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'XCOM: Enemy Unknown's' multiplayer mode detailed

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"It was always like, we want to do multiplayer" Jake Solomon, Firaxis Games

XCOM: Enemy Unknown multiplayer
XCOM: Enemy Unknown multiplayer

XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Firaxis Games' upcoming reimagining of the classic '90s PC strategy game, includes a multiplayer mode — and according to lead designer Jake Solomon, building it was the developer's choice.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Firaxis Games' upcoming reimagining of the classic '90s PC strategy game, includes a multiplayer mode — and according to lead designer Jake Solomon, building it was the developer's choice.

"It was always like, we want to do multiplayer," Solomon told Eurogamer, "and the publisher was very excited to hear that because multiplayer adds a lot of value both from the development side and the fact people will play the game for longer."

Solomon also sought to assuage concerns that publisher 2K Games foisted multiplayer on the studio, or that it diverted resources toward it that could've been spent on the single-player component. "The way it actually works industry-wise is your publisher is always genuinely excited for multiplayer," he explained. "So if people go, we want to add multiplayer, then typically the publisher will go, OK, we will lay out for the extra features."

Those features play out in Enemy Unknown across five maps in a one-on-one mode that pits two teams against each other — and both squads sport humans and aliens. At the start, each player gets a bank of points to spend on members of his squad; all humans and races of aliens are available from the get-go. Standard soldiers and grunt-level aliens are relatively cheap, but the most powerful creatures will take up a large chunk of the points budget. The points are also used to outfit soldiers with armor and gear (aliens come equipped for battle).

From there, multiplayer action plays out mostly like the campaign. The big differences — aside from your human opponent — is that turns are limited by time (the default is 115 seconds), and your soldiers now have alien teammates giving them a helping hand.

For more details on XCOM: Enemy Unknown's multiplayer component, check out Eurogamer's preview.