X-COM: The Re-Imagining

The reports of an X-COM remake have finally been confirmed by 2K Games, with a bit of a twist. XCOM, a “re-imagining” of the classic MicroProse series, is an FPS under development not at Irrational Games - as the unrelenting rumour went - but at 2K Marin, the studio behind BioShock 2.

XCOM is the re-imagining of the classic tale of humanity’s struggle against an unknown enemy that puts players directly into the shoes of an FBI agent tasked with identifying and eliminating the growing threat. True to the roots of the franchise, players will be placed in charge of overcoming high-stake odds through risky strategic gambits coupled with heart-stopping combat experiences that pit human ingenuity – and frailty – against a foe beyond comprehension.

A release date hasn’t been specified as yet, but the game will be coming to the XBox 360 and PC and there is a bare-bones website up already. No doubt the news will be received with mixed feelings by the community: the well-loved original series was a mix of turn-based tactical combat and strategic base-building, a far cry from the announced first-person action remake. And the last couple of attempts at changing the genre have not been very successful. Diehard fans can still take solace in the unconfirmed portion of the same rumour, suggesting that Civilization devs Firaxis are handling a turn-based version of the IP. For the rest of us, it’s worth remembering that against all odds 2K Marin more than proved themselves with a worthy sequel in BioShock 2.

Only a single screenshot is available at the official site, not giving much to look at. The newest issue of OXM, out in May, will feature a story on the game; the two covers shown above give a hint of the art style. Judging by the clothing, the game could possibly be set in the 1950s, just like the Destroy All Humans! series. Supporting this is 2K’s ARG in progress, which started a couple of days back and has had fans receiving letters and packages from secret governmental organisations discussing classified cases of human abductions from the Cold War era.

I suppose the biggest question now is, how is it going to work as an FPS? Will there be a strategic element at all? I am reminded of Division 9, the scrapped tactical shooter that Irrational pitched before moving on to BioShock. In addition to the basic SWAT 4 FPS design, there was to be a strategic layer with base-building and resource management. Could this be the foundation for XCOM’s design?

So if 2K Marin is handling XCOM, what’s Irrational actually up to? Just the other day there were hints that it’s an original IP they’re working on, which we have more reason to believe now that we know it isn’t X-COM related. Whatever it is, we most probably will hear about it at the upcoming E3 in mid-June, as well as more information on XCOM.