Meet the Seeker in XCOM: Enemy Within

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Seeker

For a game that is reusing several assets, XCOM: Enemy Within sure is adding a ton of of new content. Cyborg soldiers and Psi-enhanced operatives are just a few of the new personnel that you’ll be commanding. But don’t expect your enemies to not bring something new to the party either. Say hello…to the seeker.

Developer Firaxis have cooked up something new to terrorise players with, according to their blog. The Seeker is a  flying unit that was originally meant to appear in the first game, but was kept in storage. Until Firaxis saw how good people were at the game. “One of the things we wanted to do in Enemy Within was to get the player looking over her shoulder more often,” Lead Designer Ananda Gupta wrote on the blog.

Making the Seeker a flying unit made a ton of sense; an assassin has to have a lot of mobility, especially if we want it to make hit and run attacks with a close-quarters ability. Stealth would also help it approach the player’s squad without getting chewed up before it can get to grips.

But stealth proved very difficult to get right; in a turn based game, there are defined windows for player action, and we needed to make sure that players didn’t spin their wheels hunting the last cloaked enemy on the map.

The Seeker’s stealth was initially unlimited, but this was quickly changed to a fuel-like system both for multiplayer balance reasons and so that “hunt the Seeker” didn’t become a problem during abduction and terror maps once it was clear the player had a strong advantage.

Seekers appear in pairs; this is pretty tightly controlled. Originally, Seekers could appear in moderate numbers, but one too many missions where the entire XCOM squad was simultaneously strangled led us to change that.

To compensate for their small numbers, they will often defer combat until XCOM encounters another alien group; this keeps the player suspicious, and offers a choice: try to locate and destroy the Seekers immediately, or move on and hope you can deal with them when they combine with other aliens on the map?

Sounds like a challenging adversary.  Enemy Within is out November 15, so go stomp some bugs before the game is out. Do you want to know more?

Last Updated: September 18, 2013

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