Fans of the legendary XCOM series have gone quite some time since the last major content for the franchise, the War of the Chosen expansion for XCOM 2, which is several years old. And yet, the Firaxis franchise is very suddenly getting a spin-off title. What is even more surprising is that it is right around the corner.
The spin-off is called Chimera Squad, and it is launching on April 24th: not a far-off date in any capacity. This game that mixes up the traditional XCOM mechanics from prior games will launch on PC alone through Steam at a great price of $10. That price is only temporary, however, as it will go back up to its original price of $20 on May 1st.
XCOM: Chimera Squad – Game Reveal Trailer
The announcement for the game gives players a lot of information about it. The first thing to note is that the game is not a direct sequel to XCOM 2, nor is it an expansion for the game, though the story does take place five years after the events of that game. Following the defeat of the Elders in XCOM 2, humans and aliens have been working side by side in order to rebuild the devastated Earth. But as expected, some humans are against this union considering the invasion and occupation, and are taking action against the alliance.
Chimera Squad is an interspecies task force with the objective of investigating and stopping these threats. Unlike previous XCOM games where your soldiers were pretty much randomized, the members of Chimera Squad are unique characters with lore and personalities.
This is quite a large departure from classic XCOM mechanics, in which your troops and their many abilities and stats are randomized. The developers are hoping this new mechanic will place a bigger emphasis on team composition and synergy, and less on individually powered super-soldiers who happened to get good stat or skill rolls.
Other big changes to game mechanics include Breach mode, which allows you to choose your own entry points when attacking enemy strongholds, and an initiative-based turn system where enemies and allies will take turns acting individually, instead of taking turns as teams.
“With XCOM: Chimera Squad, we felt there were exciting gameplay opportunities yet to be discovered within the XCOM universe,” said lead designer Mark Nauta, in the announcement. “Gameplay like Breach Mode, interleaved turn order, and the introduction of agents as fully fleshed-out characters will revolutionize how the gameplays while still retaining the combat experience that makes the XCOM series so loved by gaming communities around the world.”
While it is pretty understandable to be excited about new XCOM content, it’s also worth noting that this game is probably a side project intended to gauge player reactions to new mechanics that the developers are looking to use for the next major XCOM release. That said, considering the price, the game may not be very long, but hopefully, will still be very good.