Way back in the year 2010, I saw a preview event for the revival of the XCOM franchise. No, this wasn't the reveal of the recentely released tactical role-playing strategy game by Firaxis. It was a first person shooter that had you and two AI teammates go to a house and shoot black goo and then take pictures of flying saucers. The audience was ... less than excited.
Well this is nearly three years later and the now twice reworked XCOM shooter has re-emerged. It will be called The Bureau: XCOM Declassified, a third-person tactical shooter developed by 2K Marin. The release date is set for August 20th in North America and the 23rd for other regions, coming to PC, Xbox 360, and the PS3.
It will be set in 1962 (the height of the Cold War) and will tell the origins of the XCOM organization. In it you play as the Bureau, an organization that was created to "deal" with the Soviet Union threat, but shifted focus when extraterrestrials popped up. You will take on the role of special agent William Carter, who fights to both thwart the alien invasion and cover up their existence.
Fans of the series have long been worried that this shooter style game will be a sequel in name only for the franchise. However, Morgan Gray, creative director over at 2K Marin has stated, "What we're attempting to do is a third-person squad-based tactical shooter. Putting you right there in the field. No more sitting back, watching everything unfold from a god's eye view." Gray likened the gameplay pacing to somewhere between the methodical military shooter like Full Spectrum Warrior and the faster-paced action of Rainbow Six.
Well, somebody better get off their ass and invent Google Maps ... oh, and the internet.
So, the focus will still be on your brains and skills. Using your team and the tools available to create plans and then properly executing the plans. The gameplay will not freeze to allow this decision making, you will have to make snap decisions. Gray likened this to "the fantasy of being a squad leader out in the battlefield verses the commander sitting at the desk who has all the time in the world."
The Bureau: XCOM Declassified trailer
So what do you all think? Will the shooter action ruin the XCOM experience? Or does this give a fresh new perspective on a great franchise? Are you worried this will just feel like the bastard son of Men in Black and BioShock? Comment away. I know you know how.