XCOM 2 Will Push Your Resistance Movement To Its Limits

Sep 24, 2008
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Real reason why the Developers made it that we lost.

They want a sequel.

It really doesn't get more complicated than that. How could you make a sequel from having the entire world behind you, you've beaten back the enemy, adapted it's strengths and made humanity grow via the new science? A bigger unknown threat with bigger guns that somehow makes you the underdog again even though you have all these enhancements?

It wasn't going to work. Everyone wants to feel like the underdog, everyone wants to feel like they accomplished something great. Who would feel like an accomplished, skillful player if a remaining ship of greys crashed to earth after you won, so they are just met with MECHs, PSI powered warriors, and Genetically Mutated Super Soldiers with really big plasma weaponry ready to party?
 

008Zulu_v1legacy

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zombiejoe said:
It is possible to lose the campaign itself. Just because you yourself didn't do it doesn't mean it's not something that can't happen. Just look up "XCOM Enemy Unknown Game Over." The devs consider it an ending, and that's the one they want to explore.

Though I agree, a more in-depth look at how the humans lost the war wouldn't be so bad. I don't feel that its that important, but more details and story are always welcome.
Games are generally meant to be won, if the devs had intended us to lose the first game, then they would have made losing the game the easiest thing to do or even railroaded us down a particular path.

If they do eventually come out with a plausible reason, I might very well accept it. But if it's just "we wanted to see what would happen" then to hell with them and their flippant attitudes.
 

Erttheking

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008Zulu said:
zombiejoe said:
It is possible to lose the campaign itself. Just because you yourself didn't do it doesn't mean it's not something that can't happen. Just look up "XCOM Enemy Unknown Game Over." The devs consider it an ending, and that's the one they want to explore.

Though I agree, a more in-depth look at how the humans lost the war wouldn't be so bad. I don't feel that its that important, but more details and story are always welcome.
Games are generally meant to be won, if the devs had intended us to lose the first game, then they would have made losing the game the easiest thing to do or even railroaded us down a particular path.

If they do eventually come out with a plausible reason, I might very well accept it. But if it's just "we wanted to see what would happen" then to hell with them and their flippant attitudes.
Made losing the game the easiest thing to do? Frankly it's very easy to lose in XCOM. Heck it's one of the few games out there with enough teeth to say "You played for ten hours...but I don't care, you lost, go back and start over."

Games are meant to be won...I'm probably going to catch a lot of flak for this, but I think you're focusing on games purely as a power fantasy. Not every game owes you a victory. Too many people think this way nowadays frankly.

Plus this is an alternate timeline from the same time anyway.
 

happyninja42

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I'm glad they're putting something of a timeline on the game. It gives an extra level of tension/pressure to your activities. I remember feeling kind of bored with XCOM:EU with how much time would take place between enemy actions that I could respond to. So hopefully with this countdown over my head, I will have more of a sense of urgency. Which would be nice.
 

GARforGunman

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ObsidianJones said:
Real reason why the Developers made it that we lost.

They want a sequel.

It really doesn't get more complicated than that. How could you make a sequel from having the entire world behind you, you've beaten back the enemy, adapted it's strengths and made humanity grow via the new science? A bigger unknown threat with bigger guns that somehow makes you the underdog again even though you have all these enhancements?
Well, consider this; the Ethereals' main objective with the invasion wasn't about conquering mankind, but testing them. They were searching for the perfect host species who could not only adapt to their technology and psionic powers, but grow stronger from them. All the other races they conquered had failed this test in some way, becoming little more than disposable pawns for them in their quest to find new hosts to replace their failing bodies.

But, according to the Master Ethereal during his end-game dialogue, they were the greatest failure of all the aliens you've encountered. They had failed to ascend according to the designs of a different, seemingly more ancient entity.

As far as sequel hooks go, that's pretty intriguing. Sure, XCOM helped propel humanity's evolution forward by at least two centuries (both in terms of scientific and psionic discoveries) but that would probably pale in comparison to whatever could make the Ethereals inferior. We'd probably start the game out with upgraded laser weapons, better armor and some psi powers, but we'd probably have to go beyond that to combat whatever multi-dimensional Lovecraftian horrors threatened the Earth. In this scenario, I could definitely see XCOM wielding tech and powers akin to Warhammer 40K (without the try-hard edginess that series seems shackled to).

That's mostly why I'm frustrated with Firaxis ret-conning the first game's scenario to justify being the underdog again. We're going back to thwart the Ethereals' schemes again when we know from EU/EW that there's more threatening forces lurking just on the horizon. Sure, the upgraded cast of aliens look like a great challenge, but I'm not alone in thinking we could be facing entirely new foes at the moment (or even revamped aliens from TFTD).

Still chomping at the bit to play XCOM 2, but Firaxis needs to let the series move forward on a narrative level or else it risks stagnation like the original series before the reboot.
 

Callate

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EternallyBored said:
Some of your information is off, you don't get shot down then get a game over, you get a chance to defend your base and then if you lose that it's a game over. There are also human allies, they show the overworld map in one trailer emphasizing how your missions inspire the human populace to rise up and resist the aliens.
So there's a step between being shot out of the sky and game over. Given the emphasis everywhere else on how little slack the game affords players for mistakes, I don't know that that's an improvement. The game as described already seems likely to be prey to "You reached the point of no return five hours ago, you just didn't know it until now." A last-ditch effort to save your headquarters seems likely to be a mission with a lot of resources lost and little gained besides survival.

As far as the "human resistance" element goes, that's nice- but that's not the element I've seen Firaxis et. al. emphasizing in any of the print stories.

Your complaints about soldier customization just sounds pointlessly cynical, are you really trying to spin it as a negative because you get more attached to your soldiers and thus work harder to keep them alive? Sure you get that soldier that misses a dumb shot and gets crit slaughtered the next turn, but you also get your team of customized badasses that survive all odds and win the final mission, rather than being a bunch of faceless mooks only differentiated by their class and weapon load out.
I was of the habit of giving soldiers nicknames that allowed me to immediately recognize their capabilities- this is the sniper, this is the medic, this is the explosives guy, this is the offensive-psionic. Sure, I got mildly attached to characters who were good at their jobs, but mostly it was about their utility and the time/resource cost of replacing them.

To give an XCom character- especially an early XCom character- a high degree of customization is not unlike doing a careful detailing and customizing of a car that's going to be part of a demolition derby. And while I'll admit to a certain amount of intrigue to the whole "character pool" idea, another part of my mind thinks that this amounts to the developers dumping much of the workload of story-building, character arc, and emotional resonance- the parts that make people "care"- directly onto the back of the player, rather than making an effort to create those feelings themselves.

To the extent that I've had interesting, discussion-worthy moments in past XCom games, it's been about managing to drop a grenade at the feet of two sectoids that suddenly popped into line-of-sight and get away clean- not about the fact that my sniper has one green eye and one blue eye and comes from Okinawa.

Cynical? Maybe. Pointlessly? Your mileage, as said, may vary, but you haven't made that case to me.

Xcom has always been really grim, the first game ends with mass devastation to most countries, the second gets the whole world destroyed in the aftermath so that the third takes place in one of the few surviving areas not destroyed by the aliens.

While there are likely ways they could have continued the plot and made it work, your idea of just going to alien planets to fight seems less interesting than what we've currently got, and deemphasizes the earth defense aspect from the most popular of the early Xcoms as well as running the risk of just turning the units into generic space marines. I don't care about alien planets involving the species from the first game, none of the individual species were ever that interesting that I'd want to see what their planets looked like bar maybe the ethereals and snake men.
*Shrug* I think I could make it work. The aliens remain in the Earth's solar system, only now they're rudderless and disorganized- so instead of dealing with one united faction, XCom is dealing with multiple factions. The Sectoids claim to want peace, the Ethereals are plotting genocide, The Thin Men and Vipers are infiltrating Earth governments, the Mutons' broken leadership has their orphaned troops still trying to carry out terror missions; meanwhile, the leadership of Earth has ceased to take the alien threat seriously, alien tech is being capitalized for use in international conflicts, alien weapons are in the hands of criminal syndicates, and the typical human is no longer sure he or she even has anything in common with their psionically-gifted, cybernetically-enhanced saviors. An XCom game with deeper elements of diplomacy, espionage and public relations in addition to squad-based combat could, I think, be interesting indeed.

But, well, we're getting something else. And it will probably be a good game; Firaxis has an excellent track record. I'm just unconvinced it will be the game for me, which is all I've been saying.
 

008Zulu_v1legacy

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erttheking said:
I think you're focusing on games purely as a power fantasy. Not every game owes you a victory. Too many people think this way nowadays frankly.

Plus this is an alternate timeline from the same time anyway.
Games are a power fantasy, no one would want to play an unemployed couch crusher meekly living out their day to day life. Here's the thing; You win a victory, it makes you happy. And since games are meant to be fun, they are meant to be won.

Is the alternate timeline confirmed? If so, I will wait until they get back on track before deciding if they are worthy of my money.
 

Erttheking

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008Zulu said:
erttheking said:
I think you're focusing on games purely as a power fantasy. Not every game owes you a victory. Too many people think this way nowadays frankly.

Plus this is an alternate timeline from the same time anyway.
Games are a power fantasy, no one would want to play an unemployed couch crusher meekly living out their day to day life. Here's the thing; You win a victory, it makes you happy. And since games are meant to be fun, they are meant to be won.

Is the alternate timeline confirmed? If so, I will wait until they get back on track before deciding if they are worthy of my money.
Power fantasy? Where is the power fantasy in Papers Please, Silent Hill 2, the Pokemon Channel, Gone Home, most visual novels, Animal Crossing, Eternal Darkness, Outlast, Amesia the Dark Descent, This War of Mine, and Tetris. Saying games are a power fantasy is a massive disservice to the medium. Having games always be about empowerment just limits what games can do. A lot of games make their emotional impact by disempowering you. Games do not owe you a victory.
 

Radoh

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008Zulu said:
erttheking said:
I think you're focusing on games purely as a power fantasy. Not every game owes you a victory. Too many people think this way nowadays frankly.

Plus this is an alternate timeline from the same time anyway.
Games are a power fantasy, no one would want to play an unemployed couch crusher meekly living out their day to day life. Here's the thing; You win a victory, it makes you happy. And since games are meant to be fun, they are meant to be won.

Is the alternate timeline confirmed? If so, I will wait until they get back on track before deciding if they are worthy of my money.
You know it's really frustrating that you say that like you are just so cocksure about what makes a video game a video game.
Spec Ops: The Line is explicitly the opposite of what you are saying video games are, going out of it's way to actively belittle you for trying to pretend to be something that you're not.
There are games meant to be challenging, not something to empower you but to test your mettle and determination, games where the central theme is a lesson to be learned and not a "Congrats, you are the winner" to be had.
The idea of a medium being constrained to a single narrow viewpoint is how you ruin a medium.
 

008Zulu_v1legacy

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erttheking said:
Power fantasy?
Papers Please; You decide who does or doesn't get in to the country.
Silent Hill 2; While the objective is finding your missing wife, solving the puzzles is exercising intellectual power, which makes you feel good.
Pokemon Channel; Is a glorified pet simulator, not a game.
Gone Home/visual novels; Interactive text don't count as games either, they are interactive text.
Animal Crossing; Collecting items that can be traded with other players. There are players who exploit this need, this is exercising power.

...And so forth.

erttheking said:
A lot of games make their emotional impact by disempowering you. Games do not owe you a victory.
Yes they do. Here's why;

When a game dis-empowers you, it is creating a set of circumstances for you to overcome. When you overcome them, you win. Winning is good. You don't play a game to feel worse than when you first sat down and started it, it's counter-intuitive to the whole idea of games being entertainment.
 

008Zulu_v1legacy

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Radoh" post="6.884361.22320474 said:
There are games meant to be challenging, not something to empower you but to test your mettle and determination, games where the central theme is a lesson to be learned and not a "Congrats, you are the winner" to be had. /quote]

Would you agree that overcoming challenges is empowering? But with games such as Call of Duty (etc) that do have these "lessons to be learned" in the Single Player story, the people who buy and play these games exclusively for the multiplayer, really caring about lessons of morality in war that the games strive to raise awareness of? If you believe the marketing info of the companies that make these games, most gamers are focusing on the multiplayer. So the message is lost. Now if these multiplayer fans play through the single player, do you think they would care about the message then, or are the playing the single player to kill time until the servers are back up?

Is it a generalisation on my behalf that people only play games to win? Yes it is, but it's also the view supported by the games industry as a whole.
 

Erttheking

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008Zulu said:
erttheking said:
Power fantasy?
Papers Please; You decide who does or doesn't get in to the country.
Silent Hill 2; While the objective is finding your missing wife, solving the puzzles is exercising intellectual power, which makes you feel good.
Pokemon Channel; Is a glorified pet simulator, not a game.
Gone Home/visual novels; Interactive text don't count as games either, they are interactive text.
Animal Crossing; Collecting items that can be traded with other players. There are players who exploit this need, this is exercising power.

...And so forth.

erttheking said:
A lot of games make their emotional impact by disempowering you. Games do not owe you a victory.
Yes they do. Here's why;

When a game dis-empowers you, it is creating a set of circumstances for you to overcome. When you overcome them, you win. Winning is good. You don't play a game to feel worse than when you first sat down and started it, it's counter-intuitive to the whole idea of games being entertainment.
You are REALLY stretchering the definition of power fantasy. In Papers Please you don't get to decide crap. If you break the rules the government smashes down on you. In the circumstances where there's a story break in the monotony, you're either still following regulations or a reward to make up for you breaking the rules, in other words it disables the penalty which basically putting it in the "admit" folder. Also Gone Home and visual novels are games. Say whatever you want, they're games. Pokemon channel is also a game, because it is played on a game console. Say it's a SHIT game if you want, but it's a game. You pulling out arbitrary definitions of failure states or whatever doesn't change that. Or are you saying Ace Attorney isn't a real game. Because it's a visual novel.

Well then, XCOM 2 is creating a set of circumstances for you to overcome, I don't see the problem. Things got worse in the Alien invasion and now you have to fight back against it. Unless every sequel to a pre-existing game isn't ever allowed to have things get worse. In which case you'd probably have a problem with Resistance, Gears of War, Wolfenstein the New Order, Mass Effect 2, Mass Effect 3, Apollo Justice Ace Attorney, Anomaly 2 and Borderlands 2.

You don't play a game to feel worse than when you sat down? You sir have never played Spec Ops the Line. Games are an art. A genre. They aren't just toys. Games like Red Dead Redemption have horrifically depressing endings because you can't always win. Always winning is boring.
 

Radoh

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008Zulu said:
Radoh said:
There are games meant to be challenging, not something to empower you but to test your mettle and determination, games where the central theme is a lesson to be learned and not a "Congrats, you are the winner" to be had.
Would you agree that overcoming challenges is empowering? But with games such as Call of Duty (etc) that do have these "lessons to be learned" in the Single Player story, the people who buy and play these games exclusively for the multiplayer, really caring about lessons of morality in war that the games strive to raise awareness of? If you believe the marketing info of the companies that make these games, most gamers are focusing on the multiplayer. So the message is lost. Now if these multiplayer fans play through the single player, do you think they would care about the message then, or are the playing the single player to kill time until the servers are back up?

Is it a generalisation on my behalf that people only play games to win? Yes it is, but it's also the view supported by the games industry as a whole.
Why in the hell are you bringing up Call of Duty which has nothing to do with anything that I was saying? Multiplayer is neither a relevant point to be made about any of the games listed by myself or by erttheking, least of all XCOM.
Deliberately ignoring single player content because "people buy COD for the Multiplayer" has zero relevance to why people bought XCOM, Spec OPS: The Line, or will be buying XCOM 2.
If you can't think of something relevant to bring up in the current conversation, then ignoring the entire argument and moving on to something tangentially related to the subject just weakens your overall argument.
 

BeerTent

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Holy shitballs the salt in this thread.

I don't get it, I really don't. The whole bit on "Oh mah gawd, We lost game 1, it's all invaleed nao!" Maybe 008Zulu's side on it helps me understand, but I'm not going to say my thoughts on that matter. Yes, you play to win the game, but if a game isn't fun to play, only fun to win, you're not having a good time.

zombiejoe said:
008Zulu said:
[...]

I have lost troops, but I have never lost a campaign. Every ending I got was the same;

My Psi trooper ordering the remaining off the ship ending

In regards for your possible explanation, while it is feasible, I would have the Devs tell us the official reason why.
It is possible to lose the campaign itself. Just because you yourself didn't do it doesn't mean it's not something that can't happen. Just look up "XCOM Enemy Unknown Game Over." The devs consider it an ending, and that's the one they want to explore.

Though I agree, a more in-depth look at how the humans lost the war wouldn't be so bad. I don't feel that its that important, but more details and story are always welcome.
There's a book detailing the loss, I don't have it, there's people far more dedicated than me who do though. And they say it's a pretty good book.

I think the main reason why we lost, other than your reason, was that XCOM:EW was pretty absurd. When you really think about it, the aliens having that level of resources, how was a scrappy team of 12 dudes, (or even in the case of LW, a organization of 70 dudes.) was going to stop them. I can't be the only one who thinks the aliens are phoning it in pretty hard. Even in LW, where I see 4 named aliens alongside a queen and think, "Okay, Fuckin' take Africa. I'm not goddamn dealing with this."
 

zombiejoe

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BeerTent said:
Holy shitballs the salt in this thread.

I don't get it, I really don't. The whole bit on "Oh mah gawd, We lost game 1, it's all invaleed nao!" Maybe 008Zulu's side on it helps me understand, but I'm not going to say my thoughts on that matter. Yes, you play to win the game, but if a game isn't fun to play, only fun to win, you're not having a good time.

zombiejoe said:
008Zulu said:
[...]

I have lost troops, but I have never lost a campaign. Every ending I got was the same;

My Psi trooper ordering the remaining off the ship ending

In regards for your possible explanation, while it is feasible, I would have the Devs tell us the official reason why.
It is possible to lose the campaign itself. Just because you yourself didn't do it doesn't mean it's not something that can't happen. Just look up "XCOM Enemy Unknown Game Over." The devs consider it an ending, and that's the one they want to explore.

Though I agree, a more in-depth look at how the humans lost the war wouldn't be so bad. I don't feel that its that important, but more details and story are always welcome.
There's a book detailing the loss, I don't have it, there's people far more dedicated than me who do though. And they say it's a pretty good book.

I think the main reason why we lost, other than your reason, was that XCOM:EW was pretty absurd. When you really think about it, the aliens having that level of resources, how was a scrappy team of 12 dudes, (or even in the case of LW, a organization of 70 dudes.) was going to stop them. I can't be the only one who thinks the aliens are phoning it in pretty hard. Even in LW, where I see 4 named aliens alongside a queen and think, "Okay, Fuckin' take Africa. I'm not goddamn dealing with this."
Agreed, friendo. The amount of salt here is tremendous. Even I'm drowning in the stuff.

I did hear about the book recently, so I guess that is a nice way to flesh out things for those who are interested in it. I might even need to check it out myself, even though I always considered XCOM to be a series more about the world scenarios and situations you're thrown in rather than a hardline story itself.

Like I've said before, even though I consider XCOM 2 to be more an "alternate timeline" than a "this is what actually happened" thing, I'm also fine believing that the aliens we went up against in EU/EW were just the start of what was to come. It seemed like what we fought was working for something much stronger. Though, I guess the book should clear up those details.
 

008Zulu_v1legacy

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erttheking said:
Well then, XCOM 2 is creating a set of circumstances for you to overcome, I don't see the problem.
The problem is that it isn't following the established narrative, and they haven't bothered to explain (in universe) why.

erttheking said:
You are REALLY stretchering the definition of power fantasy. In Papers Please you don't get to decide crap. If you break the rules the government smashes down on you. In the circumstances where there's a story break in the monotony, you're either still following regulations or a reward to make up for you breaking the rules, in other words it disables the penalty which basically putting it in the "admit" folder. Also Gone Home and visual novels are games. Say whatever you want, they're games. Pokemon channel is also a game, because it is played on a game console. Say it's a SHIT game if you want, but it's a game. You pulling out arbitrary definitions of failure states or whatever doesn't change that. Or are you saying Ace Attorney isn't a real game. Because it's a visual novel.
You can watch movies on a games console, doesn't make them games.

erttheking said:
Unless every sequel to a pre-existing game isn't ever allowed to have things get worse. In which case you'd probably have a problem with Resistance, Gears of War, Wolfenstein the New Order, Mass Effect 2, Mass Effect 3, Apollo Justice Ace Attorney, Anomaly 2 and Borderlands 2.

You don't play a game to feel worse than when you sat down? You sir have never played Spec Ops the Line. Games are an art. A genre. They aren't just toys. Games like Red Dead Redemption have horrifically depressing endings because you can't always win. Always winning is boring.
They can get worse, but all those examples you listed have clearly defined narratives driving them. With Spec Ops, and Red Dead, not winning is plainly obvious what the Devs had in mind. The way Xcom progressed, lead you to believe that winning was the ultimate goal.
 

Kajin

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008Zulu said:
You can watch movies on a games console, doesn't make them games.
Movies aren't interactive, though. A VN might be mostly about telling a story, but at the end of the day you're still making choices to drive the plot forward with victory and failure conditions based on choices you make. For certain definitions of "winning" and "losing", but winning and losing nonetheless. That makes them games. A different variety of game from what you'd prefer but still a game. That's all beside the point, though.

The way Xcom progressed, lead you to believe that winning was the ultimate goal.
It certainly was. Indeed, one tends to want to win a war that one is fighting. Obviously a win condition was prerequisite to playing XCOM as that's what you were working towards. Doesn't mean it actually canonically happens, though. Or happens the way you want it to. Or whatever. Honestly I see nothing wrong with the devs embracing whatever narrative they wish to tell with THEIR game. Because it is THEIR'S to do with as THEY wish.

I'd rather employ the age old tradition of "wait and see" before making any claims of RUINED FOREVER, but even now I like the direction they're taking the game. It's definitely a rather interesting idea regardless of anyone that thinks the devs owe them anything other than a game that might be enjoyable to play.
 

Erttheking

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008Zulu said:
Losing XCOM was always perfectly possible and for many a player it was their fate on their first playthrough. As for the narrative...a massive technologically advanced race invaded Earth. I call them winning a case of reality ensues.

Not on the gamecube, which was where Pokemon channel came out on. Also you gonna address any of the other points I made there?

No. The downer endings were pretty big twists. And what? Can the devs never play with expectations? They can never throw something in you weren't expecting? Really, expecting XCOM to win and then having a game based off of that would've smashed any sense of flow, considering that also would've said "Everything in the first game you did means nothing because now you need to do it all over again and for some reason you need to start at square one." They led you to BELIEVE that winning was the ultimate goal. As the game's high difficulty shows, they also made it clear that it was very possible to fail that goa.