XCOM Enemy Within will expand Enemy Unknown and add replayability, mechtoids and more: We speak to Firaxis

XCOM: Enemy Within

By 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.

15 comments (Leave your own)

My issues with the base game:

Lots of predetermined missions.

Predetermined Thin man locations on certain missions which can wipe out whole teams if you’re not prepared. Don’t let them spawn when my team has their pants down (no cover to thin man spawns).

Hardest difficulty gets easier as the game goes on, not harder. What, why?

Lost too many teams to bugs where the game wouldn’t let me go up a floor. One in particular meant I took the long way around and got some terrible RNG rolls which wiped out half my team because the stupid game wouldn’t let me go along the roof and use the ladder.

Xenonauts is looking much better.

 

^ Or you could actually look to the mod community.

I found the Warspace Extension mod expanded and tweaked the game so it actually felt like a proper PC game instead of a tablet game. More strategic and tactical decisions to make regarding gear, progression and troops. Hell, they even give every armour an extra item pocket so that every trooper can actually take some proper gear with them, and put the stun gun into the pistol slot. Madness! Give it a shot, or wait for it to be modded for Enemy Within.

 

rapid101:
My issues with the base game:

Hardest difficulty gets easier as the game goes on, not harder. What, why?

Well, it mite be that that you end up getting better equipment as the game goes on, and having that increases your chances of winning, witch is kind of the whole idea that

 

Hmm I wonder what comments the overly angry and hateful old Asian engineer will say when the scientist with a bad accent recommends chopping off soldiers arms and legs to fight the aliens.

 

Doesn’t really sound like all that much content for $50. Have to wait and see.

Also console seems to get shafted, they have to buy the whole game again?

 

Actually seems like a well fleshed out update of the game. Also they did state they updated ALL the maps to be in line with the new gear and enemies.

I just hope they address the spawn issues the game has, as well as having better AI for roaming and aggro so we have less of the dual enemy turn = squad wipe scenario.

 

spawneh: Doesn’t really sound like all that much content for $50.

How much of that is the Australia tax?

 

I just hope they address the spawn issues the game has, as well as having better AI for roaming and aggro so we have less of the dual enemy turn = squad wipe scenario.

This is what made me stop playing vanilla about 10 hours in. Waves of enemies just appearing in your flank, when you were already fighting more tough enemies than you could handle.

Thankfully Warspace Extension mod made everything MUCH better, whilst still being hard as nails.

 

I wonder if there will be new story missions along with the other stuff. Either way, good to see some new content, even if it sounds a little pricey for what they’re announced.

 

rapid101:
My issues with the base game:

Lots of predetermined missions.

Predetermined Thin man locations on certain missions which can wipe out whole teams if you’re not prepared. Don’t let them spawn when my team has their pants down (no cover to thin man spawns).

Hardest difficulty gets easier as the game goes on, not harder. What, why?

Lost too many teams to bugs where the game wouldn’t let me go up a floor. One in particular meant I took the long way around and got some terrible RNG rolls which wiped out half my team because the stupid game wouldn’t let me go along the roof and use the ladder.

Xenonauts is looking much better.

I can’t believe I agree with a whole rapid101 post!

What about the fact that the aliens get to cheat because they aren’t really ‘in’ the world until you ‘see’ them, at which point they are placed as individual units for the first time and then given a free turn in which to get to cover? Much, much worse than the system coded in the original xcom in what, 1990, so 23 years ago.

 

Awesome, can’t wait.

Finally finished an impossible ironman playthrough a few weeks back, I’m very ready for more.

I do hope they’re doing some work on the geoscape though.

caitsith01: What about the fact that the aliens get to cheat because they aren’t really ‘in’ the world until you ‘see’ them,

I wouldn’t say it’s the ideal system, but it’s actually a disadvantage for the aliens as they don’t even get to shoot if they discover you on their own turn.

Sounds like you’re charging in with green soldiers, which is not how to play the game. Honestly, if you think the aliens have an unfair advantage through this system, you’re not applying your brain to the game in sufficient quantities.

 

ooshp:
Awesome, can’t wait.

Finally finished an impossible ironman playthrough a few weeks back, I’m very ready for more.

I do hope they’re doing some work on the geoscape though.

I wouldn’t say it’s the ideal system, but it’s actually a disadvantage for the aliens as they don’t even get to shoot if they discover you on their own turn.

Sounds like you’re charging in with green soldiers, which is not how to play the game. Honestly, if you think the aliens have an unfair advantage through this system, you’re not applying your brain to the game in sufficient quantities.

You’re right, if I don’t like an obvious kludge in the game I must be stupid.

 

caitsith01: You’re right, if I don’t like an obvious kludge in the game I must be stupid.

Yeah, not actually what I said.

If the aliens had the same movement rules as XCOM, your squad could very easily be wiped in a single turn, with no opportunity for the player to stop it.

 

awesome can’t wait

 

ooshp: Yeah, not actually what I said.

If the aliens had the same movement rules as XCOM, your squad could very easily be wiped in a single turn, with no opportunity for the player to stop it.

Well, you’d probably need to couple it with decent game rules like in… oh, I dunno, the original xcom. E.g. random shooting, larger squad sizes, no console-ified “move-action” stuff, no lame classes, etc etc.

 
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