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XCOM: Enemy Within - The Seeker

by Couchpotato, 2013-09-17 01:03:49

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?

Information about

XCOM: Enemy Within

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