Something went wrong. Try again later

    XCOM: Enemy Unknown

    Game » consists of 19 releases. Released Oct 09, 2012

    The classic tactical turn-based combat returns in this modern re-imagining of X-COM: UFO Defense.

    Short summary describing this game.

    No recent wiki edits to this page.


    The game's character customization screen.
    The game's character customization screen.

    XCOM: Enemy Unknown is a tactical turn-based strategy RPG developed by Firaxis and published by 2K Games. It was originally released for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC on October 9, 2012. A Mac port — which is dubbed the "Elite Edition" and includes all currently available DLC — is being ported and published by Feral Interactive for release in April 2013, and an iOS port by 2K China is due to be released Summer 2013.

    Considered a reboot of the X-COM franchise and a remake of X-COM: UFO Defense, players command an elite multinational military organization (called "XCOM") tasked with defending Earth against alien invasion. They fight the Alien menace by maintaining XCOM's underground base of operations, engaging in diplomatic relations with the nations of the world, intercepting UFOs in the "Geoscape" view, and dispatching squads of four-to-six customizable soldiers in the isometric "Battlescape" view (commanding their every move in turn-based combat).

    A standalone expansion pack for Enemy Unknown, called Enemy Within, was announced on August 21st. It was released on November 12, 2013 and added a host of new content.

    A version called XCOM: Enemy Unknown Plus was released for the PlayStation Vita on March 22, 2016.


    The Base

    Base of operations.
    Base of operations.

    The perspective from which the player can control and improve the base has changed significantly from the old XCOM title. Instead of a top-down view, the players will access and inspect their base from the 'side', almost like a cross section, not unlike an ant farm. There will only be one base in the game instead of the numerous bases that the player could build in the previous games. Interceptors can be placed on different continents, though they are represented only through menus.

    Within the Ant Farm, each room's placement affects its performance. For example, adjacent power stations each have a slightly higher output, or a research lab may give discounts to the garage it is located next to.

    Base Locations

    Bases are given bonuses depending on their location. Players also receive these bonuses if they complete full satellite coverage over the different continents:

    • North America: All aircraft and aircraft weapons cost 50% less to purchase, build and maintain.
    • Europe: Labs and Workshops cost 50% less to build and maintain.
    • Asia: All projects in the Foundry and the Officer Training School cost 50% less.
    • South America: Autopsies and interrogations completed instantly.
    • Africa: Monthly XCOM funding increased by 30%.

    Static Facilities

    Mission Control replaces the regular Geoscape in XCOM: Enemy Unknown.
    Mission Control replaces the regular Geoscape in XCOM: Enemy Unknown.
    • Research Labs: The Research Labs allows you to browse and manage available research projects. The research team is headed by Dr. Vahlen.
    • Workshop: The Engineering facility allows you to browse and manage available construction projects. Projects are divided into three categories — equipment (weapons and items), armor and aerospace (aircraft and satellites). The engineering team is lead by Dr. Shen.
    • Barracks: The barracks allow you to manage your roster of soldiers. Soldiers are heavily customizable, and as such it's possible to change their name, gender, appearance and equipment. As soldiers gain experience, they will increase in rank which unlocks new class-based abilities. New soldiers can, for a price, be recruited through the barracks.
    • Hangar: The Hanger allows you to manage your pool of Interceptors, which are used to intercept and shoot-down enemy UFOs. Interceptors can be outfitted with different weaponry and moved from continent to continent (provided that continent has at least one satellite in orbit).
    • Situation Room: The Situation Room gives you a general overview of the war effort. From here, you can monitor the panic level of each member nation, review council requests, launch satellites over available countries and sell resources on the Gray Market.
    • Mission Control: The Situation Room allows you to scan for contacts, which advances time and opens up new encounters to play on the Battlespace. The Situation Room is staffed by Central Officer Bradford.

    Additional Facilities

    • Access Lift: Access Lifts open up access to new levels, allowing your base to expand deeper into the Earth.
    • Power Generator: Each Power Generator supplies +6 Power. Each adjacent power facility will confer an additional +2 power.
    • Thermo Generator: Each Thermal Generator supplies +20 Power. Thermal Generators must be build over steam vents, which are distributed randomly. Like other power generators, Thermal Generators built adjacently to other power facilities will grant an additional +2 power.
    • Elerium Generator: Elerium Power Generators supply an additional +30 Power. Like other power generators, Elerium Generators built adjacently to other power facilities will grant an additional +2 power.
    • Satellite Uplink: Each Satellite Uplink supports two satellites. Satellite Uplinks built next to other satellite facilities will grant an adjacency bonus, allowing you to launch one extra satellite.
    • Satellite Nexus: Each Satellite Nexus supports four satellites. Satellite Nexus facilities built next to other satellite facilities will grant an adjacency bonus, allowing you to launch one extra satellite.
    • Laboratory: Each laboratory increases research speed by 20%. Building a laboratory next to another lab will grant an adjacency bonus, resulting in a additional +10% increase to research speed.
    • Alien Containment: The Alien Containment Facility allows you to interrogate aliens captured with an Arc Thrower. Interrogating an alien will unlock new research. You must construct an Alien Containment Facility to progress with the main storyline.
    • Workshop: Each workshop adds 5 engineers. Each adjacent workshop will result in a 7% refund on resources used to build vehicles, foundry projects, and facilities.
    • Foundry: The Foundry allows you to research new weapons, upgrades and abilities.
    • Officer Training School: The Officer Training School unlocks purchasable soldier upgrades. Some upgrades improve each soldier's combat ability while others apply to the XCOM roster in general. On lower difficulty levels, the Officer Training School is pre-built.
    • Psionic Lab: The Psionic Lab unlocks Psionic abilities in some soldiers. Up to three soldiers at a time can be tested for Psionic ability, after which a new skill tree will unlock for successful test-subjects.
    • Hyperwave Relay: The Hyperwave Relay is unlocked by advancing in the campaign, and is required for story progression.
    • Gollop Chamber: The Gollop Chamber is unlocked by advancing in campaign, and is required for story progression. The Gollop Chamber is named for the original X-COM's designer, Julian Gollop.

    Tactical Combat

    Combat in XCOM: Enemy Unknown.
    Combat in XCOM: Enemy Unknown.

    Tactical combat puts the player in charge of a squad of up to six soldiers, searching for and defeating the alien forces within a designated area. Types of missions include crash-landed UFOs, suburban areas where aliens are terrorising civilians, rescue missions, and bomb deactivation missions.

    In the tactical mode, squad members have two actions which can be performed during a turn. Typically, this means that units can move & use an item or ability, move & shoot, or move twice as far. During most scenarios, whenever a character performs an action, there is a chance that a short cinematic will play showing a closeup of that character; however, there is an option to disable this feature. Upon finishing a mission players are ranked on how many units died, how many enemies were killed, and, when applicable, how many civilians were rescued.


    A squad consisting of soldiers from each class.
    A squad consisting of soldiers from each class.
    • Assault: This class specializes 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 useful for flanking enemies.
    • Heavy: They carry light machine guns 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.
    • Sniper: Specialists in precision damage at distance. Their signature ability is Headshot, which has a much higher critical hit chance than a conventional shot. While you can specialize your snipers to find the high ground and then command the battlefield, don’t ignore the possibility of building them out as hard-to-hit, scoot-and-shoot marksmen who specializes in worming 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 or her time to get in position for the perfect kill-shot.
    • Support: 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 squad mates. They can also learn valuable abilities that supplement the rest of the team, which can be the wild card that wins the day.


    Sid Meier, a hero with strong psionic abilities.
    Sid Meier, a hero with strong psionic abilities.

    Heroes are unique easter egg characters that are 'friends of XCOM'. They are also considered cheats, as their summoning deactivates achievements for the rest of the game. Currently, the heroes that are known to be in the game are:

    To recruit a hero, simply rename an existing squad member to one of the heroes.


    A Muton, as depicted in XCOM: Enemy Unknown.
    A Muton, as depicted in XCOM: Enemy Unknown.

    The following alien types appear in the game:

    Second Wave

    On January 8th 2013, Firaxis released DLC called 'Second Wave'. This DLC was free and due to it's small size, was added via a simple game update. Upon starting a new game, the player can now access advanced gameplay options. Here, the player can check or uncheck modifiers that change certain aspects of the game.

    The following modifiers can be used immediately:

    • Damage Roulette: Weapons have a wider range of damage.
    • New Economy: Randomized council member funding.
    • Not Created Equally: Rookies will have random starting stats.
    • Hidden Potential: As a soldier is promoted, stats increase randomly.

    The following modifiers can be used after completing the game on Normal:

    • Red Fog: Combat wounds will degrade the soldier’s mission stats.
    • Absolutely Critical: A flanking shot guarantees a critical hit.
    • The Greater Good: Psionics can only be learned from interrogating a psionic alien.
    • Marathon: The game takes considerably longer to complete.

    The following modifiers can be used after completing the game on Classic:

    • Results Driven: A country offers less funding as its panic level increases.
    • High Stakes: Random rewards for stopping alien abductions.
    • Diminishing Returns: Increased cost of satellite construction.
    • More Than Human: The psionic gift is extremely rare.

    The following modifiers can be used after completing the game on Impossible:

    • War Weariness: Funding goes down over time.
    • E-115: Elerium degrades over time.
    • Total Loss: Lose all soldier gear upon death.
    • Alternate Sources: The power source cost to build facilities increases dramatically.

    Pre-purchase Bonuses

    The flat-top hair-style from the original X-Com, compared to that of the new game.
    The flat-top hair-style from the original X-Com, compared to that of the new game.

    Steam offered rewards on a Tier System based on the number of pre-purchases. The more people that pre-purchased, the more rewards each person that pre-purchases received. Pre-Purchase Rewards are as follows:

    Tier 1: The "Elite Soldier Pack":

    • Classic X-COM Soldier: Players will instantly receive a new recruit, sporting a flat-top hair-style, in their Barracks inspired by the original X-COM: UFO Defense.
    • Soldier Deco Packs: Players can customize their soldiers with several aesthetic upgrades to armor suits including the new Hyperion and Reaper soldier armor kits.
    • Complete Color Customization.

    The "Elite Soldier Pack" was later released as paid DLC.

    Tier 2: Includes the Elite Soldier Pack, as well as three unique Team Fortress 2 Items: The Crafty Hair, a flat-top haircut; Area 451, a gas mask in the shape of an alien's head; and the Vigilant Pin.

    Tier 3: Includes everything from the above two tiers, plus a copy of Civilization V.

    This "tiered" reward scheme was the first of its kind to appear on Steam. Other games have since followed suit, such as Painkiller Hell & Damnation and Tomb Raider.

    iOS Versions

    On March 23rd, 2013, 2K Games announced that the full AAA game would be making its way to all iOS devices this summer. With assistance from Firaxis Games, 2K China has been responsible for the main port. All of the destructible environments remain, but the only limit that has been placed, when compared to the original release, is the number of maps in the game as a result of the file size. According to Jake Solomon, work on the port began a year ago, months before the game had hit store shelves. Much of the ease of porting came from experience with Sid Meier's Civilization Revolution to other touchscreen devices. Though pricing has yet to be disclosed, the game will surely be a premium-priced app.

    PC System Requirements

    OS: Windows VistaOS: Windows 7
    Processor: 2 GHz Dual CoreProcessor: 2 GHz Dual Core (Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4 GHz or Athlon X2 2.7 GHz)
    Memory: 2 GB RAMMemory: 4 GB RAM
    Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GT / ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT or greaterGraphics: NVIDIA GeForce 9000 series / ATI Radeon HD 3000 series or greater
    DirectX®: 9.0DirectX®: 9.0
    Hard Drive: 20 GB HD spaceHard Drive: 20 GB HD space
    Sound: DirectX CompatibleSound: DirectX Compatible
    Other Requirements: Broadband Internet connectionOther Requirements: Broadband Internet connection
    Additional: 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.Additional: 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.

    This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

    Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

    Comment and Save

    Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.

    Loading More Images