Strategy games 'not contemporary' - 2K Games exec

Civilization publisher president Christoph Hartmann says decision to make XCOM a shooter was to bring series in line with what modern gamers want.

Last year, 2K Games announced that it was bringing back the classic turn-based strategy series X-Com, but in the "reimagined" guise of a shooter called XCOM. In a recent interview with MCV, 2K Games president Christoph Hartmann explained that the move was done to bring the series in line with current tastes.

2K is making the near-future strategy X-Com more contemporary by making it a shooter set in the 1950s.

"The '90s generation of gamers all love X-Com and we own the IP, so we thought OK, what do we do with it," Hartmann told the site. "Every studio we had wanted to do it, and each one had its own spin on it. But the problem was that turn-based strategy games were no longer the hottest thing on planet Earth. But this is not just a commercial thing--strategy games are just not contemporary."

The executive went on to say that 2K's goal with XCOM is to bring the franchise "in line with what this generation of gamers want," while still managing to be true to the series. "It's not a case of cashing in on the name," Hartmann said. "We just need to renew it because times are changing."

Hartmann's suggestion that strategy games aren't contemporary is surprising, considering that 2K Games owns Firaxis, the turn-based strategy development house responsible for last year's critically acclaimed Civilization V. The studio has been taking its famed strategy series into more contemporary waters with a Facebook iteration called Civ World. Additionally, in April, a Firaxis developer's online resume indicated that a sequel to the turn-based Civilization Revolution had been canceled. However, another resume spotted at the same time indicated that the studio was actively working on a new strategy game for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC using the Unreal engine.

For more on XCOM, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.

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134 comments
Ultramarinus
Ultramarinus

How funny is that they just released another strategy title, a turn-based one even! Talk about sweet irony..

max_1111
max_1111

@oneofthefall You should probably just go ahead cram that foot of yours into your mouth. Why else would all these people be here complaining if they weren't huge fans of the original game(s) (who played on release)?!

Arch-Stanton
Arch-Stanton

@oneofthefall You should start cutting your arms and legs. I played it when it first came out in 1994 .I,ve still got the original game on 3.5 inch floppies.I do hope that 2K does a good job on Xcom. Most fans and including myself are disappointed that it's not turned based as would if you made Civilization into a FPS or COD into turn base.

Arch-Stanton
Arch-Stanton

@jorjuela The laser rifle was great with it's fast very rate. My favourite was the auto-cannon with incendiary rounds, just fire a auto burst into a wheat field and watch the aliens come out burning. I don't think I,ll be abe to use that strategy in the new xcom.

oneofthefall
oneofthefall

none of you complainers ever played the original (on release, id bet my right arm and leg on that) so you can all jump off a cliff together (pretty please and form an orderly Q) 2k games will do a awesome job on this (gameplay wise and storyline) and its and FPS which is already a win in my book, its the Russell brand effect all over again, BAAAH ( that's the noise of a sheep!)

jorjuela
jorjuela

Thanks!! It's hilarious, Since FPS games are great, but X-Com had that fun feeling (at least before you researched too much) that you were just sending your guys to slaughter. The Laser was my best friend.

Vrygar777
Vrygar777

I think what the 2K moneygrubbers mean to say is this: "This generation consists of a bunch of gun-crazy, gore-loving morons. A turn-based strategy game would be too thought-invoking and thus, we'll just let people shoot a bunch of things." It's pathetic how sad our "modern" tastes are.

Arch-Stanton
Arch-Stanton

@jorjuela X-Com (The first one) Is definitely the best one I agree.There is a new free game GNU title, UFO: Alien Invasion 2.3.1 .It's quite a good game but was very buggie on my PC,they also had the orginal X-Com and Two Sides a multi-player version of X-Com with update graphics as free downloads.

revanknight
revanknight

And yet ANOTHER classic game is turned into a creativity-sapping cash cow! If the game was good, PLENTY of strategy gamers would have bought it. Instead they went the dull, easy route...

Soniczero1993
Soniczero1993

Yes of course, make a cult hit into another bland FPS with the name of a legend slapped on. All I can say is: good luck competing against Battlefield 3. You will need it.

jorjuela
jorjuela

oh, and pretty much anyone who says something will take a year to produce and be 10X better is probably really dumb.

jorjuela
jorjuela

I totally disagree with his position. I think X-Com (The first one) was one of the best games I've ever played and I just wished I had it somewhere on my computer. I think it's free out there. Anyway, what is the next best alternative to a X-Com type game with better graphics?

Yams1980
Yams1980

this game will probably take a year to make and be 10x better then duke nukem forever. still seems weird to make a fps game from a turn based game, fans of the original may not accept it

PodXCOM
PodXCOM

Gaygamer: "I commented that it sounded like XCOM was really more of a 60's period piece that happened to use aliens as a catalyst to bring out the social climate." 2K: "As a narrative guy, absolutely. To both mutate and express the inner conflicts of the period." http://gaygamer.net/2011/06/e3_11_interview_jordan_thomas.htm I find it incredibly stupid that my X-COM was ripped-apart, just to tell this boring linear FPS "60's period piece" about Gay rights, when they were supost to be making an X-COM game!! Am I the only one mad about this?! I want a Strategy game, Not a boring message.

Thorburne
Thorburne

This worse part about this is it means that we will NEVER get the X-COM game that we deserve. Because this idiot is selling out the franchise for the "modern gamers", whether it succeeds or fails, they will either say that X-COM has lost its value or "I told you so" (which really means nothing... and guess what, it WON'T succeed!). This man has essentially taken a big DUMP on fans of the original X-COM. He should be FIRED!!!

ReptileZaterra
ReptileZaterra

Also, if the last XCOM games were not all one underdeveloped crap games, XCOM still a popular title today! Put some money in the next turn-based XCOM, a competent team of developers and a mix of classic and new ideas and you have a ground breaking and highly profitable game! And I am with suicidepickles. XCOM Apocalypse was the only truly successful sequel from Ufo Defence and Terror From The Deep. All the others lacks deep and fun from the original XCOM. I never forgot the "popopoPOW popopoPOW popopoPOW" soundtrack from Ufo Defence...it still makes me nervous!

ReptileZaterra
ReptileZaterra

It may be cool, but also very frustrating. Jagged sequels never comes up, Silent Storm died and Front Mission already had abandoned the strategy theme. There is no other competitor in squad based strategy games and they choose to face games like Brothers in Arms, Battlefield, Call of Duty, Far Cry, Crysis, F.E.A.R., Half-Life, etc in the already overcrowded first person shooter style... I hope you still can build bases, shot down UFOs, go in missions against then, develop new technology, manage your squad and maybe level up, just like in the classic XCOM, but now in FPS. THIS is the only hope i hav to this game be interesting.

Barighm
Barighm

I don't know why the guy didn't just come out and say he doesn't want to have another strategy game competing with his studio's own brands. Why make up this story about strategy games not being contemporary?

spencerdtracy
spencerdtracy

I loved Jagged Alliance, but XCOM was better.

spencerdtracy
spencerdtracy

When you have a cult following on a game for the past 15 years you can't completely change the genre because FPS are "In" these days. Stick to the original and make it better or call it something else. Just becasue it has aliens in it, doesn't make it XCOM. Let me ask you this Mr. Hartmann. Do you want to make a good game, a bunch of money or both? We'll see how the game comes out (at least from reviews, probably not personal playing experience) but you have lost all of the XCOM faithful that would gladly shell out $60 for it. What's next Heroes of Might and Magic a FPS.

suicidepickles
suicidepickles

bunch of crap... the name reminds those 90's strategy games... x-com fans won't buy it cause we know it ain't the same thing. and the name x-com means nothing to these "new generation" guys, so it won't make any difference... I guess this mr Hatmann should read Kottler =P plus, doesn't have to be turn-based, a RTS would do it... like x-com apocalypse. I would pay so much for a fully finished apocalypse remake!!!

Bozanimal
Bozanimal

Thank you, Christoph Hartmann, for proposing a derivative FPS title for one of the most innovative turn-based strategy titles of all time. I hope that your X-Com FPS goes the way of Duke Nukem Forever.

FoeCrusher
FoeCrusher

This is interesting to me for a number of reasons: 1) The X-Com name is virtually without value unless you appeal to those who have fond memories of the original games. 2) They likely paid a fair bit of money for the right to use the name and cash in on the nostalgia. 3) Every forum I have visited has XCOM fans totally trashing the new games direction and basically saying how they do not want any part of the new game. However, here you have an article that is basically a very poor attempt to justify making a game that will only really share the name X-COM. 4) So they must be aware that they have managed to piss off all of the old fans and wasted all of the money they paid for the right to use the name. 5) This would not really be a problem if they thought the game was shaping up to be enough of a hit with "Modern Gamers" to make money. 6) We have all seen the very generic and uninspired previews and much like movie previews can see a Turkey a mile away. 7) Without the old fan base snapping up the title they are going to lose a ton of money, so they make pitiful excuses. 8) They are screwed. While I might feel normally want to sympathise with Mr Hartman, saying things in such a ham fisted way that I feel that I am being called old makes sure I dont. 9) What a Jackass. Now I would beg Gamespot to keep me up to date on so that I may gloat when this studio closes.

santinegrete
santinegrete

So much for fans respect. I've seen this happen before with the Front Mission saga. "Front Mission evolved". If they do a mediocre shooter like that, both sides lose: the 'so called' modern gamers and the ones that loved the old Xcom turn based games. I'm sure they wont drop this project, but I hope they don't drop the ball.

DanielL5583
DanielL5583

Heh... Tell that to the people who made Shogun II: Total War and Starcraft 2.

Kayweg
Kayweg

Oh, that's quite ok mr. Hartmann. You go ahead and make it a "contemporary shooter" then and see how it fares against a much more established competition in that genre, releasing new titles themselves. Rest assured, us "90s generation of gamers" will take our money elsewhere.....say "Jagged Alliance, back in action" for example ?

Kaerou
Kaerou

Everything I wanted to say has not been said. This guy alienated all the old fans who will mostly not buy the game as it has nothig to do with the original, therefore making using the IP name redundant. He thinks it won't sell well as a standout game by forcing it into the most over-saturated genre. The one with the most competition and disloyal consumer base. Then proceeds to act clueless and state what gamers want (hint: not another boring FPS) while stating that strategy games and non-fps do not sell well. Ever heard of Starcraft? Ever heard of Dawn of War? (lol) Ever heard of Command and Conquer? This is damage control, really ill thought out damage control. They have seen exactly the reactions of what they have done and realised its too late to change course, they have seen they're headed into a lake of tar. And now he's just thrown fire into it, by adding insult to injury. I really don't think this is going to sell well. As an old X-Com release days player, i'm not going to buy it.

firehawk998
firehawk998

The problem with this idiotic statement is that the old XCOM games were only playable on PCs and console gamers have never heard of this franchise. So when they are gonna turn this game into an FPS console gamers will not buy the game cause they wont have any idea what this game is about and the old players( including me) will avoid this crap cause this game is nothing more than a simplistic FPS with no strategic depth in the gameplay.

jdog8888888
jdog8888888

@khimeron13 my understanding it was going to be squad turn based tactics like the first gen, but with first person angle, so you can see line of sight and things like that. If it is just a shooter, then boo to innovation. Either way, I am waiting for the gamestop review before I decided to buy or not.

GarGx1
GarGx1

what he means is Strategy games don't run well on consoles due to control issues and they want to make a short game that can be sold on all platforms minimum effort - maximum return, it'll back fire on them though, as the majority of consoles gamers will never have heard of the X-com IP and a large proportion of the 'loyal fanbase' will turn their backs on this. That said I'll probably play it eventually but I'm a game sl*t and i'll play everything :)

endorbr
endorbr

Obviously X-Com has a loyal fanbase. No one is questioning that. The developer on the other hand is looking at two things: tapping into that fanbase and encouraging people not into the series to give it a try. From what I have seen this game is not a straight up FPS. It still relies heavily on strategy elements. It's just not the old school top down strategy games like we used to play. So you have to actually do more than point and click, doesn't mean you should just ignore this game off hand because it's not what fanboy you expected them to do with the series. That said, Hartmann really should have phrased his statements a little differently so as to not look like he's telling gamers what we want to play.

endorbr
endorbr

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

BoyWondamus
BoyWondamus

Well I am not buying it now...bad decision

majere613
majere613

My personal favourite X-com of all time was probably Apocalypse, which wasn't turn-based by default (though you could set it to be). I'd have absolutely loved a current-gen game that played in that style. I'm not going to say I hate the idea of an X-com FPS, but the idea that it should be the natural future of all X-com games is utter hogwash.

Witchsight
Witchsight

There are enough shooters... Just give me Xcom.

sideshowboots
sideshowboots

I just don't know how to respond to that moronic of a statement.

bignick217
bignick217

@ The Monkey in the Suit Read through these comments carefully. It's pretty much unanimous on three key things. 1. Nobody wants to see XCOM as an FPS. 2. All of us would prefer to get a strategy game rather than yet a another FPS. 3. You are a Tool. Looking through all of these comments below, you can see that it's now pretty much a one sided argument. And not in your favor. You say gamers want another FPS? I point to comments below. So tell us this... Just how did you manage to come up with this grand epiphany of yours and how did you manage to work up the nerve to actually "tell us" what "we want". Universal rebuke of the scale shown below can only mean one thing and you should "really" listen to this.... You are wrong.

strangestguy
strangestguy

An FPS version of Front Mission, same thing for X-com. What's next an FPS version Civilization or Command and Conquer.

genesis6
genesis6

in regards to oneofthefall and Smokescreened84 comments ... i was 8 when the first xcom game (ufo: enemy unknown) first got released and didnt ever complete it till 2006 i completed xcom:tftd and xcom:apocolypse in 99 and 2k .... i would still buy this one just to see if the live up to the origional hype and playability of the origionals ... if not i will just stay with playing them from steam ... LONG LIVE XCOM

NoDzombie
NoDzombie

so gamers only want to play shooters do they? well i have news for him, a proper XCOM sequel would have sold more copies than this random shooter that is just gonna get lost in the shuffle and forgotten about

DAOWAce
DAOWAce

This is the first time I've heard of an XCOM shooter game in development. Considering that I liked Renegade (and am sad the C&C FPS seems to be stale in the water), I may like this too; even though I've not played XCOM at all in my life (just watched Necro's LPs of 'em). Still, saying it's "what this generation of gamers want" is stupid. It should be worded as "what this generation of console happy teens wants". PCs do everything; consoles do action and shooting games, the majority of 'gamers' are console users. Of course it appears that this is 'what gamers want', and it's really sad.

GodKn0wn
GodKn0wn

Darn. I got an e-mail update for this game from Gamespot and was excited to see that maybe there was some good news about another sequel coming up. I didn't even think of this X-Com game, and in fact, I probably was subconsciously ignoring it, hoping to never see it again, shaking it off like a bad dream or something. But no. It's not only bringing up this game, but more bad news along with EA picking up PopCap Games. The gamer in me is going to die soon.

wwlettsome
wwlettsome

@Davhut, think you make a good point. What a great game that could be.

penpusher
penpusher

Christoph Hartmann I'm sorry if this shocks you but not ALL gamers want bloody shooters!!!! If i wanted a shooter I'd buy a shooter. If I want strategy, and please oh please dont judge me for not being "contempary", I'd buy a STRATEGY game! What planet are some of these people on?....

Smokescreened84
Smokescreened84

In the words of Beast Wars Ravage, modified somewhat since he didn't actually say this: Strategy games forever! I played the original two X-Com games on the PS1 back in 1997 and loved them, good deep strategy, a good challenge and great for getting the brain going. Sadly though with COD/Halo type games being so popular and not requiring much in the way of intellect beyond the whole 'Me have gun, me go boom boom!' then strategy games are too complicated for many gamers today who turn to the usual slapped together FPS while ignoring anything else that requires even the most basic notion of thought. I would rather play a strategy game than yet another slapped together shooter.

GunBladeHero
GunBladeHero

Great, now everything is becoming a shooter these days... Soon there won't be any other genre, just FPSs and TPSs.