New XCOM Game, Chimera Squad, Announced for Late April
When the world is practically ending and the April releases have slowed down over time, the perfect thing everyone needs is a surprise game announcement! And as of a couple of days ago, that's exactly what we got. It's been four years since the last official XCOM game released, though the pain of that wait has certainly been alleviated somewhat by its expansions. Now, series developer Firaxis Games is set to introduce everyone to the newest addition to the family, and one that's more different than you might think. Unveiled by way of both a gameplay and story trailer, the new game goes by the name of XCOM: Chimera Squad, and according to Firaxis, it'll be out by the end of the month. We get to play this very soon!
So what's the deal with Chimera Squad? More specifically, that title? As it turns out, this game's story is set five years after the plot of XCOM 2, in which humans and aliens are coexisting in a very shaky alliance. Due to the fragile state of things, and how easily relations between everyone can go south, a group of specialists has been put together to take care of these disputes: The Chimera Squad. Made up of 11 characters, the squad features a colorful variety of personalities and races, each with their own unique abilities that change the tactics of any given situation. Some character abilities can be used in conjunction to gain an edge over the baddies. As XCOM fans might be quick to notice, however, the preset personalities of each squad member means there will be no squad customization like previous entries. Some of the fun of past games came from doing up your characters to look and act like people you know in real life, or fictional characters. Even so, all of this just means the Chimera Squad is a more solid cast of characters for a tighter story.
Missions in Chimera Squad are described by publisher 2K Games as "discrete, explosive encounters", hinting at the idea that missions will be short and focused affairs. One other big change to the game compared to past XCOMs is the turn order. Usually, turn order in XCOM games plays out for the entirety of each side: The player commands all of their units before the turn phase shifts to all of the enemy units, etc, etc. In Chimera Squad, however, the gameplay uses what Firaxis calls 'Interleaved Turns', a back-and-forth turn-based system similar to Dungeons & Dragons. You'll command one or two of your units at a time before it swaps to one or two of the enemy units, and so on and so forth. This new style of play adds a different layer of strategy to the game compared to past XCOMs, and better suits the unique abilities of each Chimera Squad unit.
According to 2K, XCOM: Chimera Squad will be a PC exclusive, set to release on April 24th via Steam. That means it's a little over a week away, so if you want to get prepared on what to expect, make sure to feast your eyes on the in-depth gameplay trailer down below. The price of the game will be $9.99 at the start of its launch, before going back to its full price of $19.99 on May 1st, encouraging fans to buy it as soon as possible. The price point, as well as the gameplay changes and art style, has given some fans the impression that Chimera Squad is more of a spinoff XCOM rather than a full, new entry. While that remains to be seen, it is important to keep in mind. One thing's for sure though: It'll scratch that strategy game itch that's likely been hitting many of us in the days of quarantine.