It’s been a good year for XCOM fans. First, Firaxis’ fantastic rebuild of the game which, while changing the original formula of the game a fair bit, captured so much of what made the original game so terrific. Then the XCOM shooter was taken back to the drawing board to be reformed as The Bureau which looks to be a better stab at adapting the brand to the shooter genre.
Now there’s even more fine news: Xenonauts, the faithful indie recreation of the original game, has made its way onto Steam as part of Valve’s early access program.
With Xenonauts, developers Goldhawk Interactive aim to stick as close to the mechanics of the original XCOM as they can, though updating it in the areas where the 1994 game has aged worst – its UI, screen resolutions, and artwork, for instance.
I was able to preview Xenonauts a while back for BeefJack and was completely taken with the small sliver of game on offer. It’s as tactical, unforgiving, and relentless as the original XCOM, your troops will die in swathes and the aliens have all the advantages. Plus, the shift to an 80s cold war setting works well for feeding into a world made up of paranoid fractious nations working in uneasy alliances against an alien threat.
The early access available through Steam will net you a copy of the game’s current beta build and you’ll continue to receive updates as developer Goldhawk pushes them out. According to the Steam page:
“Xenonauts is still in development and will continue to receive free updates until it is fully complete. Most of the key features are already in place and the game can certainly be played in its current state, but it has a few rough edges like as inconsistent game balance, placeholder UI elements and the occasional missing art assets. You may also encounter bugs / crashes. We are working hard to solve all of these issues and *hope* to have the final game ready later this year.”