2k Marin’s oft-delayed XCOM shooter hasn’t been cancelled, but the game has changed a lot since we saw it last: now titled The Bureau: XCOM Declassified, 2k Marin’s latest project has evolved from an FPS into a tactical, squad-based third person shooter.
Set during the height of the Cold War, The Bureau casts players as William Carter, a special agent working for the titular government organization. Besides fighting off alien incursions directly, Carter will also need to cover up any evidence that the aliens even exist, in order to keep the public blissfully unaware of the secret war that’s being waged around them.
Originally announced 3 years ago, the game now known as The Bureau was originally planned to be an action oriented FPS set in the XCOM universe. The game originally received an overwhelmingly negative reception when it was first announced, as old-school XCOM fans balked at the idea of turning the classic strategy series into a shooter. 2K Marin took fans’ criticisms to heart, and they’ve spent the last few years reworking the project into a stategy/shooter hybrid that they hope will appeal to XCOM diehards and new players alike.
“In true XCOM fashion, it’s not just your Rambo brawn, but it’s using your brains, your team, the technology at your disposal, creating plans and then executing them,” said Morgan Gray, 2k Marin’s Creative Director. “To use a sports analogy: It’s more about calling audibles then huddling. We are trying to emulate the fantasy of being the squad leader out in the battlefield versus the commander sitting at the desk who has all of the time in the world observing from afar.”
The Bureau’s gameplay is described by Gray as being a mix of slower-paced strategy games like Full Spectrum Warrior and more action oriented squad-based shooters, like Rainbow Six. Despite the change of genre and perspective, Gray is confident that the game will still feel like classic XCOM. “We think we’ve cracked the code of finding a different reinterpretation of the classic XCOM DNA and then we spent the rest of the time iterating on that and refining that.”
I know most people dismissed it as a shameless cash-in, but I actually really liked Bioshock 2, so I’m willing to give the team at 2k Marin the benefit of the doubt with this one. I don’t mind developers switching up a series’ genre as long as the end result is still good (take Resident Evil 4 or Metal Gear Rising for instance,) so I’m going to try to approach The Bureau with an open mind.
The Bureau: XCOM Declassified will be released for the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC on August 20th.