Exactly the kind of behaviour I'd expect from a real-time mode after years of refinement, they've pretty much got it mostly right with modern games I think.
As you said it depends on out-of battle features and off the top of my head none really spring to mind that will affect gameplay in a massive way so the way JA2 works can probably be mostly ignored (though I would like to get hold of a copy to see it for myself)
I think regardless of being real-time or turn-based the size and layout of a mission or random map elements is still going to need to be very carefully balanced to avoid the frustration from the original games. Most notably the last soldier in an alien colony... It's true that a real time mode would most likely speed this search along however even if its just by leaving your soldiers in good vantage points and whacking up the speed until a hostile contact pauses the game!
I imagine in time a whole new thread will emerge to discuss battlescape levels in a size and scope way but while it's been raised here we may as well at leat touch on he question of using a 60x60 grid (for the original games) to provide the whole playable battlefield. I remember Apocalypse had set points around the map edge which functioned as retreat zones for individual soldiers as essentially you were moving your trooper too far from the action to be of any further use. I could see this working in Colonisation for certain mission types if used in a different way though I'm thinking about the aliens rather than the human side here.
Imagine an alien assault on some form of laboratory or corporation building (much like an apocalypse ufo assault) but remember the aliens will have infiltrated the target without a vessel due to their need for secrecy (it's not worth risking giving away base locations just to mess with a few VIPs after all!) I don't think it's unreasonable to imagine that the ethereals have the ability to blend in with the general populace quite well by maintaining a kind of psionic aura to convince people what they are looking at is human. That means that once a mission starts going wrong they can just disappear and return to their base. After all though these aliens are using clones like the original games they don't have infinite numbers and they don't really form any kind of psionic collective yet either so they still possess some level of self-preservation.
I think the main benefit of having aliens occasionally flee the battlefield would be to prevent that tedious search for the last alien. Imagine we take a map of ordinary 60x60 xcom size for example then add another border around the whole map which is 10 tiles per side making the map an 80x80 area. Then think of the border as an evacuation zone where aliens and humans alike can decide to leave the fight if they so wish as long as they remain in said zone undetected for x amount of turns. If they're spotted then they would be followed after they left so could only leave if they could sneak away.
I'm thinking the possible benefit of this could be to avoid long boring and frustrationg searches for the last man in a mission as once the alien force is on its last trooper that unit could automatically be forced to make a retreat to the borders. This means even if he's shut himself in a janitors cupboard on floor 17 of this skyscraper he will immediately emerge and attempt to leave the building whilst continuing to engage any targets.
This is a new idea I've just come across based on the last few posts so please let me know what you think of it as a way to avoid tedious manhunts!
Apocalypse was probably my first experience of a real-time play mode and I never really liked the game just because it was so different to the original but I think really this was down to the new graphics and different aliens more than the real-time feature. Is it just me or was their not an option to switch from RT to TB at any point in the mission? I think Apoc was very hectic in RT but then the message bar did pause the game at the right time so all of the right components were there. Personally I'd debate how much has actually been changed since and that it's more to do with weight of troops and firepower that made RT slightly unbalanced but then that was the fast-paced nature of apocalypse. One autoshot from an HE cannon could destroy several different walls causing large parts of the building you were stood in to collapse around you killing friend and foe alike and causing untold devestation. This is the way the game played throughout though in my opinion so maybe it was more to do with balance that things were so fast and furious!
I agree the inclusion of turn-based gameplay simply for the sake of including it will be essentially pointless. I just think that the number of people out there who would still rather play in a TB mode (and yes these are mostly old XCom fans) warrants it's inclusion as an option. At the end of the day it will come down to the devs to make it happen for real or tell me they can't do both but personally I think it is more sensible to include both modes than to omit either one. So long as both are approached correctly and play well in the end product of course...
And IMO there is much more harm done by demanding an hour of real time to be spent on a single mission than by a possibility of player being inattentive while nothing of importance happens.
Hopefully the point I raised earlier or some similar feature will provide us with a way to avoid boring end-mission scenarios but I do agree that sending soldiers systematically into every toilet and cupboard on a cruise liner to find one stinking aquanaut leaves a lot to be desired!
I also agree that time usage is the main downfall of TB, even though it's the mode I prefer. I'll try analyzing the contributing factors and see if I can come up with ways to speed up TB gameplay.
Again I think my earlier comments on map size and alien hunting may take some of the pressure off maps that don't work well in both RT and turnbased gameplay but there is almoscertainly room for a whole new thread to discuss that!
Thanks for all your feedback guys and don't stop now!!!