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XCOM: Enemy Unknown‘s head-to-head multiplayer won’t be tied into the single-player story.

The next game in the long-running X-COM series, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, won’t be strictly a solo experience. Publisher 2K Games has announced that Enemy Unknown will be getting a multiplayer mode. The one-on-one deathmatch will be a first for the series, allowing gamers to “finally find out what it’s like to command alien units and unleash extraterrestrial destruction on Planet Earth or defend it with a squad of XCOM soldiers and alien allies.”

The multiplayer mode will be a standalone experience separate from the game’s campaign, utilizing “the gameplay, tactics, and strategy of the single-player experience without making any direct ties to the narrative.” The turn-based gameplay will allow players to control either soldiers or aliens–or both, if you want to get really crazy.

The strategic element makes this sound pretty different from the deathmatch modes seen in many other games, which could be a big draw for fans of the series. XCOM: Enemy Unknown will be out on October 9, 2012 for the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360.

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