Xenonauts - the REAL successor to X-Com?


#1

Saw this posted elsewhere, and thought with all the X-Com debacles, it would be interesting.

Basically, its a group of ex-crysis modders who seems to have decided to make a real successor to X-com

Welcome to our brand new website, and to the first of the many situation reports (sitreps) that will keep you up-to-date on the ongoing development of Xenonauts. I suppose a quick word of introduction would be useful here: Xenonauts is an upcoming PC strategy title inspired by the classic X-Com series of strategy games. It takes the timeless formula of the original games and reimagines and reinvents them for the modern age, providing a fresh Cold War setting, better graphics and increased usability alongside numerous other additions. You can look up all the details on this site (the ‘Game Features’ section), but for now we’ve simply coined the phrase ‘strategic planetary defence simulator’ to describe what we’re building.

The timing of this announcement is not entirely unintentional. For anyone who does not stay full abreast of the latest developments in the gaming world, Ken Levine’s 2K games has just announced an official sequel to X-Com that takes the form of a FPS. While I’m sure it’ll be a great game (Levine has a pretty good track record with FPS games!), large amounts of X-Com fans are understandably a little put out that the sequel will not be in the format that they know and love. We weren’t planning to release details about our game for another couple of months, until we had some trailers of the game in action to show off, but this seemed a great time for us to pop our heads up and say hello to the gaming world. Sadly this means you’ll all have to wait a little while for in-game footage, but rest assured it will be coming as soon as possible! In the meantime, feel free to share your opinions on the upcoming official sequel with us on our forums.

Back to Xenonauts, then. The game has been in development for about 9 months now, and is intended for release this year. It’s currently in a basic but playable state, but with a lot of placeholder art and test assets that need clearing up before it goes on show. The team behind it (Goldhawk Interactive) are a diverse group of professionals from all corners of the world, mostly European but with members from as far afield as Uruguay and the Philippines. The project is entirely self-funded at present and we’d like to maintain our creative freedom by keeping it that way, but in order for us to do that, we need your help. The lifeblood of any indie team is its community, and we’re keen to build one around the project. If you have any thoughts, suggestions or comments, please let us know on our forums - we’d love to hear from you!

In the coming weeks, we’ll be regularly releasing more Sitreps. These will keep you informed on everything from the ongoing progress of the project to its setting. We’ll be giving teaser information on what alien foes you might face in the game, and what technology you might eventually be able to harness in order to defeat them. We’ll also make an effort to introduce the main members of the team to you, and to give an insight into how we work over here at Goldhawk. The original UFO was one of my favourite games, and most of the team are also huge X-Com fans - hopefully some of our enthusiasm for the project will rub off on you as you look around the site!

site found here: http://www.xenonauts.com/

looks VERY interesting!

edit: oh and

“Xenonauts will be single-player only and is presently only in development only for the PC. Ports will be considered closer to release date, which is currently slated for Christmas 2010.”
thats pretty damn quick!


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#2

Sadly, these things almost never get completed.
I’ve seen soooo many fanmade xcom projects go void over the course of the last fifteen years or so, it’s sad.

Edit: Wait, from reading that again I gather these are actually aiming to sell the game, which may change things.
However, UFO:ET was also a big letdown, so I’ll reserve judgement until they release something.


rezaf


#3

hopes for a good successor to X-COM crushed so many times, not holding my breath
having looked at the website though, so far they “talk the talk”


#4

Well, I guess you havent looked at the website then.


#5

and? what’s wrong with it?

ok, the art direction is different (so is the geoscape) but the fundamentals seem to be there in theory.

What I was mainly referring to was their adherence to the basic principles of the original X-COM: you get a geoscape, bases management, research, tactical squad combat with DESTRUCTIBLE TERRAIN, air interception (they even plan an auto resolve feature), government funding … ticks all the boxes so far ?

Obviously, the implementation might still be horrible but at least the overall direction they are taking seems ok to me. Ok as in they are not “reinventing the franchise” or introducing “exciting FPS combat” or “streamlined base management” or any of the other abortions we have seen so far.


#6

oh, I misunderstood your post - I thought you meant that it was all talk and no show, sorry


#7

I really hope this project gets off the ground - that website is oh… so… tantalising…

This in particular has me excited:

The Xenonauts do not operate in a world completely devoid of human activity, so it is only natural that they would encounter other humans in their missions (especially during terror attacks on cities and military bases). These humans are considered friendly, and will take the form of either civilians or police/military NPCs…

… The police/military NPCs are armed with basic human weapons, and in some cases, grenades and heavy weapons. They can usually be found holding a location, whether it be an objective building on a terror mission or simply a random map location. They will seek nearby cover and protect nearby civilians as best they can, using basic combat AI to prioritise targets and seek new cover if forced from their original location. While not capable of winning a battle by themselves, these friendly units can both draw enemy fire away from your own forces and provide valuable fire support. Though treated as allies, the Xenonauts have no ability to issue orders to these NPCs…

Yes! I’ve been waiting for this feature for years and years and years! Sure, the Megapol cop cars in Apocalypse were useless in a scrap – but they added so much to the feel that you were in a real, breathing world.

It would be even better if the NPC NATO/Warsaw Pact soldiers’ armament would upgrade based on what kind of equipment (in particular, lasers – ammo for plasma weapons would probably be too scarce) you were selling off.

ETA - And the backstory even explains why you start with only one half-built base and eight squaddies barely able to hit the broad side of a barn. I think I’m in nerd heaven!


#8

aye, it looks pretty damn good - I’m torn between going nuts and drool, and start crying because we’ve been burned so many times before.

I’ve always missed civilians in the xcom lookalike games, and now there’s armed forces as well? pretty damn cool!


#9

Well that sounds awesome and I love the attention to detail in the backstory, but if I had a dollar for every awesome-sounding X-Com remake that never made it out the door I’d be typing this from my yacht.


#10

You guys just have to dampen my illusions with your crushing doses of common sense!

;___;


#11

They have destructible terrain, which I’ve always thought was one of the key features of the game.


#12

Thank God! this is just the salve i need after the ‘Xcom is now FPS’ horror story. I’ll keep the positive vibe going and hope it all goes well and this makes it out the door.


#13

A turn-based tactical combat game with the added feature of DESTRUCTABLE TERRAIN makes me orgasm.

That is all.


#14

This looks great, I just hope the actual combat gameplay will be closer to JA2 than to the old X-Com games. Every time I load up UFO: Enemy Unknown I eventually stop playing because I just can’t stand the clumsy interface anymore after having experienced the perfection that is the JA2 UI.
Every other squad based TBS game, from Fallout Tactics to the Nival games just feels like drudgery in comparison.


#15

Unfortunately it seems that you will not be able to sell the stuff you manufacture. Found this in the forums:

Q. Will we still be able to sell manufactured items for a profit?
A. No - it’s our intention that the player is always chronically short of money, making the financial decisions that much harder. The original game allowed you to break the loop by simply manufacturing endless numbers of laser cannons and selling them at a profit, meaning you were completely freed from financial shackles very early in the game and reduce the overall challenge considerably. And where’s the fun in that?

In any event, I’m super jazzed this got announced as the 2k FPS reboot just didn’t jive with me.


#16

[QUOTE=]Q. Will we still be able to sell manufactured items for a profit?
A. No - it’s our intention that the player is always chronically short of money, making the financial decisions that much harder. The original game allowed you to break the loop by simply manufacturing endless numbers of laser cannons and selling them at a profit, meaning you were completely freed from financial shackles very early in the game and reduce the overall challenge considerably. And where’s the fun in that? [/QUOTE]

Well, my interest in this game lasted about 3 hours … Increasing the challenge by forcing the player to be permanently short on cash is NOT good design. How do you even balance that shortage in such a non-linear game? Make all the buildings cost the same?

Besides, removing a feature because a minority of players decided to abuse it makes no sense. The same people will use a cheat and give themselves infinite money and be done with it while your normal player will be pulling hairs because he’s too broke to be able to open a 2nd base etc etc

On a side note, it really is ok to design games where the player is not permanently on the brink of being whipped out. It’s even better if whatever difficulty results from genuine gameplay elements (more ennemies, technological superiority, intrinsic complexity) and not some binary and arbitrary restriction (THE PLAYER SHALL BE BROKE!).


#17

No. There’s a big difference between a game allowing you to easily make money by selling easily manufactured items at a large profit, and using cheats.

And it certainly wasn’t a minority of players. Getting manufacturing up and running for easy cash is a staple of the game.


#18

You could make decent money in XCOM without going crazy with manufacturing. In my first game, all my profit was from selling alien equipment I had recovered. Basically this just means that you will have harder decisions to make when it comes to building stuff, and a second base will have to be priority #1 in order to get more coverage, which means more battles, which means more money.

EDIT: And using explosive weapons will become last resort, because you will want to take down the aliens while preserving as much of their equipment (and their bodies) as possible.


#19

It will only be like that if they don’t balance it properly.

I can see a happy medium where limited funds forces you to make meaningful, interesting strategic decisions - like do I open an interceptor base to try and cover another hemisphere of the globe, or upgrade my current interceptor base with better range/equipment and try and cover more, or put funds into research - I’ve only got the funds to do maybe 33% to 50% of the things I want to do right now so I need to prioritise.

Rather than just rush to set up a 150 engineer laser cannon manufacturing workshop and then build whatever the hell you want.

If it does turn out that you can regularly do nothing interesting in a strategic sense due to chronic funds shortage, well then they have balanced it wrong.

The game website is awesome by the way, I am sold! The backstory section is VERY good, a cut above most other fluff pieces. Very neatly explains why you start like you do.


#20

This is the best-looking knockoff we’ve seen so far, in terms of gameplay priorities and areas of design focus. Destructible terrain, randomized tactical maps, soldiers that gain experience and are subject to morale effects, etc. The only thing I can’t find is any reference to a dynamic campaign (aka the feeling that the aliens are actually planning and taking actions that you respond to, instead of following a script).