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XCOM: Enemy Unknown Gets Slew of New Options in Free DLC

Posted January 8, 2013 by Esteban Cuevas in News

XCOM: Enemy Unknown has a new piece of DLC and its free via a title update today for all platforms. Called Second Wave, XCOM Lead Designer Jake Solomon said that the content comes from the developer Firaxis’ desire to increase the game’s replayability.

“We want people to play our games until their return on invest is massive,” said Solomon to IGN. “Games are crazy expensive…for us one of the big company values that people associate with Firaxis and Civ is that if you buy this game you know you’re getting a good return on investment. We’re always thinking of replayability.” The first piece of DLC for the game was paid and included a new character and new Council missions. Second Wave adds a series of optional tweaks to the gameplay, which are as follows:

  • Damage Roulette: Weapons have a wider range of damage.
  • New Economy: Randomized council member funding.
  • Not Created Equally: Rookies will have random starting stats.
  • Hidden Potential: As a soldier is promoted, stats increase randomly.
  • Red Fog: Combat wounds will degrade the soldier’s mission stats.
  • Absolutely Critical: A flanking shot guarantees a critical hit.
  • The Greater Good: Psionics can only be learned from interrogating a psionic alien.
  • Marathon: The game takes considerably longer to complete.
  • Results Driven: A country offers less funding as its panic level increases.
  • High Stakes: Random rewards for stopping alien abductions.
  • Diminishing Returns: Increased cost of satellite construction.
  • More Than Human: The psionic gift is extremely rare.

When asked why these options weren’t available in the game’s initial release, Solomon said he wanted to but the code came together too late to make the final cut. The team decided the ideas were still good and worked it into their schedule as post-release content. He went on to say that this gives gamers a way to essentially “mod the game themselves,” something not usually included in console versions of games. “it congeals nicely with people who are beating the game a lot…Now you can go through the game again in a sort of brand new customizable way,” says producer Garth DeAngelis.

Solomon also explained why some of the options make the game harder and why others didn’t make sense for the core release of the game. “One perfect example is Diminishing returns,” said Solomon, “What it is is that every time you build a satellite the cost of the next goes up. That’s a very gamey mechanic, and I love it from a design standpoint — and that’s the actual satellite design mechanic I wanted originally — but it also doesn’t make any f**king sense. We always talk about design wise that you have mechanics and you have theme, and you have to try and make those make sense together. Mechanically it’s strong but thematically it’s weak…Now that it’s pushed to Second Wave then I don’t have to worry about narrative.”

I personally have never played an XCOM game and have yet to play Enemy Unknown. However, I do want to give it a try being a fan of Shining Force. What’s more is I appreciate when developers give you options to do what you will with the game. What do you think of all these new options? Are they enough to bring you back to XCOM: Enemy Unknown? Leave a comment down below and let us know what you think.


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Esteban Cuevas

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