Details about X-Com: Enemy Unknown have been about as elusive as real-life UFO sightings. Even with the game’s release set for 2012, few details are known about what, if any, changes have been to the original formula. Ardent admirers of the original, like me, will most likely voice their opinions if Firaxis makes any changes they don’t agree with. That’s why X-Com Enemy Unknown lead designer Jake Solomon sat down with PC Gamer to go over some of the smaller, more specific changes to the game.
P.S. They aren’t using time units… alright, now I’m skeptical.
The most notable change is the removal of one of the original’s core combat mechanics, the time unit system. Time units were used to measure time within the turn-based combat portion of the game. Firaxis originally had this system in the game, but felt they could improve on the original concept, “Time units are a great mechanic, but the player spends too much time thinking about the system.” He added that with all they wanted to add including, “classes, perks, a ton of new weapons,” the antiquated time unit system seemed to over complicate development.
Some things remain the same though, including the ability to destroy portions of the map such as walls, cars, and ceilings. There isn’t any sort of physics system, so buildings won’t collapse. This means that destructible terrain will function much like it did in the original. This is also true for the “Geoscape” as well, the real-time portion of the game where players manage X-Com’s infrastructure. Players will still be able to skip larger portions of time in order to speed up things like research and travel. As a matter of fact, much of the original gameplay is intact. So what about the new stuff?
Well for starters, Firaxis has plans for a pretty involved cover system, which can be seen in a few of the game’s screen shots. There are also plans for a class system for the player’s soldiers, and a perks system that will allow for even more customization.
As a fan of the original, so far all the news is good; they aren’t really messing with too much of the gameplay except to make improvements or additions. Maybe it isn’t too late to save 2K’s recreation of the series as an FPS. Oh wait, are those black slime aliens? Nevermind.