Xcom sequel?

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Hello Escapists,

I have been getting more active on these forums lately, so I decided it was time to have a fun discussion. I hear a lot of people talk about the small disappointments in the latest Xcom title and after reading Yahtzee's piece on save-scumming, I started to wonder why nobody brings up the possibility of a sequel.

Think about it. The three most common arguments people (reasonable ones, at least) bring up against Xcom are

- No way to be pro-active.
- Lacking variation in levels and soldiers
- And the lack of base-building

All of these are probably too big for a patch or even a number of patches to throw into the game, but if the game does well and 2K decides to make a sequel, then those would be the first point to resolve.

Discussion value: Do you think there will be a second Xcom game and what do you expect of it?

Again, sorry for suddenly ceasing activity on this forum :(. I promise to be more active from now on! Bro fist?

A second game will probably be released and I don't mind. The orginal X-Com games were pretty good and it was about time they were given new life. What I expect of it is refinement. More customisation, less bugs and more levels and game modes (including base defence).

It's been out for a month, is it really time to be talking about sequels?

Firaxis haven't even announced plans for a major expansion a la Civilization yet, far as I know.

x-com could do with an expansion release giving us extra maps, and story related missions. by that is mean extra proactive missions that come from completing the council missions. rescue an excaped abductee.. get the location of an alien outpost, etc

its a really missed opportunity at this stage to expand the story and give greater immersion.

i am also expecting voice pack dlc comming as well as its a complaint from alot of people that everyone has the same accent

If they make a sequel, I hope they'll implement realistic cover and none of this shooting-through-walls-or-rocks business.
Also, no cheating double-turn AI.

PieBrotherTB:
It's been out for a month, is it really time to be talking about sequels?

Firaxis haven't even announced plans for a major expansion a la Civilization yet, far as I know.

Expansions count as well, I suppose. It would be nice to see either one announced soon, so we can be excited all over again. Are there changes you'd like to see?

Captcha: Steam punk... not sure if typo or insulting my purchasing habits.

Farmer_Casper:

PieBrotherTB:
It's been out for a month, is it really time to be talking about sequels?

Firaxis haven't even announced plans for a major expansion a la Civilization yet, far as I know.

Expansions count as well, I suppose. It would be nice to see either one announced soon, so we can be excited all over again. Are there changes you'd like to see?

Captcha: Steam punk... not sure if typo or insulting my purchasing habits.

I can't imagine where they'll go with it apart from following the XCOM - Terror From the Deep - Apocalypse route; if that happens it'll be awesome but the XCOM purists will just hate it harder; going into conflicts with a little more detail, that would be interesting, more mission types etc.

I certainly don't think it'll need a sequel, I know it's been successful, but I can't imagine expanding on it in a meaningful way, considering the original and Xenonauts exists; I reckon it'd be more graceful to leave it with expansions and modding tools.

PieBrotherTB:
snip

oooooooh, modding tools! I like the sound of that! Others agree on modding tools?

I know, I'm probably going to incur some wrath for this, but I'm kind of fascinated by the third person shooter that was first announced. Now, I understand the reluctance of old fans to see the franchise becoming a shooter because of the terrible results that usually provides (see Syndicate), but the whole point in my mind is that X-COM could be made in a true tactical 3rd person shooter. As a new fan to the series, I admit the resistance and original objection is understandable, but I think the game would be cool even as a new IP, but publishers tend not to like new IP.

The game would play like a cross between the combat in Brothers in Arms and Mass Effect along with the squad/base management sections of X-COM. If done well it could be a really good game.

Tayh:
Also, no cheating double-turn AI.

Argh. The AI does not take a double-turn. The insta-scatter into cover upon reveal actually works in your favor. What you're asking for is a less neutered AI that would probably be manifestly more frustrating to play against.

OT: We haven't even got the first DLC for this one, I expect a sequel will be at least a year or two in the making, if we get one. This one badly needs a map pack, though.

william124:
snip

Huh, interesting. Didn't expect this to pop up, but nah, I ain't mad :)

I would probably like the game less as a shooter, but under a different name it would be neat. Having a very dedicated and deep strategy game is however refreshing for a change and probably has more impact on the industry.

BloatedGuppy:
Argh. The AI does not take a double-turn. The insta-scatter into cover upon reveal actually works in your favor. What you're asking for is a less neutered AI that would probably be manifestly more frustrating to play against.

Yeh, it really turns into your favor when the aliens get a free turn to move into cover every time they're discovered.

Given the massive cliffhanger that it ended on, I really just expected that there would be some sort of sequel/expansion/massive DLC that would occur. It's too much of an easy sell for them not to do it, really.

Though my guess was that it would deviate more from the previous storyline.

Tayh:
Yeh, it really turns into your favor when the aliens get a free turn to move into cover every time they're discovered.

Yes, it does.

What's the alternative?

1. Enemies that sit quietly through your turn while you destroy them easily, turning the game into a ludicrous (and boring) cakewalk.

2. Enemies that actively patrol/set up ambushes/wait in overwatch, turning the game into a murderous meat grinder.

Enemies will NEVER fire on you during the scatter/cover mechanic. Ever. It means every time you uncover aliens, they ALWAYS scatter, meaning the right of first move/attack ALWAYS lies with the player. If you cannot fathom the tactical advantage gained in ALWAYS attacking first, then it's small wonder you're grousing about monster closets.

You can complain all you want about using it as a kind of crutch rather than coding in something more sophisticated without making it extremely punitive on the player. But it's not "cheating" in any meaningful way, shape or form. It completely handcuffs the AI.

Go play JA2 on iron man mode. The first time you lose a merc to a magic bullet that flies out of the darkness to one-shot you from across the map you'll appreciate why having a bunch of monster closets instead of aliens on overwatch is a boon, not a punishment.

william124:
The game would play like a cross between the combat in Brothers in Arms and Mass Effect along with the squad/base management sections of X-COM. If done well it could be a really good game.

How small is the chance of that being done right, though?

Farmer_Casper:

PieBrotherTB:
snip

oooooooh, modding tools! I like the sound of that! Others agree on modding tools?

A lot of people want modding tools; if anything it'd be a very mod-friendly game, even if it boils down to just a level editor.

BloatedGuppy:
Yes, it does.

What's the alternative?

1. Enemies that sit quietly through your turn while you destroy them easily, turning the game into a ludicrous (and boring) cakewalk.

2. Enemies that actively patrol/set up ambushes/wait in overwatch, turning the game into a murderous meat grinder.

Enemies will NEVER fire on you during the scatter/cover mechanic. Ever. It means every time you uncover aliens, they ALWAYS scatter, meaning the right of first move/attack ALWAYS lies with the player. If you cannot fathom the tactical advantage gained in ALWAYS attacking first, then it's small wonder you're grousing about monster closets.

Funny how games such as JA2, Silent Storm and even Fallout:Tactics manage to do it without feeling cheap. How old are they again?
If you can't fathom the fact that the AI is giving the aliens a free turn to scatter into defensive positions during YOUR turn, then it's no wonder you need to rely on cheap gimmicks in order to get anywhere.
Personal attacks are fun, eh?

BloatedGuppy:
You can complain all you want about using it as a kind of crutch rather than coding in something more sophisticated without making it extremely punitive on the player. But it's not "cheating" in any meaningful way, shape or form. It completely handcuffs the AI.

Go play JA2 on iron man mode. The first time you lose a merc to a magic bullet that flies out of the darkness to one-shot you from across the map you'll appreciate why having a bunch of monster closets instead of aliens on overwatch is a boon, not a punishment.

Yeh, you never lose any soldiers in XCOM due to bullshit mechanics like aliens shooting through solid rocks, walls and a bit of ground to critically hit and instantly kill your soldiers.

It should be down to your own tactics and foresight to not get caught in the open by a bullet, the game shouldn't be breaking the rules to artificially inflate the "challenge" or as a bandaid for its own shortcomings.

Farmer_Casper:

Huh, interesting. Didn't expect this to pop up, but nah, I ain't mad :)

I would probably like the game less as a shooter, but under a different name it would be neat. Having a very dedicated and deep strategy game is however refreshing for a change and probably has more impact on the industry.

The thing is, I think that announcing the games the in the order they did was a mistake. (Although, it did make strategy fans beg for a game similar to the originals, and buy it to prove the fact that such games could still sell, so I guess it worked).
They should have announced the remake and then the spin-off, my attitudes to spin-offs being, if it's good great, if not, it doesn't hurt the central series. (See Book of Memmories and FF tactics).
The impact argument holds some weigh and I'd like to see more tactics in games, both in tactical games but also in shooters, where they are sorely missed.

Tayh:
Funny how games such as JA2, Silent Storm and even Fallout:Tactics manage to do it without feeling cheap. How old are they again?

Did you not catch my JA2 reference? That game can and often does feel cheap as hell. I particularly like it when enemies zone in from a neighboring area right into the middle of my troops.

Tayh:
If you can't fathom the fact that the AI is giving the aliens a free turn to scatter into defensive positions during YOUR turn, then it's no wonder you need to rely on cheap gimmicks in order to get anywhere.

How am I relying on anything? I didn't code the game. I have no problems finishing XCOM. I'm confused.

Tayh:
Personal attacks are fun, eh?

I suppose? Was that even a personal attack? What's the implication? That I need monster closets to finish the game? Wouldn't you then be saying that monster closets make the game too easy? Because that's sort of my point, yeah? That they make the game easier for the player.

Tayh:
Yeh, you never lose any soldiers in XCOM due to bullshit mechanics like aliens shooting through solid rocks, walls and a bit of ground to critically hit and instantly kill your soldiers.

That's not a "mechanic". That's an aesthetic issue. Cover is completely abstract. That "solid wall" isn't there unless it shows a shield when you crouch behind it. Surely this isn't the first time you've encountered abstraction in games? Earlier games were almost entirely abstractions.

Tayh:
It should be down to your own tactics and foresight to not get caught in the open by a bullet, the game shouldn't be breaking the rules to artificially inflate the "challenge" or as a bandaid for its own shortcomings.

It's not inflating anything, it's reducing the challenge. Complain about it making the game too easy, by all means, if that's your gripe.

The thing about XCOM is that Firaxis probably didn't expect it to do as well as it did. This is evident in both the interviews with the developers where they pretty much outright stated that they doubt the game will be a hit or particularly successful. It is also evident in the game's design - it's a very compact game. Now, this isn't necessarily a bad thing. Almost everything has a specific purpose in the game, but this also means that the game feels kida, well, "gamey". It's obvious that the budget was kinda tight and while they did an admirable job, you can see that the game could have done with just more features. More maps, more weapons, more items, more mission types, etc. Firaxis estimated how many people would buy the game and adjusted their budget and features accordingly.

However, XCOM has shown that there is a definite market for these games and that it's starving. A sequel that expands on the premise or even an expansion pack that fleshes out the existing game would do wonders to build on the solid foundation of XCOM.

EDIT: Oh, and to chime in on the above discussion regarding the aliens getting a free turn. Yes, it's a free turn. They never have to run the same risks you do when scouting, they don't have to worry about triggering your team. They can just run around the map and know that if they come across your guys they'll promptly be deposited in the best available cover. Granted, this is necessary due to the way enemies are designed - not as individuals but rather as discreet groups. Removing the free turn to scatter would also require a rework of the whole system for spawning enemies and the AI...

Jandau:
Oh, and to chime in on the above discussion regarding the aliens getting a free turn. Yes, it's a free turn. They never have to run the same risks you do when scouting, they don't have to worry about triggering your team. They can just run around the map and know that if they come across your guys they'll promptly be deposited in the best available cover. Granted, this is necessary due to the way enemies are designed - not as individuals but rather as discreet groups. Removing the free turn to scatter would also require a rework of the whole system for spawning enemies and the AI...

If it was a "free turn" they could fire on you. They don't actually scatter to the best cover either, I've seen them take half-cover on numerous occasions, but that's just pedantry.

Anyway, my argument isn't that the aliens don't do this, because obviously they do. My argument is that it doesn't constitute an "AI cheat" unless you identify "AI cheat" as the game being made easier for the player. In a truly egalitarian setup, the aliens wouldn't get a free "take cover" move, but they'd also roam the map, set up overwatch traps, and be able to stumble onto you and start shooting during their turn. You think people complain NOW? Imagine losing your squad because some Sectopod patrols into your flank during an alien turn and opens up.

It's definitely a substitute for a more sophisticated AI, but it's not any kind of unfair benefit for the AI, is what I'm saying.

BloatedGuppy:
It's definitely a substitute for a more sophisticated AI, but it's not any kind of unfair benefit for the AI, is what I'm saying.

That's kinda what I said - giving the aliens a free movement action is necessary to accommodate the way enemies spawn, move and interact with each other. It's a free turn (or half-turn), but it's not too unfair.

The AI, while not beyond occasional massive blunders, is capable of some solid tactical thinking and teamwork, but this teamwork tends to extend only as far as the "squad" each particular alien spawns in. The AI would have to be made much more sophisticated to accommodate such maneuvers while taking every single alien into account. It was a design limitation and they've done an admirable compromise between a solid AI and practicalities of design. Anyway, since the enemy AI is so reliant on its "squad" (aside from Chrysalids and Berserkers who just charge right at you anyway) the game needs a practical way to make sure that squad enters the fight together - therefore the clumped up spawns and movement. And from that we get to the part where the AI needs to be given one free movement action (it's only one and they can only move) to get into some semblance of a position.

There's a couple of things to note here - First, it is possible to spot the enemy without triggering them and then drop missiles or long range sniper fire on them. The most common method would likely be Ghost armor and I've used it several times to park my squad all around an enemy group and then trigger them to cause a slaughter.

Secondly, this ducking for cover can be exploited. The enemy will determine where to hide based on the location of the members of your team they can see. For instance, you come at them from the south and they'll run into a building to the north. If you have a solider in that building the AI will not magically know he's there and avoid the building, it'll play fair. I've used this at times to trick enemies into ambushes (again, especially in combination with Ghost armor).

It's a good idea, but it sound like expansion pack material to me. A true sequel needs more.

Jandau:
There's a couple of things to note here - First, it is possible to spot the enemy without triggering them and then drop missiles or long range sniper fire on them.

Yeah. Two opportunist squad sight snipers with good sight lines and one flushing unit can make popping monster closets almost depressingly easy.

A second game? You mean, an eight game? Since there has been so many of them? It won't kill you to go back in time you know. Many of the best games are "older" games.

I'm totally looking forward to a sequel. They were pretty gutsy to make a turn-based strategy game with permadeath in a market which is thought to be stacked against those kinds of games. However at the same time they were cautious and put a lot of work into streamlining the game to appeal to a broader audience. While I would say most of those streamlining choices were good overall, I feel they erred a bit too much on the side of caution.

Now that this XCom game has proven a critical and financial success, the next game they make, they will have a higher budget and a lot more freedom to add deeper tactical elements which they may have thought to be too risky for this game. Here's hoping for multiple bases, base defense, bigger squads, more maps, more variety of weapons, etc.

Well, let's look at the facts. The game ended with the aliens alluring to an even bigger threat being around the corner, the game was officially a success, and 2K said that strategy games weren't profitable before being proven wrong. I'd say there's a good chance. Hopefully they'll use it to get some of the kinks out of the first game.

I'm hoping they will decide to make a new Apocalypse that has all of the counter-infiltration, spy gadget, base invasion features that had to be cut from the original Apocalypse due to time and hardware constraints.

just give me the ability to build more bases or more skyrangers. i don't care if it's a patch or a sequel, but for the love of humanity, stop restricting my ability to protect the planet. it's my damn job.

Tayh:

BloatedGuppy:
Argh. The AI does not take a double-turn. The insta-scatter into cover upon reveal actually works in your favor. What you're asking for is a less neutered AI that would probably be manifestly more frustrating to play against.

Yeh, it really turns into your favor when the aliens get a free turn to move into cover every time they're discovered.

Here's the thing, they waste their turn when they are discovered. They might double move, but, they never go to cover and shoot you in the same round (the same unit anyhow). But it can be frustrating, such as when a Cryssalid goes from a dark area to a "visible area" and the move again right to the civilian you were trying to save!!! Or Civilians(s)s!

I dont think pro active missions suit X-com, well outside of those where you attack bases even those hurt a bit.

Its about atmosphere and feel , being always re active your always defensive always playing catch up always scared. going offensive is winning its putting them on your terms , which i dont think will sit well with the X-com feel.

More map variation. perhaps more mission choice would be better than getting pro active, more classes bigger trees (wider) for those that exist, tech tree could use some love,

xcom 2 though is already written , get out your harpoon guns boys n girls its terror from the deep time! ill be disappointed if its anything else.

I'd love to see a "Terror from the Deep"-esque DLC (new maps, unit types, weapons etc.) but save the implied "bigger threat" for a full blown sequel.

As others have said I would like to see some ability to be pre-emptive, on the strategic side of the game you are far too often just trying to minimise the damage. While that's fine early on and is very much in sync with the original x-com, by the late game it becomes considerably tedious...

The way of xcom is to minimise losses and maximise wins, but by the time you have a squad of levelled heros, any loss you receive is crippling and rookies can never fill that gap. If you Place a few rookies in your deployments for the sake of levelling by the time Mutons are on the field, you will find the difficulty of any given deployment drastically increases. Lose a high level soldier and that ramps up the difficulty for every mission that squad members abilities is absent for.

By the end game it was so important that none of my squad dies since without one the rest of the squad becomes significantly more fragile (lose a sniper and you lose your ability to pick off immediate and unexpected threats, lose an assault and you lose your ability to spear head a position, lose a heavy and enemy clusters become much harder to deal with, lose your support and the entire squad comes under risk).

This means the cost of each loss multiplies the difficulties you will face later on. What's more it can never be recovered, which pushes you further and further into a state where you can't deal with the ever escalating threat.

One major loss after 4-5 hours of play and you might as well start again.

There is a lose state in xcom, and I love that... but the "doomsday counter" is not representative of that lose state. You can be set on a course of defeat months before the xcom project dissolves. You also become aware of your impending doom long before you actually reach it.

Being able to see that doom and not be able react to it just seems like a missed opportunity.

I really do wish for a sequel. I never even heard of XCOM before this game, and I literally jumped blindly and bought it. Now it's one of my favourite games of 2012, an all time favourite, and my Single player GOTY. The game was absolutely fantastic in my opinion.

I wish they would just patch this one to be in a playable state. I only played a half an hour in the Demo, but I found 3 game braking bugs. To put that in context I played skyrim for 100+ hour's on the PS3, and came across maybe 4 game braking bugs. I might have picked it up but 3 major bugs in your demo leads me not be believe that the finished product is not any good.

So yeah, I would say get the first one working before you get thinking about sequels.

I'd like to see a remake, same design philosophy just done properly. That seems a bit weird but it's how Civilisation sequels always work. I'm not sure what to expect though.

Eddie the head:
I wish they would just patch this one to be in a playable state. I only played a half an hour in the Demo, but I found 3 game braking bugs. To put that in context I played skyrim for 100+ hour's on the PS3, and came across maybe 4 game braking bugs. I might have picked it up but 3 major bugs in your demo leads me not be believe that the finished product is not any good.

So yeah, I would say get the first one working before you get thinking about sequels.

what bugs did you encounter that were game breaking? I got some freezes but that was it :)

OT: Lets see how the dlc turns out, then we can talk sequals. Hell i havn't even finished this one yet!

A cool dlc could be an alternate campaign. One where you invade earth as the aliens. Trying to make all the countries panic to bleed xcom dry. Or maybe one where xcom invades an alien home planet :P

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