First Details About New XCOM Game, The Bureau

We have the official announcement for the upcoming XCOM. It is called The Bureau, is third-person, and is a prequel.

Earlier this week we found out the XCOM shooter we heard about before XCOM: Enemy Unknown came out and blew our minds was, in fact, still going to happen and that we'd find out more soon.  Soon is now.  Here's the basics of the upcoming The Bureau: XCOM Declassified.

First of all the game is no longer a reboot but is instead a prequel.  This is not a surprise after Firaxis's reboot did so fantastically well (deservedly) as claiming to be another reboot would make the game instantly a direct comparison to a game that, honestly, set the bar way too high to confidently challenge.

The most obvious change from a gameplay perspective from the original concept we were told about is a third-person perspective.  The change seems motivated largely to encourage players into a more tactical direction and to differentiate a bit more notably from the Call of Duty style of 'kick down the doors and shoot everything in the face' gameplay.

The game is also in real-time, rather than the turn-based approach other XCOM games have usually taken, keeping the title in line with earlier trailers.

The storyline behind the game actually looks to be an extremely interesting tale.  Players will take on the role of William Carter, an intelligence agent during the Kennedy era.  The Bureau is assembled to investigate a series of disturbing anomalies and unidentified intrusions.  The initial assumption behind these investigations is their being of Soviet origin, with your task being to identify exactly how they are being done and how they can be countered or duplicated.  Obviously as things progress it becomes apparent these anomalies and foreign visitors are from slightly farther away than Moscow.

Some of the features we had heard about in previous announcements remain the same.  The game is still divided between the actual missions and an underground base in which players can salvage alien technology and manage their fellow agents.  These agents will accompany the player on missions and will die permanently if the mission goes awry.  Given the persistence of these particular features in every XCOM game, it only makes sense they'd stick around despite the other changes.

All in all the game looks to be shaping into just the sort of experience the XCOM series has traditionally lacked, while still remaining true to the overall feel.  Time will tell.


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Writer, gamer, and generally hopeful beneath a veneer of cynicism.

Published Apr. 26th 2013

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