The XCOM shooter, which has been bouncing around in limbo for the past two years, will finally launch this fall as a squad-based third-person tactical shooter called The Bureau: XCOM Declassified. The full retail game begins in 1962 during the the Kennedy administration and is the origin story of the modern XCOM initiative, which was playable in last year's "critical and commercial success" XCOM: Enemy Unknown.
"The Bureau's initial charter was to investigate a series of incidents that the government thought were all Soviet infiltration and maybe a precursor to a nuclear war. Turns out, those incidents were of a far more extraterrestrial origin," VP of 2K Games Product Development Alyssa Finley told us. "The Bureau has to quickly adapt from their original charter to become the kind of organization that could identify alien threats, find ways to turn the alien technology against them and cover up evidence of what happened so that the American public could go on with their lives and not go into a panic about being invaded by aliens."
In XCOM Declassified, players are in the role of Special Agent William Carter, who takes customizable agents into the field for real-time combat (as compared to Enemy Unknown's turn-based). Permadeath for squad mates is still part of the game. Although the squad mates are blank slates the player creates, The Bureau also features a cast of support characters, who are established as part of the plot. 2K Games is still trying to keep the focus of XCOM on "tactics, tools and teams."
"A high tide raises all boats," said Nico Bihary, senior producer at developer 2K Marin, when asked how last year's XCOM: Enemy Unknown influenced The Bureau. "There's quite a bit of familiarity between what we're doing versus what [Firaxis] is doing. What worked to our advantage, it really allowed us to put together a really compelling origin story because [Enemy Unknown] already established the current version of XCOM. It's been contextualized for us, so if we tell an origin story, people understand what we're talking about."
The Bureau: XCOM Declassified will begin filling out x-files August 20 on PS3, Xbox 360 and PC. When asked about next-gen consoles Bihary said, "We are currently focusing on the current-gen platforms."