Looking to be a revival of the original PC title, XCOM: Enemy Unknown is a turn-based strategy game that tasks players with commanding XCOM, an organization dedicated to fighting off invading alien hordes as they hone in on Earth.
The game is in the hands of Firaxis, the masters behind the standout Civilization series. With XCOM, developers are looking to retain the same complexity and challenge presented in the original title while making it accessible to a modern, broader audience.
Today, we were given another look at the game from a new trailer. Titled “Casualties of War,” the trailer capitalizes on what is arguably the most interesting and engaging part of the game, and a convention I’d certainly love to see pop up more: permanent death.
XCOM: Enemy Unknown relies heavily on strategy and tactics, and one wrong move could spell disaster for your team. Not only will it take out a soldier in your squad for the battle, it will kill them permanently. And while this might sound like a throwaway convention that shouldn’t bother you too much, consider how you’ll feel about it after you’ve taken the time to carefully build your squad and customize them, using them in battle time and time again only to watch them die because you screwed up.
The idea of permanent death in a game is really pretty interesting, because it is such a strong departure from the reckless abandon that we might otherwise feel with our typical AI allies. Suddenly, there’s something at stake when we know there’s a real consequence to our actions. We not only have to be smart and analytical, but we also have to consider the value of our teammates and what each move could mean for them.
Sure, it’s not necessarily something that will revolutionize gaming as a whole, but it certainly could change things up a bit if it’s implemented in the right ways. Consider how you’d play through the Mass Effect series if you knew there was a possibility your squad mates could permanently die in battle. Kind of changes things, doesn’t it?
Get your turn-based strategy gaming on with XCOM: Enemy Unknown on the PC, XBOX 360, and PS3 on October 9th.