It's not too late to hire me to write for the next X-COM, Firaxis

I had a dream that I was in some kind of meeting in a skyscraper when a bunch of space dragons arrived on earth, and somehow broadcast a signal that made all electronics play an announcement telling people to come outside and meet them. Everybody went outside, where the dragons were riding on big mechanical palanquins that were playing some kind of mind control music, which made everybody dance and frolic as the dragons ate about thirty people. Me and a few others from the meeting were like ‘no fuck that’ and we locked ourselves in the bomb shelter under the building to wait all this out.

Cut forward a while and things were kinda post apocalyptic, because half the humans had been eaten. Every day the dragons came by and did their mind control thing and ate a few more people, and we had to lock ourselves in the bomb shelter again to avoid that, but otherwise we just kinda sat around bored all day I guess. Then one day some kind of human resistance popped up. They hijacked all the electronics to broadcast a signal of themselves killing one of the dragons, with their allies, some kind of tiny aliens in microscopic tanks that looked exactly like hermit crabs with roller skates. This broadcast had inspiring music about how killing space dragons was a divine crusade, but I also distinctly remember hearing the phrase ‘dance floor’ in it.

saffaux reblogged a post about lady armor in video games and I wanted to see how my latest gaming obsession fared when it came to female armor designs.

I never really noticed but apparently they changed the Carapace Armor designs for ladies in the expansion, taking away the weird boob cup thing going on in Enemy Unknown. 

It makes me happy to know one of the designers, at some point during the creation of Enemy Within, saw the boob cups and thought “that’s fucking stupid. Let’s fix it.”

Good on you, Firaxis Games/2K.

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Lady Soldiers from XCOM: Enemy Within

I’ve meant for a while now to offer a writeup for the XCOM games for a while now. My brother picked it up a couple years ago, and I was immediately impressed with the armor designs for the women soldiers in the game. Unlike other science-fiction based games, where skin-tight catsuits and shorts with unzipped jackets over tube tops are considered effective combat attire, ALL of the armor in XCOM offers full body coverage for both male and female soldiers. I picked up a copy from a Steam sale last week and found myself infinitely addicted.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown and its expansion Enemy Within are turn-based sci-fi strategy games featuring excellent squad-basted tactical combat on various urban and wooded environments. In Enemy Unknown, players are in charge of the XCOM Project, a secret multinational organization formed to combat an alien menace responsible for abductions and experiments on human subjects across the globe. The Enemy Within expansion adds a new level of story and challenge with the addition of EXALT, a secret organization aiding the aliens and attempting to undermine the XCOM Project. In both games, players recruit, manage, and deploy elite special-ops units against alien invaders while studying captured alien technology in order to better combat this unknown menace. As the game progresses, players are able to research and create improved weapons, armor, and facilities to better equip their soldiers.

All screen captures taken from game play. XCOM was produced by 2K Games and developed by Firaxis Games and Feral Interactive.

(Click for full discussion)

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Civilization: Beyond Earth takes grand strategy to the stars

The Civilization series of strategy epics is one of the great wonders of gaming.

Sid Meier’s map-based tech-chasers and military sims pull together science, history, fun and competition to create games, like Civilization 5, that fold humanity’s technological achievements into our deepest desires for domination and power.

Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth is the natural extension of a series of games that begin in a pre-agricultural age, pulling the player right up to intergalactic travel. It is the story of what happens when humanity ventures out towards new planets.

(Link to the full story)

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Firaxis is taking Civilization to the stars

Announced yesterday, Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth is a fully fledged game that tasks players to colonise an alien planet. It is set after “The Great Mistake”, an event hundreds of years into the future that makes Earth no longer inhabitable to humans. After fleeing the planet, players will get the opportunity to rebuild humanity in their own image, to either repeat the mistakes of the past or steer humanity in a new direction and thrive.

“Every time it’s a different story, a different imaginary tale about who humanity grew up to be over the next 5,000 years on this strange, alien planet. [It’s about] starting from a place of safety and taking a journey that’s both dangerous and invigorating into a strange new future and the revelation of wonder along the way. Friends and enemies start to take on a whole new meaning when your enemy has transformed itself into a robot. What does that mean for your civilization? How could you ever get along? That sort of thing: putting interesting decisions like that in front of the player, all the way through the game.”

Like previous games, you’ll choose a nationality, but with a revamped title there comes new features to tweak the balance of your game. Your choice of spaceship, cargo, and inhabitants all have an effect of how your new civilisation will turn out, and your mind will have to open up to all the new possibilities that the future could bring with a new and more intertwined tech web.

In broad terms, there are three different affinities your people could follow. Will you choose the harmony affinity and adapt to your new world, choose the supremacy affinity and take control of both nature and your own humanity, or look towards the past with the purity affinity and try to rebuild the glory days? Whatever you choose, Beyond Earth is taking Civilization to a new era. Instead of following history, you will make it.

Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth is due for release in the autumn for Linux, Mac and Windows PC.

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XCOM: Enemy Unknown Concept Art by Piero Macgowan.

Concept artist and illustrator Piero Macgowan has posted some great concept art he created for XCOM: Enemy Unknown. Piero is currently working full-time as a Senior Concept Artist at Firaxis Games, located in Hunt Valley, Maryland. (XCOM: Enemy Unknown Images Created by: Piero Macgowan, ©2012 Firaxis Games/Take Two Interactive)

Link: www.pieromacgowan.com

XCOM vs Tumblr: Recruitment

Welcome back, soldiers. The release of XCOM 2 is coming very soon, and with it comes a wonderful new feature that allows character rosters to be made for each campaign. This means I can create as many of you brave souls in-game as I want and you will have a random chance to appear in any playthrough.

This gets even better - not only can your character appear as a soldier, they can also appear in the playthrough as an engineer, a scientist, or even an enemy VIP that requires capture or assassination. 

The character customisation this time round is deep. I’m talking, really deep. Everything from eye colour to personal biographies can be edited, creating a truly unique army of heroes and villains. As a result, and because not all the options are currently known before release, I can only plan to make people based on the options we know so far - so colours, nationalities, etc. I also apologise that options are varied but not all-encompassing, so there are only male and female body types and not every race/nationality in the world. I will do my best to provide!

SO

If you want to be in the next XCOM vs Tumblr playthrough, now is the time to submit your resumes. Copy and edit the below form to contain your details, I’ll create you as soon as the game unlocks on the 5th, and we’ll see you in the future battlefield!

I WILL ENDEAVOUR TO CREATE EVERYONE WHO SUBMITS THIS FORM. THE PROGRESS OF YOUR CHARACTER CAN BE SEEN IN ANY POST I TAG YOUR URL WITH ON THIS BLOG.

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First name:
Nickname:
Last name:
(if you don’t want your last name appearing on Tumblr, use a fake one)
Nationality: 
Primary language:
Sex:
(male or female only unfortunately)
Race:
Skin tone:

Main armour colour: (the majority of your armour, can be realistic for military or it can be something more outrageous)
Secondary armour colour: (the smaller parts of the clothing and armour)
Weapon colour:
Eye colour:

Personality: (The options are: Happy Go Lucky, Laidback, Normal, Intense, By the Book, Hard Luck, and Twitchy)
Soldier class: Choose from the following:
- Ranger: has a shotgun and a sword, sneaky and violent
- Sharpshooter: has a sniper and a huge revolver, long distance and accurate
- Grenadier: has a machine gun and a grenade launcher, highly explosive
- Specialist: has a rifle and a drone for hacking things and healing
Who you can appear as: (Pick any or all of the following: a soldier, an engineer, a scientist, or an enemy VIP)
Biography: If you want to make yourself a personal biography about your soldier you can absolutely submit it with this form and I will add it to the character. Bonus points are rewarded for creativity and humour. 

As for physicality, I will by default attempt to make your soldier look as much like you as possible. If you do not have pictures of yourself on your blog I will endeavour to be creative. If you have any personal preference for hairstyle or accessory you can absolutely submit it and I will do my best to honour the request. Yes, aviators and big badass cigars are available.

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HELLO COMMANDERS, XCOM: ENEMY WITHIN RELEASES THIS NOVEMBER

Firaxis Games has announced that a stand-alone expansion pack to last year’s critical hit XCOM: Enemy Unknown will be released this November. 

The expansion includes plenty of new maps, upgrades, weapons, and abilities to empower your squad to take on the new and enhanced enemies.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the new features in the upcoming expansion:

  • New Soldier Abilities
    Now your squad can receive genetic upgrades to their brain, legs, chest, eyes, and skin that will give them an advantage over the alien invaders. 
  • New Soldier Type
    MECs (Mechanized Exoskeletal Cybersuit) are suits that your soldiers can wear that give them additional abilities weapons and abilities, including the ability to use the MEC as cover to protect your allies. Also, flamethrowers!
  • New Weapons/Abilities
  • New Enemies
  • New Alien Resource
    Called Meld, once obtained, the alien resource provides access to new research and upgrades.
  • New Maps
  • New Mulitplayer maps, Units, and Abilities

This is just a peek at the new features in the game, look for more information to emerge as we get closer to the release date. 

XCOM:Enemy Within will be available for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC on November 12. 

Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth will take humanity to space this fall

Sid Meier’s Civilization series is leaving home.

This fall on Linux, Mac and Windows PC for $49.99, Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth will take the strategy game beyond the confines of its home turf to an alien world that players will colonize and where they will forge a new future of humanity.

Polygon spoke with four of the upcoming game’s developers to learn about the game, the challenges a new venture like this poses for those creating it and how escaping Earth’s gravitational pull will change the long running series.

(Link to the full story)

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XCOM: ENEMY UNKNOWN NOW AVAILABLE–ARE YOU PREPARED?

For some, today’s release of XCOM: Enemy Unknown is a long awaited return to the series’ roots, while for others, it’s an introduction to a series that they weren’t aware of prior. In any case, today marks the day that XCOM re-enters gamers’ lives and, based on my play-through at PAX Prime and the general consensus so far, that’s a good thing! 

In case you aren’t familiar with the game, 2K Games has released these dossier files that will help you get acquainted to some of the game’s enemies and weapons at your disposal.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown is available right now for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC and can be purchased on Amazon.com and most other major retailers.