XCOM: Chimera Squad Removes Permadeath And Makes Big Gameplay Changes

Dead agents means a failed mission, and it's not the only difference Chimera Squad is bringing to the XCOM formula.

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XCOM: Chimera Squad is a new spin-off in Firaxis' strategy series, and it's out on PC next week. It's also a massive departure mechanically to XCOM 2, introducing playable aliens into your squad, the removal of permadeath, and much more.

An extensive gameplay trailer for Chimera Squad details everything you'll need to know about this spin-off. In combat, you now have multi-faceted missions with shifting objectives, as well as different phases that are kicked off with the new Breach Mode. When a mission starts, you'll choose where you place agents and where they will infiltrate a space from. Some sections can only be accessed by agents of certain races, but how you choose to start a mission can set the tone for the rest of the skirmishes that take place afterwards.

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Now Playing: XCOM: Chimera Squad - The 6 Biggest Changes

Those skirmishes take place at a different pace too, with all of Chimera Squad's action taking place on a timeline in real-time. Each squad member and enemy are given a place in the timeline, which lets you plan moves with respect to when they will take place in the chain. Certain abilities will also let you alter the order of the queue, opening up opportunities where you can catch enemies off guard with a shakeup in positioning.

This combines with the new abilities each of your squad members brings to the table, but with one big caveat. Unlike past XCOM titles, Chimera Squad won't feature permadeath. If one of your squad members goes down, they go into a bleeding out state that must be stabilized in a few turns. If it isn't, the teammate dies and you'll be forced to restart the mission. Squad members can still get critically injured and develop stat debuffs as a result, but Chimera Squad won't feature the heart-dropping tension of losing a valuable team member.

Chimera Squad also takes place in one city, as humanity and extraterrestrials attempt to rebuild in the wake of the events of XCOM 2. You'll undertake missions in different city sectors, each with their own level of unrest. Should any one sector get too unruly, the overall unrest of the city will rise. Let that get too high and you'll get hit with a game over, as chaos overwhelms you.

These are just some of the biggest changes introduced with Chimera Squad, which is out on April 24 for PC. You can also pre-order it now for half price.

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