X-COM didnít change the world.
In fact, even if you were a gamer through the early 90's, its possible
the game flew under your radar.
However this science fiction strategy title quickly developed a cult
following and is widely considered one of the best turn-based strategy tittles
of its era. With upcoming series reboot, this is the perfect
time to look back at this innovative game that almost didn't see
the light of day.
Julian Gollop Born in Ludhiana, India was the grand creator of X-COM.
He grew a passion for board games and he saw computers as a huge potential
for making board games that had artificial intelligence. Gallop couldnít receive
any type of formalized computer programming training since it didnít exist in the 80's.
He purchased a book on assembly language and was essentially his only source
of reference. He first programmed a game called "Laser Squad". Which is basically
the turned bases soldier vs alien part of the game. He managed to incorporate
destructible environments, hidden line of sight and the opportunity to fire. Laser Squad
was so successful that he decided to start working on his sequel and his brother Nick
Gollop helped port Laser Squad to the Commodore 64. They didnít realize but the result of
their labor would leave an undeniable mark on the industry.
Microprose-UK gave them the deal and 4 people started working on X-COM.
Julian and his brother Nick did all the programming and a few artists
rotated through the project and near the end a sound designer added all the
effects, but Julian estimates that only about 4 people worked on the project at a time.
The original design was going to incorporate these suited government agents that would
be featured in the game as members of X-COM. Players could base these characters
in a city and collect information about alien activity (like spies) unfortunately Micropose
had julian remove them since they were doing their own game based on men in black.
Whatever that game was never saw the light of day.
No one really remembers how the name came to be, but itís likely a shortened
version of Extraterrestrial Combat Unit. X-COM was nearly 3 years in production and
about 3 months before it was finished Micropose-UK was purchased by Spectrum
Holobyte and they were interested in Micropose-UK for its simulation games.
The only reason Spectrum Holobyte didnít kick the project was because their own testers
petitioned for the game to release. X-COM released in 1994 for the PC and the PSone
the following year. It had strong sales in Europe , but it was amazing that it sold
well in the US. They rushed Terror from the Deep and then in 1997 they released
3rd version X-COM Apocalypse.
Itís amazing how close we came to never seeing this game.
I still remember Summer of 1996 , I walked into K-B toys and
walked to the bargain bin and pulled out X-COM
looked at it and it didnít look interesting , but it was on sale for
like 10 bucks. I purchased the game and my life has never been the same.
I have been hoping for a remake ( a good remake ) since I finished playing
Terror from the Deep. Only to have to play Apocalypse and another really bad version.
Jullian and Nick Gallop still design strategy titles, They recently release
Ghost Recon : Future Soldier for the 3Ds, which was not only a solid turn based
strategy title, but ended up being one of the 3Ds' best launch game.
I found out about this Xenonauts about 3 days ago and Im a Die Hard X-COM fan.
With 2K's reimagining of X-COM it could put a hurting on sales for this project.
One thing that 2K are not adding; underwater mission which were by
far the coolest part of TFTD ( Terror From the Deep ).
Of course it would be alot of work to add such a massive part to a game.
I would highly sugges the addition of under water missions and keep it
Original the way TFTD went about it. Nothing more nothing less.
I will wait untill the BETA releases before purchasing.