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XCOM 2 News

  • Here’s the situation, people: in Challenge Mode, you’re competing with players around the world to achieve the best score on special missions in XCOM 2: War of the Chosen. Some challenges will tax your tactical skills. Others will offer up unique situations you won’t experience in the campaign. Most importantly, there will be a new Challenge waiting for you every day.

    For each Challenge, all players are given the same mission. Every Commander will face the same enemies on the same map, with an identical squad – and not just of XCOM soldiers. You could be fighting alongside aliens. What you do with them is your call, but your focus needs to be on maximizing that score! We checked in with Mark Nauta, Designer on XCOM 2: War of The Chosen, to gain some additional intel for all the men and women on the front lines.

    Any normal game of XCOM has these moments where you barely squeeze out a victory as you limp to the extraction point. But in Challenge Mode, you jump straight into those firefights. “In fact,” says Mark, “each Challenge is us throwing you into the middle of all those crazy battles and ranking how everyone does with a proper score.”

    This has a very different feel compared to the main game. “I like to think of Challenge Mode almost like an action strategy game,” Mark adds. Your points decrease the more turns you take and the timer continues ticking down as you go. You’ve got 30 real-time minutes to complete each challenge. You want to do all this while keeping as many of your teammates alive as possible – and preferably with minimal injuries. The more units that make it home unscathed, the higher the score.

    Obviously, this experience is very different from what you get in the campaign – mostly because every mission seems to have acceptable losses. “You have no vested interest in the soldiers in Challenge Mode, aside from a score,” Mark jokes, “so with the clock ticking, you’re more likely to throw them into the middle of hell.”

    Top scorers on the leaderboard for each challenge get spotlighted on the front page of Challenge Mode. At launch, the PC version will also allow you to view replays of the best Commanders from that particular challenge. Just keep in mind that you can only compete in each challenge once and that exiting before the completion of a challenge could prevent your score from being submitted.

     “For now, the Challenge Mode missions we’re creating aren’t randomized or completely laid out, either,” says Mark. It’s somewhere between the two. Mark goes on to explain that, “the designers can set a lot of the parameters ahead of time to zero in the type of map and scenario you’ll encounter in the final challenge.”

    Once they establish the parameters for challenges, it doesn’t take too long to implement. When creating the challenges, the dev team can select the enemy forces, soldiers available and more – down to the loadout available on-mission. It takes them minutes to see a test version of the scenario, but of course, QA needs to thoroughly test each scenario to make sure that everything runs smooth.

    What is Mark’s favorite mission? “Oh, man, that’s hard. I really liked one where you controlled Chrysallids and had to spawn babies for your team. There’s one where there’s Templars and a Gatekeeper where you have these all-powerful psi-guys protecting a Psi-god. One of the crazier missions I made was that you have a full team of Codex units and you’re going up against an enemy team of Codex units [laughs]…it was clone central in there!”

    Overall, his favorite scenarios are where you have aliens – or a lot of Faction members – in your squad. It’s definitely an experience you won’t see in the main campaign.

    “It really changes up the dynamic of the game,” according to Mark. “If you just have random ADVENT on your squad, it’s not all that different from your XCOM soldier. When you start fighting alongside a Chrysallid or Muton, though, it changes everything. My favorites are when you get to play with weird alien team compositions.”

    One of the things the team learned along the way, though, was they needed to give aliens the ability to perform objectives. They don’t pull up a hack pad on objects, they just perform a similar action. The aliens needed to be able to perform basic functions like Evac – things they weren’t programmed for in the main game.

    Mark continues that, “There are a good number of all-XCOM soldier missions, but I wanted to load many of them with Faction soldiers. This way, people can experience something that they won’t be able to do in the main game or make the scenarios really ridiculous. Otherwise, people would just load up the campaign.”


    Challenge Mode is a lot of things.

    It’s about dropping players into unique situations you’d never encounter in the campaign. It’s giving players a quick tactical fix. It is the minute-to-minute gameplay of surviving a mission in XCOM…without the emotional toll that comes from when your team dies in the field. It’s a challenge – not just to see if you can survive, but to see how you perform compared to everyone else.

    How do you think you’ll fare?
    That’s it for this update. Be sure to follow XCOM on Twitter and Like XCOM on Facebook to keep up to date with the latest information on XCOM 2: War of the Chosen. If you’re looking to enlist with the Resistance, join the 2K Forums!

    Yesterday, 16:00

  • This massive expansion to XCOM 2 introduces three new Factions – each with their own unique strengths and play styles. Of course, the developers at Firaxis Games have their favorites. We asked Joe Weinhofferand Mark Nauta (Designers) as well as Griffin Funk (Lead Producer) to explain theirs to us and give you some key survival tips.

    The Templars, in their isolation, developed an almost religious zeal for collecting Psionic energy. Experimenting upon themselves, they even created weaponry that taps into their latent skills.

    The Templars are incredibly mobile, dual-sword-wielding melee Psionic powerhouses. What’s not to love? Nearly all of their damage comes from Rend, their primary Psionic melee attack.

    Using sword attacks with Rangers always felt really satisfying, but came with a high degree of risk since the soldier would often be left in a disadvantageous position, either out of cover or far away from the rest of the squad. We’ve mitigated that by giving Templars “Momentum”, an ability which triggers after every Rend attack and allows them to move back into cover (or scout further ahead if you’re feeling risky). This makes the Templar one of the most mobile classes in the game.

    The Templars also have a really great combat mechanic: the Focus system. Templars derive their power from harnessing Psionic energy, which is collected after they kill enemies with Rend. Each charge of Focus boosts the Templar’s power, increasing their Rend damage, mobility, and defensive stats. It also improves the effectiveness of many of their abilities, either increasing their damage or duration based on the Templar’s current Focus amount.

    At the start of a mission, Templars are slightly weaker than the other soldier classes, but they can quickly become killing machines after gaining a few charges of Focus. However, activating most of their special abilities requires spending Focus, which leads to some really fun tactical decisions:

    Do you save the Focus for extra mobility and defense? Or do you spend it on a powerful AoE attack or utility ability to aid the rest of the squad? Playing the Templar is constantly filled with these small risk vs. reward moments, making every battle feel really dynamic. Choose wisely!

    One of my first priorities is to boost my Templar’s survivability and defensive options, since as a melee unit they end up towards the front of the squad and can come under fire from surprise attacks. Parry, Deflect, and Reflect are all fantastic in this regard. Parry can be activated after using Rend instead of moving with Momentum, and will cause the next attack against the Templar to miss. This allows Templars charge ahead of the squad and still be relatively confident in their safety, even if enemies are left standing after the original attack. Deflect bolsters the Templar’s survivability by providing a chance to block attacks as long as they have Focus, and Reflect improves that ability by also adding a chance to counterattack after the block!

    I also like to boost the utility of Rend by picking up Overcharge, which gives any Rend attack a chance to generate Focus, instead of only on kills. This makes it a little easier to justify sending in the Templar to attack enemies at the start of a battle, even if they aren’t likely to get a kill. Arc Wave is a really fun late-game ability which adds a cone of additional AoE damage to every Rend attack. And of course, Ionic Storm is one of the coolest and most powerful AoE abilities in the game. It requires all of the Templar’s stored Focus to use, but will barrage any enemies close to the Templar with multiple lightning strikes…and any kills will regenerate some of the Focus spent on the attack!

    For utility, Deep Focus is a must. Templars gain a lot of additional power with each charge of Focus, so increasing the max Focus they can store is a no-brainer. Pillar summons high cover anywhere you want on the map, which is great to allow other members of the squad to make riskier movements and still be protected. And Invert and Exchange are fantastic for easily isolating dangerous aliens or setting up combo attacks with other soldiers by swapping the Templar’s position with an enemy or squadmate.

    Templars also have access to a lot of great XCOM abilities from the Ranger, Sharpshooter, and Psi Operative. The abilities which show up on each Templar’s tree are picked randomly, but I’m always hoping to see Sustain, Bladestorm, and Reaper show up for even more survivability and potential Rend damage.

    • Templars start missions underpowered and gain Focus from defeating enemies, so it’s important to set up their attacks as killing blows. Use other soldiers to inflict some damage, then send in the Templar to finish them off. The kill will increase the Templar’s Focus level, improving the effectiveness of their abilities and making them more powerful on the next attack.
    • Take advantage of a Templar’s Invert and Exchange abilities to reposition units on the battlefield. One of my favorite tactics is to use Invert on an enemy within single-movement range of the Templar, which will swap their positions. The Templar can then immediately run back to where they started and Rend the target, returning to a safe location while also leaving the target exposed to easy flanking shots from the rest of the squad.
    • Templars are fantastic early in a campaign, since their powerful melee attacks rip through Sectoids, and extra mobility from Momentum lets them safely return to cover. Or, you can activate Parry and leave the Templar out of cover as bait to draw fire from the rest of the squad, since the first attack made against them is guaranteed to miss!


    The Reapers are outsiders and survivors – a pack of hunters that have made aliens and ADVENT their prey.  They’ve existed for 20 years on the fringes of society.

    Having a Reaper in your squad reshapes the way you approach missions. Their ability to scout and remain concealed means an almost continuous series of ambushes on your enemies. Reapers can also go loud with the best of them, being extremely accurate with their Vektor rifle and carrying the devastating claymore explosive. And on a totally superficial level, they’re clearly the coolest looking soldiers to date. Can’t beat the trench-coat-and-mask look!

    I like to invest heavily into the Saboteur branch and sprinkle some Stealth abilities in as well. Homing Mine attaches a claymore to a target and gives whoever targets that enemy a 100% shot. Plus if you have the Highlands ability you have two claymores. It’s crazy powerful! On the Stealth side, I love picking up Silent Killer. It makes kill shots not increase your chance to be revealed so theoretically, if you only land kill shots, you can remain at a 0% to be revealed.

    • Sometimes it’s easy to forget that Reapers are not actually invisible. The increased mobility and smaller detection radii while in Shadow can lead you to move far away from the rest of the squad. You need to be careful with this however because you’re just one Muton walking around a corner away from being in a whole mess of trouble.
    • I don’t think there is anything more satisfying than using Remote Start on a car with a few ADVENT huddled behind it. They thought they were safe there? FOOLS!
    • I find Reapers to be a good source of guaranteed (or almost guaranteed) damage, with their ability to move long distances and get close to enemies undetected. This allows the Reaper to finish a lot of kills when you really need it, instead of using Combat Protocol or a grenade which can then be used more optimally in the future.

    The Skirmishers are a small army of former ADVENT troopers. Freed from the control of The Elders, they seek bloody revenge for what’s been done to them. They have devastating CQC attacks and can quickly whip across the battlefields with their specialized grapples.

    The versatility of the Skirmisher is unmatched. We’ve built this unit to be able to react to any kind of situation with additional movements and actions. Their abilities combined with the power of their Ripjack and the mobility of their grapple means they can control the battlefield.

    The Skirmisher fills a lot of roles on my squad that would usually take a few different soldiers to do. I like to use Rangers as my “cleanup crew” after an ambush has left one or two enemies standing. The Skirmisher’s Bullpup can fire twice in a single turn which means you have better odds at taking out any stragglers. Whiplash is also great in this situation if you want additional opportunities to take the final enemy out. 

    Anytime I use the Battlelord ability is my favorite moment in the game. It’s the quintessential Skirmisher ability. When activated, the Skirmisher gets to take an action after every enemy action. It’s incredibly powerful which is why it’s one of their final abilities.

    All of the abilities in the Judge branch, which focuses on the Skirmisher’s Ripjack melee weapon, are incredibly fun to use. It’s hard to ignore some of the great abilities like Waylay which gives you multiple Overwatch shots, but you’ll find it’s worth it when your Skirmisher is flying across the map with his grapple to claw enemies to death.

    • Use the Skirmisher’s grappling hook to reposition as much as possible. That way, you can save your actions for attacks.
    • Position aggressively to take advantage of flanking shots.  The bullpup has a high critical rating and has the added benefit of being able to fire twice in a round.
    • Get in close with Skirmisher when you want to take a target alive, but unconscious. A Skirmisher’s melee strikes have a high chance to inflict stuns – very handy when suppressing a Codex that you want to prevent from cloning itself.
    • The Wrath ability allows the Skirmisher to move to their target, but always have a backup plan. If you’re grappling across the map, you may stumble into a trap. Leave yourself an extra move to deal with whatever comes next.
    • Given a Skirmisher’s ability to use both actions to attack and skills that can give them additional actions, they are well-suited to deal with the Lost. They can get a backup if they miss, but to get even more Lost cleared out, equip a Skirmisher’s weapon with an Extended Magazine (more ammo) and Autoloaders (free Reloads).
    You’ll get your chance to join the new factions soon enough. How will you stack up yours when XCOM 2: War of The Chosen launches for PC, Xbox One and PS4 on August 29?
    That’s it for this update. Be sure to follow XCOM on Twitter and Like XCOM on Facebook to keep up to date with the latest information on XCOM 2: War of the Chosen. If you’re looking to enlist with the Resistance, join the 2K Forums!

    Aug 17

What's happening

  • Commander
    Commandoid commented on thebritwriter's photo
    Part of the comic, Origin is just a little series of snippets showing the past in relation to the legacy comic. I have some more planned in the future but for now I posted this one up. Here it's set in 2017 (which will be a date referred to as the comic progresses. Not only iis the style for this realistic but I have no issue useing actual popular culture refrences, be it actual political events (just after start of 2015) as well as media culture. In this case the actors of once TV series 'Dr Who' reprise their role for a one off promotional video giving the series a 'true ending' with the Doctor and carla settling in ADVENT'S new cities, though once the camera stops filming, their services are no longer required. The last frame is actually a reference to an item the commander may or not have picked up during the playthrough of Xcom 2. If you seen this image before then you pretty much figured out whose origin this is.Part of the comic, Origin is just a little series of snippets showing the past in relation to the legacy comic. I have some more planned in the future but for now I posted this one up. Here it's set in 2017 (which will be a date referred to as the comic progresses. Not only iis the style for this r...See more
    Aug 21
    Aug 21
    Hehe. ADVENT's peaceful ways.
    You need to sign in to comment
  • skintightening joined our site!
    Aug 19
  • Jlm70 replied in forum topic
    Likelihood of Seeing XCOM2 on iOS???
      Hey y'all!  I'm a RABID fan of XCOM... Have been since the very initial release of the very first game back in the early nineties. Played ...
    I've already bought all of the PC versions and addons... but I'll not buy the PS4 version: or... ok,...
     Discuss Replies: 4 
  • Jlm70 joined our site!
    Aug 18
  • Commander
    Commandoid commented on thebritwriter's video
    Found by chance but here's a GDC commentary of xcom (much like the gollop video) but involving 2012 game with greg. If you have over an hour it's worth a watch.
    Aug 17
    Aug 17
    Thanks for sharing, this is a really great Video! :D
    You need to sign in to comment
  • Commander
    Now that was unexpected! Get the Propaganda Center now for free on Steam. It's quite some fun to create posters with it, starring your favorite soldiers :)
    XCOM 2: War of the Chosen - Propaganda Center on Steam
    Create and customize your squad by using the included Character Pool or importing your soldiers from XCOM 2. Send your soldiers into the Photobooth and design a poster that will rally your troops. Share your posters with the world to inspire the resistance against ADVENT.
    Aug 17
  • Commander
    Commandoid commented on thebritwriter's status
    Here's some info, I spoke to a member of Xcom art staff, I don't have acknowledgment to give the person's name but I can put down what he told me. The reply was in response to a question I asked if there was any existing xcom 2012 Bradford and vahlen concept art.This was the reply:

    'Hi Daniel, thank you for your email! I'm really happy that you're such a fan of our games!!...Vahlen and Central did not actually have concept art - they were done directly by the modelers, so I've reached out to them to see if they have any extra material or anything that could be useful for your fancomic.'

    So there you have it, some additional back info on xcom. They may not have extra material but I am quite pleased with how firaxis staff are quite open. Will I get any extra material we'll just see but here is some info for those to know.
    Here's some info, I spoke to a member of Xcom art staff, I don't have acknowledgment to give the person's name but I can put down what he told me. The reply was in response to a question I asked if there was any existing xcom 2012 Bradford and vahlen concept art.This was the reply:

    'H...See more
    Aug 13
    Aug 13
    Awesome :D
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  • Commander
    There certainly is a lot of new information available lately, Commanders! Be sure to check it out.
    Aug 10
  • Commander
    And here come the ADVENT reinforcements, and a fresh alien to go with them!
    Aug 9
  • Commander
    XCOM 2 LONG WAR 2 Build Showcase: Support Specialist
    In this series I will be discussing and giving tips about various tactics in XCOM 2 Long War 2 mod, on Legendary Difficulty.  I will be talking ...
    Aug 8