Many XCOM mods were successfully produced despite the game not supporting them by default. The Long War mod was by far the most successful and led to the team behind it to recently start their own studio, Long War Studios, appropriately enough.
The teams at Firaxis and Long War Studios got together early in the development to create a set of three free mods ready for release. Long War Studios provided input on how to make the mod tools, called XCOM ModBuddy, more usable as the mods were being worked on.
The amount of content and freedom available for modders is impressive. XCOM ModBuddy gives access to AI, classes, skills, particle effects, maps, character customization, and much more. Modders will also have access to the XCOM 2 dev mode to gain access the dev console, various debuggers, and even a replay mode that presents the game with no user interface, which can be used for everything from testing the game for bugs to creating machinimas.
At a high level, here is all of the content that will be available to modders via the XCOM 2 SDK.
- 1,900+ XCOM 2 gameplay script files
- 2,400+ Maps (cinematic maps, environments, menu maps, geoscape settings, and more)
- 7,000+ Environment props from coffee makers to weird alien plants
- 4,000+ Materials
- 10,000+ Textures
- 2,000+ Sounds
- 3,000+ Particle systems from weapon effects and environmental destruction to pigeons
- 600+ Character assets from full alien models to character customization pieces
- 600+ Animation sets, controlling all animating assets from weapons to aliens
Meanwhile, the three mods that Long War Studio is providing for free at launch include a new weapon type, new alien enemies, and a new soldier class.
The weapon mod adds SMGs to the mix, which can be used by soldiers. It grants a mobility bonus that makes soldiers harder to hit and they are also harder for enemy units to detect. The downside is they don’t do as much damage as assault rifle and do not carry as much ammunition.
The new enemies include a Muton Centurion. He’s a leader version of the Muton that appears approximately halfway through the XCOM 2 campaign and gives buffs to assist other enemies. Most of the new enemies added with the mod will follow the model of bigger and badder versions of existing enemies with new abilities and behavior.
Finally, the last mod includes new perks that allows soldiers to become leaders, similar to how officers worked in the XCOM Long War mod. Leaders give buffs to other soldiers in the squad, but are limited to only one per mission. The mod was designed this way to make players think about which soldiers they wanted to promote to leaders.
XCOM 2 players will be able to use the mods provided by Long War Studios in a modular fashion. They can install them from the Steam Workshop and turn them on or off in any combination for their games. Hopefully, this will be true off all the other mods developed for the game.
The release of XCOM 2 will hit Steam on Friday, February 5. The game is set 20 years after the events of XCOM: Enemy Unknown in an alternate future where humanity was defeated by the aliens. Players will pick up the role as the commander to lead the fight against the Advent in a guerilla style fashion from a mobile base to free humanity from alien rule.
[Image via XCOM 2]