Ars Technica has had a chance to get hands on with the new X-Com: Enemy unknown game, and have talked about the challenges balancing the expectation of Old gamers, and new gamers. Here's a few snippets.
- The turn-based tactical gameplay in the newest Xcom will be extremely familiar to anyone who played the original games. You're still leading a small squad of alien hunters through urban environments shown from an isometric, overhead perspective, taking turns with the invading forces as you try to outflank them while keeping behind cover. But fans of the original game will immediately notice that the new version is a bit more accommodating to new players, with a tightly scripted 45-minute tutorial (which was all that was playable at E3) that explains the game's flow and major actions.
- "Fans of the original [Xcom] found a way to climb one of the steepest learning curves in video game history," producer Garth Deangelis told Ars Technica. "It took me a while just to learn how to launch a mission. Once you get over that hump and peel back the many layers of the game, it's an amazing game experience, but you really do have to figure it out on your own and be pretty committed to that. Our team said, let's still keep the magic that's burrowed in Xcom, but the clunky user interface isn't part of the fun, and that steep learning curve is not part of the fun. We want as many people to sit down and experience the game and enjoy it as quickly as possible."
- "There's a lot of elements that will appeal to someone who plays Halo or Gears of War or Call of Duty," Deangelis said. "You're fighting off aliens, you have guns, you have big explosions. The gameplay is different, you're not real-time, spamming the shoot button. You're playing sort of a similar scenario, but... in a different way that I think is more fun, a little bit more thought-provoking. But all of the sheen and gloss and sexiness of the console shooters—we have that in our strategy game, and that's how I think we pull in some of those guys that haven't heard of Xcom."
- Those newcomers to the series might be a little shocked, though, when they realize that every character in the new Xcom is constantly at risk of permanent death if you're not careful. To a generation raised on more forgiving games with frequent checkpoints and low penalties for failure, the prospect of losing advanced, heavily upgraded characters for good might be a bit jarring. But Deangelis said that he never really considered removing this key element of the Xcom series.
- "That really is part of the fun, in a weird way," he said. "On the surface, it seems like I've invested all this time into this lieutenant, so it wouldn't be fun to lose him. But knowing the fact that he can go away, those consequences really add a lot of interest to the game. Every action the aliens take can make it feel that much more exciting, knowing they can actually go away. ... You're trying to hold up an alien invasion, and part of that is major consequences in losing these guys."
Well thats it for now, stay tuned for future briefings on this frequency. Agent c 12:21, June 12, 2012 (UTC)