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XCOM 2 devs explain why it's exclusive to PC and won't support gamepads at launch

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

The announcement of XCOM 2 this week as a PC exclusive surprised people, but the PC focus is allowing developer Firaxis Games to optimize the game for computers, the studio said in an interview with IGN.

Jake Solomon, creative director on XCOM 2 and lead designer on its predecessor, 2012's XCOM: Enemy Unknown, told IGN that Firaxis had many "very, very ambitious goals" for the game. In particular, the developers wanted to implement physically based rendering, better environmental destruction, and "high-fidelity characters and environments," according to IGN. At the top of the list was procedurally generated maps, a feature Solomon wanted to get into Enemy Unknown but couldn't. In addition, XCOM 2 will support mods, which wouldn't be possible on consoles.

"To do that, we had to use all of our studio expertise ... and our expertise here is PC," said Solomon. "That's our home, and that's where we're really comfortable."

Lead producer Garth DeAngelis told IGN that the XCOM 2 development team is a "relatively small team for the size of the game that we are" making. And with just one platform to focus on, Firaxis can design XCOM 2 for computers through and through, said Solomon.

XCOM 2 will be fully optimized for mouse-and-keyboard controls, and Firaxis is also providing tactical information with text — after all, players will be sitting close to a screen, so they'll be able to read it. In fact, IGN reports that Firaxis is currently planning to launch XCOM 2 without gamepad support, although the studio aims to add it in eventually.

Solomon didn't rule out the chances of XCOM 2 being ported to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One someday, but told IGN that "that's something we're not even discussing yet." For more on the game, which will be released this November on Linux, Mac and Windows, check out the debut trailer above.

Correction: This article previously mentioned "physics-based rendering" as a feature Firaxis wanted to implement in XCOM 2. The feature is "physically based rendering." We've edited the article to reflect this.

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