Indie Studio Takes X-Com Into Its Own Hands With Xenonauts

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Indie Studio Takes X-Com Into Its Own Hands With Xenonauts

The official X-Com series is diverging from its roots, so Goldhawk Interactive is developing Xenonauts to satisfy strategy fans instead.

The X-Com series began as an isometric turn-based strategy game called X-Com: UFO Defense (or UFO: Enemy Unknown depending on who you ask) released in 1994. After four sequels were developed over the following 7 years, some of them received rather poorly, the series went AWOL until 2K Marin revealed an uncharacteristic shooter revival called XCom at E3 2010. While XCom is set to disappoint some measure of the gaming population no matter how good it is, those gamers can put their hopes and dreams into Goldhawk Interactive's upcoming Xenonauts instead.

The first look at Xenonauts' ground combat system courtesy of PC Gamer shows off a title that looks just like X-Com: UFO Defense, but cleaned up with modern computing power. Players control a squad of soldiers that must squat behind various forms of cover, only able to see what's in their line of sight. Each soldier can be given an individual load-out before a mission, from various choices of guns and other items like grenades, while Xenonauts also adds vehicles into the mix. Losing one of your soldiers in combat will hurt, as new recruits take some time to be brought up to speed. Ground combat maps are randomly generated, and will eventually feature UFOs to storm to acquire alien technology, but they haven't been implemented yet.

Xenonauts should bring back fond memories for any X-Com fan, though Goldhawk Interactive's title does add new elements like a cover system to keep the formula fresh. There are six alien races that players will encounter, each with many variants on the field depending on rank. Xenonauts also features updated strategic management elements and an air combat system, again, like the original X-Com. The game has been in development for 18 months and is still a work in progress.

Though X-Com's original creators, namely Julian Gollop, have been developing titles such as Rebelstar: Tactical Command for the GBA and the recent Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars for the 3DS, Xenonauts looks a little more like a return to the joy of discovering an alien behind a corner that'll blast your face off with a laser pistol. To find out more about Xenonauts, check out its website here, and you can find out exactly what's going on in these screenshots here

Source: PC Gamer

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It seems that nowadays the Indie developers clean the mess that the big companies leave and bring light to the gaming world.

Are the environments fully destructible? If not then it isn't xcom. Needs to include fun stuff like spreading fire and smoke drift.

People didn't like X3 Apocalypse but you were able to bring down buildings and that was a feat at the time.

Has anyone shown Andy Chalk this yet? I haven't heard the screams of delight...

Personal response:

Uh, correction. The Aliens don't blast your face off with a laser pistol, that's your guy's fellow squadmates.

Well i feel bad for who ever the hard core hanger ons are that enjoyed it...

Ok i got to tell you, after looking at screen shots, the graphics are quite old sauce, the game play must be orgasmic.

You know, the plasma blast to the face is actually the best scenario. Turning the corner to run smack into a Chyssalid without enough AP left to get a shot off was always FAR worse.

rembrandtqeinstein:
Are the environments fully destructible? If not then it isn't xcom. Needs to include fun stuff like spreading fire and smoke drift.

People didn't like X3 Apocalypse but you were able to bring down buildings and that was a feat at the time.

Pulled this from their dev diary, but the short answer is yes.

If you're wondering what happened to the battlefield around the dead alien, that's the results of using a grenade. In our current build I think we've probably made grenades a little too powerful - you can see it has destroyed a bunch of the ground tiles, blown a hole in the wall and damaged part of the hedge too. Also, we're still working on the tile blending. Consequently, the black tiles of scorched earth don't blend with the surrounding ground very well, but we'll have that fixed up for the final game.

In terms of destructible terrain, each tile has three states: undamaged, damaged, and destroyed. You can see all three in the image above. A damaged cover tile can still be used as cover (and still cannot be walked through), but this is dangerous. The game's cover penetration mechanics mean that when a tile is destroyed, any excess damage carries over onto units sheltering behind it. Sheltering behind a badly damaged piece of cover is almost as bad as standing out in the open, particularly if the aliens are shooting at you with powerful weapons.

This makes me happy. Hopefully it won't suck like the X-Com sequels.

And hopefully it'll have the world map. The world map in X-Com was kickass.

Wasn't there another free and fanmade x-com sucessor out there already?
I forget what it was called.

Oh noes! Cover-based mechanism and chest-high walls for a TBS game! Ruination!

Kidding aside, while Swords of Star 2 will keep Homeworld fans satiated, this will hopefully do the same for X-Com fans. Cheers, small independent developers!

funny this should come to my attention just as I found out about xcom, I have been watching kikoskia's lets play of it.

Is very good dope.

AC10:
Wasn't there another free and fanmade x-com sucessor out there already?
I forget what it was called.

There was a port of X-Com to modern PCs that was abandoned halfway, There was also a UFO game UFO Extra terrestrials?

The UFO After[math|shock|light] games were pretty good (same team) but missing a certain something.

I've been keeping an eye on this since it was mentioned in relation to XCom a while back. Seems like it might be well worth the money.

Phishfood:

AC10:
Wasn't there another free and fanmade x-com sucessor out there already?
I forget what it was called.

There was a port of X-Com to modern PCs that was abandoned halfway, There was also a UFO game UFO Extra terrestrials?

The UFO After[math|shock|light] games were pretty good (same team) but missing a certain something.

I've been keeping an eye on this since it was mentioned in relation to XCom a while back. Seems like it might be well worth the money.

I found it, UFO: Alien Invasion. Free and open source; is unrelated to the "UFO" games development wise.

http://ufoai.ninex.info/wiki/index.php/News

Slycne:

rembrandtqeinstein:
Are the environments fully destructible? If not then it isn't xcom. Needs to include fun stuff like spreading fire and smoke drift.

People didn't like X3 Apocalypse but you were able to bring down buildings and that was a feat at the time.

Pulled this from their dev diary, but the short answer is yes.

I like some of the notes on the forums. It looks like the devs want to remove some of the more broken gameplay elements (blaster bombs and mind control) and make the game more hardcore.

I'm not against that but I will certainly miss leveling city blocks with the blaster bomb to erase that one last alien.

There's been loads of Xcom remakes

they've all been shit

now that looks like the xcom I know I love, fuck this fps shit that doesnt appear to have anything to do with the series

This is good to see. When I heard that the new official X-com game was going to be a fps I soiled my armour. Hope these guys can deliver. Have been waiting for a decent and updated X-Com game since this website was all feilds.;)

It looks like a browser based game.

And in attempting to satisfy X-Com fans, you have pissed off Xeno- fans who have yet to get a good ending not screwed over by the second half of the story suffering from development difficulties.

AC10:

I found it, UFO: Alien Invasion. Free and open source; is unrelated to the "UFO" games development wise.

http://ufoai.ninex.info/wiki/index.php/News

Ooooh, not seen that one.

Xenowar is one of the ones I was thinking of, as was OpenXcom.

This game will be terrible like all the other 'spiritual successors' to the X-Com games.

At the end of the day, X-Com was awesome, but it was done and the same thing done again won't be awesome anymore. For the same reason that the official X-Com games couldn't just keep releasing the same game over and over again after Terror From The Deep they had to do something new. I liked apocalypse. Changed just enough to make it interesting again. After that I LOVED interceptor cause I loved the idea that I would get to use the tech I researched directly!

They were going to go FPS after Interceptor anyway (so you got to use your tech in the first person) with X-Com Alliance but sadly that got shut down.

Remaking games rarely works. They were successful once for a reason but it is hard to repeat that. People who are crazy X-Com fans (not that many anymore) will buy this. They will play for about 3 hours and then go 'Oh yeh, this game was pretty good back then.... bored now' and that will be that.

Sad but true :-(

P.S And yes, as others have said its been done with UFO:AI, OpenXCom and http://ufo.ufo-extraterrestrials.com/ (and probably many many others).

I'd be happy if someone made a 1:1 replica of the original X-COM, Terror from the Deep, minus the hangups, with better graphics and without the game-breaking molecular control.

Also a replay feature where you can replay a mission from the first person view of any marine would be a big plus.

Someone do it, plz.

I'm quite annoyed that the company will charge $30 for a pre-order of a game which they are only remaking...

However I shall still buy it as I am a huge Xcom fan.

There is a sick amount of X-Com remakes by indie developers and fans. I am really just waiting for the first one to come out. Some of them are taking longer than Duke Nukem Forever to be released.

I hope this game also brings new gameplay mechanics to the table, because for a 1:1 remake I can also just stick with the original. GFX alone are not such a big deal.

I hope this title will be good, because the genre is sadly dying.

Indie developers have been a blessing for PC gaming in the past few years.

Indie + Steam = Win.

This looks sick. The only thing that holds X-com back in the modern world is graphics, and it's just been dealt with.

I never played any of the Xcom games and have been curious about them for a long time. Maybe I'll check this out as a way to dip my toes into the water.

And for the record, I think the new Xcom looks awesome. I can understand the fan's frustration at it essentially not having anything to do with it's namesake, but you were probably never going to get a "proper" sequel regardless of whether the FPS version was made or not.

My favorite was X-Com Apocalypse, by far. This just makes me want to fire up my copy on Steam and kill some aliens/time.

I love the earlier comment that it 'looks like a browser game'. As if that means much of anything anymore, given the runaway success of plenty of browser games.

I'm a little disappointed by the graphics. I don't mind X-COM's graphics when I'm playing it, but it's from 1994. I'm not expecting it to be one of the best-looking games, but the way everything is overtly tile-based is kind of ugly.

I'm a little disappointed by the graphics. I don't mind X-COM's graphics when I'm playing it, but it's from 1994. I'm not expecting it to be one of the best-looking games, but the way everything is overtly tile-based is kind of ugly.

As long as it doesn't have a horribly glitched tech tree and minimizes the WILD disparity in psi-strength scores (that you're only able to discover halfway through the game) then it might be interesting. Original X-Com and TFTD were amazing (other than afore-mentioned flaws).

The game considering the age we live in couldve been a tad better looking i think. Still gameplay wins over graphics and ive always wanted to try this game.

"Xenonauts"
WAHT?!

"XENO-" combining form of Greek xénos stranger, guest (noun); alien, foreign, strange (adj.);

"-NAUT" from Greek nautēs sailor.

How does that work out?

It's like some dirty joke that the X-COM away team would make about the scientist responsible for the alien pathology reports.

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