XCOM: Enemy Unknown to Include Multiplayer
Be a soldier, be an alien, or be both. We don't judge here.
Fans of the original XCOM series might be thrown by the announcement of multiplayer inclusion, but Jake Solomon, lead designer on Firaxis' remake of the popular turn-based strategy insists it's for the best. In an interview with Eurogamer, Solomon acknowledged the reaction to Bioware's choice to include multiplayer in Mass Effect 3 and was aware of how that swayed fan expectation.
"You would expect people to be very excited," Solomon said. "But sometimes people are like, it's a single-player game, why do they need to ruin it with multiplayer?"
The addition of multiplayer was a conscious design decision from the very beginning of production. It was meant to give gamers the chance to play as the aliens and go head-to-head against the soldiers in a deathmatch style.
Solomon explained, "It's one of those fantasies. You played the original, it was always this fantasy to play as the aliens. Now, generally, the fantasy encompasses a game where you're aliens invading earth. But that has never appealed to me - I don't know that would actually be that fun to play. So this is one way to fulfill that fantasy. You can play as the Sectoid. You can play as all these different alien creatures. I don't know that from the very beginning we knew exactly what multiplayer was going to be, but it was something I absolutely wanted."
Multiplayer gameplay is exactly like the core XCOM gameplay players have come to know well. Turns are limited to 115 seconds (customizable in the points pool), and during that time, players command each unit in their squad. Moving, shooting, using abilities, you do it all and then give control to your opponent and the process begins for them.
"I would hope people would understand that all this does is add to the game," Solomon said. "Especially for people who really liked the original, it's really fun. It's a fairly straightforward mode. It's deathmatch. But it's deep and it adds a little more replay value to people who like the game."
Obviously, a team of designers had to create the multiplayer, so it's a valid concern that in simply creating the multiplayer, talent was taken from the single-player experience.
"With us, it was always like, we want to do multiplayer, and the publisher was very excited to hear that because multiplayer adds a lot of value both from the development side and the fact people will play the game for longer," Solomon went on to say. "Although our games typically have a lot of replay anyway, it adds even more value for games with short single-player campaigns and limited replayability. But yeah, it was never explicit with us. It didn't pull anything away from the single-player."
The only way to really know is to play the game and decide for yourself. Going in with an open mind might give you the chance to live out a dream to playing as the aliens and taking out the soldiers on your own watch.
XCOM: Enemy Unknown will be released on October 9th, 2012 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.