Yep, a second XCOM post in a row, the universe implodes. Here we have the first couple of screenshots revealed from the title in development at Firaxis. The first appears to be your squad members double timing it, probably a cut scene to begin a mission. The second shows a rather weak looking strategy element, presumably the bread and butter of the gameplay as a turn based strategy game.

It’s not looking too pretty judging by that second screenshot, I’m quite happy to play games that aren’t special in the looks department but I was expecting something a little more impressive, considering the technology we have these days. Details suggest they are “streamlining” the experience to cut out some needless micromanagement….I do hate that word, it usually indicates a mix of improvement and dumbing down the end-user choices to a shadow of its former self.

There were a fair few ways to manage your base, research and squad setup in past XCOM games. This was part of the fun for me, choosing who gets to be the “heavy weapons guy” what to focus your research on, intercepting ufo’s, defending your base, kitting out your squad, finding new ways to hurt the aliens or even just naming your favourite soldier after yourself. I wouldnt have called that micro management given it was all done in a turn based, pauseable environment but I suppose it is. I tend to think of micro as something done under pressure of time, not at my leisure.

Anyway, lets remain positive and not automatically jump to the “it’s gonna suck” conclusion, that first screenshot still looks nice! Maybe all the visual knobs and switches haven’t been turned on, maybe some models and textures will be redone, maybe it will have epic gameplay fun regardless and we just won’t care what it looks like. Repeat after me, the magic is in the gameplay, the magic is in the gameplay….