Publisher 2K Games and Firaxis Games announced the delay of XCOM 2 on Friday. The turn-based strategy game that pits humanity against an alien takeover of Earth was originally scheduled for a November, 2015, release. The PC-exclusive just slipped to February and that was for the best, all things considered.
Firaxis turned the rebooted release of XCOM: Enemy Unknown into a surprise multi-award winning hit when it was first released in 2012. The developer makes clear in its announcement that it’s got work to do to deliver the same level of quality for the sequel while adding new features.
— XCOM (@XCOM) August 28, 2015
“We’ve set a high bar for the sequel and the entire team has been working hard to make sure we deliver a great follow-up to Enemy Unknown. We just need a little more time to make it the best possible game,” Firaxis announced on the XCOM website.
“With XCOM 2, we want to have more depth, more replayability, and more investment in your soldiers and this extension will give us the time we need to deliver on our promise to you,” the developer continued. “We appreciate your patience and continued support as we move towards February. Good luck, Commander!”
The XCOM 2 delay is actually good news for a couple of reasons.
First, this gives Firaxis more time to shine and polish the game for a solid release. We’re at a period in games where we’ve seen major releases to the PC like Batman: Arkham Knight and Assassin’s Creed Unity stumble and fall due to bugs and overall poor performance. On the flip side, we’ve also seen games purposefully released through Steam Early Access and similar programs that are essentially paid betas. These aren’t necessarily bad as long as consumers understand what they are getting into, but the trend has grown to worrying degrees.
As a continuation on that theme, this also gives Firaxis more time to flesh out the new features that are being added in XCOM 2. The game is not just a rehash of Enemy Unknown with the aliens in power and the humans fighting a guerrilla-like resistance. The missions will be procedurally generated through an extensive new system for creating the random maps, enemies, and scenery. Additionally, mod support is being added.
Finally, the delay pulls XCOM 2 out of a holiday release period where Fallout 4 is sucking all the air out of the room much the same way Donald Trump is doing with the Republican presidential candidate race. It will also have Star Wars: Battlefront, Call of Duty: Black Ops III, and Assassin’s Creed Syndicate among others to contend with. There’s a very real danger that XCOM 2 could get buried with a November releases versus a relatively competition free early February, 2016, release. That’s a win-win for everyone with interest in the game.
[Images via XCOM]