Terra Invicta takes XCOM and turns it into an Expanse-style grand strategy game

Take XCOM, and imagine a more realistic scenario where humanity had plenty of warning and global politics were less conveniently unified. Add in Newtonian physics and, hey presto, Terra Invicta is (probably) the grand strategy game you’ve been waiting for.

It’s being developed by the creators of XCOM’s The Long War mods – Pavonis Interactive – and the team has completely deconstructed XCOM’s ‘alien invasion’ scenario to build a top-down high strategy game where defeating (or embracing) the aliens is a decades-long endeavour. The clandestine organization trope is maintained as the player assumes the role as the head of one of several factions, each with their own agenda, victory conditions, and overall stance on the looming alien presence.

The meat of the game involves competing for influence and control over world governments, with the geopolitics roughly matching the present day. While conventional militaries and assets are present, this isn’t a Paradox-style game where you’re trying to paint the map your colour. You must work to control these governments from within to gain access to their resources and, more importantly, their space programs.

Here is an older trailer that offers and overview of what it’s about:

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The early parts of the game require you to kick-start the world’s space race so you can expand and industrialise the solar system. During our demo a lot about how the aliens operate and who they are was left unsaid because of spoiler reasons, but you know they’re coming, and you know they’ll have more advanced tech than you.

Pavonis expects games of Terra Invicta to last a couple of in-game decades, in which you will need to push humanity’s space capabilities as far as possible. Other starting scenarios are also being designed – one for a Cold War setting, and another for a slightly more advanced setting that skips a lot of the early game development.

Space combat happens in a separate tactical mode, and is turn-based. This game uses Newtonian physics (as does reality), and battles play out similar to how Battlestar Galactica Deadlock models tactical space combat. Your ships are always in motion, and every turn you can adjust movement and positioning to account for enemy actions.

Related: The best space games on PC

Terra Invicta is targeting a late 2021 release on Steam, and is being published by Hooded Horse, which is also publishing space RTS game Falling Frontier and 4X game Alliance of the Sacred Suns.

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