Did you know that, until its most recent iteration, the Ghost Recon series was made in third-person for the consoles and first-person for the PC? This games pop culture factoid is brought to you in aid of making a point about PC altruism, which Firaxis apparently know all about; adapting your game to suit the PC is hard work, says XCOM lead designer Jake Solomon, but “incredibly important”.
“Playing mouse and keyboard is a different experience,” Solomon told Eurogamer. “From just the way it looks when you start, the UI is different. The grid gets drawn in the PC version and we have a little extra help when you hold down the mouse button. Small things like that. Obviously we have to add a lot of new buttons and things like that. It feels good on mouse and keyboard, which it should. It’s XCOM.”
The more changes made for the PC’s sake, the more bugs there are to quash, says Solomon. “That deviation creates a lot of work, which is what we’ve experienced. So it’s nice to keep things similar in a lot of respects. But, it would be nice to say we’re completely altruistic PC champions. And we are. At Firaxis PC is incredibly important to us.
“But, to be honest, a lot of it comes from the fact we just can’t take what we’ve done with the gamepad and make it work with the mouse. It just doesn’t work. You’re pushing a cursor around the map. So it just doesn’t map to the mouse and keyboard. And it’s a good thing, but because of that we were forced to come up with a new interface.”
Our Dan went hands-on with XCOM: Enemy Unknown recently and it made his heart swell, which is an unambiguous Good Sign.