The camera is also better thanks to the ability of a wider sweeping view of the action. There are a number of "small things" that build an advantage to the PC base, as it's "incredibly important".
XCOM's home is the PC and Firaxis are constantly mindful of that as they affirm it "feels good on mouse and keyboard, which it should." They note differences yield more bugs.
"It's interesting," Jake Solomon told Eurogamer. "Playing mouse and keyboard is a different experience. From just the way it looks when you start, the UI is different. The grid gets drawn in the PC version and we have a little extra help when you hold down the mouse button. Small things like that."
"Obviously we have to add a lot of new buttons and things like that. It feels good on mouse and keyboard, which it should. It's XCOM." Firaxis is no stranger to the PC platform and the studio had to invest heavily in a redesigned UI for the PC version as it didn't remap well to keyboard and mouse from gamepad controllers.
"There's a lot of value to keeping as much similar as you can, just because of the fact the more different it gets the more bugs it creates," he said. "That deviation creates a lot of work, which is what we've experienced. So it's nice to keep things similar in a lot of respects. But, it would be nice to say we're completely altruistic PC champions. And we are."
"At Firaxis PC is incredibly important to us. "
"But, to be honest, a lot of it comes from the fact we just can't take what we've done with the gamepad and make it work with the mouse. It just doesn't work. You're pushing a cursor around the map. So it just doesn't map to the mouse and keyboard. And it's a good thing, but because of that we were forced to come up with a new interface."
The very differences between console and PC helped XCOM get stronger desktop roots? Excellent. Firaxis also touched on the Interception mechanic of the game which has players try to blow UFOs out of the sky before they get the chance to land and wreak havoc. It's a mini-game experience though, not an air combat fest.
"People have asked, why isn't it this big, air combat game?" Solomon said. "The reason is, truly, that XCOM is already two games. You already have the strategy game. You already have the tactical game. They're really fully fledged experiences. I didn't want to add a third game over the top of that because at some point it becomes too much."
"Also, Interception only takes five to 10 seconds. I don't want five to 10 seconds of gameplay to ruin hours and hours of strategic planning." Neither do we. The lead designer said one of the "fun things about XCOM" is that the AI is off "playing their own game. They don't care where the player is in their research progression."
"You have to make sure you're keeping on track. You have to make sure you get Firestorms in the air because soon, big ships will appear that will not respond to little Interceptors. If you miss the boat on that then you'll find yourself behind the eight ball." XCOM: Enemy Unknown releases on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC October 9th in the US, 12th in EU.
Firaxis reveal more of XCOM: Enemy Unknown's PC UI
10 August 2012 | By Simon Priest