X-Com Enemy Unknown: Wishlist

Now that the news is out there, lets think about this: X-Com Unknown Enemy (XC:UE) is a 're-imagining of the series.' That sounds like to me, that it'll feel like the original game that we played, but with many (?) liberties taken. The biggest one, it being available for the 360, PS3 and PC. Before, exclusive to the pc, now available to consoles makes me cringe as it normally means a dumbing down or simplification of the game. I love my complex games, but recognize that streamlining games (I find Diablo 3, being a good example with it's skill system) can make games better.

Things I want Firaxis to keep:
Mini tanks
Tanks were extremely fun to use in the original game; sometimes if my dropship could handle it, I would put 3 tanks in my party.. obviously, not very effective (being that they were big targets and limited the soldiers I had on foot), but it was fun.

Limited ammo
Should ammo be limited? At first I wanted to say 'yes', but then I thought, it can be streamlined in that you have a cooldown on powerful weapons. Say with a rocket launcher, it takes an extra step (or alot of action points) to reload/load ammo, kneel, aim or shoot. while a shot of a rocket launcher will be powerful, it will be limited, while a person with an assualt rifle, could have moved much more and got many more rounds off at the enemy.

Critical Fails
Sometimes that grenade didn't get thrown the way you wanted and stopped short. Sometimes you watch in horror and see it bouce off the side of one of your own troops. Critical Fails.. they suck.. but it happens. Reload button.

Time system
Allow you to speed up, slow down or pause the game. Need to micro manage, slow it down or pause it. Need to manufacture some items or research something? Increase the speed.

The ability to name your soldiers
Nothing makes you care more about your soldiers than by being able to name (and hopefully) customize their appearance.

Things I want Firaxis to improve upon:

Make it clear and simple to know what you can do with your turn; how far you can move and what you can do afterwards. 

Some sort of tech tree a la Civ 5 that allows you to see what you can research and what alien resources you need for it.

Ensure each map is randomized, especially for plot scenarios (ones that always happen). If the map is going to be the same, then ensure the monsters are placed in different places, have different vehicles in different spots etc.

Balanced enemies/game. I found the lobster men in Terror From the Deep to be true terrors in the game. Tough armor requiring you to use strong hand-to-hand weapons.. but still possessing powerful ranged weapons, was a bit unfair. 

Same thing with weapons, abilities, skills; make it balanced. In games like Diablo 3, its nostalgic to have Shocking Bolts for the wizard, but it is one of the crappiest abilities ever. I doubt less than 1% of the wizard community use that skill. There should be many different ways to play the game effectively although there should be ways to gimp yourself as well. In original X-Com games, you could use the rocket launcher only if your character was strong enough. And even if they were strong enough, their mobility was drastically reduced and their ammo was severely limited.

A sandbox-scenario mode; one where you can create your own map, place your own buildings, cover, enemy and unit placements. One that you can share with others and play yourself.

A horde mode; everyone loves a horde mode where enemies just keep coming and coming. One of the best things about a horde mode in games is that it breeds very good map design. A successful horde map is one where you can operate defensively but the enemy has many entry points.

A better resource system; while in Heroes of Might and Magic 6, it was very different to only have wood, ore, crystal and gold as the main resources, it did streamline things and let you concentrate on other parts of the game. To craft items in original X-Com games, you needed to gather resources via successful scenarios against the aliens. I didn't like having to rely on that as I wasn't very successful against them. Humans should be able to manufacturer similar materials for advanced tech, whether it be more costly, or result in inferior replicas. Thats ok, thats their technology we're trying to copy. 

Buy Now system. You're waiting for your new laser weapons to be built in your factory, but an alien attack has begun. Without these new lasers, you'll be at a severe disadvantage, with them though, you'll be the aggressor. Spending 2-3 times more than it normally would cost, you are able to properly equip your troops.

Fluff. I'd like to be able to make a design for my xcom team. I want an insignia, it want to have different colors and armor appearances for my soldiers. Make me care about them. Hawke? Oh he's my dead-eye sniper. He is swathed in camo gear, wears a purple beret and has an advanced eye enhancer that allows him greater accuracy. That sounds much better than John Smith, just another grunt to be sacrificed to the alien masses.


  1. First of all Great Post! I have been following this game myself, and I will no doubt be reviewing it myself when I start playing it.
    The only thing I find myself clearly disagreeing with you on is the concept of a buy it now for research etc.
    I liked the original system when the speed of progression was dependent on the number of Researchers / Engineers dictated the speed of production, I could see putting in a system by which you could have specialties for staff which meant items in that field were done quicker, but by having the buy it now you may end up with a scenario where the challenge is removed

  2. thats true; and i guess we shouldn't ever be planning to be in a position where we're at a huge disadvantage that we're missing that one piece of gear/tech. But maybe thats where resources come into play; we scrounge to have that emergency funds, b/c i'm quite sure the game ensures we never have enough anyways