XCOM: Enemy Unknown lead designer Jake Solomon has revealed some interesting facts about the upcoming remake of the classic XCOM: UFO Defense (aka UFO: Enemy Unknown in Europe) being developed by Sid Meier's studio Firaxis.
As for the original game, Solomon stated that none of the original developers were consulted about the remake, but he did contact Julian Gollop prior to the game being revealed. "I have reached out to him in fact in a very short exchange, so I’m guessing he doesn’t hate me, and that’s good. He’s a personal hero of mine so I’ve tried as much as possible to honour him,” he said.
As far as gameplay mechanics, the environment is still mostly destructible and soldiers permanently die. "Walls can be destroyed, along with scenery items like cars and bus stations. Floors and ceilings cannot, and there’s no physics system, so buildings won’t collapse. It’s essentially the same as the original game," Solomon described, then added with respect to soldiers, "Yes, there’s still permadeath for soldiers, and you can still lose the entire game if you make enough mistakes."
He then revealed that the game features "an easy mode, in which the game will do its best to make sure you don’t fail. The hardest difficulty mode is called “Classic”, and it will be freaking hard."
Gameplay will be more or less the same as the original game. It will be real-time when researching and scanning for UFOs and can be sped up when needed. However, Time Units during the turn-based combat have been dropped, in favor of classes, perks, and a cover system.
Similarly, equipment has been slightly streamlined. Soldiers will remember their loadouts between missions, and players no longer need to distribute ammo. However, reloading a weapon counts as an entire action for their turn, which affects strategy in a big way.
Base building is still a major part of the game, and now some rooms unlock new abilities, "like new avenues of research and new perks for soldiers." Placement of rooms is now more important, as "certain rooms give adjacency bonuses when placed alongside each other, like boosting research speeds."
Two things that Solomon says Firaxis is not willing to discuss yet are modding tools and multiplayer. He does admit that the Unreal Engine 3 makes mod tools easier to release. Multiplayer is something Firaxis cannnot discuss at this time.
As for the console versions, they might have a different UI than the PC version, but they won't be simplified or dumbed down. “There’s no reason to pull any punches with any platform. Because, when it comes to input, X-Com is not particularly complicated. I don’t feel the need to streamline any aspects of gameplay because the player’s interaction with the game experience is still simple.”
XCOM: Enemy Unknown
XCOM: Enemy Unknownis due to be released this Fall on PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
Check out Strategy Informer's ownwith producer Gareth DeAngelis for additional info about the game.