Respect Nov 10, 2018 @ 12:50pm
XCOM 3 Ideas to blow your mind – 2 years later
So way back in 2016 – long before Long War 2, before WOTC - many people and I shared a wealth of ideas for the next XCOM game in this thread:
XCOM 3 Ideas (2 years ago)

This new thread is a sequel of ideas. In the time since its release I’ve somehow put 691+ hours into XCOM 2, playing it standard as well as Wave XCOM, Long War 2, SPECTRUM, Classless XCOM : MINT and Mushashi’s RPG Overhaul and many others and I don’t regret a second. This is probably my favorite game and going forward I’ve got a wave of ideas to make the next XCOM unique and more rewarding.

Special thank you to Firaxis for the excellent mod support in XCOM. You’ve allowed the game to evolve and shine over the years, and your expansions like WOTC are superb. At least in my opinion.

We’re going to go STORY, SCAVENGING, INSTANT LEVEL UP, PERK ADVANCEMENT, INTERACTIVE ENVIRONMENTS, NEW GAME MODE, and MULTIPLAYER. Most of these are FRESH – and you’re welcome to share your own.

STORY (idea):

Major human fleet fully equipped goes hurtling through a portal to a man-made alien solar system composed of planets snatched by the Ethereals in their prime. They’re grouped in shallow orbits.

The portal closes, stranding our fleet. We’re wildly outnumbered and outgunned; all human ships are good as dead.

In Central’s ship you’re given command – it’s your first game-changing decision –
Crashland on the Sectoid’s homeworld. OR
Crashland on the Muton’s homeworld.

Supplies are lost, armors are torn, and magazines are few - our high-tech plasma weapons will run out of plasma after a mission or two and must be replaced with new equipment. Earn the support of Muton or Sectoid factions fighting for their freedom against a new and fiercer slave-driven Advent army – intent on wiping out humanity. Gather weapons in the field using the new:

Scavenging System:

Why: Instant gratification plus evolving combat tactics.

Most alien factions that aren’t a part of the Ethereal occupation, are still a threat to XCOM. And unlike the Ethereal’s alien’s weapons which disassemble when the operator dies, the alien faction’s weapons remain intact. Available for XCOM to acquire mid-mission!

Similar to Grimy’s Loot Mod, these alien factions have scrambled together their gear with whatever they could find. Each has its own ability(s). The aliens will use their randomly generated special weapon abilities against you. But when they’re dead you can immediately pick them up -- allowing you to scavenge and acquire new weapons, attachments, grenades, and other gear mid-mission.

Picking up Weapons (Image 1 of 3) [imgur.com]

Imagine losing your grenadier, then running over his body with a rookie, then picking up and using his grenade launcher to save the day. BOOYAH! But the point is you can pick up any type of grenade from any downed alien or human. Then add-in breakable grappling hooks, deteriorating suppressors, you get the idea – this is XCOM like you’ve never seen it – grab n’ go evolutionary combat!

For example in Black Ops 4’s new Blackout [Battle Royale] mode you can attach weapon attachments you find in the field immediately to your equipped weapon. How cool is that? It’s fast, effective, and most importantly -- a good time.

Supplies, Intel, Experience, and AP this soldier found on the mission could all be a part of a new inventory screen. Think Diablo or Men Of War Assault Squad 2 inventory systems - but simpler and more XCOM.

Instant Level Up:

Promotion earned! Popup appears with ability icons to select from – simply mouse over or click an ability to see its description. (Modders can easily include more with a scroll bar)

Promotion Screen Popup Menu (Image 3 of 3) [imgur.com]

Gain some health (if below max) when you are promoted, this will impact strategy. Current Experience should be visible on all characters so that you can strategize battles around promotions.

No max level: Allow promotions to continue to be won after reaching Brigadier. OR once you reach Brigadier, you may Promote (or just grant XP) to anyone else on your team when you level up.

Weapons offer weapon abilities. Therefore, Level up abilities are more like in Fallout 4, these change base stats and knowledge-based skills, such as learning to modify your weapon expertly thereby increasing its stats like damage output/ability cooldown/accuracy/crit percentage/etc.


Level-up your Perks!

You should be able to spend AP to upgrade any given ability using its unique skill tree. Each ability can have greater power and/or shorter cooldown, etc..

I’ll just throw out there the idea that you can pull perks from weapons and place them in other weapons or armor like attachments. Maybe permit Researching and Mass Producing attachments like in LW2.

Environmental Apocalypse:

Following are a few ideas for environmental effects that would impact strategy. These would replace most “mission timers” with more interesting “dangerous environments.”

- There’s never been movement in water in XCOM from what I’ve seen. Understandable as losing mobility mid-movement can be a bit tricky/annoying. One alternative is a gaseous liquid-toxin that you can move quickly through, but causes poison if at head-height. So here’s an idea…
- Acidic liquid rises, very vertical level with water rising 1 tile each turn. Even aliens are affected, as you climb your way toward evac after a toxin bombing.

- Stay in the shadows. With the miniature solar system’s sun churning with Ethereal energy – there’s a trade-off between night missions and day missions. Toward end-game everyone will want to avoid the Ethereal’s light when it becomes overcharged. Do so by staying indoors or by ending movement in the shadows of clouds that move turn by turn to prevent catching fire from the purple sun.

- Operational Lifts. Ski lifts, base lifts, escalators, sidewalk autowalks, all in movement or able to be activated. Use these to move multiple characters as a free action – allowing better flanking options. Granted, the aliens can use them as well.

- Avalanches. Valkyria Chronicles 4 did something really well – unique mission types ~every chapter. Avoid moving searchlights, destroy explosives causing an avalanche over your enemies armaments, snipe paratroops and parabombs, distract unkillable foe while you take their main base (not really a fan in general of unkillable enemies, but I think it would be fun if it’s like a shielded foe that must be flanked or grenaded to drop his/her shield – then you/he/her could pick it back up.).

- I would really, really, like to have a daytime mission above the clouds. A glass floored spaceship or something with a big drop if you get grenaded could be fun (a little like the end of the Slingshot Content Pack in XCOM:EU)

- More EPIC STUFF than we’ve never seen: How about worlds nearly collide like Inception with cities above and below having their own gravity.
This scene from Uncharted 3 Drake midflight (Image 2 of 3) [imgur.com] , like opening the hatch of an airplane and having all of the boxes fly out, hitting anyone in their way. I remember another part where you’re running around a building as it’s falling over. The key to having events like this is making sure the player is aware of how the mechanics work in the situation, so that they can plan accordingly. No surprises. Although to make it interesting they would have to be randomly generated events, otherwise consecutive playthroughs would be boring/predictable. And no one wants that.


- XCOM placed a mole within enemy forces. Deploy your squad and have immediate visual access of your mole that’s walking with one of the enemy pods – waiting to switch sides when revealed.
- The ideas under Environment Apocalypse (above) could all be SITREPS.
- Feel free to share your own thoughts.


I’m extremely excited about this idea. I’ve been working on it for quite some time, I hope you like it.

Base Defense (still needs a good name)

For 1-4 players, each controlling 2-8 soldiers and playing simultaneously with 1-3 min turns (configurable – it could be unlimited time for friends). There’s no slow-motion to save time.

Concept: Combine building/Role playing elements from Starcraft 2’s “Special Forces Elite” to deliver a unique XCOM single-mission experience, maximizing on customization, strategy, and (optional) cooperative.

Start with a large randomly generated environment that’s a bit larger than Long War 2 size – that’s several city blocks. Play as a handful of rookies that level up, earning AP like in WOTC. On your turn you may as a free action “Get Promotion” when you have earned enough XP.

The main Objective is to Eliminate all enemies while not losing your HQ. The HQ has a weak point, like a generator, with something like 100HP that the aliens that are alerted to your presence try to destroy.

Collapse bunker doorways usually located in the basements of several buildings (they have freight elevators that deliver pods every so many turns). Destroying the doorways to the lifts prevent more pods from spawning at each location.

Different areas of the map have harder and harder bad guys, but by the time you deter the immediate threats, you should be high enough level and have enough good gear to battle the harder foes. Plus, once you destroy the first lift, more nearby pods become more alert (think yellow alert in Long War 2).

Getting Gear (2 Ideas):

  1. Research by simply clicking on XCOM’s base and selecting an area of research. Equipment, such as grenades and weapon attachments can be looted and equipped immediately. Other gear, once crafted, can be delivered via drone from HQ.
  2. The aliens are in factions cut off from the ethereals and the main alien occupation. As such, they use unique weapons and equipment, allowing you to scavenge and acquire new weapons and gear mid-mission. With the “Strap” attachment on a gun you can always activate that weapon, whether or not it is equipped, as a free action. Without a Strap it’s 1AP to swap between two 2-handed primary weapons.

Airdrop Turrets, barbed wire, SPARKS with a limited number of actions, pretty much any of the Score-streaks in Call of Duty can be bought to help defend the base while your soldiers go after the enemies bases.

Enemies are housed in buildings across the map – they then move to attack XCOM’s HQ. XCOM takes out waves of attackers, leveling up and acquiring their gear.

RANDOM EVENTS: occur throughout the match, such as time of day changes:

Night – Smaller detection radius.

Day (Bright) – The sun shines very brightly, reflecting off skyscraper windows and blinding (lowering the accuracy of) anyone shooting in that direction. Helmets (less crit), Visors “Prevent blinding from the sun and stun grenades”, Light headgear/no helmet (plus accuracy for easy neck movement).

Flood (dam destroyed/activated) – Think Flood Zone in Battlefield 4 – The water rises and it’s like Venice.

Sandstorms, Blizzards, Rain, Snow, Ice, etc..

The point is things can happen for a couple of turns without much warning that effect everyone, not just XCOM.

To promote playing this game mode, and playing with friends, you’ll unlock X-Points toward buying Cosmetic Items for your squad. These points can be earned/used in any multiplayer mode. In other words, cosmetics are locked until you’ve earned enough points to unlock items/colors/camos of your choosing.
Speaking of Multiplayer…


1. Be able to quick-equip from the ever-changing list of “top squads”. This immediately gives you the top custom squad based on its W/L stats or Leaderboard Player position that you select.

2. Each week the rules change from “Anything goes” to “XCOM Soldiers Only”, etc..
Could even have a mode where you have soldiers only equipped with pistols that have to find weapons in the field.

3. Co-op, 2-4 player synchronous play where you unlock gear and progress like in shooter games. Control 1-2 soldiers per player and pass through ACTS or TIERS, 1-7 like TLP, or 1-3 with more diversity/missions in each.

- - - - - - - - -
And that’s all I have for right now… I hope you guys have enjoyed my long list of ideas. You’re free to execute any of these in any way you see fit (mods, etc). If your idea is clearly inspired by what I’ve written, I’d love it if you’d put my name (Shining One) in the Credits somewhere. Many thanks! Can’t wait to read your ideas. – End manifesto
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Showing 1-14 of 14 comments
Nick Naughty Nov 10, 2018 @ 1:11pm 
Have seen fantasy xcom been mentioned a few times, how about xcom 50,000 BC.

I mean farcry has primal, why not xcom.
only Nix Nov 10, 2018 @ 3:26pm 
DasaKamov Nov 10, 2018 @ 5:53pm 
Originally posted by Nick Naughty:
how about xcom 50,000 BC.

I mean farcry has primal, why not xcom.
Not sure what appeal (or hope) there would be to playing as stone or bronze-age people living in mostly isolated rural areas, fighting againt interstellar, psionic, gene-splicing aliens with plasma weapons and flying battleships. :b

Unless the aliens were these guys, of course:
Last edited by DasaKamov; Nov 10, 2018 @ 5:55pm
Respect Nov 10, 2018 @ 6:28pm 
Originally posted by Aizy_AK:
What is this? I searched both Google and Bing and no results found.
Raklödder Nov 10, 2018 @ 8:03pm 
I would much prefer if they patched the current game instead of moving on.
The Captain Nov 10, 2018 @ 10:08pm 
XCOM 3 certainly needs to bring far more maps and a range of environments. And challenges from the landscape, like a mountain pass that is the only route to destination which is heavily fortified etc.. Perhaps ability to pop under water in stealth and have limited time to resurface, or to swim down to caves and so on. So many options really, kinda sick of doing the same maps over and over just the starting point is different.

Options in story would be to take back Earth properly, then launch an attack to maybe moon bases/motherships in space, setting the scene for XCOM 4.. Should have multiple bases, which regularly get attacked just like retaliation missions. Only the soldiers available that are stationed there can defend it, but add reinforcements after a set period, or completion of an objective. So you could literally lose a third, or half your roster in one hit if not managed right. Of course lose all your bases and its game over. These would have to be challenging missions, and give a real bite even late game. Just as with variety of maps, bases need to be varied depending on location and in a different campaign, not identical. Similar is fine, but gets stale being the same. Enemy bases, strongholds same applies.

I'd like to see Veteran soldiers be able to reappear in multiple campaigns, gaining some kind of bonus each successful playthrough. If the game was challenging enough, you might have to do say x3 campaigns to level your roster up to be strong enough to face some extra boss/es at the end, or an extra portal to alien world etc. Certainly the game needs to throw in enemy units in the late game to really challenge, and be sure to lose good soldiers, and even to lose the entire campaign.

The story is very important, so cinematics need to be on point. The ending in XCOM was both exciting and emotional, no.2 wasn't so much lol. Add a lot of dialogue, keeping it fresh. You could venture in multiple story arcs to arrive at different endings. Maybe perhaps 3 endings, then once all complete you then can proceed in a fourth campaign to wrap it up with the real top boss.. (utilising veteran soldiers). Mix that up with truly random maps each time, you'd have game of the decade award!
Syndra Nov 10, 2018 @ 10:21pm 
Bring back Capture and Interrigation
Meld.. I miss leaping tall buildings in a single bound.
Archangel Armor
Would like to see reinforcemnts for XCOM Maybe once a month or so spend x amount of resources to bring in a squad to help finish a hard mission.
Better sytem of shooting down enemy UFO engagements.
More signifiance on capture or kill missions.
Messsucher Nov 11, 2018 @ 12:14am 
This combined with what someone else proposed here about more intense experience of dying etc. and XCOM 3 or similar new game could be done.
Future Nov 11, 2018 @ 5:24am 
lets be honest, anything can be done with XCOM 3, and were all still very hyped for that
Ayearepee Nov 11, 2018 @ 1:26pm 
Some of these ideas - picking up dropped weapons for example - remind me a lot of the original game from back in 1993.

Striking a balance between simply repeating the same game with new baddies or making a radical change is going to be very difficult. The original XCOM franchise was more or less killed off by XCOM: Apocalypse ("Sim City meets XCOM") and the game with space fighter combat, I can't even remember what it was called. And of course The Bureau. There's a parallel universe in which The Bureau was the last ever XCOM game, ever.

I've always liked the idea of a much more hardcore, realistic XCOM that borrows a lot from the likes of Combat Mission. With mortars, armoured vehicles, instant kills, but a less advanced alien threat. Do they even make military strategy games any more? From my point of view one the key things that makes XCOM appealing is that it's not straightforward sci-fi; your development tree begins in something that resembles the real world, and it's not until the end of the game that you're fielding psionic robots with invisible armour.
Messsucher Nov 12, 2018 @ 12:16am 
Originally posted by Future:
lets be honest, anything can be done with XCOM 3, and were all still very hyped for that

Wizzle Nov 14, 2018 @ 10:49am 
What makes an xcom game? For me it's fighting an overwhelming alien force on earth. This is why I think the best way to go forward is to go back. Let's say the ethereals are able to send there minds back in time. Due to the commander's involvement with the avatar project his mind is sent back as well. The result of all of this time travel is that the ethereals control the council and xcom is forced to go rogue. This gives us xcom not as an official military organization or a resistance movement but as a rogue organization.

I propose a different action point / movement system. Units will have 3 action points. When a unit moves, they will covert an action point in to movement points. Each movement point lets them move one space. As long as they have movement points they can move without using action points. Most other actions will zero out there movement points. Assult rifles, shotguns and light machine guns cost 2 points to fire. Pistols and smgs cost a single point to fire. Sniper rifles cost 3 points to fire. There would be no limit on how many times a weapon can be fired per turn.

Weapons would no longer be simple upgrades. Conventional, magnetic and alloy weapons would work a lot like xcom 2's weapons, with customization and standard reloading. Although light machine guns would cost 2 points to reload. Laser, emp and plasma weapons would not need reloaded. Instead they would heat up as used and cool a one unit each turn. Psi weapons would have unlimited ammo and would generate a charge with each hit. At full charge they could use a special attack with would drain all the charges.

Armor would bring back the enemy unknown armors with new abilities. The titan armor would allow the unit wearing it to act as cover and would have a shield which could be deployed for cover. The ghost armor would allow the unit to regain concealment. The archangel armor would not let the user fly but they could do jumps that don't trigger overwatchs and could launch a user into the air for better angles when aiming. The psi armor would offer some passive psi abilities like fortress, solace and sustain.

There would still be 4 classes. The heavy would work alot like the heavy in enemy unknown. It would have a light machine gun and a special heavy weapon, like a rocket launcher, a flame thrower or shredder cannon. The specialist will use shotguns, assault rifles or smgs and have a drone. The marksmen will still use a sniper rifle and a pistol. The assult will not use a special secondary weapon. Instead they will equip two main weapons. They can use shotguns, assault rifles and smgs. The psi operative will have a psi blade that will work like other psi weapons, building a charge and having a special attack that uses all the charge. The real big change with the classes would be how they gain abilities. Leveling up would only improve base stats. Instead the unit would have to train for new skills. The more skills the unit has the longer it takes to train new skills but the higher the rank the faster they can train. Several skills would be common and basic shoulders could get some limited psi training to allow them to use psi weapons and armor or get other passives. Cybernetics would also be available but they would block out psi training.

Bases building would no longer be an ant farm. Room layouts would be randomized but the number of rooms would not. You would be able to fill in the rooms however you want. The aliens would be able to find your base and attack it. Your performance during the missions would determine how often this happens. If the player takes too many turns or captures a unit, they will get closer to finding your base. You can avoid this by moving your base but this will be costly and you will have to have already found other bases. These bases would have some limited use while not serving as your main base. Intercpters could be stored there, radars could be set up. The intercpters would be used to prevent enemy reinforcements from showing up during missions. The player would also be managing multiple troop transports to send squads to the missions. These transports would have weapons that could be used for support during the missions.
cb6dba Nov 14, 2018 @ 12:11pm 
I love XCOM (1+2) and I loved X-COM (the three of them) but being relaistic each game has been a variation on a theme.

TFTD was pretty much the same as Enemy Unknown.

I am really interested to see what the third installemnt of this series does.
Darth Cannabis Nov 14, 2018 @ 12:51pm 
Originally posted by Messsucher:
Originally posted by Future:
lets be honest, anything can be done with XCOM 3, and were all still very hyped for that


Actually not really. While XCOM 3 is nice, anytime within the next year would be a poor time to make/release a new XCOM.

Remember this spring or summer, is when Pheonix Point is supposed to comes out. Thus any Firaxis XCOM, coming out 6 months to a year either direction, would be directly competing with a game, made by the creator of the original XCOM. Its just the wrong time, to be talking about the next XCOM.

Not that there wouldn't be some hype for a new XCOM, but most of the hype train for a new XCOM (particularly old school XCOM fans), is allready on another track.

So not all of us would be "very" hyped. Would have to be slight or mild hype, until after Phoenix Point, for many cases.
Last edited by Darth Cannabis; Nov 14, 2018 @ 12:56pm
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Date Posted: Nov 10, 2018 @ 12:50pm
Posts: 14