- Dec 28, 2009
1 October, 1979: Extraterrestrial forces begin their invasion of Earth. Panic spreads across the globe, and nations struggle in vain to organise their ill-equipped militaries against the alien threat. A clandestine organisation dubbed the 'Xenonauts' surfaces, claiming to have been preparing to defend the planet against alien incursion since its inception twenty years ago. Though distrustful, the major global powers reluctantly give their agents authority to operate in their territory and airspace.
Xenonauts puts the player in control of an organisation tasked with defending the planet against extraterrestrial invasion. Battle the aliens with your interceptors in the skies above Earth, or attack them on the ground with your elite strike teams in tense turn-based squad combat. Build up your bases and manage your budgets carefully to keep your men and vehicles well-equipped and the aliens at bay, buying yourself enough time to research and unlock the secrets of the extraterrestrial technology. This is strategy on a grand scale; tactician, commander and quartermaster - you must master them all if you are to succeed in defeating the alien menace. Humanity's very survival rests on your shoulders.
There will be limitless replayability on offer. Advanced AI will keep the player challenged at every stage of the game, and with randomly generated battlefields for every mission and numerous distinctive alien races it will be impossible to guess what lies around a corner or on the other side of a door. A battlefield cover system and fully destructible scenery means that every battle will unfold differently, while providing the player endless tactical possibilities. Missions will be interesting and varied too, with multiple victory conditions and occasional secondary objectives keeping the combat from becoming stale and repetitive.
The game is heavily inspired by the classic X-Com series of strategy games that arrived in the mid-90s courtesy of the now-defunct Microprose. It is a labour of love for many of the team, all of whom are big X-Com fans, but we have decided to try and reinvent the game rather than recreate it. The result is a game that is neither a sequel to X-Com nor a remake. We have taken our franchise in a different direction, retaining the core mechanics that made the original so compelling but updating the settings and features of the game to fit in with the modern age. Gone are the near-future stylings of Xenonauts' forerunners, replaced by a militaristic Cold War setting and a retro-inspired art style.
Xenonauts will be single-player only and is presently only in development only for the PC. Ports will be considered closer to release date, which is currently slated for Christmas 2010.
Xenonauts is divided into three main sections; the Geoscape, the Base Viewer and the Combat Viewer.
The Geoscape is the strategic command and control window, where the battle for the skies takes place. Xenonaut bases monitor alien activity and detect UFOs in the atmosphere, and the player is able to scramble interceptors to engage them in real-time strategic air combat. The player also launches ground missions and constructs new bases from the Geoscape, and it acts as a central 'hub' for all the other screens in the game.
The Base Viewer is the collection of screens where the player manages his bases and everything associated with them. These allow a player to do everything from building and demolishing base structures, managing research and manufacturing projects, purchasing/selling of equipment and setting the combat loadout of soldiers, vehicles and aircraft.
The Combat Viewer is where the isometric turn-based combat takes place. This takes place at squad-level, with the game supporting up to 16 soldiers and 4 vehicles at any one time. The battlefields will be randomly generated for every mission and will feature fully destructible terrain. The addition of a cover system, secondary victory objectives and friendly AI-controlled human forces should make battles even more tactical and exciting than before.
Ground battles in Xenonauts take place at squad level, with the player leading a team of up to 16 soldiers and 4 vehicles in turn based-combat against alien ground forces. The battlefields are tile-based and viewed from an isometric perspective, much like in the original X-Com games. Each unit has a set amount of Action Points to use each turn (governed by their statistics), which are spent performing actions during the player turn. However, it is not neccessarily desirable to expend all available Action Points in the player's turn - any Action Points unspent at the end of the turn are available for 'reflex' actions during the alien turn, which can range from reaction fire when an alien moves into the soldier's line of sight to 'reflex moves' that allow a soldier to evade incoming grenades or heavy weapon fire.
A huge variety of battlefield equipment is available, each with its own unique strengths and weaknesses. You can equip your soldiers for almost any battlefield role, from dedicated heavy assault troops to scouts and snipers. With each soldier having limited carrying capacity, the choice of equipment is an important one. Weapons adapted for short-range combat fire faster (using less APs per shot), but are less accurate over range than their larger counterparts, making weapon selection an important choice. Similarly, it is not the case that the heaviest armour is automatically the best - though it offers more protection, heavier armour is more constrictive and will reduce both the visual cone and the available APs of a soldier. Alien soldiers are configured in a similar way, so recognise the different types of soldier and learning their strengths and weaknesses gives you a huge avantage on the battlefield.
The largest innovation over our game's predecessors (aside from updated graphics), however, is the cover system, which adds a new tacical dimension to the game. The battlefield cover system allows soldiers to use the scenery to their advantage, giving the player the opportunity to protect his soldiers rather than simply praying that incoming enemy fire misses its target. With extraterrestrial weapons often powerful enough to kill human soldiers outright, this allows a player to even the odds through intelligent use of the his surroundings. Players will find the extraterrestrials equally adept at utlising the avaiable cover, so they will need to find ways to deal with dug-in extraterrestrial forces. As cover is directional rather than offering 360-degree protection, flanking maneuvers are one of the simplest methods to flush enemies out of their hiding places, but there are numerous other ways to deal with fortified positions. Equipment has been designed from the ground-up to work with the cover system, so everything from ballistic shields, flamethrowers and grenades to mechanised assault walkers will be available to ensure that dug-in troops can be shifted.
Another major feature of the ground battles will be the destructable terrain. Every piece of scenery in the game can be destroyed if sufficient damage is inflicted upon it, opening a myriad of tactical possibilities. Need to get inside a building but worried the doors are guarded? Blast a hole in the wall with grenades or a heavy weapon, and make your own door! Need to get over a fence or through a wall without walking the long way round? Shoot your way through, or just flatten it under the tracks of vehicle. A group of aliens holed up in a building giving you trouble? Use enough firepower and you can collapse the whole thing, killing everything inside. Careful, though - the aliens forces are just as capable of doing the same to you!
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