Upcoming X-COM like games

I’ve been a huge fan, in fact, you could say it is my favorite series of games, of the X-COM series. I think the fact that it consistently gets on the list of best games of all time says many agree.

To me, what made X-COM magic was a combination of the fully destructible terrian model, the randomness and repeatability of the tactical missions, the mystery of the alien threat, the strategic portion and financial/political intertwining, the interceptions, and most of all the feeling of dread on missions, expecially night missions. The whole game was creepy, mysterious, and a whole lotta fun. But why then has it never been equaled or surpassed?

Maybe I missed a game, but I’ve been looking for a sucessor for this game since the early 90s. Apocalypse was a great game, but the cartoony and bright nature of the graphics really hurt the immersiveness for me. Other games I have bought and played extensively that were similar:

  1. The Jagged Alliance series: Fantastic, full of character, but obviously of a different vein. It had the financial considerations (weapons, merc salaries), the destructible terrain, and also some great exploration. As great as it was, it was too pedestrian (i.e. fighting soldiers, not aliens … aside from those bugs in JA2) to be perfect. Not much dread and I thought the damage model was pretty off (a whole clip to take out a bad guy sometimes).

  2. Silent Storm series - Best damn damage/terrain model ever, but the strategic portion was very lacking and the RPG portion was broken. I heard the upcoming sequel (Hammer and Sickle?) will introduce more strategic elements - but still, it’s in WWII. Great game, but not quite there.

  3. UFO: Aftermath - I wanted to very much for this to be the successor (as it was the leftover portions of the Dreamland Chronicles code from Mythos), but I didn’t pick it up because every review said it tried and failed to be the next X-COM. Maybe that was a mistake, but I listened to the critics on that one.

My question to the board becomes, are there any games in the pipeline that are going to be X-COM for 2005-2007? With this game series winning so many awards, you’d think a killer game could come along and make buckets of money. I have read about UFO: Aftershock, and it seems neat, and improved, but are there any other companies doing X-COM style games? There are indie and amatuer labors of love, but of course these are at the whims of fans who are trying to recreate the classic (EDF Project, UFO 2000) Were there any games I missed?

Just curious, as my X-COM bug cannot seem to be stamped out after all these years.

Edit: Here’s some good thoughts on the subject of what made X-COM addictive:
Jamie Fristrom’s thoughts

Mentioned about a billion times, there’s the Rebelstar: Tactical Command game for the GBA coming out shortly, from the X-COM crew (now Codo).

Forgot that one. Looks neat, but as far as I can tell there is no strategic portion, it’s a tactical game. Also, it’s cartoony and too bright and cute for me. Maybe I’m too picky.

FWIW, I think Tom wrote the definitive piece on why X-Com rules five years ago for IGN.

Troy

What I wouldn’t give for a remake of X-Com, with just a few gameplay tweaks plus modern graphics.

Someone was working on one. They had a level done and it looked really damn good. Let me see if I can dig it up.

I think this is the one

http://ufo.myexp.de/?id=downloads

Should be a 1 level demo. Looks good all in all.

I played this before. I think I got the link from here. It’s pretty cool. It runs off a modified Quake2 engine. It definately has potential, I just hope it is finished and comes together nicely.

Can’t really add to that. Totally agree. I’d pony up the cash again.

CALLING BRAD WARDELL!!

Why did they kill the dynamic lighting engine for the sequels?
It isn’t X-Com if you’re not killing an alien by the light of burning building you set on fire with your rocket launcher.

I used to take incindiary ammo along just for night missions. Squaddie, light up that wheat field! I loved how fires would burn out eventually also, leaving scorched terrain. In some ways, games are a huge step backwards in damage models and lighting.

Anyway, yes, these added a great deal to the “X-COM” feel.

I wonder how much Infogrames wants for the license.

UFO Aftershock which is the sequel to UFO Aftermath.

Latest gameplay movie

Because they like to make baby Jesus cry.

That looks … promising. It didn’t seem very ‘X-Commie’ to me, but it’s pretty early in the game, too. The world map and loadout screens are very nice.

Why is it whenever anyone talks about this type of game they always leave out Blue Byte’s Incubation (Battle Isle 4)? It’s the most forgotten squaddie game.

Funk.

I often mention it. :D

That looks … promising. It didn’t seem very ‘X-Commie’ to me, but it’s pretty early in the game, too. The world map and loadout screens are very nice.[/quote]

Based on the differences from the original, it appears they’ve added base management, multiple levels, and buildings you can actually enter. Those were some of the biggest gripes. Not sure how much of the map is deformable, though.

Also, the original had plenty o’ aliens and I imagine Aftershock will too but, oddly, they chose to show human enemies in the movie and no aliens.

Modding the weapons looks pretty damned cool. :)

I don’t consider Incubation an Xcom clone.

It was a puzzle game with puzzle elements that looked like little guys with guns.