XCOM: Enemy Unknown lead designer Jake Solomon has said the popularity of classic IPs over the last few years boils down to their continuing hold over gamers’ hearts.
“Those names still have power with people,” Solomon told MCV Pacific of the current fashion fo rebooting classics.
“To be entirely honest, if I were to make [XCOM: Enemy Unknown] but called it ‘Alpha Squadron Bravo Two-Seven-Niner’, the reaction would’ve been like, ‘Yeah, OK, maybe. We’ll see!’ But when you say, ‘we’re reimagining X-COM’, they say, ‘OK, I am intrigued.’”
Solomon said there’s “no doubt” that an established, well-liked IP is an “asset” but that Firaxis isn’t looking to exploit it, citing Bionic Commando as an example of a reboot gone to the dark side.
“We’re coming at it from the best position to be in. We’re not cynically saying we’re making XCOM: Enemy Unknown. We’re definitely being faithful to the original game,” he said.
“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.”
Solomon said Firaxis is pretty certain there’s an audience for its game, and that’s why it doesn’t feel the need to update the property for current trends in gaming, as with stablemate 2K Marin’s shooter X-COM and EA’s Syndicate reboot.
“I guess that’s the benefit we have, that we know there’s a big audience for strategy games,” he said, referring to the Cvilization franchise’s ongoing success.
“And with XCOM: Enemy Unknown, it’s not a straight-up strategy game. So you span all these different genres with X-COM, we have RPG elements, we have strategy elements, we have action elements we have tactics, and then you have the strategic layer over the top of that. Obviously our hope is to appeal to people who have an interest in all of those.
“We’re not blindly saying all gamers everywhere will love this, but we do thing there’s a really big, and growing, middle segment of the market.”
XCOM: Enemy Unknown is expected to launch this year on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.