Confirmed – The Bureau: XCOM Declassified arrives August 20

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It’s probably one of the worst kept secrets in gaming right now. The XCOM shooter was off the radar for a while, with a more traditional game in that franchise appearing in the shape of Enemy Unkown. Truth is, no one wanted an XCOM game with FPS leanings. But The Bureau: XCOM Declassified may be more tactical than it is action-packed, something that the creative director at 2K Marin for the game, Morgan Gray emphasised in an interview with us this week.

So where do we begin with The Bureau: XCOM Declassified? Right at the very beginning, says Gray. This will be the game that charts the origin of the bureau, of how, why and when XCOM was founded.  All this, amidst the backdrop of a looming alien invasion that is currently slamming the planet harder than an Eskon tarriff increase.

“We’re going back to 1962 America,” Gray explained. “The Cold War is on, JFK is president, the communist scare is on and there’s a race to the moon happening”.

You play as William Carter, who has recently joined an organisation called the Bureau,  that is dedicated to fighting foreign threats to America. Suddenly, aliens arrive and the bureau goes beyond fighting threats to America that happen to be Mother Russia.

As William Carter, you are there from day one for the founding of XCOM as an organisation. One of the aspects of our game, is that we’re trying to find a new interpretation of the classic XCOM gameplay system.

Or to get down to the nitty gritty, this XCOM will be a  “third-person, squad-based tactical combat expression of the core pillars of the XCOM franchise”, which Gray defined as being all about “team, tactics, technology, tools, terror, tension.” That’s a lot of Ts.

Gray says that this will also be a pure XCOM game, made for the fans. So less Call of Duty, more actually thinking on your feet and staying alive.

What we’re trying to achieve on the gameplay front is a very tactical. A game that demands skillful play from the player and a game that expects that. In true XCOM fashion, it’s not just your Rambo brawn, but it’s using your brains, your team, the technology at your disposal, creating plans and then executing them.

There is never a frozen time, you’re always making snap decisions. To use a sports analogy: It’s more about calling audibles then huddling. We are trying to emulate the fantasy of being the squad leader out in the battlefield versus the commander sitting at the desk who has all of the time in the world observing from afar.

XCOM has been bubbling away for years now, going back to the drawing board several times, emerging in it’s current form as The Bureau.

It’s out August 20, on Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC. We’ll have some more sound bites up later for you, regarding the game.

Last Updated: April 26, 2013

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