Xenonauts 2 will not be a chronological sequel, rather it will cover similar events taking place in an alternate timeline – an alien invasion occurring in a Cold War-era Earth. This means humanity does not start with the advanced alien technology unlocked in the first game, and we also have the freedom to subtly alter the story, setting and enemies in order to make a more interesting sequel.
We will cover our planned gameplay changes in more detail in our full announcement, but we have these broad areas of focus:
- Game Engine – using Unity3D will give us a much more capable platform for development than our previous engine, so expect fewer bugs, improved performance, better modding support, etc
- 3D Graphics – moving from 2D sprites to 3D graphics will improve visual fidelity, but will also be valuable for gameplay – it allows for things like rotating cameras, vastly improved animation, physics objects, accurate projectile tracking, etc
- Ground Combat – we will be retaining the Time Unit combat system, and will enhance the interface and giving the player additional tactical options: destructible UFOs, better use of terrain verticality, human psionics, etc
- Geoscape – we want to add a lot more strategic choice for the player with regards to the research tree and how they choose to expand their organisation (there was definitely too much strategic railroading in the first Xenonauts)
- Air Combat – redesigned to be turn-based and to feature larger numbers of combatants, with the goal of making it a less frequent occurrence but more tactically involved when it does happen
- Aliens – we are visually and mechanically redesigning all of the enemies, and creating a more intelligent and challenging foe by developing gameplay systems that allow the aliens to respond and adapt to your tactics and technology
Some of the issues in the original game were caused by our lack of experience / lack of early funding, whereas others were caused by the constraints remaining faithful to the design of a game dating back to 1994. The experience and income we have accumulated from the development of Xenonauts mean that we can make a sequel that significantly improves and expands on the first game – and this time we can be more innovative than before.