The Bureau: XCOM Declassified Announced
2K has officially announced The Bureau: XCOM Declassified. Due on August 20th in North America and August 23rd in Europe, The Bureau will hit Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC for $59.99 and is a tactical squad-based third-person shooter in development at 2K Marin.
The Bureau is set in 1962 against the backdrop of the Cold War. Players will take on the role of agent William Carter, an intelligence operative recruited into The Bureau who soon finds himself leading teams against aliens that have invaded the United States. Through Carter, players will see the cover up that takes place, as well as the “secret story” behind the XCOM initiative.
IGN had a chance to talk to creative director Morgan Gray and associate producer Andrew Dutra about The Bureau and how it fits into the XCOM universe.
“At a high level, what we were attempting to do was find a third-person tactical squad-based interpretation of the classic XCOM gameplay tenets,” Gray told IGN. Those include Team, which Gray explained as “no Rambos, no one-man army. It’s me leading my soldiers in battle to success against numerically superior and technologically superior forces.” The Bureau also focuses on tools and tech, allowing players to gain access to additional technology as the fight continues.
The Bureau also features a heavy focus on tactics, and Gray explained that “our mission statement here is to move beyond the turn-based isometric God’s Eye View on the battlefield and to put you into the boots of this squad leader, where the bullets are flying in the middle of the mix, having to basically direct your squad and keep your own head from being shot off all at the same time.” Players will be able to move agents using an interface called Battle Focus.
“The Battle Focus interface allows you to do things like maneuver and position your squadmates around the battlefield in real-time,” Gray said. Players will also be able to focus on features like “target prioritization, utilizing different powers and abilities that [your squad] is able to rank up and obtain that you customize them with, and controlling squadmates as the battle happens, building tactical plans and then watching them get executed in the field. Things like leapfrog maneuvers, looking for flanks, height advantages, that sort of thing.”
In classic XCOM fashion, The Bureau will also feature permanent death for agents. “As agents rank up, you customize them. You’re going to get used to them,” Gray told us. “A couple hours into the game, you make a poor decision in the fight. In any other game, that’d be like ‘oh, something happened.’ In our game, he’s dead. He’s gone. You’re going to have to get a new recruit. He may not be as powerful, but the fight goes on.”
2K Marin’s XCOM project was first announced back in 2010 as a first-person shooter. A slightly changed version was shown off at E3 2011 and was initially due to arrive that year. The game was later delayed in early 2012 and delayed once again to Take-Two’s 2014 fiscal year. We first heard about the change to third-person last September.
2K emphasized that The Bureau: XCOM Declassified will be a single-player game focused on narrative, with no multiplayer modes. Players who pre-order will receive an extra side mission called Codebreakers from select retailers, in which “a communications facility responsible for intercepting and interpreting the enemy’s transmissions has gone dark. Special Agent Carter and his squad must make contact with any remaining personnel and investigate the incident.”
Look out for much more on The Bureau from IGN in the weeks to come.
Andrew Goldfarb is IGN’s news editor. Keep up with pictures of the latest food he’s been eating by following @garfep on Twitter or garfep on IGN.