I was thinking about the Cold War setting on the way home. It’s something that I’ve heard mentioned a few times about Xenonauts.
Yes, it’s set in 1977. Yes, the weapons are era specific and yes, there’s starkness to the art. But does the game really reflect the era, what could it do to reflect it more and should it bother?
One thing that I would really like to see would be an event system running in parallel with/ in addition to the alien attack one, showing the reaction of the funding nation’s to events:-
‘Pravda reports that aliens have been welcomed in Moscow.’ would be a bad one to read
‘ Riots continue in Paris suburbs for a third night.’
‘local forces rout alien survivor’
‘ Governor unmasked as Sebillian agent’
‘ Country X threatens Country Y over disputed border, in face of alien invasion.’
‘ Ambassador Fererro Rocher assassinated.’ – Infiltration mission successful.
And so on, anything to give a bit of heart and soul to the otherwise bland funding world that the game is based in. There’s an invasion fleet in orbit. It would be nice to know what the reaction to it was, other than funding the Xenonauts out of the petty cash. Messages would become increasing desperate as the invasion progressed, enhancing the tension in the game hopefully.
So some thoughts, based as firmly as possible within the context of work we’ve already seen in the game.
Background: We all lived under the shadow of the bomb. An escalating crisis could lead to something cataclysmic.
Game background: Perhaps that’s a reason why the aliens simply don’t attack. Mutually Assured Destruction would kill their landing troops just as it would kill everything else. Perhaps they are scanning the Earth’s military capabilities before their other ships arrive.
-The option of nuking countries that have singed with the aliens won’t really work as the Geoscape doesn’t operate at that level of detail.
- Missions through irradiated wastelands would look very cool, but would take too much work to bother about.
- Having the option of alien friendly countries nuking your based isn’t good for game play.
Background – Behind the sabre rattling, there was an never ending desire to expand spheres of influence across the globe.
Game background - In any circumstance, never underestimate humanity’s desire to take advantage of one another, even in the face of disaster.
- Funding nations can expand or contract depending on alien attacks. They will actively seek to do this, even if it means going against some Xenonaut interests.
- Missions against the alien threat could be activated by a funding nations’s goals. In effect, expanding the goals of a mission, some of which would not require an intercept component.
-Funding nations are linked to each other. Other finding nations are linked with the fates of one of the two superpowers.
The lack of a country by country feed into the funding nations make the above tough to implement.
Background – Publicly displayed goals of the cold war revolved around an ideological difference between the superpowers.
Game Background: A number of UFOlogy figures in the US report that the visitors were communist in nature, alerting these people to the US authorities.
- The Alien fleet could effortlessly divide a cold war world by siding with one half of it. Less of a pact through infiltration, than an alliance against a common hated foe. The humans would get world dominance and technological wonders while the aliens would get the rare minerals they are really after. Naturally, all humans would end up as food/pets regardless of which side is allied with.
-Disruption of funding nations, and possibly allies through withdrawal of funds.
- Active resistance by local forces in Geoscape missions.
- Increased costs to operate bases, buy equipment etc in that part of the world.
- Targeted attacked against hated enemies of the human/ alien alliance, placing strain on limited resources.
Enemy Within/ Espionage
Background – When the wall came down, a sizeable number of the East Germans were found to be spying on each other. You just never knew if your neighbour was someone you could trust.
Game Background – While there’s an invasion fleet in orbit, perhaps the aliens are trying to be a little bit sneaky to weaken their foes first.
In Game :
-Infiltration missions run by aliens, much in the same way as a lead up to signing an alien pact as portrayed in the first EU.
- Pacts that would operate much as alliances above, but later in the game. Local forces could be working for either side, depending on how insidious the pact was.
- In conjunction with more in game news information, it would be clear which countries were beginning to turn to the aliens. Such countries would be key to run missions in
- Flyovers of countries would have an impact on infiltration as would base location within that funding nation.
- Anti infiltration missions, much like Apocalypse. Basically a normal mission minus the air combat phase. ‘ Local forces identify possible infiltration. Investigate.’
Perhaps sometimes there may not be any aliens present, losing points with the funding nation.
- Defend the military base from Alien infiltration/ ground assault is another option
- Escaping aliens and missions that are not taken up by the Xenonauts, would play strongly into this area.