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Two games in one in ‘XCOM: Enemy Unknown’

We have all seen the action when it come to certain types of games.It is hard enough to make one good video game,but trying to make two at the same time is a challenge a few developers try to tackle. But the creators of a recently released, turn-based strategy game hope that by blending two differing styles of play in one title they will find a pot of gold at the end of the double rainbow which is what all gamers would love to have.

“XCOM: Enemy Unknown” is a science fiction, strategy game pitting Earth against an invading alien force. An elite group of soldiers, scientists and engineers from all over the globe is tasked with repelling the aliens and restoring peace to our planet.

While most games take two to three years before hitting the shelf, lead designer Jake Solomon said his split-personality labor of love has taken more than four years to come to fruition.

“I’ve been trying to make this game for as long as I’ve been in the industry,” he said. “The original ‘XCOM’ game is my favorite game.”

The resource management game mainly takes place in the XCOM headquarters. It is where you find out about each new mission, but also where you tell scientists to start exploring new technology or have engineers build a containment area so you can interrogate alien captives. You’ll also have to manage finances, deal with demands from different countries and develop your military force.

The field squad portion of the game is more about combat tactics, maximizing your weaponry and out-thinking (and out-shooting) the enemy. Squads consist of four to six soldiers, each with their own names, backgrounds and expertise. Use them wisely (i.e., keep them alive) to complete the missions and they get stronger.

The action is still turn-based, so planning and strategy are important at this level as well. Set up your soldiers, hope the aliens walk into your kill zone and cut them down. Guess wrong and players can only watch helplessly as their soldiers get outflanked and end up on the board in the bar.

Solomon said developing the combat portion of the game was fun from the very beginning, but that, for the longest time, the resource part wasn’t.

It created a lot of tension and sleepless nights for Solomon and his crew, but they hit on a revelation that helped them find the sweet spot for “XCOM: Enemy Unknown.”

But he said his team tried developing a resource strategy-only game and a combat-only game, and both felt like they were missing something.The soldiers really had no personal connection to the player in the resource portion and the mission rewards didn’t mean as much in the combat game.

“There are some games that have these multiple modes to them, but nothing like this. In ‘Starcraft,’ you go back to the ship or in ‘Diablo,’ you go back to the town. Those aren’t really games; they are just breaks. In ‘XCOM,’ you have a game, then you go on to another game.”

Trying to find the middle ground took a lot of trial and error. The pendulum kept swinging from overly complicated to overly simplified, Solomon said.In the end, decisions were made based on how well they worked with both aspects of the game.”It just came down to stripping out a lot of things that weren’t working and getting a flow in there,” Solomon said. “You come back to the base and say these things have meaning for me. On the soldier side, deepening the class system and customization became important.”

Now, players can decide. The game was released Tuesday 9th October in North America and came on out Friday 12th october  in Australia and Europe. For the players in Africa,the game will aslo be released on both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles as well as for PCs.

Information from CNN was used in this article


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