Xenonauts project lead Chris England has revealed via the Goldhawk Interactive forums that Xenonauts 2 will most likely be a thing, probably, if nobody minds. “We’re still evaluating the possibility,” writes England, “but I’d say the chances of us making Xenonauts 2 as our next game are better than even.”
Xenonauts adds an extra level of complication to an already hugely convoluted X-COM lineage. It is neither the forebear of the original X-COM titles created by Julian Gollop back in the glory days of PC gaming, nor the 2012 2K reboot whose sequel has been delayed. Nor, in fact, 2K’s third-person fare XCOM Declassified: The Bureau.
Arguably though, Goldhawk’s unaffiliated 2014 release bears the most similarities with the Gollop originals. (Let’s just add another layer of complication by mentioning that the first game wasn’t even called X-COM in most territories but rather UFO: Enemy Unknown.)
England also gave a pretty thorough breakdown of his vision for a potential sequel – it’ll focus less on micro-management, play at a quicker pace and will offer greater variety. Even if the next game Goldhawk make isn’t Xenonauts 2, England says, it’ll probably play similarly because the engine they’ve created is geared towards that particular genre:
“The majority of our work has actually been to continue developing a codebase we could use for any squad-based tactics game we want to make. If we choose not to make Xenonauts 2, this code will be equally useful to any other game we decide to make.”
There are some big changes headed to Xenonauts 2 if development does go ahead, though – it’ll make the jump from 2D to 3D, with a visual redesign for aliens that also incorporates a new core mechanic for each race.
England is “happy” with the model for air combat that the team already has up and running, and even suggests it could be plugged right into Xenonauts 1’s strategy layer.
We’ll take those ‘marginally better than even odds’ for now, then. More on this as Goldhawk elaborate on their plans.