Although fans of the XCOM brand will need to determine just how they feel about the decision to shift from strategy to third-person shooter for The Bureau: XCOM Declassified, there’s little we actually know about the game’s plot and cast of characters. Now is as good a time as any for the developers at 2K Marin to remind fans that while the gameplay may have changed over the past few years (along with the name), the story and setting have not.

In the latest developer diary focusing on the 1962 setting of The Bureau, audiences are introduced to Carter – the protagonist of the campaign – and what emotional motivations he may have for weathering the storm of an alien invasion.

Far be it from us to say that the “evolution” of The Bureau from an FPS to a third-person squad-based shooter isn’t one that should worry fans, but when we got the chance to see XCOM back in 2011, it wasn’t the gameplay that we found most intriguing. In fact, it was the success of the development team in creating a 1960s era look and feel alongside alien combat that had us looking forward to the finished product. And as the team at 2K Marin explains in the developer diary, that setting and vision remains intact.

The Bureau XCOM Declassified Story

Besides giving a few more looks at the blend of shooting and strategy at play in combat encounters, the developer diary also hints at why Carter’s mental state may be a source of drama throughout the campaign. We have to think that finding out man is not alone in the universe is stressful enough, but if the woman being blinded by alien light is a friend or loved one of Carter, his fight could be far more personal than those around him.

We don’t yet know if the other characters in Carter’s squad will be given similar back stories, but given 2K Marin’s previous work on story-driven shooters like the BioShock series, we’re optimistic.

Which aspect of The Bureau are you most looking forward to: a chance to drop into a fast-paced version of XCOM: Enemy Unknown‘s strategic combat, or the period setting and shadowy government conspiracies? Leave us your thoughts in the comments.

The Bureau: XCOM Declassified will be released on August 20 for the PS3, Xbox 360 & PC.


Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.