Hot on the heels of news that XCOM: Enemy Unknown will be releasing this October, we’re now getting word that the 2K Marin’s XCOM first person shooter re-imagining has, once again, been pushed back. Following a delay into 2013 (the title was originally set for a 2011 launch), XCOM is now probing a (potential) 2014 retail release.

While a Q4 2013 release date had been previously rumored, Take-Two Interactive has officially announced that they’ll be bumping the XCOM title out of 2012 and into fiscal year 2014 – meaning it could release anywhere between April 1, 2013 and March 31, 2014 (though our money is on later rather than sooner).

It’s been a long and challenging road for the XCOM reimagining – with die-hard X-Com fans decrying the project from the outset. Still, in spite of the outcry, our live XCOM demo at E3 2011 was extremely encouraging. The project may not have been the spin-off that franchise faithfuls had been hoping for but, now that XCOM: Enemy Unknown is en route, isn’t there room for a diverse set of gameplay experiences in the XCOM universe?

Nevertheless, the reason for the delay has not been revealed – though it’s easy to imagine that 2K wanted to put some space between their “reimagined” title and the “faithful” XCOM experience that Enemy Unknown will likely provide. In the not-so-level-headed digital age, had the two games been launched around the same time, it’s easy to imagine that the shooter title would have been dismissed as an impostor – even if the purposed tactical FPS gameplay actually managed to offer a compelling experience.

That said, it’s also possible that the delay is the result of further tweaks to the core XCOM gameplay – which, as 2K previously claimed, has undergone a number of revisions during its development. Based on the E3 2011 build, not to mention official screenshots of the title in action, the game might not offer the hardcore strategy of the original X-Com, but the XCOM first person shooter definitely has a lot going for it – and could, assuming all of its ambitious components (not to mention cool retro America aesthetic) actually work in harmony, provide a unique shooter experience in a market that is dominated by itchy trigger finger military blockbusters.

XCOM Combat Shield

During our preview, the designers asserted that, while it may not be a traditional X-Com game, they had a series of “pillars” that were key to developing their XCOM:

  • At its core, X-Com offered a compelling mixture of strategy and tactical gameplay.
  • Playable characters were not one-man-army/Rambo-like protagonists — and relied heavily on teammates (both in and off the field).
  • X-Com‘s through-line presented the good-guys with an advanced alien force: a challenge that required players to beat aliens on a battlefield as well as gain enough knowledge to harness extra terrestrial weaponry — and turn the tech against the out-worldly creators.

As a result, the gameplay in XCOM (the E3 2011 build) looked to blend action and RPG-like elements similar to the approach of games like Mass Effect 3. Quick and steady aim wouldn’t be enough to take down some of the title’s larger “Titan” enemies – players would need to rely on salvaged alien tech to succeed – which gave us hope, at the time, that XCOM was poised to stir-up the first person shooter market.

Despite the setback, we’re still interested in the XCOM FPS – as well as what it could offer in an increasingly “samey” shooter market. Plenty of X-Com die-hards will, no doubt, still call blasphemy (hopefully XCOM: Enemy Unknown will calm some of the previous angst) but for those who are open to the XCOM FPS, check out our full XCOM impressions from E3 2011.

Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for further updates on XCOM as well as other movie, TV, and gaming news.

XCOM has been delayed until fiscal year 2014.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown is scheduled for an October 9th, 2012 release.

Source: Take-Two Interactive