XCOM Drops A Knowledge Bomb
Woah woah woah. Hold up there. Are you telling me that James Clarendon, Lead Systems Designer on the highly anticipated (in fact, one of my most anticipated) game, The Bureau: XCOM Declassified, has just released a whole bunch of information on the RPG elements present in that game? No? Well, turns out, he has, and it is sweet.
Let's break it down. As you might know by now, you are William Carter, Squad Commander and the dude slightly less prone to dying, unlike the poor chumps you bring along. Fortunately, these poor chumps can be developed into mean alien-killing machines, if you invest in them properly. You can "keep a roster of eight agents, and two of these will join you in the field to form your squad". Of these eight, they can be split into four classes, the Commando, who "hits hard and uses direct abilities". The Engineer, who "deploys traps". The Recon, who is basically a sniper. And last but not least, the Support, who "bolsters the squad's abilities and hampers enemies". You'll be able to select a background for each agent, giving them personality and affecting their stats, with examples such as Gunsmith, or having studied Pre-Med giving slight perks in actual gameplay.
Then, there's the all-important character customization, which hopefully trumps that in XCOM: Enemy Unknown, which was not exactly what I would call robust. Furthermore, each character has a skill tree which changes and enhances how they work in combat, forcing you to use different strategies with different characters. Abilities range from mines to "Pulse Waves" that "send bogeys flying", and each will apparently have a huge impact on the battlefield.
Along with the link is also a bunch of tips for those who are babies and unwilling to learn through the school of hard knocks and losing chumps. Otherwise, check the link anyway, if just to drool over the implications this has on the final product. To be honest, I read this with a mix of utmost anticipation and curling trepidation - this has the potential to be great, either a great success, or a great disappointment. Only time will tell, but I'll keep my fingers crossed tight, because it sounds like it'll turn out to be the former rather than the latter. If there's one thing that brings me the most hope, it's this line that Clarendon ends the article with: "Losing a high-ranking agent can be the difference between success and failure, and in the high-stakes world of The Bureau, you can't afford to make a lot of mistakes." I give you XCOM, gentlemen.