XCOM: Enemy Unknown is "The best of both worlds for fans"

An interview with XCOM: Enemy Unknown lead designer Jake Solomon.

Fans of punishing 90s' tactical game UFO: Enemy Unknown, will find plenty to flagellate themselves with in the upcoming Firaxis' developed reboot of the game: XCOM: Enemy Unknown, lead designer Jake Solomon tells Polygon.

There is, for instance, a memorial in the game's home base "Ant Farm" where players can, to the mournful tones of bagpipes, look over the long list of soldiers who gave their virtual lives in the defense of Earth. And there will be an unforgiving Iron Man mode that is likely to make that list a very long one.

Of course the game will be welcoming to any fan of tactical, turn-based gaming, not just the hardcore gamers who still recall with a bit of melancholy those moments in that 1994 game when an entire unit was wiped out instantly, permanently when a level started, or eight-hour long hunts for that one final, hidden alien tucked away in some forgotten closet of a level.

Perhaps that's why Solomon asks minutes into our interview if I'm into S&M as well, when I tell him how much I loved X-COM: Terror from the Deep, the even more punishing sequel to the original X-Com game. (There will be no on the water, or under the water levels in this UFO reboot, Solomon told me off camera, once the interview wrapped.)

In this wide-ranging interview with Solomon, we chat about how this isometric-view, turn-based tactical game came to be developed alongside a first-person shooter re-imagining of the series, why both of us consider the original game one of our all time favorites, and how we both share a dream that includes beer, hoagies and X-Com.

We also delve into the languishing genre, famed tactical game developer Sid Meier's input on this reboot and some things that the game did and didn't include from the original.


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