Ju­lian Gollop Di­rec­tor and co-de­signer, UFO: En­emy Un­known When and where did you first meet Jake Solomon?

I first met Jake in March 2013 at the Game De­vel­op­ers Con­fer­ence in San Fran­cisco. We were do­ing an in­ter­view to­gether about X-COM old and new. We talked about how XCOM: En­emy Un­known came to be made and what hap­pened dur­ing de­vel­op­ment. He was clearly a great fan of the orig­i­nal, and some­what ner­vous about what I would think about the new XCOM. Play­ers want a more guided ex­pe­ri­ence in the early stages of game­play and don’t want to read too much. It used to be RTFM [read the fuck­ing man­ual]. Now it’s, ‘WTF is a man­ual?’ Ev­ery­thing is more vis­ual, an­i­mated and dra­matic. Play­ers want to ex­pe­ri­ence the story rather than make the story. I guess this comes from the vast ex­pan­sion of the video and com­puter games player­base. Turn-based strat­egy games were a bit of a niche then, and now they are re­ally quite an od­dity. This is why XCOM: En­emy Un­known is a re­ally im­por­tant game. It planted a flag deep within en­emy ter­ri­tory and cap­tured a new au­di­ence for turn-based strat­egy gam­ing.

The orig­i­nal game is still in­fa­mous for be­ing in­cred­i­bly dif­fi­cult. Did you like the way that the re­boot was bal­anced?

Yes, the bal­ance was very well done. I’ve failed at the game many times, but each time I didn’t feel cheated. I could al­ways point to a few ear­lier de­ci­sions that could have been made bet­ter. That’s the mark of a great strat­egy game.

How much has the gam­ing land­scape changed since 1994? Do you think there’s less chal­lenge in mod­ern games?

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