There is going to be a new X-COM game!
And they’ve taken the hyphen out so it’s just XCOM now!
And it’s going to be developed by the very people we all thought it would!
Except not! At all! Nor will it resemble past X-COMs in any way, shape, or form!
Update: it transpires that XCOM is to be developed by Irrational’s other red-headed stepchild, 2K Australia.
The entire universe announced today that XCOM is currently in development at 2K Marin, a new to the party studio spun off from Irrational Games. You know Irrational – headed by Ken Levine, one of the greatest storytellers and designers in the games universe. Surely you’ve heard of his games. Bioshock. System Shock 2. Freedom Force. Stuff like that.
For years, rumors have swirled that Irrational would be heading up a remake of X-COM, and the masses were happy. Now those rumors have swirled down the Toilet of Bitter Ironies. And the masses are sad.
I have nothing against 2K Marin. Some great people work at that studio – guys like Jordan Thomas, the evil genius who created the Shalebridge Cradle mission for Thief: Deadly Shadows. But 2K Marin was created for one thing, and one thing only: to build the Bioshock franchise, because Levine didn’t want to do a sequel. He’s candidly stated that he understands completely why publisher 2K needed to do a sequel, he just didn’t want to do it. So 2K stole about half his staff, shipped them from Boston to California, and said “Go thee forth and make Bioshock 2.”
Which they did, and while reviews have been hovering in the eights, the general consensus is that Bioshock 2 is nothing more than average. I, for example, have no interest at all in playing it. I’ll grab a copy for $2.99 at Steam’s next Holiday Sale, but whether or not I actually install it is anyone’s guess.
Anyway, it’s 2K Marin, not Irrational, who’s been tapped to develop XCOM. And unlike the turn-based strategy, resource/research/facility management, and devious politics that made X-COM great, this one is going to be a first person shooter.
It may surprise some to learn that there actually was a shooter in the X-Com franchise: third-person shooter X-COM: Enforcer. Absolute catastrophe of a game. Of course, by then the franchise had been so ruined that no one even realized the game existed. I only heard about it through my job with GameTap. Played for ten minutes typed up the infocard. Those ten minutes were more than enough.
Look, I love shooters, especially ones with good stories. And I have to reiterate that I’ve got nothing against 2K Marin. But this news is the equivalent of promising delicious cheesecake with strawberry syrup and whipped cream, but neglecting to mention that the cheese used for the cake is going to be gorgonzola.