim (147 posts) -
@DivineCC said:
Do you really think that those who hated the previous games will automatically hate this just because of the title? Thats being a bit cynical. Surely those people will at least see a trailer or some screen shots or something. Who just hears a title and makes up their mind on whether or not to play it in that instant? Especially if its a new game in a franchise that hasn't been around in a while. "
Not only am I cynical, I'm also bitter. 
I don't say that they will automatically hate it; my question was why they decided to call it XCOM to begin with. It's obviously they want to use whatever feelings those who played the game in the old to promote the game. Otherwise they would have called it something more akin to what it is.   An FPS with Aliens... 
I'm not saying the game will be bad, I just wish they called it something else. I loved the old XCOM game, and when I heard that it was back I decided to not look back at whatever reboots this franchise has suffered before, but instead hoping for a third person squad combat turnbased game. I guess I was not the only one when the internet outrage regarding it being an FPS broke out. Look what happened to XCOM: Interceptor and XCOM: Enforcer. A flightsim and a third person shooter. I don't remember them; I had to look them up on GIant Bomb wiki. But I do remember nearly every part of X-COM: UFO Defense. That's why I'm skeptical for an FPS. Now, word from all over the place storms in and tells us that it seems like a good game. Great! I'm all for more great games; whatever they're called. 
But it still doesn't change my first reaction to when hearing that the new XCOM game was an FPS. If they've just called it something else my first reaction wouldn't have been so negative. Well, perhaps if they called it Alpha Centauri or Master of Orion. ;) 

#27 Posted by Jackel2072 (2236 posts) -

the truth is out there

#28 Posted by 234r2we232 (3181 posts) -

Oh no. Members of an exceptionally talented game studio wanted to make a reimagined game of a franchise they played like I did!!!1!
 
THIS IS AWFUL!!11!!  -_-

#29 Posted by EndrzGame (323 posts) -

My sources confirm that there will be 775 million blobs in this game.
I'm still a bit skeptical about this title. Hopefully the team can pull it off and make something great. Loved the original XCom.

#30 Posted by kitsune_conundrum (1202 posts) -

Did they ask what this game will do to the original xcom canon? or will it be a alternate universe like enforcer was.

#31 Posted by DaveDD (2 posts) -
@jagenheim: It sounds like you're just put out because it's not turn-based. From the previews I've read so far, the game doesn't seem like it's just "An FPS with Aliens..." It's got the whole research thing, at least some level of management of XCOM, nonlinear mission structure, and probably squad tactics. It's a bit silly to assume that 2K is resurrecting the X-COM name simply for nostalgia's sake; sure, that will spark some interest and controversy online, but this isn't a reboot of Mario or Sonic the Hedgehog we're talking about here. It's X-COM, a franchise that, despite its critical respect, isn't really all that well known outside of PC gamers who were playing games in the early 90's. It seems to me the more likely scenario is that the people working on this are probably big fans of X-COM themselves, and wanted to make a game in that series.
#32 Posted by DukeTogo (1504 posts) -

Nothing creepier than omniscient geometric shapes.

#33 Posted by defenestr8ed (36 posts) -
@jagenheim:   At this point, the option was probably make a first person shooter with tenuous ties to X-Com, or leave the franchise dead forever.  So really I guess you have the same choice, either try to enjoy the game for what it is (which I think looks kind of cool so far) or ignore it and pretend the franchise is still dead.  
#34 Posted by Rolento (264 posts) -
@EndrzGame said:
" My sources confirm that there will be 775 million blobs in this game. 
Hah. 
It was almost worth sitting through listening to that horrifyingly obnoxious waste of flesh to hear that particular bit of retardation.
#35 Posted by DrWhat (279 posts) -

Man, you people are hard to please. It's XCOM, for sure - you research, you're scared as fuck of aliens, you die a lot, it looks fantastically made, so far. I think they've really captured the feel of it.
 
It's just that it's 2010, and no big-budget studio will bother publishing a game unless it's a shooter anymore. So it's a shooter. So is the Half-Life series, remember those terrible games?

#36 Posted by kitsune_conundrum (1202 posts) -
@DaveDD: or maybe they're just looking at graphs and saying 'only shooters sell these days man!'.
#37 Posted by niamahai (1405 posts) -
@Scorch said:
" Eh, F3 was a good post-apocalyptic game but a terrible Fallout game, I don't see how referencing that would reassure the XCOM fans. "
XCOM will have better animations than FO3. Rest assured lol
 
It seems like a lot of behind-the-door demo @ E3 are still under embargo and we'll get to hear about them soon.
#38 Posted by Mayu_Zane (606 posts) -

I am a fan of the first X-Com and personally I'm looking forward to this. I don't mind the shift from turn-based strategy to FPS particularly because what I liked was the non-linear missions, base and resource management as well as discovering new weapons and enemies.  It sounds like the new game will have those fun traits, and that is exactly what I wanted. 
 
The old gameplay style was still fun in its own way but I like the idea of just shooting those aliens myself instead of screaming at that damn Rookie who somehow missed a Sectoid at point blank range.

#39 Edited by MrKlorox (11206 posts) -

Not quite sure what the article's subtitle meant. Ironically I was one of the jerks that talked well about Fallout 3 before playing it and it only made things worse once I did and found out Bethesda failed to make it anything like the first two.
 
 

@Scorch said:

" Eh, F3 was a good post-apocalyptic game but a terrible Fallout game, I don't see how referencing that would reassure the XCOM fans. "

  I couldn't possibly have said it better myself.
#40 Posted by Mnemoidian (955 posts) -

I've been pretty negative about this from the start, and it has had nothing to do with the genre-leap... 
 
That said, the information they actually put out during E3 seems to contradict a lot of the early information (such as you playing as an FBI agent?).
Ultimately, this new information settles a lot of worries for me, there's some sort of research (though looks heavily Bioshock inspired), there's team selection, and hopefully the ink blobs are just the "first of many" alien types we'll encounter.
 
However... the UFO... really not impressed. Looks to me like they ran out of time trying to get this demo ready (though I guess they were visible in the first screenshots as well?), threw up some geometrical shapes and added some morphing and particle effects. 
 I'll admit there's a hint of 2001: A Space Odyssey in the geometrical shapes, but I don't like it.
 
Still, I might come around, it's still early, and there's apparently a lot of information they still haven't shared. Besides, I hated the idea of it not that long ago ;)

#41 Posted by GozerTC (456 posts) -

You know I have no problem with a FPS Alien Investigation/Defense game.  I'm just not happy with them slapping the XCOM name on it.  Now I will withhold my final judgement until I actually have full info, but for now I will remain neutral. 

#42 Posted by Beomoose (675 posts) -

I still think a small squad-based RTS along the lines of DoW II would have been the better fit for this series, and more interesting at first pass, but this and other coverage has at least upgraded XCOM to "one to watch" status.

#43 Posted by Carlos1408 (1490 posts) -

This sounds like it could be really awesome! :D 
I¡m really liking the whole investigation and research bit, and the combat sounds fun enough.

#44 Posted by Vash108 (153 posts) -

Still think they should have called it something other then X Com

#45 Posted by CrazyNinja (39 posts) -
@Scorch said:
" Eh, F3 was a good post-apocalyptic game but a terrible Fallout game, I don't see how referencing that would reassure the XCOM fans. "
Maybe the new XCOM will be a good alien shooter game but not so much a good true sequel to the original XCOM...? One way you could interpret it I guess. 
 
While I never played the original so I thankfully have nothing to compare it to, the game looks fairly interesting and I'll keep my eye on it.
#46 Posted by Spartan14003 (95 posts) -

This game has been getting a lot of undeserved flak from many old-school X-Com fans, but I like the fact that the developers are doing something new and unique. You're still investigating and battling an unknown alien force like the previous X-Com games, so it does seem to retain some of the X-Com aesthetic appeal. I think the game looks pretty cool, much more interesting than the vast array of watered down military shooters the industry has been putting out these days.

#47 Posted by Quacktastic (1066 posts) -

I never wrote the game off as if was going to be automatically bad, I just don't agree with the name.  If they called this game something else, like Suburban Defense, it doesn't look like I would stop and say, "You know they should have just called this X-COM."  Imagine if Bioshock 2 was called something else, like Aqua Harvest or something, you would say to yourself "They should call this Bioshock 2, because it's exactly like that other game."
 
In that way, the name just feels like some guys were sitting around and thinking of ways to generate hype and I guess I feel like they deserve a few eye-rolls.  Nothing major, just a little hell.

#48 Posted by Aleryn (703 posts) -

Sounds promising.
 
My only complaint is setting the game in the 1950s, UGH.

#49 Posted by blacklab (1524 posts) -

The research camera...again? wtf!

#50 Posted by 1337W422102 (1005 posts) -

Lookin' cool so far.  I found the music in the interview to be kinda distracting, though.  Albeit not as distracting as the Big Daddy in the background!

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