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Author Topic: [360/PC/PS3] XCOM: Enemy Unknown - Enemy Within expansion!  (Read 41347 times)
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Hrothgar
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« Reply #40 on: February 16, 2012, 08:40:36 PM »

Why?  I had a joystick and a gamepad for my pc long before I bought a console.  I am thankful for the more ergonomic gamepads that consoles have brought.
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« Reply #41 on: March 06, 2012, 01:19:26 PM »

New Trailer:
http://www.eurogamer.net/videos/firaxis-debuts-new-xcom-enemy-unknown-trailer
*This is more, "developers yakking about the game, interspersed with cutscenes and a gameplay footage." Quite a bit there.

*Bases are revealed late in the trailer. They are multiple underground sections that you view from the side, like an ant hill. very cool  icon_cool
*"Time units" is something we'll probably be hearing more about (just a resource that determines how much you can pull off in a soldier's turn. It's still very much gloriously turn-based.  icon_smile Think they're just trying to give it a slightly snappier feel.
*Cover fire is in, including "low cover," "high cover," and flanking bonuses.
*Interface seems cool in that's it there when you're planning out a unit's moves, and then it seems to all slide away neatly (or at least seems to be an option to do that) when the actions are carried out.
*"Glam-cam" (I would guess this might be optional for players who prefer to play strictly from the zoomed out strategy-gamee perspective?) gives cool closeups of "kill shots" and the like.

Eurogamer also has a lengthy Q&A with Irrational, including dispelling Julian Gollop's assumptions in an Edge interview that the new XCOM was a "low budget" game:

Firaxis: XCOM is a "very, very big budget game"
Dev responds to dumbed down for console audience concern.
www.eurogamer.net/articles/2012-03-06-firaxis-xcom-is-a-very-very-big-budget-game
Quote
But lead designer Jake Solomon told Eurogamer this isn't the case - and confirmed XCOM as a fully-fledged retail release.

"We're 50, 60 guys, I don't know exactly," he said. "We've been working on it for three-and-a-half, four years. It's a big, big game. It's definitely as big as any game we've ever made at Firaxis. It's huge. It's a bit like piloting a big old boat."

He added: "2K went all in with us. They definitely gave us everything we asked for. This is our attempt to make a very, very big budget game that spans all the platforms."

From the Q&A, a lot on the PC/console differences:
Quote
It's PC, PS3 and Xbox 360. Why do console at all given your heritage on PC?

Jake Solomon: It just works. Unlike something like Civ, it's pretty straightforward from an input perspective. Certainly the base is just a lot of UI and selection, so that's not complicated. And in combat, a lot of what you're doing is steering your soldiers around and choosing abilities for them to perform.

It's the sort of thing that works really well on a gamepad. When we saw that, we saw there was the potential to make a true XCOM - don't have to cut any corners, right? So we're making a true XCOM, and it runs really well on the gamepad. There are guys on the team who prefer it with a gamepad. There are guys on the team who prefer mouse and keyboard.

But there's no real tension between the two input systems and that's because, input wise, it just isn't particularly complicated. We don't even use all of the buttons on the gamepad, because there's not that many things you do input wise in XCOM. It works really well.
...
So, just an in depth an experience on console as on PC?

Jake Solomon: Yes, absolutely. We have not changed the feature set at all. There are some things with the PC interface we're not doing with the console, just because we have a little more freedom in terms of the depth of zoom and the ability to show different things tactically on PC. Certainly the interface will be different between the two. So we are doing some things on PC.

But in terms of core game elements and the way you interact, you can do everything on console you can do on PC.

So how is the camera perspective different on PC?

Jake Solomon: It's more you have more zoom. You have a longer zoom. So you can get out even further. On the console you can pull the left trigger to go out. But on PC, you could potentially play at a very high zoom level.  
The "what's new" mentioned includes a cover system, new abilities, new weapons, new items, new armours, new aliens; and new abilities and things like it for the original aliens.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2012, 02:55:21 PM by Blackjack » Logged

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« Reply #42 on: March 06, 2012, 01:37:10 PM »

Couple peeks at the bases from the trailer, I'll post more captures tonight:

Seems like you can scan through the rooms from this side view, and then zoom in for a closer look of a particular section/room.




Base building menu.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2012, 01:40:17 PM by Blackjack » Logged

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« Reply #43 on: March 06, 2012, 01:40:08 PM »

The trailer looks good, but I hope the "glam cam" can be turned off. I can imagine that after playing for awhile you might not want to see a cut scene after every shot.
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« Reply #44 on: March 06, 2012, 02:57:58 PM »

Quote from: Ralph-Wiggum on March 06, 2012, 01:40:08 PM

The trailer looks good, but I hope the "glam cam" can be turned off. I can imagine that after playing for awhile you might not want to see a cut scene after every shot.
Options are always better.  icon_smile I think if the zoomed in action plays quickly (technically it's still gameplay, just zoomed in cinematically), and there's variety, then players will always enjoy it. If it's slow, and there's only a few "canned" sequences (so you're seeing the same schtick over and over), then maybe not so much.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2012, 03:01:07 PM by Blackjack » Logged

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« Reply #45 on: March 07, 2012, 06:05:36 AM »

Forgot to mention: Fall 2012 is the general release date.  icon_smile
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« Reply #46 on: March 07, 2012, 09:53:09 PM »

IncGamers got what seems to be an "in-person demo," watching devs play it on a PC but using an XBox360 controller:
http://www.incgamers.com/Previews/393/xcom-enemy-unknown-preview---isometric-strategy
Lots of good detail on specific things about the strategy/combat:
Quote
This layout looks delightfully seductive through the wonderful glasses that are the isometric camera, with your brain immediately scanning the environment in a bid to highlight potential strategic advantages and sure-fire death traps. Combine that with graphical integrity that holds up brilliantly when zoomed all the way in and you've got a gorgeous game oozing with the subtle touches of detail we expect from Firaxis.
...
Guns and grenades may be enough for some videogames, but it's not enough here. The gas station is shrouded in a thick fog of war; yes, the kind of fog of war that has all but been removed from modern game design. It could be hiding anything, but this being an early level, we're not expecting to die as soon we approach the fog and begin uncovering the map.
...
Our squad is made up of four members: an assault rifle carrying 'support' soldier, a heavily armoured 'heavy' weapons expert, a close-range 'assault' specialist and a sniper. Visually, Firaxis have gone with an approach somewhat akin to action figures as far as your squad is concerned. Armour is over the top, weapons are so large that it's unlikely anyone in the real world would be capable of carrying them up a single step, and hair styles are either very big or very bald. What that allows you to do though is immediately identify who is who without having to highlight them or scan the HUD for clues.
...
Move next to a large enough object or wall and you'll automatically take cover behind it, ridding you of having to hand hold and micromanage your soldiers to the nth degree. Once you've moved you can then bring up the action wheel and select how you want each of the team members to behave in that turn
....
Like the original game, both friendlies and enemies can employ the 'overwatch' ability. This gives up that individual's current turn but puts them on high alert during the enemy's move, causing them to fire at anything they see and don't like. It seems to be very useful for funnelling foes down certain avenues by setting up camp and blocking off others, effectively limiting the battle space to the areas you want to concentrate on to give the greatest tactical advantage.
...
Much of this strategy is played out via XCOM's HQ, the side-on 'ant-farm' which you're able to upgrade and develop as you see fit. Within the HQ you can research new projects, train soldiers, pick up missions, buy and sell firearms and get feedback on your performance and what specific nations think about your actions.

Zoom into any specific room and the place instantly feels alive; the soldiers on the previous level are being healed in the infirmary, a spot for the fallen has been added in the memorial room, scientists are working on research assignments you've set. It's a fancy doll-house for geeks.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2012, 09:54:56 PM by Blackjack » Logged

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« Reply #47 on: March 08, 2012, 07:27:37 PM »

Heeeeey, a fella at the 2K forums pointed out this UK site's interview with lead designer Jake Solomon (who talks at length in the trailer video), from just a couple days ago.

The interesting points:
-Players start with 4-person squads and can eventually have 6-in-a-squad. If I read it right, they originally wanted a 12-14 limit, but found with all the things soldiers can do in Irrational's game, it just wasn't playable with that many units in a squad.
-Mission levels are hand-crafted (not randomly generated like, say Diablo), but are supposedly very abundant and do have random mission names. I think when he says "procedural" he means the AI algorithms respond to the player's actions, rather than a scripted scenario (like many FPSs) where things always stream in from the same direction etc. Just a guess tho.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown preview and interview - UFO conspiracy
Is the classic alien invasion game finally getting the update it deserves? GameCentral sees the new XCOM in action and talks to its lead designer

Quote
JS: But that's kind of why I'm happy to start showing the game off. Because again, and I've said this before, but the idea is that my first prototype for the game was basically a recreation of the original game: time units, big squads. But what happened was that as we continued to play we started making changes, and the changes were all based on the idea, 'We have this playable prototype, we're having fun with it - the only changes that we make are things that make it better, that improve the game'.

And so the squad size shrank, time units got unlimited, and another thing which actually surprised me was ammunition. There's still ammunition in the game, but I changed it because I was trying to make ammunition matter more. In the original it didn't really matter, laser weapons didn't use ammo, and your ammo clips are so big, they weighed so little that they had no real effect on the game.

And so I tried to make ammunition matter more by having your guns run out of ammo more. But you just didn't carry these small clips with you, and that was something I was surprised to hear people came and told me they don't like. But I'm positive that once they play it they'll get into it.
...
GC: So action points have gone now? Obviously it wasn't 100 per cent clear from not being able to play it, but now you can just do one of two or three things per turn?

JS: Yeah, we call it a move action system. And so the idea is that you can move and then take an action. And as guys level up they can do more actions, they can do different actions, different guns can do different things. But the basics of the system are that instead of action points or time units we've replaced them with the idea of move action.
...
GC: My only concern is the four soldier squad limit because that does change the nature of the tactics and gameplay quite considerably, so what's the thinking behind that?

JS: It's a six squad limit actually, but you start with four and the idea is that later in the game you add more…

GC: The original limit was like 12 or 14 wasn't it?

JS: Yeah, once you get the Avenger transport you can have obscene amounts. And that's definitely something we scaled down, but the reason we did that is that, as you saw, our soldiers can do a lot more things now. And those guys in the demo weren't even fully leveled up. We've added many, many new weapon types, classes, cover… so we added all these things to the game to where having those huge squads made the game basically unplayable. So…

GC: I guess it's now more like Laser Squad.

JS: Yeah.
...
GC: One last quick thing. I notice the mission you showed us had a name, Lost God or something. Does that imply the missions aren't randomly generated?

JS: Well, those [mission] names are randomly generated.
...
JS: The levels themselves are hand-crafted but we have an obscene amount… you could not play through a full game twice and see those levels again. But what happens on those levels with aliens when they come up, that stuff is all procedural.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2012, 07:30:22 PM by Blackjack » Logged

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« Reply #48 on: March 08, 2012, 08:37:01 PM »

no more posting until its released!  this one is sounding very good!

though i will nitpick - i thiiiiiiiiink i like the idea of 6 then 8 man squads (4 does seem a bit small to start) but i am all for a tighter mission feel.  assaulting the big ufos and the city defense missions were big and maybe a tad too big.  i also like making ammo more meaningful.  i have gone back and played xcom in recent years and the dev is totally right.  while i do love the idea of carrying around magazines (wish they didnt take it out!) it ended up being pretty pointless, at least in the original as i hardly ever ran out of one mag

and im open to the move - action system over TUs.  i just hope there are a lot of actions to pick from, as i could get 2 - 4 very accurate snap shots off with my squaddies, by midgame.  id hate to have to pick between the new version of autofire and an aimed shot - auto was useless and aimed took up too much time when i could land several nice snaps.  though i guess a modern day "3 shot burst on one target"  or "double tap, double tap on two targets" could fit in nicely as two of the new actions.
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« Reply #49 on: March 09, 2012, 07:34:19 PM »

it seems like 2K had some sort of recent media event in NY for this, which seems to explain the recent rash of new previews based on watching devs run an early demo level. I think on PCs but using an XBox360 controller. Here's some more:

G4TV Preview
*There's some interesting details on special abilities, I'll underline those.

Quote from: G4TV on abilities
Support and assault circle around for a better angle while the sniper rifle-toting scout uses a grappling hook to climb onto the overhang above the gas station's pumps.

The heavy uses his suppression ability, which does no damage but prevents the targeted enemy from moving. This give the support soldier time to get into position for a grenade toss, which takes out both the Sectoid and the car it's cowering behind.

Of course, the aliens don't just take this assault lying down. They put up the best fight that they can against superior firepower. A Sectoid inside the gas station uses its mindmerge ability to link with an alien outside, upping its deadliness. The mindmerged Sectoid uses its Overwatch ability, allowing it to take potshots at any soldier that crosses its line of sight.
...
Mutons. These are the deadly front-line soldiers of the invading armies. They're big, hulking, armor-wearing green brutes that come packing some heavy alien weaponry. In their midst is a Berserker, a melee-focused variant of the Muton that is capable of plowing straight through environment obstacles with a single charge. [dunno if that's an ability per se-bj]
...
The assault class has a Run and Gun ability, which allows for shooting during one of the longer Dash moves. In this case, that gives the assault soldier the opportunity to sprint across the roof to a hole located just above the Mutons waiting inside and attack before they can respond to this new threat.
A wee bit on the "ant-farm" bases:
Quote from: G4TV
Between missions you'll head back to the "Ant Farm," the nickname Firaxis uses for XCOM's underground home base. It's an apt name too; you see the base's many rooms in cross-section.

Each room has a unique function. There are labs for research and manufacturing of new equipment. A hangar where your upgradeable aircraft--used for taking on UFOs--are managed. Soldier barracks, which you'll access to upgrade your troop's abilities as they level up (and yes, you can name them all). All of this can be further developed as you advance through the game; you'll dig deeper underground and add more and more rooms to the Ant Farm as you go.
I plan to name mine after GT forum folks' nicknames.  icon_cool

And they threw in this interesting little "hmmm... moment"  icon_smile
Quote from: G4TV
I ask Jake Solomon, the game's lead designer and a veteran from the Civilization Revolution console game's dev team, about the possibility of a multiplayer component. He gets really quiet and looks at me intensely for a moment, before replying that the mission that I just saw is "all we're talking about right now."
Clearly Jake Solomon would be a failure at poker.  smirk
« Last Edit: March 09, 2012, 07:42:02 PM by Blackjack » Logged

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« Reply #50 on: March 09, 2012, 08:01:25 PM »

And here's NY blog post. I didn't see a whole lot different here, but a couple things did sort of stand out...

NY Post's XCOM: Enemy Unknown impressions
Quote
Fighting the aliens is completely up to the player and depends not only on the abilities of your squad, but also on the environments, which are entirely destructible. Windshields will break, shells will scatter and routes will change based on how you choose to progress.

“[The destructible enviroment] wasn’t fun to develop, but the outcome was very fun,” [XCOM: Enemy Unknown producer Garth] DeAngelis said. “It was a trying system, we spent a lot of time trying to make destructible environments, but it was one of the core pillars we wanted to maintain from the original.”
...
Despite being a turn-based strategy title, XCOM: Enemy Unknown does have a story, albeit non-linear, that players will be able to run through and will have a high level of replayability.

“We certainly have a story and these tentpole points,” DeAngelis said. “We have this very complex web and wide-open game but when you get to these important points in the game you will receive this story point. It’s very important to us that it is replayable and non-linear.
I'm still curious if there's any sort of savegame system, or if it's checkpoint saves, how the frequency is determined. If I'd attended the media event, that would've been on my "to ask" list.  icon_smile
« Last Edit: March 09, 2012, 08:03:22 PM by Blackjack » Logged

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« Reply #51 on: March 09, 2012, 10:40:19 PM »

I'm definitely not liking the new focus on a tiny group of elite soldiers in each mission, each with their own special ability. It's just about the polar opposite of what I'm expecting from an X-Com game, and it could end up breaking it for me.
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« Reply #52 on: March 09, 2012, 11:47:46 PM »

it doesn really bother me (in the original id train my shooters, id have door guards with quick trigger fingers, i had my frontline troops and armor for ethereals that WOULDNT end up wiping my own team for the enemy

but only if...

i get 4 then 6 on a mission (i already mentioned i wouldnt mind 5 then 7 or maaaaybe 6 then Cool BUT i get a stable of troops back home that i can work on improving and

i get to pick the classes / abilities, and there are a lot of them.  so i can make a quick assault guy, i can make an accurate dangerous assault guy, i can make a sniper thats really good in cover who is hard to hit or one that does lots of damage etc etc etc.  in other words id like to be able to tailor my squadies and have enough interesting and useful abilities to feel like "yea, this is my heavy that i wanted to be able take a ton of damage and stand there with a chaingun" or "this is my support troop who can suppress and overwatch like a champ" while also having the option to take each of those templates in 3 or 4 other directions instead of the one i picked

one thing that is kiiiiiinda bothering me is that it sounds like theres going to be one main base and thats it.  so it looks like my antarctic r&d facility is a no go frown
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« Reply #53 on: March 10, 2012, 02:09:32 AM »

I'm still a bit worried about the hand crafted maps. The quote that you could play two games without a repeat doesn't reassure me. How many games have most of us played of the original X-Com? 10? 20? 50? It seems like by later games you'll become pretty familiar with the map layouts.
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« Reply #54 on: March 10, 2012, 06:21:33 AM »

Quote from: Ralph-Wiggum on March 10, 2012, 02:09:32 AM

How many games have most of us played of the original X-Com?

I played it twice.

I wonder if modders will be able to make additional maps.
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« Reply #55 on: March 10, 2012, 06:28:42 AM »

I have to keep restating this:

The original X-COM maps were not random either. They were a large set of pre-made maps.

I've actually used the modding tools to look at the maps.
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« Reply #56 on: March 10, 2012, 02:09:37 PM »

Quote from: Turtle on March 10, 2012, 06:28:42 AM

I have to keep restating this:

The original X-COM maps were not random either. They were a large set of pre-made maps.

That's fine, but the question becomes how many maps were there in the original game? Seemed like a lot more than two games worth.
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« Reply #57 on: March 10, 2012, 03:51:55 PM »

Honestly, I don't have the patience or free time to ponder/move 10-14-16 units in a TB game anymore. I still thank the dreadful (imho) Pacific General, which made you move something like 50 (!) or more units per turn, and I think it took me an entire Saturday to complete one turn, about killed my interest in turn-based wargaming. But clearly it's early, and they have some feedback/focus groups playing the game.

I'm sure the squad cap might go up a bit before being finalized. I don't have a problem with starting small and getting new players used to everything, but i'd probably favor a cap around maybe 8 or so. Maybe it would depend on just how many class types there are.

imho, it's like the designer said -- until the general player populace actually gets its grubby hands on it, we'll keep complaining X, Y and Z aren't exactly like in the old X-COM, and as supposedly a huge fan himself, he seems to appreciate that. That so many people think a 1993 game is Perfect and should just be translated into modern graphics period speaks volumes about its Legend.

So far I like everything I'm reading. If the squad size were the only complaint I might have, it's not going to scare me away.  icon_smile
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« Reply #58 on: March 10, 2012, 03:55:52 PM »

Do we know if the 6 squad member limit includes robots/vehicles? If not, then it shouldn't be too different than the original game.
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« Reply #59 on: March 10, 2012, 11:49:36 PM »

oh ya, a 4+1 ('bot / hovertank) would go a long way to putting the squad size more in my personal sweet spot.  that said, for all my previous complaints about it, i DO like that the devs "topped out" squad size as in the original i felt when id send out 8 - 10 or 11 man teams it was a bit much - especially when i had 4 or 5 main squaddies to take the shot for exp and most were just meat shields (or door guards / "reaction" aces)

also please find a way to keep ranks in!  it was so much fun to nurture a company of soldiers and get my first captain!  and keep ranks linked to the number of total soldiers, and their corresponding ranks (no captain until X sgts, no major until... yada yada yada).  and i have no problems with the number of maps.  "2 full playthroughs worth" seems like a good number - especially if theyre in a random order - itll be less obvious.  i remember hitting identical or similar maps in the original and it was never a turn off... just dont go all bioware on us!  (didnt play it but i heard DA 2 was just over the top for recycled maps - but i dont get the impression this game is any where near that)
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« Reply #60 on: March 11, 2012, 06:05:18 AM »

Quote from: Doopri on March 10, 2012, 11:49:36 PM

also please find a way to keep ranks in!  it was so much fun to nurture a company of soldiers and get my first captain!  and keep ranks linked to the number of total soldiers, and their corresponding ranks (no captain until X sgts, no major until... yada yada yada).
This.

For some reason I always loved that about XCom. I used to take it a step farther and edit their names to include a US Army prefix to each of them too. And then I added a suffix for what their job/use/speciality was.

As great as the game looks, I am not sure it will ever live up to how awesome I remember the original being.
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« Reply #61 on: March 11, 2012, 06:27:32 AM »

Quote from: Doopri on March 10, 2012, 11:49:36 PM

"2 full playthroughs worth" seems like a good number - especially if theyre in a random order - itll be less obvious.  i remember hitting identical or similar maps in the original and it was never a turn off... j

I have the memory of a goldfish. Even if they just have one map it's always a new experience for me.
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« Reply #62 on: March 12, 2012, 04:46:02 PM »

Here's a new Jake Solomon interview from today:
http://www.mcvpacific.com/news/read/interview-firaxis-jake-solomon-on-xcom-enemy-unknown/092595
*I have to say, Jake Solomon doesn't look nerdy or out-of-shape enough to be a game designer/programmer. What's up with that? He looks like some character that would be played by Sam Worthington.  icon_razz
Quote
We’re not cynically saying we’re making XCOM: Enemy Unknown. We’re definitely being faithful to the original game. I have a deep and abiding love for that original game. So it’s nice to be in that position and say it’s been my dream to make this game.
...
How about modding? Modding is something that Firaxis is often keen to support. Is there any discussion about modding for XCOM: Enemy Unknown?

Yeah, it’s something that we want, and I can’t guarantee anything or my lead partner [would] kill me. But I told him I was going to say this! Modding is always something that we believe in, and we’ve got a lot of awesome benefits from that. You certainly see that with Civ, right? There’s a lot of great Civ mods out there and the fact this is on the Unreal Engine helps us too, because that’s a great modding platform. So yeah, I don’t know exactly what, and the extent of it, but certainly that’s something we’re interested in.
...
Are there any unique processes at Firaxis that are perhaps different to those at other studios?

Yeah. We come from Sid being the father, the glorious leader. We’re all sort of made in his image – this is starting to sound like a cult, actually! So I think the thing that’s probably unique, or certainly relatively rare, is the fact that our leads are always programmers. So I’m a designer, but I’m also a programmer, I do a fair amount of the gameplay implementation. I do a lot of the gameplay code implementation as well. That’s how Sid works too: he’s the lead designer, he does most of the system design, and he also implements most of it himself.
...
That’s something I’ve done, something we’ve done on all our previous titles, that’s just the way it is. I think that’s different, definitely it’s become more and more rare.
...
But the benefit – and my producer would tell you it’s not a benefit at all – is that when I get an idea I can just put it into the game! It’s not like I need to vet that with anybody, I can just go, “OK, the game works this way now!”
They probably mentioned this was Unreal engine-based before, I guess I wasn't paying attention. icon_redface
« Last Edit: March 12, 2012, 04:51:47 PM by Blackjack » Logged

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« Reply #63 on: March 12, 2012, 04:50:36 PM »

And The Washington Post here had a video preview a few days back:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/xcom-enemy-unknown-knows-its-roots/2012/03/06/gIQAUFYfuR_story.html
Quote
Back at base, players will have to consider a different type of strategy game, namely balancing the planet’s needs, their own resources and the limits of their own funding. Solomon said that XCOM is funded by 16 world powers and players will have to work to keep each of those powers happy to hold on to their funding and resources. Players select which combat missions to pursue, which affects the entire narrative of the game.

Research is another large part of the game, as players have to choose which pieces of alien technology to develop and which to lay aside.
That's from the text there. The video preview might have more. This was in the Wash. Post tech section.
======

And here's something from something called Atomic Maximum Power Computing (Aussie site), which is mammoth over 3 separate pages:
XCOM: Enemy Unknown - we've seen it, and it is GOOD
http://www.atomicmpc.com.au/Feature/292893,xcom-enemy-unknown---weve-seen-it-and-it-is-good.aspx
Lot of interesting comments on the struggle between innovating and remaining faithful to the original game:
Quote
“When I started this project I it did it with stars in my eyes,” [Solomon] said, wistfully. “I had this real fan-boy perspective that *this* is how XCOM works. People would raise some reasonable objections and I’d tell them they just didn’t understand.” But that’s the problem you really believe that you get the game on so many more levels than everyone else in the room.

“I was resistant to a lot of things early in the process. But it’s different being a fan of the game, and being the designer of the game; with one you appreciate the systems, but in the other case you’re responsible for the systems.” Until Jake started to feel fully responsible for the game’s mechanics, he would find himself justifying why the original did something one way rather than looking to innovate.

“Eventually, though, you kick into designer mode; you have to evaluate everything fairly, and when I started my first prototype of the game it was very, very true to the original. Then one of the things I wanted to do was add more RPG elements; it seems like a minor thing but when you put systems on top of this already existing game it just... you can’t just clamp stuff on like that. XCOM was never built to have all these extra abilities, these extra things that you’re doing. You start to have UI issues, design system issues... as we realised that we knew we had to start re-evaluating *everything*. It just wasn’t working as well as we liked.”
...
...while there’s still a focus on researching new gear and inventory management, an individual operator’s skills are even more important. As you train your little guys, you’ll advance their skills through different class-based skill trees – and it looks like there’s a mess of scope for some insane customisation.
...
“We’ve added these abilities, and we want the player to use them, to use their soldiers together,” Jake told us. “We wanted players to look at the battlefield and come up with a plan – a lot of the joy in tactical games is that feeling of executing a plan, and planning multiple moves ahead. But people wouldn’t do that with time units; they’d look at the units, and think only about that soldier: move, kneel... do I still have enough for reaction fire... Because it wasn’t a discrete enough system, when we added that sort of move or shoot discrete choices, players started looking at the game differently.”

In other words, they’d look at the entire situation and move the whole squad appropriately. “That was one of those big moments, when we took them out, and a little scary, but when we played with it, the whole team was, like, this is better.”
...
So should veterans be worried? “Oh, no. We’re designing so anyone can jump right in; you’ve got to learn the game, and the UI, but we’ve really expedited that, in a way that’s compelling and fun and seamless. The vets won’t even notice that they’re learning.”

Probably the thing that would worry most old timers is that Enemy Unknown is coming to console as well as PC. They might be forgiven for expecting a certain ‘dumbing down’ of the game, but Greg assures me that they’d be wrong. “We’ve added a lot more complexity into the game, actually, what with the soldier skills and levelling, combo moves, stuff that even old players are going to think is really cool. We’ve taken some complexity out, boring stuff like ammunition tracking, but added in stuff that we think is more complex.”
Not sure what the combo moves are, whether that's one soldier doing something special, or multiple soldiers combining moves to pull a "combo" off. And the cinematic view is apparently EVERY turn. Better get used to it.  icon_smile
« Last Edit: March 12, 2012, 05:10:18 PM by Blackjack » Logged

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« Reply #64 on: March 12, 2012, 07:22:27 PM »

im guessing (hoping!) combo moves are like what was in the xbox game operation darkness - a VERY good, fun little game that was torn apart (rightly so) for a terrible camera system.  i fell into the category of hating it at first play, but eventually picked it up and once i trained myself to deal with the horrible angles, it turned out the game was well worth it.

but the system in that game involved being able to say, tie several soldiers move to one move, having them all be able to travel at the same time and longer distances.  or the REALLY cool part would be setting a sniper on overwatch, who would fire a shot whenever an enemy came into range, while ALSO having your frontline soldiers combo off the sniper, so that THEY would fire whenever the sniper did.  in this way it was possible (and required for the harder missions - and they were all hard!) to set up kill zones and have soldiers firing many times a turn in response to reaction fire of teammates and movement of enemies; as opposed to taking their one action and being done with it.
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« Reply #65 on: March 13, 2012, 03:30:51 AM »

More stuff from Gamespy Q&A about a week ago (a CRAZY amount of detail in the Q&A, the writer really knew his X-COM history)
Gamespy Preview, and Q&A with Jake Solomon
Quote
GameSpy:If you've got no ammo restrictions on there, how do you keep the rocket launcher guy from demolishing the entire map?

JS: Oh, but we do have ammo restrictions. Especially for things like the rocket launcher and inventory-item things like grenades. Those are inventory locked. The rocket launcher actually does have a restriction on it, you really only start with one rocket. Now, you can have abilities that increase that capability, but no, the rocket launcher is a limited-use weapon for sure.
...
GameSpy: One thing we didn't see in the demo -- but it's the absence of it that was notable -- was that you were operating in an urban area but I didn't see any civilians.

JS:
Oh, yeah. But in terror missions there will definitely be civilians. You will still be herding cats. So when you go on terror missions, like on the original game, you've gotta manage that. The aliens are going for civilians, and they're going for your troops at the same time, while you're trying to rescue in a destroyed urban environment. So yeah, they'll definitely make a return.

GameSpy: Will there be police officers or other armed civilians in there?


JS:
You'll encounter other troops from around the world in the game, for sure.
...
GameSpy: Early on I noticed a couple things. One was in the UI, it gave the objective of the mission, which was to sweep and kill all the aliens. Which implies the existence of other objectives...

JS:
Yes, absolutely. We're trying to recreate a lot of the mission types from the original, but a lot of those mission objectives were extermination. Even terror, it's like you're trying to save civilians while exterminating aliens. And we do have some other missions, called council missions, which can be generated by members of the council. Those have lots of varying sub-objectives.

GameSpy: That's like where Japan will ask you to do something in exchange for scientists?


JS:
Yeah, for a lot of different rewards. But it could be, rescue a VIP, things like that. We do have missions with more varied sub-objectives as well.

GameSpy: So there will be missions where you'll go into an alien base and extract a hostage?


JS: Well, not that specifically, but something like that, yeah. Cases of hostage extraction, VIP rescue, things like that.
........
JS: No, you're absolutely right, and in fact we have a UI screen, the next thing, that we didn't show in the demo. When you come back to base, in addition to that science debrief, there's also a soldier debrief. So when you get back you're going to see this listing out of all your soldiers, pictures over here, and it'll say either "promoted to so and so, these are their stat changes," and then you can go and do the actual promotion, but it'll also have KIAs here. It'll list out every one of your soldiers and what happens to them. Some of them will be wounded, out of commission 14 days, some of them will be straight up KIA. You'll see all that at the end of the mission.
....
GameSpy: The other major thing at the very beginning is the auto-deployment. No more taking soldiers out of the Skyranger?

JS: This is true. We do have auto-deployment, because there were some moments in deployment that... I guess they were very X-COM. You step your guys off and you get blasted or someone would already be in reaction fire up there.

GameSpy: The D-Day moment.

JS: Right, exactly. And everyone would just step off over the bodies of the people in front of them. But yeah, now, basically, the player starts deployed from the dropship. We actually had it where they deployed from the Skyranger, so in the first turn they deployed from the Skyranger, and what we found is that a lot of times it was just... It sort of added two extra turns of deploying off the dropship that felt the same for every map. Now, there were some moments where aliens were lying in wait, but we wanted it to start where the player has a safe spot to start, and their first move was tactically different every time.
....
GameSpy: How have you made the interception mini-game not suck?

JS: A fair question. Interception is still in, and it's still a pretty short experience, because we didn't want to add a whole third game. We thought two games was enough for one game, you know? Combat, strategy. We haven't shown it off yet, but it actually has more gameplay elements to it. But yeah, we're not talking about it just yet. Yes, we're aware.
......
you can hear aliens and aliens can hear you in this game. We didn't show this in the demo, but you can actually get audio cues. There's a system that I wrote called the Overmind, and that's basically the alien player. These aliens are out there and they're not static, they're all patrolling and moving around and doing their thing. But they can hear when things happen. If you just kick in a door -- There are a couple of ways to open a door in XCOM -- if you move up next to a door and take cover then you have the option of pushing the door open, and that's silent, but if you were to just path through the door, then your guy's going to run up to it, boot the door in, and then continue on. And that's better if you want to move further, but that's not as good because any aliens in the area are going to hear that, and they're going to let you know. "Okay, I just heard it."

They hear all kinds of things, glass breaking, guns going off. And as a result you can also hear aliens as well. On some of the bigger maps, like some of the nature maps, some of the UFO maps and things like that, we have to make sure that the player is directed. But because you can hear the aliens, typically you don't find yourself just wandering around in empty space for turn after turn.

« Last Edit: March 13, 2012, 05:53:50 PM by Blackjack » Logged

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« Reply #66 on: March 13, 2012, 02:58:20 PM »

Thanks for the Q&A information Blackjack.  That all sounds awesome!
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« Reply #67 on: March 13, 2012, 05:50:40 PM »

Quote from: ydejin on March 13, 2012, 02:58:20 PM

Thanks for the Q&A information Blackjack.  That all sounds awesome!
I realize Gamespy gets a lot of abuse but ironically maybe, now that they're forced to only cover PC games (because it's part of the IGN stable and they didn't want duplicate console coverage, is how I understand it), I think their PC gaming coverage is much improved. Though that's because they just don't have a choice.  icon_smile

Back in the late 1990s, I tried to do a little fan site just about squad strategy gaming coverage. There was just too much to cover. I'd love for this to be a strong enough success that others would do similar kinds of things. Maybe a turn-based squad strategy (albeit with Modernized changes) renaissance?  icon_cool
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« Reply #68 on: March 13, 2012, 09:22:45 PM »

Quote from: Blackjack on March 13, 2012, 05:50:40 PM

Quote from: ydejin on March 13, 2012, 02:58:20 PM

Thanks for the Q&A information Blackjack.  That all sounds awesome!
I realize Gamespy gets a lot of abuse but ironically maybe, now that they're forced to only cover PC games (because it's part of the IGN stable and they didn't want duplicate console coverage, is how I understand it), I think their PC gaming coverage is much improved. Though that's because they just don't have a choice.  icon_smile

Back in the late 1990s, I tried to do a little fan site just about squad strategy gaming coverage. There was just too much to cover. I'd love for this to be a strong enough success that others would do similar kinds of things. Maybe a turn-based squad strategy (albeit with Modernized changes) renaissance?  icon_cool

Preach it brother!!!  icon_biggrin
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« Reply #69 on: March 17, 2012, 03:46:45 PM »

PC Gamer:  Enemy Unknown will support mods and have a “standalone PC tactical UI”

Quote
We visited Firaxis recently to gather as much classified information as we could on their upcoming XCOM remake, Enemy Unknown. We talked to lead designer Jake Solomon about how exactly the PC version will differ from the console release. Firaxis told us that, in addition to a unique PC interface, they’re planning to make XCOM: Enemy Unknown modder friendly.

“The idea is that there is the ability for modability,” said Solomon. It won’t be anything that we’re committing to for release, but it’s very very easy using Unreal titles. I write almost all my game code in the scripts, and that’s very easy to give to people.”

this made me chuckle:

Quote
The separate PC UI will be part of that. The XCOM: Enemy Unknown screenshots that have been released so far have shown lots of Xbox controller command prompts, we asked if the PC build would use a similar system.

“No, no, no. Nooo. Oh man, no. I wouldn’t do that to you, are you kidding me? No,” he said. That’s six noes there, folks.[/url]
« Last Edit: March 17, 2012, 03:52:58 PM by CeeKay » Logged

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« Reply #70 on: March 22, 2012, 12:17:38 PM »

Spike TV posted a video yesterday, that's supposedly exclusive interview stuff on this:

Spike TV's All Access Weeekly's First Look at X-COM Enemy Unknown
*I assume most of the footage is from the official trailer so I don't know if there's anything new in that regard. I think there may be two or three glimpses I don't recall from the trailer, in the base particularly.

Here's another recent interview, this time with Associate Producer Peter Murray (March 20):

Spong.com Interviews Firaxis on XCOM: Enemy Unknown
Not a whole lot we haven't seen elsewhere, but a few things seemed interesting...
Quote
SPOnG: How much did you guys deliberate on having fog of war in the game? Because in modern turn-based games it seems almost like a faux-pas to include it.

Pete Murray: It’s important, I think, for a couple of reasons. For gameplay reasons, it gives you a lot to work with, and you can have unrevealed/revealed-but-not-seen/seen, and that’s key. Just because you pass through a building doesn’t give you perfect knowledge of what’s going on inside, right? We can also come up with cool stuff for it too. There’s a grenade called the Battle Scanner, which you throw out and gives you line-of-sight briefly. You can chuck it round a corner, you can lay it down and monitor and area to make sure nobody flanks you, and things like that. Yes, we did need fog of war.
...
SPOnG: What inspired the remake? [To split hairs, Firaxis calls this a "reimagining," not a remake, per se-bj]

Pete Murray:
The original is Jake’s favourite game. That’s the game that made him want to be a computer scientist. I think that some people are born to make games - Jake was born to re-imagine XCOM. He loves it to pieces. He will go toe-to-toe... I played a lot of XCOM back in the day and I thought I was pretty good, but he gave me a lecture about why you don’t outfit Fusion Ball Launchers on your Interceptors, and the necessity of establishing a Laser Cannon economy early on. I was in the presence of a true master [laughs]! When your lead designer has such joy for a game, it’s fun for everybody.
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« Reply #71 on: March 23, 2012, 09:10:42 PM »

i took a lot at screenshots for the first time a few days ago - really neat!  wasnt expecting the comic / teamfortress "lite" animation style.  whens this out again?
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« Reply #72 on: March 25, 2012, 12:09:07 PM »

From Blackjack's SPOnG interview:

Quote
How much did you guys deliberate on having fog of war in the game?  Because in modern turn-based games it seems almost like a faux-pas to include it.

Really?  WTF is wrong with you kids.  Now you want to get rid of Fog of War?  Why don't you just put in an instant win button and be done with it.  Get off my lawn dammit.
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« Reply #73 on: March 25, 2012, 12:10:04 PM »

Quote from: Doopri on March 23, 2012, 09:10:42 PM

i took a lot at screenshots for the first time a few days ago - really neat!  wasnt expecting the comic / teamfortress "lite" animation style.  whens this out again?

Autumn this year.
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« Reply #74 on: March 25, 2012, 06:52:33 PM »

ah bummer was hoping with the press it was closer to early - mid summer.  guess thats better than holiday or next year though

some of the fog of war stuff sounds really neat, like the line of sight grenade that can be tossed around corners
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« Reply #75 on: March 29, 2012, 12:20:00 PM »

Follow-up March 28 interview by Rock, Paper, Shotgun
Quote
RPS: To what extent are players going to be using those abilities instead of a move or a shoot? Are they the bulk of what you’re doing?

Jake Solomon: No, I think that we’ve tried to keep movement really important, because – and this is actually interesting. [laughs] Well, I’m telling you that it’s interesting, it doesn’t mean that it’s interesting… Movement has always been really important, flanking cover which I showed and height advancement. We tried to build a lot of things into the environment, otherwise it gets static and the player goes ‘oh, well I’m a sniper and I picked headshot so I’m just going to use headshot all the time.’ And you don’t want to use cooldowns too often, you don’t want to have some things that are more abstract.

So what we try to do is have really big bonuses for environmental benefits – like when I flanked the Sectoid [in the demonstration], it seems minor, but that’s a really big bonus, flanking cover is a really big bonus. If [the enemy unit is] in high cover, especially if they’re hunkered down, flanking is the best thing you can do. We wanted to keep the player moving, moving is still probably the best thing you can do. So you’re always moving and then taking a shot.

The other abilities… you certainly use them, but I guess it just depends. Some abilities you wait until they come back up. Let’s say run and gun on the Assault class, that’s a good it example. It has a very long cooldown, so you use that but you know that when you use it that’s it during this engagement, or if other aliens show up in the middle of this engagement, you’re not using that again. That can save your ass a couple of times. So… yeah. [laughs] Was that a yes or a no question?
...
RPS: How much have you been tracking the response online now there’s more information out there?

Jake Solomon: Yeah, I’m surprised at how cynical some responses have been. I mean, the response has been overwhelmingly positive and I probably shouldn’t say this because I’m not that tuned into the response but people do keep me abreast of it. But ammo is a good example. People say ‘oh my god, they got rid of ammo, they’re trying to make this game too simple to play.’ And I was shocked by that, because ammo didn’t matter in the original. I changed ammo because it didn’t matter. So what I did was I said ‘okay, you’re going to run out of ammo a lot more, and if you use something like Suppression it’s going to use a ton of ammo because you’re firing the whole time.’

That’s the sort of thing that I was surprised people were unhappy about, because the only change I made was alright you’re not putting the clips on your guys, but let’s be honest in the original game the clips were huge and they weighed 1 and the lasers didn’t even have clips. So in our game laser weapons overheat, and you can actually run out of ammo so reload is actually a tactical decision. We actually tried to make that sort of thing matter more. I don’t blame people, but it was a little bit cynical, they were like ‘oh I can’t believe they got rid of ammo’ and we were ‘but we didn’t! We made ammo more important!’
...
RPS: Oh, I must ask about the bases. You’ve only got one base in the new one, right?

Jake Solomon:
Yes. [World-weary expression]. Yes. Are you looking for ammunition, Alec? [laughs] Yeah, you only have the one base, and then as you saw there in the hanger, you can expand your Interceptors and Satellites to other hangar bases on the other continents. So depending on what continent you choose to start the game – like, ‘I want to start in Europe because of bonus x,y,z’ – then as the game plays on you can then expand your satellite coverage to other continents which have other bonuses, and you can also expand your jets into hangar bases on those continents.

So you still have to cover the world, and if you don’t you will lose that part of the world. But it’s true that research, engineering, barracks, those all happen at a central location
.
On the ammo thing there, he's trying to clarify that while you don't have to load initial clips in weapons, you may have to reload during a mission, and your laser weapons may overheat, forcing you to wait for them to cool down.
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« Reply #76 on: March 29, 2012, 01:14:56 PM »

Really looking forward to this.  icon_cool
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« Reply #77 on: March 30, 2012, 02:37:42 PM »

2K indicates it'll debut a demo of the game at PAX East:
Quote
XCOM: Enemy Unknown is debuting a demo, presented by Firaxis Games: gamers who get a first look at Firaxis' upcoming game will also get a PAX East exclusive patch of the XCOM logo (wear it with pride.)
This won't be playable by fans, apparently, but might (hopefully?) be different than the gas station battle demo'd to media so far.

If anyone's going, 2K's booth numbers are #936, #924, and #1036.
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« Reply #78 on: March 30, 2012, 07:30:47 PM »

Here's a video interview by XBox360 Achievements (even for console site interviews, the demo appears to be on PC using a controller):

*NOTE: Not sure, but I think the glimpses of the game demo are in places longer than in the official trailer and you may see some footage you haven't seen before.  icon_smile The turn-based stuff is around 1:14; 2:08 marks; the base-footage at the 3:37, 4:28. Couple other glimpses seem more like cutscenes of sorts.

Firaxis’ Jake Solomon Talks All Things XCOM: Enemy Unknown
I'm too lazy to transcribe (it's a slow day at work, but not that slow  icon_razz) But some general paraphrased highlights:

*Firaxis has been working on the game for 3 1/2 to 4 years, since just after Civ: Revolution
*Game was NOT in response to negative feedback to the XCOM FPS devved by 2K Marin. The two dev teams have been communicating closely over the last three years about each other's projects, and are enthusiastic about each others' projects. [I know, what would you expect him to say?  icon_razz]
*When Jake Solomon made the first prototype, he started with original 1994 game so that served as Enemy Unknown's base. Anything they change has to be considered an improvement. Lot of the core systems from the 1994 game remain.
*Firaxis has learned it can still make complicated, complex strategy games that sell well, so they don't have to "dumb stuff down." They have faith there's a big strategy audience.
*Putting Civ: Revolution on consoles showed them their strategy titles could work and be successful on consoles as well as PC.
*Understands it's natural for fans to feel anxiety about any changes to the original title. Is confident once they put the game in players' hands, they'll understand.
*Points out "accessibility" is sometimes seen as a negative word. Original game was a little bit limited in terms of UI nearly 20 years ago, and they believe simply cleaning up the interaction with the game a bit immediately makes it feel more accessible.
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« Reply #79 on: April 09, 2012, 01:17:23 AM »

presentation from PAX East: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=EEqjEMG6d_U
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