2K Boston resurrecting Spec Ops?

Teaser video may offer first glimpse of mysterious shooter that has been gestating at the studio formerly known as Irrational Games; is X-com still in the works?

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Source: See below.

What we heard: Since the release of BioShock in 2007, speculation has run rampant that 2K Boston is working on a new installment in the X-Com sci-fi strategy series. The rumor pyre heated up in March, when Ken Levine, the studio's iconoclast creative chief, declared he was "probably the world's biggest X-Com [fan]." In late October, the resume of an ex-2K employee plainly stated that the studio was working on an X-Com game for the Xbox 360 and PC.

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That said, some doubt was cast on the X-Com theory in August, when 2K Boston job listings revealed that the studio's "next big project" is a "shooter." Now, various reports in the wake of a teaser video appear to have scuttled the notion that the studio's upcoming title will be an X-Com game. The clip in question was touted as a "mysterious new 2K games shooter" by game blog Kotaku over the weekend. Instead of X-Com's futuristic setting, it shows what appears to be the aftermath of modern-day military action in the distinctive Persian Gulf metropolis of Dubai.

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Soon, though, the mystery surrounding the trailer appeared to have been dispelled by 1up. The gaming site uncovered an extended version of the trailer on the advertising video site Adland.tv under the title "2K Games Spec Ops Trailer by Marco Brambilla & Tronic." (The trailer has since been removed but is still viewable on sites such as Dailymotion and is embedded below.)

Spec Ops is the name of a series of military shooters published in the late 1990s and early 2000s, at first by the now-defunct Ripcord Games and eventually by Take-Two Interactive, owner of 2K Boston. The trailer appears to have been made by Tronic, a New York creative agency specializing in high-end computer graphics.

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The official story: 2K reps had not responded to requests for comment as of press time.

Bogus or not bogus?: Likely not bogus. First, a Spec Ops remake was first mentioned in a July 2008 rumor roundup by the now-defunct magazine Electronic Gaming Monthly, as pointed out by 1up.

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Second, although the Spec Ops games were not well reviewed, they do have the same sort of contemporary military setting as the wildly popular Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Take-Two's portfolio currently lacks a high-tech shooter series, which have also proven profitable for Ubisoft in the form of the Tom Clancy series Rainbow Six and Ghost Recon. Last but not least, 2K Boston has the chops to handle a reboot, having developed SWAT 4 and its critically acclaimed expansion in its previous life as indie studio Irrational Games. However, whether it is also working on an X-Com game remains to be seen.

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