The XCOM Shooter relaunched as “The Bureau: XCOM Declassified”
After many delays and much controversy, the XCOM shooter is finally on track for a retail release. After being announced as a first-person shooter reboot to the cult hit X-COM series, it’s now a third-person shooter spin-off set in the XCOM universe called “The Bureau: XCOM Declassified.”
In The Bureau, you play as Special Agent William Carter at the height of the Cold War in 1962. At first, working for The Bureau was about investigating possible Soviet activity. It quickly gave way to finding extra-terrestrial activity, dealing with the alien threat and covering it up to keep from inciting a nationwide panic.
The description of the gameplay from 2K Marin indicates that they are trying to make this game more like last year’s XCOM: Enemy Unknown than a straight shooter. Some have gone as far as to describe The Bureau as real-time strategic combat as opposed to XCOM: Enemy Unknown’s turn-based action.
As Special Agent Carter, you lead a squad into battle against an alien force with superior numbers and technology. As the squad leader, you have to issue commands for positioning, target priority and ability use. As in XCOM, your squadmates are completely customizable and permadeath is still a feature.
I have to admit that I was very worried that 2K Marin would just take shortcuts on this and deliver a generic third-person shooter. If they can pull off what they promise and deliver what sounds like XCOM in a shooter’s clothing, we should have an epic game. Of course, that’s a big if. How many times have we had games hyped through PR only to fall short of expectations?
What scares me slightly is that with The Bureau and XCOM, we could be seeing the start of an annualized franchise. Annual releases hasn’t exactly resulted in consistent high quality games from the likes of Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed. I wouldn’t mind trading off between XCOM and The Bureau games (or XCOM-based strategy and shooter games) each year if the quality stays GOTY-nominee worthy.
The Bureau: XCOM Declassified is scheduled for release on August 20, 2013, for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC. 2K Marin has indicated that they currently do not have plans to put the game on next-gen consoles.