Missions represent XCOM ground combat operations and are the key tactical gameplay element in XCOM: Enemy Unknown. During missions the player directs a squad of soldiers in tense turn-based combat, exploring maps shrouded by the "fog of war" to engage the alien ground forces and locate objectives. Most missions are launched from Mission Control via the Geoscape with the exception of Council Missions which are launched from the Situation Room.
The following is a list of mission types in XCOM: Enemy Unknown.
These missions appear randomly each month. Any of these missions can be skipped but doing so (or failing the mission) results in increased panic in the affected countries/continents.
- Alien Abductions
- UFO Crash Site
- UFO Landing Site
- Terror Site
- Council Missions
- Covert Operations EW
These are sets of three special story-driven Council missions involving uniquely-voiced characters (such as Shaojie Zhang or Annette Durand) who later join XCOM's roster among other mission rewards. Unlike other Council missions they are not randomized; they occur during a predetermined month, or at a fixed time after a particular event. They must be enabled in the advanced options menu prior to beginning the game.
- Operation Slingshot
- Operation Progeny EW
The completion of these special missions is required in order to progress the storyline and finish the game. Failure to complete certain missions is considered a game loss, but an option to restart the mission is often available even with Ironman mode enabled.
The EXALT Base Raid ends Covert Operations for the remainder of the game, and can be undertaken at any time after collecting sufficient EXALT Intel. It is not essential and can be postponed indefinitely.
Mission Overview & Time Frame
There are typically 4 or 5 missions available every month, except on Impossible where there are more frequent Alien Abduction missions. The down time between missions is randomized, some show up on back to back days while others can be a week or more apart. While the mission types during most months follow a randomized appearance order, the missions during the first month seem to follow a preset progression with randomly generated mission properties:
- Tutorial Mission and/or Meld Tutorial EW or the Starter Mission if neither tutorial is enabled
- Abduction Mission 1
- Interception Mission 1 - Small Scout
- Council Mission 1
- Abduction Mission 2
Mission Name Prefix List
Mission Name Suffix List
|XCOM: Enemy Unknown Missions|
|Alien||Abduction • Terror Site • UFO Crash Site • UFO Landing Site|
|Council||Asset Recovery • Bomb Disposal • Site Recon • Target Escort • Target Extraction|
|DLC||Slingshot: Friends In Low Places • Confounding Light • Gangplank • Progeny: Portent • Deluge • Furies|
|Storyline||Alien Base Assault • XCOM Base Defense • Overseer Crash Site • Temple Ship Assault|
|Other||Starter Mission • Tutorial • Meld Tutorial • Covert Operations • EXALT Base Raid|