Ken Levine talks Bioshock and X-COM


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#1 Slaughter

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Posted 22 March 2009 - 10:48 PM

Ken Levine of Irrational Games (2K studio now) was recently interviewed by GameSpot, and X-COM was one of the subjects they touched upon.

Quote

GS: There's this nasty rumor going around that you've been working on the successor to X-Com, the classic sci-fi tactical game from Microprose. You wouldn't know anything about that, would you?

KL: I personally own four copies of X-Com. I just bought the whole series again on Steam. I even spent a few hours last month playing (God forgive me) X- Com: Enforcer! Now that's love.

On a completely unprofessional side note, I'm going to name-drop and say I met Sid Meier at E3--one of the perks of working for Take-Two. He had this kind of Zen-master serenity thing going on about him, but I think I creeped him out with my nerdy, 1,000-yard fanboy stare.

Back to X-Com. I will say that I'm probably the world's biggest X-Com [fan]. I won't say I'm working on an X-Com game.

You can read the full interview over at GameSpot.

Spotted at EvilAvatar.com


#2 Pete

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Posted 22 March 2009 - 11:02 PM

Well isn't that sort-of-confirmation because anyone else would just say "no we're not" if they're not?
May your terror missions always be infested with Chrysalids.

#3 Zombie

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Posted 22 March 2009 - 11:56 PM

That sentence neither confirms nor denies he's working on an X-COM Game. Basically a meaningless statement since it is ambiguous. But it leaves a shred of hope and that's good news, right? :laugh:

Ken Levine said:

I personally own four copies of X-Com. I just bought the whole series again on Steam. I even spent a few hours last month playing (God forgive me) X- Com: Enforcer! Now that's love.
Only 4 copies? C'mon, I own 50+ physical copies of the games in the X-COM series. And a few hours playing Enforcer? I spent 8 hours straight playing it recently. Of course, that doesn't happen every month, but I revisit all the games in the series from time to time. Enforcer isn't that bad of a game if you can ignore the supposed tie to X-COM. :D

Ken Levine said:

Back to X-Com. I will say that I'm probably the world's biggest X-Com [fan].
Not knowing any of Ken's background/habits or hobbies, I can't exactly dispute this. However, if there is anything you should learn about the world we live in is that there are always people who know more and are bigger fans than you. Case in point: look at the X-COM forums here, at Xcomufo.com and even the X-COM wiki. There are a lot of fans out there... :D

- Zombie

My X-COM Patch Kit For UFO Defense | Emergency XCOM Meeting spoof on YouTube




JellyfishGreen said:

Zombie: Empirical data's your only man, when formulating a research plan.
A soldier's death is never in vain if it makes the formula more plain.
A few dozen make a better case for refining that third decimal place.
They call me Zombie because I don't sleep, as I slowly struggle to climb this heap,
of corpses, data points, and trials, but from the top - I'll see for miles!

#4 Bomb Bloke

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 12:56 AM

If he were a true fan...

... he'd know you can't buy the full series on Steam.  :laugh:
BB's X-Com Projects Page - X-Com Games At GamersGate
You're just jealous 'cause the voices only talk to me :P
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#5 Pete

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 07:27 AM

Indeed - no Email X-COM!
May your terror missions always be infested with Chrysalids.

#6 Space Voyager

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 08:50 AM

View PostPete, on 23rd March 2009, 12:02am, said:

Well isn't that sort-of-confirmation because anyone else would just say "no we're not" if they're not?
It's a straw I'll cling to if you don't mind.  :laugh:

#7 Gimli

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 08:53 AM

I wonder what it is they are preparing for their old school fans. Maybe some kind of an editor or source code for one of their older games?

#8 Bomb Bloke

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 01:41 PM

... And he'd point out that it wasn't "Microprose's" classic, too!!
BB's X-Com Projects Page - X-Com Games At GamersGate
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#9 Pete

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 02:02 PM

Indeed - depending which title you're talking about it'd be Mythos Games, Microprose or Infogrames :laugh:
May your terror missions always be infested with Chrysalids.

#10 Slaughter

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 11:41 PM

View PostZombie, on 23rd March 2009, 12:56am, said:

That sentence neither confirms nor denies he's working on an X-COM Game. Basically a meaningless statement since it is ambiguous. But it leaves a shred of hope and that's good news, right? :D


Only 4 copies? C'mon, I own 50+ physical copies of the games in the X-COM series. And a few hours playing Enforcer? I spent 8 hours straight playing it recently. Of course, that doesn't happen every month, but I revisit all the games in the series from time to time. Enforcer isn't that bad of a game if you can ignore the supposed tie to X-COM. :laugh:


Not knowing any of Ken's background/habits or hobbies, I can't exactly dispute this. However, if there is anything you should learn about the world we live in is that there are always people who know more and are bigger fans than you. Case in point: look at the X-COM forums here, at Xcomufo.com and even the X-COM wiki. There are a lot of fans out there... :)

- Zombie
If he were the world's biggest X-COM fan, he'd sure be registered here. That begs the question, who exactly is named Ken? Now, despite all the half mad X-COM fans here, you're likely the craziest Zombie. So....despite claiming you own only four copies in the interview, it's time to come out of the closet, no? :D

Thinking of a new X-COM is horror induced joy! I have no illusions we'll get another UFO: Enemy Unknown, but I'm still curious to see what they end up doing if they are indeed working on the next X-COM...


#11 Zombie

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 03:22 AM

View PostSlaughter, on 23rd March 2009, 6:41pm, said:

Now, despite all the half mad X-COM fans here, you're likely the craziest Zombie.
Thanks, I'll take that as a compliment. If I'm not the craziest, I'm surely in the top 100, right? :D :laugh:

View PostSlaughter, on 23rd March 2009, 6:41pm, said:

Thinking of a new X-COM is horror induced joy! I have no illusions we'll get another UFO: Enemy Unknown, but I'm still curious to see what they end up doing if they are indeed working on the next X-COM...
If it is an X-COM title, it'll probably be a First Person Shooter,  Real Time Strategy like Alliance (maybe using the unreal engine)? Just a guess as BioShock used this, but it's valid. Don't really understand the fascination with Alliance as that title was headed in the same direction as Enforcer (being not too popular since it didn't recapture the spirit of the first two games in the series). Genesis would be a better avenue to explore, but here again, the preferred RT element wouldn't have the same flair either (might be a good upgrade to Apocalypse though). You would think that pursuing the Enemy Unknown genre would be more advantageous since (if done right) it would be an almost certain hit. Alliance and Genesis are basically unproven games and wouldn't guarantee success short of a miracle. Just my opinion though. :D

- Zombie

My X-COM Patch Kit For UFO Defense | Emergency XCOM Meeting spoof on YouTube




JellyfishGreen said:

Zombie: Empirical data's your only man, when formulating a research plan.
A soldier's death is never in vain if it makes the formula more plain.
A few dozen make a better case for refining that third decimal place.
They call me Zombie because I don't sleep, as I slowly struggle to climb this heap,
of corpses, data points, and trials, but from the top - I'll see for miles!

#12 Pete

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 07:50 AM

Well Alliance was going to be a squad-based FPS with a rich storyline, puzzles to solve and different jobs to be undertaken by the various members of the team you assemble for each mission. All this with you controlling one of your squad in combat directly and the movements of your other AI squad members by using the tactical map.

In most aspects that was way ahead if it's time. But think now about the Steam platform. Think about the hugely popular Left4Dead where up to four human players can play in co-op mode. Think a rich storyline andpleny of missions whilst enteringg combat alongside your buddies, and having to be strategic for fear of being mown down.

That would work IMO and, sadly, would do better in today's M
market. But I'd love to see it.

RIP X-COM Alliance and Stargate Sg-1 Alliance - two potentially great games that both tried this before bit never saw the light of day due to dev/publisher cock-ups.

I'd love to see an X-COM EU straight remake too, but can't see it happening. I'd also be slightly disappointed if it didn't bring anything new to the table to be honest.
May your terror missions always be infested with Chrysalids.

#13 Thunder_Gr

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 07:57 AM

Messed up, sorry. See post bellow.
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However, every single word I have used is also used in all books that have ever
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#14 Space Voyager

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 07:58 AM

View PostZombie, on 24th March 2009, 4:22am, said:

Don't really understand the fascination with Alliance as that title was headed in the same direction as Enforcer
DA BLASPHEMY!  :laugh:

Alliance was one of the most anticipated games of all times for me and probably the biggest disappointment when it got cancelled. We played through the strategy of X-COM and while I wouldn't mind (at all) another good X-COM themed strategy, going into the fight and face the enemies myself was a really thrilling idea to me.

Pics, story, team based gameplay, team member specializations, even diplomacy, the possibility of cooperation with Ascidians etc. etc. all promised a deep, immersing alien hunt.

Of all the listed things Enforcer has... PICS.  :D

By the way, Cyke's Alliance page is still up. No updates since 2002, sadly.

#15 Thunder_Gr

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 07:59 AM

View PostPete, on 24th March 2009, 9:50am, said:

I'd love to see an X-COM EU straight remake too, but can't see it happening. I'd also be slightly disappointed if it didn't bring anything new to the table to be honest.


I would prefer these "new" things to be just interface and information gathering improvements.
It seems every game that tried to make a remake bringing something "new", ended up destroying the complexity and atmosphere of the game(Extraterrestreals, anyone? I admit I haven't bought it, but I've tried it in a friend's computer. Fortunatelly, bman did a great job modding it, but it is still quite behind in terms of complexity and atmosphere, IMHO).
That what I know, is that I know nothing. - Sokrates

I would like to state that my message does not violate any copyright laws.
However, every single word I have used is also used in all books that have ever
been published in english...

#16 Bomb Bloke

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 09:06 AM

Cyke's forums went down a year or two ago. That was literally the first board I ever posted on.  :laugh:

(Probably just as well it's no longer readible, considering what my posts looked like back in those days...  :D )

I'm not sure I understand the point of a "straight" remake. If it does nothing the original game didn't already do, then why bother? It's not like it's impossible to run the old versions on modern hardware.

Alliance would've had such things as limb damage crippling your soldiers, forcing you to literally drag them out of harm's way if need be. Granted, UFO had that (units would literally take a TU penalty if their legs got injured for eg), though you likely wouldn't notice during just one playthrough. In 3d, units can express their status far more... effectively.

Then there's the psionic effects, and even some sort of "emotion" system like the one I hear about in Jagged Alliance (if a soldier's friend got killed, he'd pysch out).

Granted, it would've been a far cry from the original UFO, but steps away aren't necessarily steps backward. Alliance would've been nothing like Enforcer.

The whole "same sort of game" thing is probably why my view towards TFTD/Genesis never really rose above "meh", and why I quite liked Apocalypse/Aftermath.

While I accept that Alliance won't ever be finished (not without being rebuilt from scratch at least), I'd still love to play that of it that was completed (I get the impression that accounts for most of the game). Who knows, maybe it'd prove me wrong by being complete rubbish, but at least I'd know...
BB's X-Com Projects Page - X-Com Games At GamersGate
You're just jealous 'cause the voices only talk to me :P
We love Tammy! :)

#17 Gimli

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 10:10 AM

On one hand, it could be an FPS, but the fact that they say it's a new experience has me wondering if it's not something else.

As for Alliance... I think it could work, but I know that I would want it to work differently than they had intended. It would definitely be something that no FPS has done as far as I know. But I am not sure how feasible my ideas are. And even if they were, there's still the question if it would remain scary. Music wouldn't be a problem, but I wouldn't want it to be scary like for example Doom 3 and similar games were, because it seems to me like those kinds of games try to startle you (more or less successfully), rather than scare you. I find it better when the enemies are scary because they are strong and one mistake can kill you.

Genesis looked good on paper, but I think there's a lot more that can be improved by combining the good features of UFO's and Apoc's tactical combat system and adding more to it. Plus, Geoscape could use a bit more complexity and the diplomacy with corporations could be improved a notch or two.
I'm not sure if I would want story based missions ala Aftershock. If I did have them, I'd make them completely optional, though that could be very tricky to do properly.

I love the intro to Genesis. :laugh:

#18 Pete

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 01:58 PM

You mean the intro to Alliance? :laugh:
May your terror missions always be infested with Chrysalids.

#19 Gimli

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 02:30 PM

That is good, too. But this has a space battle, man. A space battle!

#20 Pete

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 08:32 PM

Okay. I'm confused now. What Genesis intro are we talking about? Link please.
May your terror missions always be infested with Chrysalids.




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