As fans of XCOM: Enemy Unknown eagerly await the game’s upcoming expansion, the development team at Firaxis Games is slowly providing more and more evidence that XCOM: Enemy Within may not be the simple updating of weapons or attacks some may have assumed.
The shadowy organization may have been founded to combat extraterrestrial threats, but the latest story trailer for the game – dubbed ‘Security Breach’ – shows that XCOM’s greatest concern may not be from space, but from sleeper cells embedded in their own base. That Enemy Within name is starting to make a lot more sense.
After the base game surprised critics and players alike with its quality, some may have been disappointed to find that XCOM: Enemy Within would be an expansion, not a true sequel. But since that announcement, Firaxis has made it clear that the additions being made to the core gameplay will have profound impacts (as one would hope for from powered mech-suits and genetically-engineered soldiers).
They haven’t stopped there; as the name implied (and the trailer shows) a new threat has emerged in the form of EXALT, a militant group bent on sabotaging XCOM’s plans, and allowing the alien invaders to ‘evolve’ humanity into the next stage of progress. Working behind the scenes to stir up panic in Council countries, or facing off against XCOM soldiers in all-out combat, the group looks to be a dangerous one (and dressed for business).
Although Firaxis had let gameplay mechanics and progression help tell the narrative of Enemy Unknown, the wealth of animated cut-scenes hints that Enemy Within may be far more cinematic and story-driven from the developer’s side of things. It’s hard to say whether it will resonate with fans to the same extent, but anything that lets XCOM administrators get their sweaters a little frayed is fine by us.
Most of the series’ devoted fans will take any opportunity to dive back into its unique world of espionage, science and alien investigation, but the added story and scripted action might make it more eye-catching for mainstream gamers. Generally, shifts in marketing or design along those lines gets our hackles up, but in this case, Firaxis already showed they had a solid design philosophy before anyone even knew how successful their game could be. At this point, they’ve earned the benefit of the doubt.
What do you think of the trailer? Did you miss out on Enemy Unknown the first time around, or are you already counting the days for another dose?
XCOM: Enemy Within releases November 12, 2013 for the PC, Xbox 360, and PS3.
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