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Xenonauts 2 - Update

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Well, let me tell you this. If you decide to make Xenonauts 2 -- and continue to have Linux support you'll get another happy customer from me. Hell, this time I'll fork out for a custom named character :) I've always kicked myself for passing on that lol.

Yes, a day 1 release would be nice.

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I love Xenonauts... and I think this idea is not the greatest if you guys want actually to make money. There have been many X-com games lately, some with quite a bot of exposure, so why retread these tracks so soon? Especially if you are going to go with 3d graphics it's crossing over towards the Firaxis games. You could avoid the inevitable comparison with both old and new X-com, you guys already did a remake of a game, so why make a re-re-make so soon?

For squadbased strategy I have the following suggestions.

If it has to be old IP the following inspirations come to mind:

1. Jagged Alliance

2. Silent Storm

But why not a new twist?

- A squadbased turnbased commando game (Silent Storm without scifi). Possible flavors:

-- World war 2 setting

-- Modern setting

-- Scifi

- Space marines (boarding vessles). My favorite idea ;)

-- Space pirates

-- Space war setting (against the Xenonauts aliens?)

- Space seals

-- On the lines of the novels of Old Man's war (John Scalsi)

Most of these ideas can be set in the Xenonauts universe. And though the people here are cheering, I bet they would be cheering even harder for a fresh (plot) twist.

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I liked the first Xenonauts so much that I just MIGHT buy this sight unseen. But I've been burned before by big thoughts and crap execution. But I have big faith in you guys and you really proved yourself with Xenonauts. There were few things wrong with Xenonauts, in fact, I can't really think of anything that was plain wrong with it. Just a few things I wish you'd done differently but that still worked.

So here's to Xeno2! <3

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I love Xenonauts... and I think this idea is not the greatest if you guys want actually to make money. There have been many X-com games lately, some with quite a bot of exposure, so why retread these tracks so soon? Especially if you are going to go with 3d graphics it's crossing over towards the Firaxis games. You could avoid the inevitable comparison with both old and new X-com, you guys already did a remake of a game, so why make a re-re-make so soon?

For squadbased strategy I have the following suggestions.

If it has to be old IP the following inspirations come to mind:

1. Jagged Alliance

2. Silent Storm

But why not a new twist?

- A squadbased turnbased commando game (Silent Storm without scifi). Possible flavors:

-- World war 2 setting

-- Modern setting

-- Scifi

- Space marines (boarding vessles). My favorite idea ;)

-- Space pirates

-- Space war setting (against the Xenonauts aliens?)

- Space seals

-- On the lines of the novels of Old Man's war (John Scalsi)

Most of these ideas can be set in the Xenonauts universe. And though the people here are cheering, I bet they would be cheering even harder for a fresh (plot) twist.

Remember though: Xenonauts is not XCOM, nor X-COM. It's its own franchise now, and with quite a pedigree after the first.

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Remember though: Xenonauts is not XCOM, nor X-COM. It's its own franchise now, and with quite a pedigree after the first.

Come now.... there are almost no differences in:

Plot

Gameplay

It's an bizarre stretch not to say this is not a faithful remake of the original with almost zero own IP. It's more X-Com than the official current iteration. And that's fine, so I'm not sure why you feel the need to come up with something that's clearly untrue.

From a business standpoint, why make icecream if there are already several icecream salesmen at the same corner and one of them has better reviews, more money, more personel, better retail presence and has quite a good product? Why not make a different product?

There is so much to do with turnbased squadbased gaming, why yet another iteration of the same game?

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Have you even played the game Ronkol? It's vastly different than the Firaxis game and also quite an upgrade on the original in most aspects, even introducing new things such as the air combat.

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I think you're both arguing different points here - if Xenonauts was not now an established IP, this very thread wouldn't have made the frontpage of a couple of fairly large news sites like RPS and PC Gamer. It's an established franchise because people have heard of it and some are willing to put money down for it.

But yes, it's known for being relatively similar to X-Com and we could be more original in terms of the next game if we wanted to - there's all sorts of places we could go with squad based tactics games.

That said, it wouldn't necessarily be more financially successful to do so and it certainly would be more risky for us. Xenonauts went "head-to-head" with XCOM 1 in the same way Xeno 2 will be going "head-to-head" with XCOM 2, and both games proved to be a financial success nonetheless. I wouldn't necessarily want to be a brand new indie team venturing into this genre but we've been working here for five or six years now and I think we'll be fine.

The reason we'd make Xenonauts 2 rather than Pathfinders or the other games we could be making is because lots of people seem to want a sequel, lots of the team want to work on the franchise, and because moving into 3D for our next game represents a large change to our team and production methods ... we don't want to be creating an entirely new game design and setting at the same time as learning an entirely new method of development, because it's too much change all at once.

Further developing, evolving and polishing our existing franchise whilst laying the foundations for greater future creativity is basically what we're doing right now. We can hopefully re-use parts of the codebase in any future titles we make, making their development cycles much faster.

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Wow. Just saw the PCgamer cover story on their website.

Totally missed that a Xenonauts 2 was being considered! I heartily approve and would support another kickstarter or self funded effort.

Love the concept tests, looks great. Keep moving it forward.

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We're not actually building our own engine - we're using Unity as the game engine.
Excellent. The engine issues with GC were/are a big turn-off from Xenonauts for me. I mean, I still love the game but, well we all know the issues. #1 for me was a lack of 3D terrain, which I assume Unity will allow.

I would suggest involving more animations/stances for GC since you'll have a better engine to work with. Leaning (around corners and back-to-wall type stuff), peeking around corners, sneaking while moving, prone, stuff like that. More control over characters, yet still within a top-down TBS approach would be awesome. Also things like stealth would be nice: walk/sneak speed which increases TU usage per tile crossed but reduces noise/visibility. We have a lot of night missions and creeping through dark buildings. And with Unity we can get more audio feedback on noises and use the soundscape more fully (ambient noises and alien breathing even if unseen and alien "speaking" orders or cursing). Sound was a definite weak spot for Xenonauts after all.

Of course, even a non-Xeno game could incorporate all the above GC additions. JA is another good one to base it off of.

I'd be fine with another Xenonauts, with expanded alien classes/species, more varied alien traits (as detailed above), and just more varied gameplay as it progresses. That was the big issue many and I had: GC got very samey and repetitive after a while, due to samey aliens just with different stats (which you're improving in the OP), samey weapons with a small selection, and a small variety of maps.

The community maps helped the last one, so I guess that's okay, but still I'd liked to have seen more variety from you guys, especially on props, which always limited the variety the modders could put in. Oh, and more cultural variety - South/East Asian (50% of world population = 0% Xenonauts assets), more developing world, European, etc. All we really had was developed modern Western and rural Middle Eastern. And more rural/wilderness maps (well, any would be nice).

One more hope is way more weapon variety, add-ons, mods, etc. Xenonauts' weaponry always felt really simplified, though I get that TOG also was so simplified, but then we've come a few decades forward, and there's no reason to not flesh out the weaponry more fully for GC in the next version. Again, this carries over to a JA-style game or really any similar sort with GC. People like to customize their loadouts, which includes armor, vests, backpacks and peripherals. I'd look to ArmA 3 to see a game that handles balancing and customization well, with space/weight tradeoffs that seamlessly affect gameplay for items carried. That with a BF4 level of weapon options would be very nice, since you're making GC the focus after all.

TL;DR: Yes to another Xenonauts IF there's a significant improvement to weapon variety, alien variety, the GC system in general, map variety and asset variety, and 3D terrain. Xenonauts was a great game, but replayability has suffered and due to engine issues it never "grabbed" me the way other horror genre games have (including TOG).

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Isn't Xenonauts 2 more of a remake than a sequel? Anyway, I'm excited for it!

But please, don't ditch time-units and use Firaxis turn-based style instead.

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I think you're both arguing different points here - if Xenonauts was not now an established IP, this very thread wouldn't have made the frontpage of a couple of fairly large news sites like RPS and PC Gamer. It's an established franchise because people have heard of it and some are willing to put money down for it.

But yes, it's known for being relatively similar to X-Com and we could be more original in terms of the next game if we wanted to - there's all sorts of places we could go with squad based tactics games.

That said, it wouldn't necessarily be more financially successful to do so and it certainly would be more risky for us. Xenonauts went "head-to-head" with XCOM 1 in the same way Xeno 2 will be going "head-to-head" with XCOM 2, and both games proved to be a financial success nonetheless. I wouldn't necessarily want to be a brand new indie team venturing into this genre but we've been working here for five or six years now and I think we'll be fine.

The reason we'd make Xenonauts 2 rather than Pathfinders or the other games we could be making is because lots of people seem to want a sequel, lots of the team want to work on the franchise, and because moving into 3D for our next game represents a large change to our team and production methods ... we don't want to be creating an entirely new game design and setting at the same time as learning an entirely new method of development, because it's too much change all at once.

Further developing, evolving and polishing our existing franchise whilst laying the foundations for greater future creativity is basically what we're doing right now. We can hopefully re-use parts of the codebase in any future titles we make, making their development cycles much faster.

Please make it cell-shaded(e.q. Borderlands). Not only it is hardware friendly, but also timeless

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The two screens in the first post are pretty good. Better make that your art style. Big surprise. You need to entirely redesign your concept of how a successful GUI looks like. Look at XCOM: Enemy Unknown window, button and font sizes, that's a pretty good direction. Forget tiny fonts.

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Have you even played the game Ronkol? It's vastly different than the Firaxis game and also quite an upgrade on the original in most aspects, even introducing new things such as the air combat.

It's a carbon copy of the first game with a simplified economy, slightly expanded aircombat (which has neglible effect on the meat of the game)and a tweaked tech-tree. The turnbased squad game is pretty much identical (ofc much better graphics) and the plot is also essentially the same.

There's nothing wrong with this! It's a bloody wonderful game, but it's a pretty exact remake. And that's not just me, all my friends, every article and every review points this out (even the game itself alludes to this).

@Chris:

There's something as saturation. Being succesful once is no guarantee of succes, indeed considering the plan is a re-make of a (recent!)re-make the situation is quite diferent. When Xenonauts arrived the last great Turnbased Ufo game was TFTD, which was 19 years ago at the release of Xenonauts. Xenonauts 2 comes pretty hot upon the heels of both a revivied Firaxis universe and your own brilliant Xenonauts game.

As I said before: in the brand Xenonauts there are more posibilities other than just remaking the same game for the sixth time in history (and that's not counting the Firaxis spin-off!!!).

And yes, Xenonauts is the best game I played in many years. But I would love a fresh twist of plot/setting instead of playing the same story for the 25th time (at least^^).

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I keep hearing a lot in the realm of 'sequel, remake, and whatnot' when it comes to the game. I kind of wonder if people are simply being ignorant of the fact that while Xenonauts was a great game - it wasn't in any shape or form a game that reached its maximal potential. To be blunt, I'm not sure the next Xenonauts game needs to try and run with a different theme then the current one; there is still plenty to work with under the current theme

To bring up a point, Civilization went through 4 iterations of refinement of gameplay. With each subsequent game, Civilizations game premise wasn't really expanded on, it was just fleshed out more until we got the quality game that was (eventually) Civilization IV. It wasn't until Civilization V that they really started messing around with the actual gameplay - and subsequently making something different from the traditional Civilization experience.

There really is no true point in comparing the game to the next X-Com releases either - those have retooled the formula to something different which may not cater to the same based of gamers that the original X-Com (and now Xenonauts) cater too.

The way people keep asking for something different kind of reminds me of an old flash on Newgrounds. At some point, while you may recognize the elements in play, you are experiencing something complete different:

http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/527393

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There's something as saturation. .

Saturation? What saturation? Where is the market so saturated that this is a clearly risky move to take? Please cite.

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my wish is to keep it turn based and 2D

the environment looks good in the 3D screenshot, no doubts about that, but i never liked the 2D>3D conversion

doesn't matter if it's game or TV series. it's like every 3D looses the unique touch of the 2D cells / sprites from its predecessors

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Would you be using a new engine for this, if so which engine were you thinking of?
Pretty sure I've seen Unity thrown around as the new engine.

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Thanks for the update Chris. Can't wait to hear more about the possibility of Xenonauts 2!

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Saturation? What saturation? Where is the market so saturated that this is a clearly risky move to take? Please cite.

1. This is not my game, nor my company. The one who needs to do market research is Chris (and he seems to have done just that). That said, there is zero contention that whereas before 2012 we had a draught of 15 years and now we willhave 3-4 Firaxis(2k Games) products and 2 Xenonauts products in just 4-5 years. So yes, the market is clearly more saturated considering the X-com genre. Is it too much to land a success? That's not for me to answer, but for Chris (and Firaxis). And yes, making sequels is both avoiding risks as running into them as has been shown by the demise of the X-com franchise before.

2. I'm sure Chris loves the high fives, I certainly hope he also appreciates cautioning.

I think Xenonauts 2 will be quite a bit more dificult to land than Xenonauts 1 (especially if costs rise due to ambitious goals). I could very well be wrong, but I gave my reasons I see against it. Their importance/gravity is subjective (so yes, I could be utterly wrong), but they are very much based on facts.

So yes, I would love to see another game with a new plot. Primarily beause I have seen this plot too many times, secondary because there's a risk involved in rehashing the same game over and over again, especially on such short timeframe. And only Chris can answer if that's too risky or not (he seems certain it isn't).

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Ronkol, your paragraph opens with saturation, then is followed up by emphasising how Xenonauts 2 will be a remake of a remake, and how Xenonauts 2 will be "hot on the heels" of a "revived Firaxis universe and your own brilliant game". Please do not try to distance yourself from your own words by claiming the burden is on Chris to do the market research. Please back up what you're saying, especially when the data contradicts your assertions.

Firstly, the drought wasn't quite as dry as you assert. There was a turn-based X-Com-like game developed and released in 2007. It's called UFO Extraterrestrials.. Tangentially, there was also AfterX series whose first game very closely followed the X-Com formula (with the clear exception that the ground combat was simultaneous action, so deviating from the X-Com formula), and whose games following it also followed the X-Com formula to a lesser or greater degree. I would like to ask what the 3-4 Firaxis XCOM products you state exist? Checking Firaxis's website reveals XCOM and the expansion to XCOM, so that's 1 game and one expansion which is not an individual product - it's DLC dependant on the main game. XCOM 2 won't happen until next year, but totalling that all up are 2 games and one visibly recognisable DLC. Regarding Xenonauts 2, it is still under evaluation - it may never happen. If Xenonauts 2 ever happens it is unlikely to appear next year, given it's in the pre-production phase so there will be a significant period of time before Xenonauts 2 is even available for Early Access, let alone release. The demise of the X-Com franchise came about following the takeover of Microprose and orders from the owners. To quote from the interview I have just linked to:

Genesis (and the other project Chapel Hill was working on) was killed when Hasbro Interactive shut down the studio. It’s as simple as that. They shut down the studio, and the projects went with it.

And

The reason that Hasbro Interactive shut down our studio was to save money and to write off some of their losses to “restructuring and reorganization”. As I understand it, in order to write off those losses, they had to cancel the projects the studio was working on and never use the code, art, and so on that was produced for those projects. What that means is that Genesis was dead and had to remain so, legally, in order for the company to write off their losses.

I’m pretty sure that this carries over to Infogrames now that they own Hasbro’s properties.

It was not because the franchise was risky. It was because Chapel Hill was selected as a sacrificial goat for Hasbro Interactive's other missteps.

Goldhawk Interactive has been working on new systems since last year. Based on what has been reported, they have a clear idea of an independent battle system which can be coupled to greater strategic and game systems. From the evidence Goldhawk appears to be mitigating risks in its development by not tying themselves to an integrated system which if development failed for any reason, would take all the code with it. Ronkol, I don't see the risk you insist is there. Please cite.

Edited by Max_Caine

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I think at this point Ronkol has made his points and ultimately he's entitled to his own opinion.

I personally don't agree with his assessment of the genre but that's fine - this thread is for people to offer us feedback and other posters shouldn't get too defensive when they post up something that doesn't entirely agree with the existing consensus.

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