Newest XCOM entry launches next week.
After surprise announcing XCOM: Chimera Squad earlier this week, Firaxis have been detailing the characters featured in the game and other changes separating the new instalment from recent releases.
Chimera Squad will be character driven with at least 11 playable characters along with the ability to deploy robot helpers. These pre-built characters make Chimera Squad have the appearance of series like Fire Emblem more than XCOM, which has traditionally given the player relative blank slates.
That change comes with a new defeat condition, too: Allowing any character to bleed out will mean mission failure. In previous games this meant the permanent loss of a character that, at times, may be an acceptable sacrifice to meet the mission objective.
Combat is changed somewhat as well. Missions are broken into encounters that start with breaches. During a breach, the player can position characters and set early priorities such as finding cover or targeting powerful enemies. Some of the game’s characters will be able to breach otherwise inaccessible points while some missions will feature multiple breach points with a variety of advantages and drawbacks.
The turn based nature of classic XCOM is here, too, but even it has seen changes. Now, each unit has a place in the turn order, with corresponding enemy units moving in the order. Previously, players moved all at once, while the enemy AI then moved at once. Firaxis claims this will make battles more dynamic and open up new opportunities for strategy. The turn order is displayed on the right of the screen in the game’s early footage.
This certainly has the look of recent XCOM games and much of what has been shown seems like a scaled down scope. Whereas XCOM: Enemy Unknown and XCOM 2 were global affairs, Chimera Squad is a smaller world, following a city, not the globe. This likely won’t have any practical effect but it does already make the game feel somewhat more intimate.
XCOM: Chimera Squad can be purchased on Steam now with a 50% discount on pre-orders.
If you’re looking for more XCOM goodness, XCOM 2 is coming to Nintendo Switch on May 29.