2K's sci-fi shooter XCom finally has a release date along with a brand-new trailer that shows off a little more of what the game is all about.
Things sure have changed. For me, and for a lot of other old-timers out there, X-Com is a top-down, turn-based tactical combat game in which the objective is to get everyone off the damn plane before some alien scumbag mind-controls a guy in the back row and uses a couple of grenades to turn it into a jet-powered Slap-Chop. But the new XCom title looks to be entirely different: it's a flashy, fast-paced shooter set in the panicky 50s, when the only thing worse than the Red Menace were the aliens with their flying saucers and an altogether-too-prurient interest in our livestock.
The new game will tell a "bold new origin story" based around Special Agent William Carter - that'd be you - and his elite team, who stand as humanity's last line of defense against an alien incursion. Much like the original X-Com games, XCom [yes, the old games were hyphenated, the new one isn't] will require players to capture alien technology, research it and ultimately put it to use against the enemy. But instead of dealing with movement rates, line of sight and opportunity fire, this game is all about "deep, visceral gunplay" and "powerful sci-fi abilities."
But while the new Prey 2 trailer gives me serious hope for that game, this one just leaves me cold. It's possible that I'm too hung up on the original X-Com, although I never had much use for the sequels and I'm hardly what you'd call a tactical wargaming fan. I think the real problem is simply that this trailer looks far too generic and unremarkable for its own good. It's not fair to judge a game based on one video but this is the E3 trailer [what's the deal with all these E3 trailers coming out a week before E3 anyway?] and our first glimpse at gameplay, and as first impressions go I wouldn't call this a particular strong one.
And now, as promised, the release date: XCom is scheduled for launch in North America on March 6, 2012, and March 9 everywhere else for the PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.