Interview med lead designeren
Daily Rush: Thanks for giving a great presentation. It’s great to see new things added to the strategy layer, and it is something that players have yearned to see.
Ananda Gupta: Yeah, absolutely. What you are seeing today is my personal baby. I’m a cold war history fan. I designed a board game about the cold war, and so when they said “can you design an expansion pack?”, I said “yes, it will have spies”. This is somewhere where my love of spies and of cloak and dagger, of espionage, and covert operations dovetailed nicely into what I thought XCOM needed. In the early invasion the player does not control the tempo of the campaign. The aliens launch the attacks and you decide whether or not to deal with them, but you don’t really control when the abduction missions happens. It happens and either you’re ready or you’re not. And that makes sense for an alien invasion, right? When fighting the aliens we want the player to feel sort of off-balance.
With Exalt I wanted it to feel more like a fencing match. So no covert operation happens unless the player wants it to. You decide: Who is going on a covert operation, which cell to target, and when to time it. You can choose when to use the Intel Scan to reveal Exalt cells. You can choose never to use an Intel Scan. And in that case what will happen is the only time you will ever see an Exalt cell is when they have attacked. And then you will see them for that interim period between the attack and when they hide again. If you choose to take advantage of that window and go after the cell that’s your choice. In this way the player has the initiative. The player controls the tempo of the secret war against Exalt. This is something I think really went well with what we already had. So now you have the aliens where the player is always off-balance and eventually can kind of take the initiative a little by shooting down UFOs, but you still don’t control when those UFOs appear. Here it is up to you to form a strategy.
Daily Rush: The Seeker is a new stealth alien unit. How did you playtest and balance its stealth capability?
Ananda Gupta: With great difficulty. So anytime you add a stealth unit like that, especially the Seeker…So the Seeker is our first stealth alien and it is also our first stealth unit that uses cover because it’s a flying unit. And so this made it very powerful. So we ended up putting limitations on it. It has fuel for the stealth. In multiplayer it has fuel for the stealth. In single player as well but it comes into play a little less in single player. But none the less we don’t want the player to have to find an invisible unit if it’s the last one on the map. So eventually you will run out of stealth fuel and it will be revealed permanently. With the seeker we designed a new AI for it. It has an AI that is unique among the aliens. Unlike any of the other aliens, when you encounter it, usually one of them will attack right away and one of them will leave to wait until you are fighting someone else. Then it will come in because it knows the worst time to come and strangle someone is when you are fighting other aliens. And it realy likes to come after soldiers who are alone. It likes to go after soldiers who are isolated from the squad. We did’nt put in any preference for snipers, but players have certainly settled into a playstyle where they like snipers to hang back. We recognize that and so we thought what if we give them a little twist.