2K Games have announced a brand new standalone game in the defining XCOM series. Set five years after XCOM 2, XCOM: Chimera Squad will be out for PC via Steam on 24th April.
This is being treated as a spin-off to the main series, it seems, as 2K take pains to state that it’s neither a sequel nor an expansion to XCOM 2. The story sees humans, hybrids and aliens forced to work together, with City 31 a model for civilisation going forward. That peace is under threat from a mysterious group, and you take command of Chimera Squad, a team of agents of all backgrounds trying to fight them back.
In a big change for the series, you’ll have 11 ages, each with their own personalities and tactical abilities, including some species-specific attacks. There’s also specific combat combos possible when pairing up certain agents, though you’ll now have to contend with interleaved turns where you and the enemy move characters based off initiative instead of moving all your units together.
You’ll be wading into missions from the city map, each of which is a series of encounters. These start with a new Breach Mode, where you choose entry points into a situation and choose turn order to try and get the drop on enemies. There’s a real SWAT or police raid vibe to this.
Mark Nauta, Lead Designer at Firaxis Games said, “With XCOM: Chimera Squad, we felt there were exciting gameplay opportunities yet to be discovered within the XCOM universe. Gameplay like Breach Mode, interleaved turn order, and the introduction of agents as fully fleshed-out characters will revolutionize how the game plays while still retaining the combat experience that makes the XCOM series so loved by gaming communities around the world.”
It’s fascinating to see Firaxis experiment with their series, mixing in a new police action theme to the sci-fi universe, playing around with gameplay ideas that are found in other parts of the turn-based tactical genre. How this will come to affect XCOM 3, whenever that becomes a reality, we’ll just have to wait and see.
What is known is that this is a budget priced spin-off. It’ll cost just £8.50 during its introductory period, and £16.99 from 1st May. That’s sure to make it appealing for players new and old to give it a try.
Source: press release