It's time to use alien technology to alter your own genes -- and save mankind.
By Tim Colwill on August 21, 2013 at 5:51 pm
At the start of the month, when XCOM: Enemy Within appeared on the Korean Game Ratings Board list, it caused a brief flurry of attention. What could it be? Was it an expansion to Enemy Unknown? Was it a translation error?
Well, we’ve been chatting to Firaxis, and now we know the answer — both. Well, not the translation error, sure. But Enemy Within is more than just an expansion to Enemy Unknown, while at the same time slotting in neatly within it.
“Ananda Gupta, the lead designer on the expansion, started work as we were wrapping up on XCOM: Enemy Unknown, and the team rolled into this pretty much as soon as they finished work on the Slingshot DLC,” said Firaxis to us in an interview. “It’s amazing how much content the team produced in such a short time: New maps (almost 50% as many as the original game), new soldier classes and abilities, new weapons, and new alien types.”
According to Firaxis, the expansion all takes place within “the context of the main invasion” of Enemy Unknown. “A lot of the value comes from the fact that it gives you more choices within that campaign, which really gives it a level of replayability that people expect from a Firaxis game, or the original XCOM.”
However, they’re remaining shy on what exactly the “Enemy Within” part of the name means. Whether it’s body snatchers or traitors in the ranks, they’re not talking. They did, however, reveal that it will be delivered differently on PCs and consoles. Us Steam users will enjoy it as an expansion pack, but console players will see it launched as “The Ultimate XCOM Experience”, presumably bundled with the original game. Launching a new game on PC will give you the option of playing either Enemy Unknown or Enemy Within.
Some of the new units added include an MEC trooper. MEC stands for Mechanized Exoskeleton Cybersuit, a “hulking robotic power armour suit” which soldiers must undergo “drastic surgery” to be able to interface with. “MEC troopers can bring an incredible amount of firepower to a fight, or serve as a rock-solid defender,” say Firaxis. “They make the SHIV look like a dinky toy!”
“In order to construct the MECs and MEC troopers, you’ll need a resource called Meld that we’ve introduced on all the maps. Meld is stored in self-destructing canisters, so if you want it, you’ll have to be a bit aggressive. The risk can be well worth the reward.”
The Sectoids are getting their own power armoured suit, which creates the “Mechtoid”, something Firaxis assure us won’t be a pushover. Additional base construction options will be added, including the Cybernetics Lab which you’ll need for MEC troopers, and the Genetics Lab. The Genetics Lab allows you to use Meld, which means you can modify your soldiers on a genetic level.
Multiplayer is also getting some love. Firaxis explain that they’ve added an offline squad editing and saving system. “This means you can edit and save a multiplayer squad on your own time, which saves having to spend all that time at the start of the battle, and lets you jump right in.”
Enemy Within launches on November 14 for $49.95 on PC, and $69.95 on consoles. We’ve also been sent a bunch more screens for Enemy Within. Take a look at those below.