XCOM: Enemy Unknown ‘more tactical than original’, says producer

Thursday, 23rd August 2012 12:43 GMT By Dave Cook

XCOM: Enemy Unknown’s lead producer Jake Solomon has told VG247 why he feels the game is more tactical than Julian Gollop’s original, UFO: Enemy Unknown. He also stressed that he doesn’t want to upset fans of the original by saying that, so hear him out first.

Speaking with VG247 at gamescom last week, Solomon explained why he felt the new game is more tactical, “The original game wasn’t as tactical as this game. I mean, it was tactical in its own way, but we have things like abilities an explicit cover system, bonuses for elevation, perks, passive perks and we just put a big tactical layer over the experience.”

“The original game would do things like having enemies being able to see further than you,” Solomon continued, “so they would just shoot you from behind the fog of war. These were things that, at first you might not have understood, but in our game everything is very clear.”

Solomon added, “With the original game – I know how it works – but people typically didn’t understand why they were getting shot. That created huge amounts of tension in the original game, and put you in the dark – literally in the dark. You could take a step, get shot and be like ‘who the f**k was that?’”

“With our game we said, ‘it has to be tactical, but it also has to be fair’, as tactical games that aren’t fair, just aren’t tactical. We started moving out XCOM game toward fairness and that got us worried and thinking , ‘well hold on, is this still tense?’”

“It was a big struggle throughout development to give a sense of risk and tension. Because in the original you could run around a corner and be like, ‘aw f**k, there’s some guy standing there and now he’s going to shoot me.’ We wanted to make sure the game was tactical but that there was still a chance to gamble.”

What do you think based on what you’ve seen of XCOM: Enemy Unknown so far? Does it look more tactical than UFO: Enemy Unknown, or can the original still not be beat?

Stay tuned for our full XCOM: Enemy Unknown interview and multiplayer hands-on impressions very soon.



  1. DSB

    But the fact that it wasn’t fair was part of the appeal. In the first missions you just had a bunch of rookies, and they were always going to be slaughtered.

    Then, 50 missions later, you had a team that was carved out of wood, and it was time to give the aliens some of their own medicine. That’s part of what made the game so great.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Chockster

    I would like to state publicly my consuming dislike of the word “perks”. Abandonment can surely not come quickly enough.

    Game will be great though. Can’t wait. Played the fuck out of the original at Uni. Hence the 2:2.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Puggy

    Have to agree with DSB here. I mean in the original you were humans against some super technical Alien Race. They were faster, smarter, more skilled.

    You did not start on equal terms and it was unfair. Well, life is unfair, learn to live with it. Though as you progress and learn how to deal with enemies (you do not run around corners, you wait a round and peek around it when you got enough APs again), you lay ambushes, make sure people with high reaction are standing behind the dude who is kneeling and opening a Door.

    Sure as time passes you get better tech, see further, learn how to fly and all. It gets more and more fair up to the point where it (can get) gets unfair for the aliens.

    I do not want to be on equal terms all the time. So far I don’t think any UFO was realy fair. But you won never the less.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. DSB

    One thing I won’t miss is the PSI. That truly was unfair. A lot of X-Com players I know just skipped missions with Ethereals all together.

    #4 2 years ago

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