After multiple delays and a firestorm of backlash from strategy game purists, 2K Games delayed their first person shooter set in the XCOM universe. Fans of the series got their wish for more turn-based XCOM role-playing in the form of Firaxis Games’ XCOM: Enemy Unknown but, in spite of dwindling public updates, development on the shooter counterpart was reportedly still moving forward – with an intended release date in 2014.
Recently, rumors began to circulate that while designers continued to plug away on the XCOM shooter, 2K Games was in the process of rebranding the project with a new title, The Bureau – dropping any XCOM connection (while also retooling the gameplay as cover-based third person shooting). In an update that adds further credence to The Bureau speculation, the publisher has quietly erased XCOM shooter website materials and gameplay videos from their official sources.
Digital Trends was the first to notice that 2K had started removing XCOM FPS materials and skeptical gamers might conclude that the XCOM shooter has finally been canceled. However, the biggest hurdle facing the title has always been, from the very beginning, backlash to its XCOM branding.
The gameplay itself, for anyone who has actually seen the title in person (check out our E3 2011 XCOM preview), was actually pretty interesting – with squad-based commands, massive (and unique) alien enemies and weapons tech, as well as an immersive 1962 setting and covert agency storyline. Separate from its strained connections to a beloved strategy series, the game had promise – and could have been a welcome change of pace for first person shooter fans.
As a result, it makes sense that 2K would avoid scrapping the game entirely and remove the XCOM constraints instead – allowing the team to explore unique ideas without forcing their game into an established and well-loved franchise world. Considering recent domain registrations that feature both the game’s 1962 time period and cloak-and-dagger organization (whathappenedin62.com and whathappenedin62.net) paired with the removal of dated marketing materials, it seems increasingly likely that 2K Games is actually gearing up for a reveal – not cleaning house.
As mentioned, even if the developers intend to use gameplay ideas intended for the XCOM FPS, The Bureau will still be very different than the product previewed in official XCOM shooter gameplay videos. Without an XCOM storyline and a move from first to third person gameplay, nearly all of the existing marketing materials and demoes would misrepresent future plans for the project and confuse potential players.
At this point, given that they’ve completely retooled the original idea, it’s likely that 2K Games is preparing for an E3 2013 reveal of The Bureau – with the chance they’ll still meet the intended 2014 release date. After all, there has been very little official information about the project for some time – meaning that the revised Bureau direction could have been decided a long time ago (and we’re just now getting wind of it).
The Bureau does not currently have an official release date. Assuming the game is still in development, we’ll update you as soon as we hear more.
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Source: Digital Trends