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XCOM: Enemy Within - What Might Have Been

by Couchpotato, 2013-12-28 08:15:55

XCOM: Enemy Within Designer Ananda Gupta has a new blog post about cut content that didn't make it in to the game.

During the early design stages of Enemy Within, I knew I wanted to incorporate covert operations somehow. So we created a character, the Infiltrator, who would collaborate with the aliens and use a new alien type, the Venomorph, to sow terror and discontent among the Council countries supporting the XCOM project. The Venomorph was a scary alien design – it converted civilians into pod people, but could then burst out of them into its combat form. We designed a new mission type in which XCOM soldiers had to extract a double agent while neutralizing disguised Venomorphs… but once the extraction occurred, the Venomorphs would all burst, and it would become a combat mission where the double agent had to be escorted to safety.

But this ran into a host of creative and production problems. The AI work to get civilians to behave as if nothing were wrong was daunting, especially since we were committed to the Seeker and Mechtoid. The narrative problems were strong too – why would the aliens care about helping the Infiltrator? How would she protect herself in the final mission to take her out? If she’s got so much alien assistance, where are these double agents coming from? It didn’t make any sense. The Venomorph itself was artistically very challenging; it had to look like it could pose a real threat, yet also plausibly originate in an embryonic, parasitic form inside human bodies.

And so, in one of those rare occurrences in game development, we made a change that solved creative and production problems. The Infiltrator and the Venomorph were cut; in their place, EXALT was born.

Information about

XCOM: Enemy Within

SP/MP: Single + MP
Setting: Sci-fi
Genre: Strategy-RPG
Platform: PC
Release: Released


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