XCOM: Enemy Within’s alien ranks have just received an assassin troop type, the creepy-looking Seeker. Developer Firaxis has outlined the beast in a new blog.
The blog explains that The Seeker was designed to ramp up the game’s tension and to have players looking over their shoulder more often. It was originally coined during XCOM: Enemy Unknown development but never made it past the concept stage, however, when Firaxis saw tactics people use to play the game, the studio felt it was time to introduce The Seeker to the world.
The bloody thing flies too. The blog explains, “Making the Seeker a flying unit made a ton of sense; an assassin has to have a lot of mobility, especially if we want it to make hit and run attacks with a close-quarters ability. Stealth would also help it approach the player’s squad without getting chewed up before it can get to grips.
“But stealth proved very difficult to get right; in a turn based game, there are defined windows for player action, and we needed to make sure that players didn’t spin their wheels hunting the last cloaked enemy on the map. The Seeker’s stealth was initially unlimited, but this was quickly changed to a fuel-like system both for multiplayer balance reasons and so that “hunt the Seeker” didn’t become a problem during abduction and terror maps once it was clear the player had a strong advantage.”
“Seekers appear in pairs; this is pretty tightly controlled. Originally, Seekers could appear in moderate numbers, but one too many missions where the entire XCOM squad was simultaneously strangled led us to change that. To compensate for their small numbers, they will often defer combat until XCOM encounters another alien group; this keeps the player suspicious, and offers a choice: try to locate and destroy the Seekers immediately, or move on and hope you can deal with them when they combine with other aliens on the map?”
They sound freaky as all hell. We’ll know more in the run up to the expansion’s November 15 launch.