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XCOM: Enemy Within - All News

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Wednesday - October 18, 2017
Wednesday - March 30, 2016
Monday - February 15, 2016
Thursday - October 23, 2014
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Box Art

Wednesday - October 18, 2017

XCOM - Is now a Genre

by Hiddenx, 19:39

Henriquejr spotted a new colummn on PC Gamer: The Gollop Chamber

The Gollop Chamber: XCOM is now a genre

In his first column for PC Gamer Indie, creator of the original X-COM Julian Gollop argues his game has become a genre of its own.

Welcome to my first column for PC Gamer. What’s it all about, you may ask? You can look forward to my musings on games, the games industry, and also follow progress on my new XCOM-style game, Phoenix Point, which is underway at Snapshot Games in sunny Bulgaria.

Phoenix Point was first announced at the PC Gamer Weekender event in March last year, where I argued that XCOM is now an established genre, thanks to the tremendous success of the Firaxis games. Ever since I signed over the X-COM rights to MicroProse back in 1997 I have been trying to build a new X-COM-style game, but I never quite succeeded, despite releasing several turn-based games over the last 15 years. The XCOM genre is something special and distinct, and diverging too far from its fundamental design pillars results in something less than satisfactory.


Wednesday - March 30, 2016

XCOM - Origins Interview

by Myrthos, 12:22

Couch spotted a video featuring an interview with Julian Gollop abotu the origins of XCOM.


Monday - February 15, 2016

XCOM: Enemy Within - Honest Game Trailer

by Hiddenx, 21:08

Here's the honest game trailer for XCOM:


Thanks Couch!

Thursday - October 23, 2014

XCOM: Enemy Within - Art Design Firaxicon Panel

by Couchpotato, 05:20

Senior Artist Greg Foertsch of Firaxis Games talked about the art design for XCOM: Enemy Unknown in a new panel from the Firaxicon this month.

As part of Firaxicon, the first official Firaxis Games convention, enjoy this panel featuring the Firaxis Games team. In this panel, senior artist Greg Foertsch talks about the art design for XCOM: Enemy Unknown, and how the original X-COM series inspired the current incarnations.

Tuesday - December 31, 2013

XCOM: Enemy Within - Best SP Game @ PC Gamer

by Couchpotato, 05:10

XCOM: Enemy Within has been awarded Best Singleplayer of the Year by PC Gamer.

2013's expansion, Enemy Within, has only deepened Enemy Unknown's excellent campaign. XCOM's narrative arc remains unchanged, but between the necessary story missions there's great scope for expression in the management of your band of battle brothers and sisters. The bonds you form with your troops - and the shock when they meet a messy end - form the highs and lows of a player-authored narrative worthy of our game of the year award for Best Singleplayer.


Saturday - December 28, 2013

XCOM: Enemy Within - What Might Have Been

by Couchpotato, 08:15

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.

Saturday - November 30, 2013

XCOM: Enemy Within - Review @ IncGamers

by Couchpotato, 04:12

IncGamers has posted  a new review for XCOM: Enemy Within. They also award the game with a final score of 8/10.

XCOM: Enemy Within is XCOM: Enemy Unknown, expanded. It’s the same basic game, but with more options, more threats, and nothing really done wrong. This doesn’t break the game or ruin it; it simply adds more of it and changes the way you play it. It’s a little sad that things like the XCOM base assault are setpieces rather than the result of aliens finding your base, and the strategic map still feels like you’re just waiting for the next event rather than fighting a war against a cunning foe, but these are minor quibbles that I’d expect to be addressed in a sequel rather than an expansion. The bottom line is that Enemy Within makes XCOM better, and if you’ve been waiting for an excuse to dive back in, then this is it.

Sunday - November 17, 2013

XCOM: Enemy Within - Review @ PC Gamer

by Couchpotato, 02:29

PC Gamer reviews XCOM: Enemy Within and gives the game a final score of 85/100.

XCOM is a game of resource management and tactics more than a game of chance. I can pretend it’s the dice roll that decides who lives and who dies, but it’s my decisions. Because I decided to spend money on laser rifles instead of body armor, I had to send an under-equipped soldier on a difficult mission, and I pulled him out of cover to collect Meld for my laboratories. And now he’s dead. In that respect, it’s more vitally a game about sacrifice, ethics, and responsibility.

Enemy Within muddies up those ethical waters with even more excruciating decisions, requires more complex tactics, and promotes an even deeper connection to the soldiers I dearly want to protect. It doesn't significantly address Enemy Unknown’s shortcomings, but adds more great, challenging experiences to an already great game.

Wednesday - November 13, 2013

XCOM: Enemy Within - Review Roundup #2

by Couchpotato, 04:03

Here is the secound round of reviews for XCOM: Enemy Within I managed to roundup.

Game Informer - 9.25/10

Enemy Within’s minor flaws shouldn’t be enough to distract anyone from diving back into Firaxis’ well-tuned expansion. The game often throws you curveballs; you can easily have a rookie wander too deep into the battlefield and suddenly alert three units of enemies. However, dealing with the bad hands you’re dealt is what makes XCOM’s battles so exciting – and often leads to creative problem solving. Enemy Within adds more troop customization options, fearsome enemy units, and new levels to explore. Anyone who loves an intense firefight should test their mettle on Enemy Within.

Kotaku - No Score

I highly recommend XCOM: Enemy Within, which both serves longtime fans and makes the cerebral strategy genre appealing to everyone. It is, as I said last year, simply a great game. We're four days from a new console launching and a year after Enemy Unknown launched and XCOM is still the only thing I want to play right now. Battle hardened commanders will probably have to bump the difficulty up a notch, or fudge with the Second Wave options, to create a real challenge. Newcomers will be delighted by all of the new toys it offers, while still finding entertainment in the tension, consequence, and loss that makes XCOM unique.

EGN Now - 9.5/10

As far as expansions go, Enemy Within takes a relatively safe approach, opting to flesh out Enemy Unknown with new maps, enemies, and upgrades rather than redefining its core. Thankfully, it works, because the additions are every bit as smart and enjoyable as the main game.

Tuesday - November 12, 2013

XCOM: Enemy Within - Now Available

by Couchpotato, 18:07

2K and Firaxis Games announce in this new press release that XCOM: Enemy Within is now available for purchase on Steam.

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--2K and Firaxis Games announced today that XCOM®: Enemy Within, the expanded experience for the Game of the Year* award-winning strategy title, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, is available today in North America and will be available internationally on November 15, 2013 for Windows PC, Xbox 360 games and entertainment system from Microsoft and PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system.

In XCOM: Enemy Within, players can modify their soldiers genetically to enhance their operatives’ abilities or transform their soldiers into cybernetic warriors. These new abilities and units are imperative to combat two new aliens, the Mechtoid and the Seeker. In addition to new aliens, XCOM: Enemy Within adds a new threat known as EXALT, an underground human organization set on disrupting XCOM operations and taking control of Earth. XCOM: Enemy Within also includes an array of new maps, abilities, upgrades and weapons across both single player and multiplayer.

XCOM: Enemy Within continues the tradition of robust expansion packs from Firaxis Games,” said Christoph Hartmann, president of 2K. “With an incredible amount of new content, XCOM: Enemy Within is the definitive way to play last year’s best strategy game.”

“The number one thing our fans asked for after we released XCOM: Enemy Unknown was more maps,” said Ananda Gupta, lead designer at Firaxis Games. “In XCOM: Enemy Within, we’re giving players nearly 50% more maps in addition to a massive amount of other new content, providing nearly limitless replayability for XCOM commanders to enjoy.

Key features for XCOM: Enemy Within include:

  • New Soldier Abilities: Research a new alien technology to advance the capabilities of operatives:
    • Gene Mods: Construct the Genetics Lab to physically enhance operatives’ abilities, including augmentations to the chest, brain, eyes, skin and legs;
    • MECs: Build the Cybernetics Lab to enable the construction of the new Mechanized Exoskeletal Cybersuit, or MEC. The new MEC Trooper class has specialized abilities and each suit can be upgraded with new weapons including the flamethrower, grenade launcher and more.
  • New Weapons and Equipment: Give operatives an extra tactical edge with new projects from the engineering team in the Foundry;
  • New Enemy Threats: Adopt new tactics to counter the threats from new enemies, including the Mechtoid, the Seeker and an organization known as EXALT, a group of humans sympathetic to the alien cause;
  • New Strategic Resource: A valuable new alien resource, known as Meld, has been discovered. Secure it on the battlefield and use it carefully back at base to unlock new research and upgrades;
  • New Tactical Challenges and Maps: Face new tactical challenges, on nearly 50% more maps;
  • New Story Elements: Recover a mysterious new weapon in Operation Progeny, investigate a terrifying threat in an abandoned fishing village, and defend the XCOM headquarters from alien attack in a series of new plot-driven missions;
  • New Multiplayer Maps, Units and Abilities: Create custom squads from a wider array of options and dominate opponents in intense, one-on-one, turn-based matches;
  • New Second Wave Options: A number of new gameplay modifiers including the option to enable random soldier abilities means no XCOM squad need ever be the same again.

XCOM: Enemy Within - Review Roundup

by Couchpotato, 00:50

XCOM: Enemy Within will be released in the next twenty hours according to Steam, and we already have reviews out. So I bring to you the first review roundup.

Eurogamer - 9/10

Enemy Within is an improvement on an already excellent game. For every decision that must be made there are several factors to consider, rarely enough money to pay for everything, and uncomfortable consequences to be faced for failure. All of this is exacerbated still further when playing on Classic difficulty or with Ironman mode enabled, where you're constantly worrying about what to do next or second guessing the action that you've just taken. Much like the genetic modifications that it champions, XCOM: Enemy Within is an experience that gets under your skin.

Destructoid - 9/10

If you haven't played the newest XCOM yet, now is a perfect time to do so. For all the XCOM veterans out there, you'll find a solid amount of new activities to engage in, as well as an unprecedented amount of squad customization. In other words, this is now the definiive Enemy experience.

Polygon - 9/10

Enemy Within forced me outside of my comfort zone, but provided enough reward for doing so that it became a continuing source of enjoyment. On the whole, Enemy Within plays like someone, somewhere kept a list of every minor thing they imagined, while playing Enemy Unknown, would make that game better — and then made those changes.

Gamespot - 8/10

Enemy Within is great, but its greatness comes with qualifications. Players who have never played XCOM: Enemy Unknown will find their best entry point here, since it remedies some of the concerns of the original and manages to keep others from taking their place.

Friday - October 25, 2013

XCOM: Enemy Within - Base Defense Video

by Couchpotato, 00:19

Gamespot has posted a new video showing off the new base defence mechanic in XCOM: Enemy Within. Now spoliers apply so you have been warned.

Spoiler Alert: Maxwell and Aaron give you the lowdown on what to expect in this life-or-death encounter at XCOM HQ.

Thursday - October 24, 2013

XCOM: Enemy Within - Preview Roundup

by Couchpotato, 00:54

I have another round of previews for XCOM: Enemy Within. It seems a few popup every week. Enjoy everyone if your not tired of reading them yet.

Gamefront - "More of What Fans Want"

I look forward to many more hours spent with XCOM: Enemy Within. While experiencing the expansion effectively means playing through Enemy Unknown again, there is enough new content to keep the playthrough fresh, and I can’t wait to see where the new storyline goes. Firaxis seems to know what its fans want and is evolving the game in that direction. Now, if only multiplayer could be made into something worth playing more than once.

Polygon - "Making Heroics Matter and Making Death Sadder"

Watching your team get killed certainly took an emotional and strategic toll in XCOM: Enemy Unknown; but it wasn't the end of the world, given how easy your troops were to replace. In XCOM: Enemy Within, the stakes are considerably higher. Thanks to new customization features, your troops will feel less cookie-cutter, and less replaceable. Thanks to new mission types and dangers, you'll find yourself concerned for their wellbeing with increased frequency.

Rock,Paper,Shotgun -"The Right To Upgrade Arms"

It’s not a massive remix of the standard game, but between the tweaked challenge and facing your own weapons – particularly sniper rifles – it does good work in terms of stopping missions from becoming repetitive. It also means an additional narrative arc of sorts, as successful missions slowly pin down the location of the EXALT base, which leads to outcomes I’m not to chat about yet. There is also – at last – an event involving your own base which I’ll keep shtum on for now, but will have much to say about come the WIT.

In fact, I’m at risking of splurging all I’ll have to say about Enemy Within now, so I’ll wind things up at this point. There’s a hard stop in the preview code, with the promise of further new stuff and campaign alteration to come, and I’m absolutely gagging to get to that. From which you might, accurately, extrapolate that Enemy Within is very much doing the trick for me – it’s making me obsessed with XCOM all over again, it’s making me approach familiar situations with new solutions and it’s making me further accept Firaxis’ title as its own game rather than worry about how it does or doesn’t honour the past. I’m happy.

Wednesday - October 23, 2013

XCOM: Enemy Within - Who is EXALT?

by Couchpotato, 01:21

Lead Designer Ananda Gupta talks about the human organization EXALT from the new XCOM: Enemy Within expansion.

EXALT is a paramilitary secret society. Their goal is to capture the benefits of the aliens’ arrival – their genetic project for humanity and their technology – and use those advantages to rule what’s left of the world once the aliens have completed their plan and departed. And XCOM is in the way.

One of the things that we really wanted to enhance in Enemy Within was the idea of player-driven missions. The alien invasion throws a lot of challenges at the player, but fundamentally the player doesn’t control the cadence or pace of the missions; when an abduction mission happens, the player can choose whether or not to deal with it (and which country to help), but there is no strategy around timing them. In Enemy Within, we wanted to change that.

EXALT works by placing hidden cells in the Council countries. If left hidden for too long, EXALT cells will carry out a variety of operations against XCOM – Propaganda to increase panic, Sabotage to destroy XCOM’s funds, and Research Hack to cancel research progress.

Friday - October 18, 2013

XCOM: Enemy Within - Preview @ PCGamesN

by Couchpotato, 00:27

PCGamesN has a new preview of XCOM: Enemy Within with information about how the game handles secret dice rolls in saves.

You've probably done this in XCOM: quicksaved before a risky 10% chance to hit shot, missed, guiltily quickloaded to before you took the shot and tried again. Except it doesn't work. XCOM cleverly saves the seed of its random number generator after every turn, meaning that you'll always get the same result even if you reload a previous save game. There are loopholes of course. You can reload and force the enemy AI to take the same crappy shot you would have taken, knowing that their dice roll will miss and your next one will probably succeed.

In XCOM: Enemy Within, Firaxis are extending an olive branch to these players. The developer has cottoned on to this manipulation of fate and chance and implemented a new menu option for players whose F9 buttons are worn down. It's called 'Save Scum', and it lets you play quicksave god.

Tuesday - October 15, 2013

XCOM: Enemy Within - Interview @ SpaceSector

by Couchpotato, 00:36

SpaceSector has posted a new interview for XCOM: Enemy Within with Lead Designer Ananda Gupta.

SS: Being XCOM: Enemy Within an expansion pack, it’s inevitable to ask what main features does it bring new to the table. So, what can people who already played XCOM: Enemy Unknown expect to find in EW to justify going back to XCOM?

AG: We’ve added a lot of content to refresh the basic gameplay – new maps, new items, new foundry projects – and then some big new systems, like MECs and gene mods. EXALT is a new adversary that has a huge effect on both the strategic and tactical layers of the game. In XEW the crisis-management feel of the game is increased, but the player also has new ways to feel even more powerful on the battlefield.

SS: If I’m not mistaken, you’ve announced that there will be around 50% more maps in EW than in EU. 47 was the number thrown around. You also mentioned that some, or even many of the original maps, were touched somehow to incorporate the new EW resource, Meld. What would you say was the extent of those changes on the original maps? And, on the entirely new maps, would you care to give a few examples of the new locations, and perhaps talk about the size of those new maps?

AG: The new maps vary a lot in size; we have some smaller ones, like a new take on the construction site map, and then we have some bigger ones like the Farm and Urban UFO Crash maps. Urban UFO crashes were a big priority for us, since like the fans we felt that always having UFOs crash in forest areas was a little repetitive. We’ve also got a tire shop, a bank, and a rural highway under construction, among others. We added a new terror mission set on the original game’s Pier map, and one in the Paper Office as well.

And of course, as you note, Meld went on all the original game abduction and UFO maps. And then there are the covert ops maps. These are maps that we adapted from both EU and the new maps in EW for covert ops play.

SS: One generalized criticism made to XCOM:EU was the number of glitches and bugs present on release. Many were indeed fixed with patches, but a few others still remained to some extent, the most important ones being the infamous “Teleport” and “Flanking” bugs. I would say that the teleport one, where groups of aliens would seem to suddenly ”teleport” and appear right in front of you, has been addressed for PC players. But, the “Flanking bug”, where occasionally you should get a flanked enemy and you don’t, although a very rare bug, still seems to endure. Were these and other important bugs addressed in this new expansion?

AG: We did make a strong effort to address bugs in XEW, although of course new ones arose since we added so many new systems to the game. The teleport bug should be put to rest, and we hit the flanking bug very hard as well. I should say that in our press demo, we used code from July, so any players who spot flanking bugs in the footage needn’t worry; we’ve addressed that stuff.

Sunday - October 13, 2013

XCOM: Enemy Within - Preview @ EDGE

by Couchpotato, 00:21

EDGE has a new preview of XCOM: Enemy Within writing the game is a bigger, wider, tougher take on enemies unknown.

Enemy Within’s big question is just how much you’re willing to monkey with your soldiers before they’re no longer human. Certainly, your troops seem more human now – each responding to orders in their native language and wearing armour appropriate to their roles – but XCOM’s expansion is about taking your pawns and tearing them apart until they’re as abominable as the alien threats they face. It’s all for the good of humanity; ours, not theirs.

Enemy Within is a director’s cut of sorts – the same story with new beats, the same systems with new mechanics, the same missions with new maps. “The Civilization expansion packs [are] one-third, one-third, one-third,” says senior game designer Ananda Gupta. “It’s one-third new stuff we dream up for this new title, one-third modifications of existing systems, and then one-third fan-service fixing. We’re taking a similar approach [with Enemy Within].”

New stuff includes XCOM’s Cybernetics and Genetics labs, where XCOM’s soldiers are filled with alien goo and riddled with robotic components in the name of winning this new, more difficult war. Powerful cyborg MECs can be deployed with flamethrowers, grenade launchers and cover-shredding special attacks, and while they can’t take cover, they can be cover when locked down. Fighting alongside them are genetically augmented comrades who can be modified with alien tech to add passive cloaking systems, psi-cancelling implants and other abilities.


Friday - October 11, 2013

XCOM: Enemy Within - Interview @ CDW

by Couchpotato, 00:11

Connected Digital World interviewed Ananda Gupta from Firaxis with various questions about XCOM: Enemy Within.

2K Games and Firaxis are about to release XCOM: Enemy Within, and I had the chance to sit down with Ananda Gupta from Firaxis to talk all things XCOM. Enjoy.

Thursday - October 10, 2013

XCOM: Enemy Within - Security Breach Trailer

by Couchpotato, 00:35

2KGames and Firaxis have released a new trailer for XCOM: Enemy Within showing off a security breach.

A rogue organization, known as EXALT, is threatening to undermine XCOM operations by acquiring alien technology for their own use. You will need to send in covert operatives to track down the source of this new threat and eliminate it.

XCOM: Enemy Within is the expansion to the 2012 Game of the Year award-winning strategy game, XCOM: Enemy Unknown. As the commander of XCOM, build and expand your base, recruit and train your soldiers, and research alien technology to advance your capabilities in fierce battles against a terrifying alien invasion.

Monday - October 07, 2013

XCOM: Enemy Within - Preview @ GameGrin

by Couchpotato, 00:06

GameGrin has posted a new preview of XCOM: Enemy Within based on a demo from Gamescom 2013. A little late then never as they say.

The highlight of the demonstration was exploring the abilities of the new MECs, who have their own divergent skills tree like any other class. There were two MECs in the group, one focused on pure power, with damaging abilities such as the flamethrower and kinetic strike; a powerful close combat attack that knocks smaller aliens like Sectoids flying. The second of the MECs was build more as a support unit, with the ability to destroy enemy cover and to deploy a medical ‘mist’ that heals all nearby troops.

Our short time with XCOM: Enemy Within revealed how a few changes and additions can substantially change a gaming experience. Since our time with the game, further reveals and rumours have cropped up, some confirmed and some to be taken with a pinch of salt. Game balance tweaks, changes to existing skills and the introduction of some new items have been confirmed, while rumours of new mission types and even potential base invasions are circulating. It seems that the final product may have more to offer than the substantial content already revealed. Keep your eyes on this one, as Enemy Within may have a few more surprises in store for us yet.

Wednesday - October 02, 2013

XCOM: Enemy Within - The Mechtoid

by Couchpotato, 00:25

The 2K Developer Blog has posted information about the Mechtoid one of the new enemies in XCOM: Enemy Within.

When we decided to add mechanized cybersuits to the XCOM arsenal, there was little doubt the aliens would get a new mechanized unit as well. We discarded the idea of doing a “light” mechanized pass on several aliens while keeping their animation sets; this didn’t distinguish the new mech elements enough. So we had to pick one, and settled on the Muton. The Muton seemed like a natural choice; culturally very attracted to impressive armor and firepower, and occupying a bruising front-line combat role. But as we kicked the idea around it made less and less sense. Mutons already wear distinctive heavy armor; the mech elements would have to be very exaggerated if they were to make sense visually. And mech elements would simply add to the Mutons’ strengths. Why not mechanize an alien who really needs it?

Sunday - September 29, 2013

XCOM: Enemy Within - Preview @ PC Gamer

by Couchpotato, 00:26

PC Gamer has a new preview of XCOM: Enemy Within were you meet Earth’s new defenders.

XCOM: Enemy Within replaces Enemy Unknown’s opening Arthur C Clarke quote with a pearl from American polymath R Buckminster Fuller. “Those who play with the Devil’s toys will be brought by degrees to wield his sword.”

It captures the central theme of this major expansion: how far are you prepared to warp your soldiers with alien tech before they lose touch with the race they’re defending? Fuller’s words do fall slightly askew, though. It’s not a sword, it’s a giant rocketpowered robot fist.

That fist belongs to Rebecca ‘Freya’ Berry, a US soldier strapped into a ten-foot-tall mech suit. I’m playing through a battle at Firaxis HQ, Maryland, surrounded by a squadron of design leads, all quietly waiting to see what I’ll do with this destructive new toy. The XCOM fundamentals remain unchanged: you build a base, research alien tech, conduct autopsies and invent new gear for your soldiers to utilise in turn-based human vs alien skirmishes. Enemy Within introduces new enemies, units, classes, gear, abilities, maps and more to grow that base game into something bigger, tougher and full of giant robots.

Mech-Freya is standing next to a tractor in the dark. I’m using my robo-soldier as a unmissable lump of bait, but I’ve played XCOM. I know how this goes. You throw a lone soldier forward and before you know it they’re knee-deep in little grey men blasting them in the flanks. Not today. I select my nearby assault soldier, Marco ‘Maestro’ Bruno, and have him take a covering position in the back of a pickup truck a few feet behind Freya. To my delight, he confirms the order in Spanish. Soldiers speak their native tongues in Enemy Within, rather than the generic US voices of old. XCOM’s team of international super-warriors will finally sound that way..

Thursday - September 26, 2013

XCOM: Enemy Within - Interview @ The Escapist

by Couchpotato, 01:05

The Escapist interviews Lead Designer Ananda Gupta to talk about XCOM: Enemy Within.

I had the opportunity to ask a few questions of Ananda Gupta, XCOM: Enemy Within's Lead Designer, about the latest tool in Earth's fight against marauding aliens, MELD. First things first, of course, what exactly is MELD? "Meld is a suspension of nanomachines whose purpose is to fuse organic and inorganic materials," said Gupta. "It's a tool used by the Ethereals to create monsters like the Floater, and to boost the already-fearsome Mutons." MELD is actively being used by the aliens in their ongoing human experiments. With that setup, it's easy to understand why MELD starts showing up from the get go in Enemy Within. "Meld will be in the game from the first map," confirmed Gupta, "if you recover Meld on your first mission, it'll be one of the very first research projects you have access to." MELD Recombination research should become available around the same time as Weapon Fragments or Alien Materials, which you get pretty much immediately

Friday - September 20, 2013

XCOM: Enemy Within - Interview @ VG 24/7

by Couchpotato, 01:03

VG 24/7 has a new video interview with Garth DeAngelis who gives the low down on what's new in XCOM Enemy Within.

Tuesday - September 17, 2013

XCOM: Enemy Within - The Seeker

by Couchpotato, 01:03

XCOM: Enemy Within has a new post on the Firaxis developer blog about one of the games enemy's called the Seeker.

One of the things we wanted to do in Enemy Within was to get the player looking over her shoulder more often. We have terror maps that can get out of hand with zombie infestation, but the aliens were missing a subtle assassin, something that can attack suddenly and without warning when the player least expects it. The Seeker was an obvious candidate. It never made it past the early concept stage on Enemy Unknown, when we wanted to emphasize the 1993 XCOM’s enemy lineup. And after we saw how players started to play Enemy Unknown after gaining some experience, we knew this kind of threat was called for.

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?

Tuesday - September 10, 2013

XCOM: Enemy Within - Preview @ Thunderbolt

by Couchpotato, 00:51

Thunderbolt has posted a preview of XCOM: Enemy Within from Pax Prime 2013.

Last year’s excellent XCom: Enemy Unknown provides a solid foundation to build upon. Firaxis make finished videogames and so there’s nothing to expand on apart from the base experience itself. With XCom: Enemy Within, they’ve taken a complete product and sharpened the edges, implementing concepts that expand on the core strategies.

Our Firaxis-led demo found a couple of soldiers entering the combat zone from the drop ship. “As anyone who’s played XCom knows, always send in your red-shirted rookies first”, said a developer. They took up cover and were quickly shot down by more powerful enemy units. The screen went to black. “Thanks for coming. That was XCom: Enemy Within.”

Saturday - September 07, 2013

XCOM: Enemy Within - Interview @ Metro

by Couchpotato, 01:04

Metro is the next site post an interview about XCOM: Enemy Within.

GC: Does the game’s subtitle imply your base gets invaded? Because that was always a great part of the original – where you’d be fighting on a map that was a direct representation of the base you’d built.

AG: That was a neat thing about the 1993 game. But we’re not really talking about the strategic level changes that we’re doing but… the enemy within theme is a very cool theme because it has a lot of possibilities… it’s a very rich game in terms of ‘the enemy is closer than ever before’. In the form of the MEC and the gene mods you’re bringing the enemy’s technology into your body. You’re no longer wearing armour and carrying guns that are just based on alien technology…

GC: Just to finish I have to ask exactly how well Enemy Unknown actually sold? I was very hopeful it’d be a big hit because it worked so well on consoles, but it only seemed to get anywhere on PC.

AG: As far as I know 2K has been overjoyed with how well it’s done. We’ve got nothing but happiness from 2K about the performance of XCOM. I don’t know the exact numbers though, they don’t tell me that.

Friday - September 06, 2013

XCOM: Enemy Within - Video & Interview

by Couchpotato, 00:07

2KGames has releaed a new video showing more gameplay with Lead designer Ananda Gupta.

I also have a new interview from NowGamer.

Was this Enemy Within expansion pack always part of the plan?

It was certainly something we always wanted to be part of the plan. At Firaxis we publish large, engaging strategy games and the best way to give more on those is to give big expansions, like we have done with CIV: Gods of Kings and with Brave New World, so to take a similar approach with XCOM made a lot of sense.

Was this expansion dependent on XCOM being the success that it was?

The whole studio was always confident that XCOM was going to do well, and 2K had high confidence as well. We did not expect that we would win 13 game of the year awards , so that was a really nice surprise. 2K was really happy with how XCOM did, so frankly this was a really easy pitch meeting.

Wednesday - September 04, 2013

XCOM: Enemy Within - Preview @ GameReactor

by Couchpotato, 00:42

GameReactor's Rasmus Lund-Hansen wrote up a new preview XCOM: Enemy Within.

It's been almost a year since Xcom: Enemy Unknown was released to a deafening roar of critical acclaim and commercial success. Perhaps a little bit strange then that publisher 2K Games and developer Firaxis haven't talked about any expansion until now.

Sure we got some extra missions and a couple of DLCs with your typical cosmetic changes, super soldiers and exclusive weapons, but other than that Xcom: Enemy Unknown has remained untouched. This when story DLC and multiplayer expansions for other titles are typically being announced even before the main game is out on store shelves.

The explanation lies with another successful franchise belonging to developer Firaxis. They have had a lot of success with Civilization V expansions Gods & Kings and Brave New World, and that in turn has inspired the Xcom team. Instead of just adding more missions and scenarios to the pre-existing game, they have decided to shake up some of the fundamentrals, expand other areas and add brand new concepts, and like Civilization before it, Xcom: Enemy Within has been designed with the same approach.

Tuesday - September 03, 2013

XCOM: Enemy Within - Preview @ Polygon

by Couchpotato, 00:08

Polygon has another preview of XCOM: Enemy Within talking about the game balance.

The introduction of the meld resource and its limited availability in XCOM: Enemy Within will make the game more aggressive as players rush to claim it before it self-destructs, according to lead designer, Ananda Gupta.

During a hands-on demo with the game at PAX Prime 2013, we played through a level of Enemy Within where we had to collect meld and fight the alien invaders at the same time. Meld, which is a new resource that has been added to both new and old maps, is used to create mecs and to give soldiers genetic mutation (g-mod) abilities. The introduction of meld means that players don't need to dig into their other resources in order to create mecs and g-mods, allowing them to allocate resources like alloys to other projects.

Sunday - September 01, 2013

XCOM: Enemy Within - New Trailer & Previews

by Couchpotato, 00:46

2K Games and Firaxis have released a new "War Machines" trailer for XCOM: Enemy Within.

The second part of the newsbit deals with two previews for the game.


We LOVED the original XCOM Enemy Unknown, so when I found out that the expansion, XCOM Enemy Within, was going to be at PAX, I knew I had to drop by their booth. I had high hopes, and sure enough the hands-off demo I saw made my trip worth it. The demo took place on a new map location, on top of a hydroelectric dam, and immediately looked better than any map in the original game. It started with two rookie XCOM operatives getting off the Skyranger and dying within seconds, as their ilk is wont to do.

Escapist Magazine

I've never been shy about my love of XCOM, even if The Bureau left a bit to be desired. It should come as no surprise that I was ecstatic when I found out I'd be getting hands on with Enemy Within, the upcoming standalone expansion for 2012's strategy masterpiece, Enemy Unknown. While I wasn't quite convinced that it would be able to improve such a stellar gameplay experience, everything I saw makes me less cynical about the prospect, and more hopeful that it will be exactly what every XCOM fan never knew they wanted

Thursday - August 29, 2013

XCOM: Enemy Within - Interview @ Rock, Paper, Shotgun

by Couchpotato, 00:04

Rock, Paper, Shotgun  interviews Senior Game Designer Anand Gupta of XCOM: Enemy Within.

RPS: During the presentation, Enemy Within was described as a ‘Civ-style’ expansion. Is that a Firaxis staple now and what exactly do you mean by it?

Gupta: I describe it as same stage, more actors, more sets, more props. It’s not a prequel, it’s not an additional episode on the end of the game. It’s the same alien invasion as in Enemy Unknown, but we’ve added more variables and more challenges. At Firaxis, we make these big strategy games and we structure them so that they are accessible but still complex. When you have these games, especially XCOM which has the tactical and the strategy component, the way to expand it is not in bits and pieces, it’s to do a lot all at the same time, all integrated into the campaign.

This is one of the things that makes DLC very hard for a game like XCOM. It’s a little easier for Civ because Civ is not asymmetric, but XCOM is very asymmetric. Even making decent DLC for Civ is very challenging, but there are more options as to how it can be expanded than with XCOM. For this game, we prefer to make Brave New World and Gods & Kings style expansions, and that’s what Enemy Within is. It’s a comprehensive set of new content.

Here at Gamescom, we’re talking mostly about tactical stuff, but we know that the spirit of XCOM is that it has both, the strategic and the tactical, feeding into each other in interesting ways. Missions in one affect the other and you can’t tank either one or you’re in trouble. We know that the spirit of XCOM dictates that we expand both of those things.

Wednesday - August 28, 2013

XCOM: Enemy Within - Preview Roundup

by Couchpotato, 00:44

I managed to find two more previews for XCOM: Enemy Within. So lets call this the first preview roundup.


A sequel? Not quite. Instead - and this is weirdly appropriate, given the ground it covers - think of this as more of an augmentation.

"What we've been working on is a expansion pack for Enemy Unknown in the style of big Firaxis expansions like Gods and Kings," explains Ananda Gupta, who's been leading the XCOM team on the creation on Enemy Within - a project he's finally able to talk about. "So Enemy Unknown tells the story of the alien invasion and the Earth's defence. Enemy Within is the same invasion. You're starting from day one and then proceeding through the same arc. It's an overlay on the original. It's not the next episode, and it doesn't take place after the ending of the first game. It's the same storyline - but with lots, lots more stuff."

It's an expansion in terms of mechanics rather than narrative, in other words, which sounds like the perfect route to take for a game that keeps its players as close to its mechanical heart as XCOM does. Anyway, if you're still a bit disappointed that you won't get to see off an entirely new extra-terrestrial armada, Gupta and company have a pretty surefire way of making it up to you. Or - ha ha! - meching it up to you. Trust me: a few paragraphs from now, that line is going to be really witty.


Being at gamescom has its perks, especially when it comes to having the first opportunity to play a newly announced game. Or in this case, a new expansion so big that it's essentially a new game.

Those big-headed aliens? They haven't gone anywhere. While I'll never tire of blowing their bulbous heads off at close range, some more fire power to do so would be nice. Enemy Within brings that needed firepower a whole bunch of gameplay advances to the formula and lays them out in a story that's actually parallel to the original. Someone up there in videogame heaven loves us.

Let's get the biggest thing out of the first: Mechs. Or, in this case, MECs: mechanized exoskeletal cybersuits. And playing with them is as good as you'd imagine. They do big damage and can take big hits, making them a lot of fun. It's good that they can take the hits, as they can't really get out of the way fast enough. They're big but they're not too big -- there's a guy inside, after all.

Sunday - August 25, 2013

XCOM: Enemy Within - Hands-on at Gamescom 2013

by Couchpotato, 00:58

2K games released a new video showing some gameplay, and the reaction of a few fans from  Gamescom 2013.

XCOM: Enemy Within is the all new expansion for XCOM Enemy Unknown coming to XBOX 360, PS3 and PC on November 15th. Some lucky fans were lucky enough to have a hands on at Gamescom 2013

Saturday - August 24, 2013

XCOM: Enemy Within - Preview @

by Couchpotato, 01:25 has a new preview of XCOM: Enemy Within.

At the start of the month, when XCOM: Enemy Within appeared on the Korean Game Ratings Board list, it caused a brief flurry of attention. What could it be? Was it an expansion to Enemy Unknown? Was it a translation error?

Well, we’ve been chatting to Firaxis, and now we know the answer — both. Well, not the translation error, sure. But Enemy Within is more than just an expansion to Enemy Unknown, while at the same time slotting in neatly within it.

“Ananda Gupta, the lead designer on the expansion, started work as we were wrapping up on XCOM: Enemy Unknown, and the team rolled into this pretty much as soon as they finished work on the Slingshot DLC,” said Firaxis to us in an interview. “It’s amazing how much content the team produced in such a short time: New maps (almost 50% as many as the original game), new soldier classes and abilities, new weapons, and new alien types.”

According to Firaxis, the expansion all takes place within “the context of the main invasion” of Enemy Unknown. “A lot of the value comes from the fact that it gives you more choices within that campaign, which really gives it a level of replayability that people expect from a Firaxis game, or the original XCOM.”

Friday - August 23, 2013

XCOM: Enemy Within - Gameplay Video and Interview

by Couchpotato, 01:26

Rev3Games has a new video for XCOM: Enemy Within were Adam Sessler went out to Firaxis to chat with the folks behind the project.

XCOM Enemy Unknown released to huge acclaim last year, and now Firaxis is following it up with an expansion pack. XCOM Enemy Within brings with it a ton of new maps, enemies, gene modifications, and rocket-punching MECHS. Adam Sessler went out to Firaxis to chat with the folks behind the project, as well as check out the first gameplay from the game, which is slated to hit stores on 11/12/13.

Thursday - August 22, 2013

XCOM: Enemy Within - Expansion Announced

by Couchpotato, 00:57

Firaxis announces XCOM: Enemy Within it's an expansion for XCOM: Enemy Unknown. The game will be released on November 12 in North America, and November 15 in Europe.

NEW YORK - Aug. 21, 2013: 2K and Firaxis Games announced today that XCOM®: Enemy Within, the expanded experience of the Game of the Year* award-winning strategy title XCOM: Enemy Unknown, will be available in North America on November 12, 2013 and internationally on November 15, 2013 for Windows PC, Xbox 360 games and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and Mac® (distributed by Feral Interactive).

XCOM: Enemy Within, the expanded experience of the award-winning strategy title XCOM: Enemy Unknown, will be available in North America on November 12, 2013 and internationally on November 15, 2013 for PC, Xbox 360, PS3, and Mac.

XCOM: Enemy Within takes the incredible experience from XCOM: Enemy Unknown and adds an array of new abilities, upgrades, and weapons to combat new enemy threats. The expansion also provides players with all-new maps, tactical and strategic gameplay, and multiplayer content. There is no better way to experience XCOM than with the massive amount of new content added in XCOM: Enemy Within. Fans will experience an additional three to four playthroughs on average before encountering all of the new material included in XCOM: Enemy Within, providing nearly limitless replayability.

“The incredible critical and consumer response to XCOM: Enemy Unknown inspired us to offer new content that would deepen the strong bond that has been created for our XCOM brand,” said Christoph Hartmann, president of 2K. “Firaxis Games is renowned for delivering massive, highly immersive PC expansions in the Civilization series, and XCOM: Enemy Within builds on that lineage and expands the experience for console gamers as well.”

“We promised gamers that we would deliver the same Enemy Unknown experience on both PC and console last fall, and we’re doing it again with Enemy Within,” said Ananda Gupta, lead designer at Firaxis Games. “The Commander Edition of XCOM: Enemy Within expands the already amazing XCOM experience for our console fans who are looking forward to even more of the game they love. It’s also a great point of entry for new fans just joining the XCOM fight.”

XCOM: Enemy Within vastly improves upon the experience of XCOM: Enemy Unknown with an incredible amount of new content. On PC** and Mac**, XCOM: Enemy Within features additional content that can be enjoyed with previously purchased copies of XCOM: Enemy Unknown. XCOM: Enemy Within will also be available on Xbox 360 and PS3™ system as the XCOM: Enemy Within – Commander Edition** - a standalone pack that expands the XCOM: Enemy Unknown experience featuring the new XCOM: Enemy Within content and the add-on content that was previously released for XCOM: Enemy Unknown, including the Elite Soldier Pack and Slingshot Content Pack.

Here is the trailer to go with it.

Information about

XCOM: Enemy Within

Developer: Firaxis

SP/MP: Single + MP
Setting: Sci-Fi
Genre: Strategy-RPG
Combat: Turn-based
Play-time: 40-60 hours
Voice-acting: Full

Regions & platforms
· Platform: PC
· Released at 2013-11-12
· Publisher: 2K Games