Preview: Xenonauts

By: Derek Yu

On: May 19th, 2011

Xenonauts, by Goldhawk Interactive

Fans of Julian Gollop’s X-COM might be happy to hear about a project that’s heavily-inspired by the classic strategy game. Unlike the FPS reboot by 2K Marin (titled “XCOM”), Xenonauts follows the original closely in terms of design, and features Geoscape, base management, and air and ground combat. However, the creators are trying to improve on X-COM in a variety of ways – for example, by adding a directional cover system to the combat system. The game also takes place in the 1979, during the Cold War, and eschews futuristic human technology in favor of more recognizable weapons and vehicles.

Xenonauts has been in production for 18 months so far, and Goldhawk Interactive is taking pre-orders to aid the development – people who pre-order can help test various aspects of the game before release. For more information, check out this development blog on the PC Gamer website that highlights a lot of the new features. There’s also a two-page preview that should appear in the PCG magazine in July.

(Source: Rock, Paper, Shotgun)

  • Wiley Wiggins

    Yes please. I've been playing X-Com in DosBox for too long.

  • Christian Knudsen

    If I had a dollar for every X-COM 'update' that's ever been in development, I'd have like… at least 15 dollars. Or something. Anyway, I hope this game delivers where all those others couldn't. Certainly sounds promising!

  • Christian Knudsen

    Hmmm, the pre-order price is $29.99, which they write is $5 or $10 below what the actual price will be. I think they may be pricing it a bit too high at $35 or $39.99. I'm curious to see how well this will sell…

  • Guest

    If they don't change that price? Not at all in my case.

  • HandCraftedRadio

    I've been playing a lot of X-Com lately (probably way too much) and I got excited to see this. However, I was a little disappointed whenever I looked at the site a little bit closer and saw that the game intends to be more of a 'remake' and less of an original game 'inspired' by X-Com.

  • Wiley Wiggins

    Yeah, there's no need for someone to rip the plot/style of x-com when what we are hungry for is the mechanics- it seems like a missed opportunity to do something new and fun as far as story and art go…

  • Vania

    I love X-Com, I hope this game delivers!
    I too made an X-Com inspired game last year but it did very bad.

  • Guest

    Just play the free (open source), 3d (quake based I think) X-Com inspired game… UFO: Alien Invasion
    It is a lot of fun, and has a great atmosphere going.

  • Guest

    There is also open source project aiming in recreating original engine. At start it will be just clone of original game, with some new features (like soft coded stats for items, aliens, unlimited saves etc) and multi os. But later it can act as base for further mods.

    If you know OpenTDD game, you will understand OpenXCom idea ;)

    Here's link:

    Latest dev versions:

    This game of course requires original game, as it uses its data.

  • Banana

    This is an exact replica of minecraft

  • Davide "Gendo Ikari" Mascolo

    Oh please, not another stale meme.

    As a lover of the original X-Com (the series went worse and worse after it – the upcoming XCom looks interesting but it's a reboot and something totally different, so I'll judge as its own game) I'm enthusiastic about how they seem to be reproducing and updating it, and disappointed for the same reason – I'd rather take a straight updated rerelease; beside UFO:AI, there's the project The Two Sides, which is a true remastering.

  • the lando system

    I really think these guys are charging too much. If there was at least a demo, and if that demo made me think the game was a vast improvement over the original X-Com, and if I was certain the finished game would be released soon, I might be willing to pay $20 to pre-order it. I know, that's a lot of 'ifs.'

  • PhasmaFelis

    So, seriously, how many remakes/re-imaginings of X-COM have there been? It's gotta be at least eight or nine. How many of those have reached release status?

  • PhasmaFelis

    I gave your game a try, and it's not really anything like X-COM apart from them both being sci-fi strategy games. It's not even turn-based.

    Also, I hope you'll understand, but unlimited reinforcements pretty much removes any challenge from your game. There's no reason to bother using tactics when you can just throw wave after wave of soldiers into the grinder and drown your foes in blood.

  • Guess-T

    My theory on this whole X-COM remake thing is this: At a glance the game looks relatively low-budget yet super awesome – prime candidacy for the “I can do this, and better with the aid of modern tech and MY SUPER AWESOME INTELLECT”  sort of deal.

    Then they actually realize that they are quite wrong, about a month into development when they try to figure out how to even match the original's standard.

  • Vania

    Yeah its not a clone, just has some mechanics inspired in X-COM (smoke grenade, the LOS fog of war, cover behind stuff, etc)

    I get what you say about reinforcements, the game was designed for multiplayer, with singleplayer added as an afterthought… The AI sucks so that's why you can beat singleplayer with just brute force.

  • PhasmaFelis

    The thing I keep running into is, the battlescape interface for the original X-COM just blew. The designer had obviously just discovered mice and decided that there was no need for any of those pesky keyboard shortcuts anymore, ever. The “save APs for snap shot” button was nice, I guess, but it really needed to be “save APs for crouch, rotate 90 degrees, snap shot”. You couldn't just remember how many you needed to save, because it was different for every squaddie (since shooting used a percentage of maximum APs instead of a fixed value). You couldn't abort movement once started, just watch helplessly as your idiot squaddie slowly shuffled across half the Goddamn map because you clicked on the wrong side of a wall, and you couldn't move step-by-step with keyboard controls because there weren't any. Both times I actually played X-COM, I petered out after a couple of weeks because trying to navigate 14 dudes through an alien base a few steps at a time took all damn day and was about as much fun as doing newspaper crosswords.

    That, and the bizarre and obscure stats/advancement system, where your best-of-the-best elite soldiers were often cowardly weaklings incapable of basic marksmanship, being bad at something made it harder to improve, and bizarre tactics like “bring expendable combat drones to shield your men, but don't let them actually shoot because the squaddies need the kills” were encouraged.

    I would kill for an X-COM knockoff that kept everything that was great about the gameplay while fixing the many things that were stupid. Anyone made one of those?

  • Mad Hamish

    The reserve APs buttons main use was for shooting during the enemy turn. If you wanted to save more APs for a bit of maneuvering just reserve for aimed or auto shot.

    Also, supposed to just fire the guys with crap stats when they're still recruits, you're wasting your time and money training them up.

  • Sonia Khatun

    Xenonauts has very little amount of information throughout itself but it works like magic despite the fact of lack of information upon it..