One of the more “controversial” game announcements of this year was 2K Games’ currently in progress reworking of the classic PC turn-based strategy franchise as a high action first-person shooting game light on the tactical elements longtime fans expect from the series. From the striking “retro” visual style to the alien designs to the gameplay, plenty of X-Com: UFO Defense die-hards have been burning up message boards with hissy-fit griping about every aspect of the new game’s design before even getting some hands-on time with a demo.
My own opinion is this: Get over it, please. I’m a fan of the original X-Com and its tactical sequels as well and think anyone who calls themselves a fan of turn-based strategy games should absolutely have the addictive experience of playing some of the best games in the genre ever created. On the other hand, let’s all calm down, let 2K have their way with the license the now own and wait until we can at least actually PLAY a more fully developed build of the game. Some of the bile spewing going on out there is absolutely nuts and some of you folks are going give yourselves collective heart attacks over a well-established dev team taking an old franchise into a new direction.
Think of it his way: If you consider that the new game’s 50’s setting, the graphics are perfect. As for the more action-focused mission structure opposed to the deeper tactical play of the PC games, it makes perfect sense that the organization PC gamers know all too well had to get its start somewhere as a smaller team taking on the aliens with what they had on hand (plus any new captured alien tech, of course). Therefore, why NOT set up the relaunch as a different experience rather than simply redo it as a turn-based SRPG that more likely than not won’t sell as well among the hardcore crowd.
Besides, if the new game does well, I’d imagine we’ll see sequels coming soon enough that just may feature that deeper gameplay you folks crave. Also, solid sales just may have 2K look into “expanding” the new XCOM universe onto other platforms, perhaps even revisiting that tried and true turn-based style of play for perhaps the 3DS, PSP or other portable platforms.
Granted, this sort of “selling out” to the shooter maniacs can indeed be seen initially as “dumbing down” the license. On the other hand, 2K and Irrational Games’ BioShock games have definitely done their job in convincing gamers that a shooter can work perfectly with an intelligent and well-done storyline that does its best to draw players into the gamer world and characters. Anyway, here are a few launch screens from an early build. I can’t wait to see how it evolves as the game isn’t shipping until 2012 and hopefully this will give 2K more than enough time to address the worries of fans of the classic PC games.
Anyway, here are a couple of E3 screens from that in-progress version. Updates to follow as they come in, of course.