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The Bureau: XCOM Declassified

A Look At New Gameplay Features In Franchise Reboot

It is 1950's idyllic America. An era of innocence. There are cookie cutter neighborhoods, white picket fences, 2.5 kids per family, lemonade stands, and a sincere trust of government. Though all is seemingly perfect, something is about to go terribly wrong.

Back in April, 2K Games announced 2K Marin's upcoming project, a reboot of classic strategy series X-COM. Sans hyphen, the new XCOM, created by the development studio behind BioShock 2, will instead be a first-person shooter that aims to take the franchise in a new, but familiar direction. Though there are some changes, XCOM will still provide elements fans of the series will recognize.

There is an unknown alien threat among the U.S. and it is up to the XCOM organization to gather scattered pieces of intelligence to better understand the situation. During 2K's E3 presentation we're shown the game's central base. In the operations center we see a giant map of the U.S. that will mark off which regions have field missions available. This is key since a huge part of gameplay is performing field research. Any research brought back to the lab at the XCOM base will help scientists better understand the alien threat and find more efficient ways to defeat it.

One weapon spawned from field research is the Blobatov, a molotov-like weapon in the form of a clear glass ball filled with black goo. Upon tossing the device it will burst into flames, consuming whatever is within range. We also saw a standard shot gun, plus a lightning gun that has the power to electrocute foes that stand in the way. All weapons must be used sparingly as resources are limited.

In the demo your character, special agent William Carter, is about to embark on a mission along with two other agents who are pivotal to your success. The team drives to their destination, a neighborhood straight out of Leave it to Beaver. The area is deadly silent. No kids playing. No dogs barking. A child’s bike is overturned in the middle of the street. The team follows a trail of black goo that leads to a smoldering dead body. Carter takes a research photo only to be interrupted by people screaming. While it may be too late for this poor corpse, it doesn't mean the team can't save the remaining survivors.

The agents run up a driveway to find a man crawling out of a house. Covered in sludge, the victim keels over, pukes up goo, and unfortunately passes at your feet. A woman shrieks inside so without hesitation the team breaks into the home. A group of black slime creatures attack the agents and Carter tosses the Blobatov to set the faceless demons ablaze. One monster jumps at one of the agents, smothers his face, and kills him. If an agent dies in a mission we’re told he cannot be rescued. Some of the goo creatures take a ground approach, so Carter zooms in with his shot gun and blasts bright blue orbs that bubble out of the sludge.

The two remaining agents blast through the once beautiful home in search of the woman in danger. Dining room tables and chairs are knocked around in the process. The team becomes surrounded by the slimy black creatures so Carter uses his lightning gun to shock all enemies within range to stun them and buy some time. Turns out the woman is upstairs, but which room? Carter checks the bathroom and the sink begins to violently shake. Sentient goo begins to burst out of the sink drain. Carter attacks and blasts through the remaining threat in the home. He finds the terrified housewife hiding in a bedroom, and safely rescues her. After the save, the lighting in the entire home changes to a deep, eerie red. Uh-oh.

Carter makes his way outside to find the environment is getting sucked up by a central force in the sky. Vehicles, fences, tricycles, rooftops, trees, and just about anything else within the obelisk’s wide range is consumed. At this point it is up to Carter to get back to his car and return safely to base. Before doing so Carter took a research photo of the structure and continued on his way. The obelisk then morphs into a spinning ring and with a fatal laser zap eliminates his remaining partner. Carter shoots at the alien object with little result. The sky eerily changes colors, and the fate of the last agent standing comes into question. Will Carter make it back to the base alive? Find out when XCOM hits Xbox 360 and PC next year.

Check out the latest screens and trailer in the media gallery below.

  • I am very interested in this game, I like the sound of it.

  • Looks pretty cool. Sad that your partners all die eventually.

  • At least it is coming to PC. That's good.
  • You can definitely tell by the graphics that it's 2K. I'm pretty excited about this title. I'm sure it'll be ranked among Bioshock and The Darkness. =D

  • this article is good. i had no idea if this series' existence until the first trailer. and it's a reboot, too. i like the premise of the game alot and the environment hasn't been tackled by many people before so it's refreshing to set a different time period and setting.

  • I like the sound of this game, rebooted by the creators of bioshock 2 gives me higher expectations...

  • Looking outstanding so far. Can't wait for more information on this.

  • I would like to know what the benefits are of keeping your partners alive. Also, I wonder if your partners are going to be personable and have specific strengths and weaknesses. That would be cool if you would actually coordinate this whole operation and if you don't take the right guys to the job, you could cost them their lives. I hope you can customize your partners load outs as well and give them some bad ass alien weapons. That would make this game a hell-a lot more appealing to me.

  • This looks like another will polished by the Bio Shock Clan.. I really like their gaming style, and choice of character's, and weapon design..

    I hope they give you the choice's like Bio Shock gave.. To be able to make the choice wether to save, or let a fellow team mate die...

  • This game looks really fun and mysterious.  I'm excited to see more on it.

  • I like the oxymoron 2k. "We r taking this in a new but familiar direction". For anyone that wants to say something about this comment i understand what they mean. I just find it funny that two contradicting words in the same sentence makes sense. But nonetheless XCOM looks worthwhile for looking into more.

  • You hardly see this kinda of action set in the 50's.  Bioshock did a great job with the 20's feel, though.

  • Good developers, good setting... questionable content and story... I'm torn.

  • No. This is a horrible idea, it shouldn't even be called X-Com. Let me see if I can find a suitable analogy to describe why I don't like this game.

    Lets say someone made a "remake" of Warcraft, not WoW, or WC3, WC1. They take out the Orcs and add new enemies. They change it from an RTS to a platformer. They take it from medieval times to prehistoric times. Can you even call it Warcraft anymore? That is what they are doing to the X-Com game right now.

  • I'm very interested in how this game will turn out.  The setting, gameplay, story, and developing studio are really attractive aspects.

  • I totally agree with Arun. How do you take one of the best turn base tactical games ever and turn it into an FPS? At this point they should scrap all connection to the X-com name. The only thing it has in common with the original so far is aliens. What about the skill trees or the R&D after finding alien objects on crafts? I'd be infinitely more exited if they went back to the roots of the UFO defense and remade it, or better yet Terror from the Deep. Sorry, not interested in this game at all. Just like Hollywood, take things from the past, repackage it for teenie boppers who have no idea what the original was about and alienate the original fan base.

  • this game looks good i hope it is

  • 2.5 kids per family? Either the child would be cut in half or an alien baby.

  • sounds interesting. Fighting a sentient blob? cool.

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