The rumors regarding the rebranding of the XCOM shooter as The Bureau are true. The game is still set in the XCOM universe but is no longer an FPS as it has been repurposed as a “third-person tactical squad-based combat game” with team and tactics “at the forefront of our gameplay experience,” according to The Bureau’s creative director Morgan Gray.
Keeping with the spirit of the franchise, when squadmates die in this tactical shooter, they’re gone for good. While this gameplay element isn’t anything new for the franchise, it’s certainly something that isn’t seen in shooters. In regards to this, Gray continued saying, “Our plotline is always moving forward. The consequences of that loss are immediate and there’s no way to hide from them. The war will not stop for you.”
When it was first announced (simply as XCOM), fans of the original games were upset at its radical departure from its strategy game roots. The game went silent for quite some time before the recent rumors started circulating about its rebranding. It is nice to see that they’re not wholly abandoning the original concept and keeping the game in the XCOM universe, but it would have been interesting to see the original vision of the game fully realized. The Bureau: XCOM Declassified is being developed by Bioshock 2 developer 2K Marin and is scheduled for release August 20, 2013. The press release and trailer for this XCOM spin-off are below:
Set in 1962 at the height of the Cold War, The Bureau tells the origin story of the clandestine XCOM organization’s first encounter with a mysterious and devastating enemy. Originally established as America’s covert defense against the Soviet Union, The Bureau must adapt and overcome a threat unlike anything the world has faced before. As special agent William Carter, players will call the shots and pull the trigger, leading their squad of agents in the high-stakes secret war for humanity’s survival. Paramount to repelling the outside threat is The Bureau’s ability to cover-up the enemy’s existence in order to prevent worldwide panic.
In the spirit of the XCOM franchise, The Bureau’s calculated combat design requires players to think and act tactically. The game’s third-person perspective gives the player a sense of spatial awareness and grants them the freedom to transition in and out Carter’s unique Battle Focus ability seamlessly — heightening the tactical shooter action. The Bureau also fully embraces the concept of permanent consequence. As our last line of defense, every command can mean the difference between life and death for Carter, his squad and mankind.