The 2012 reboot of XCOM was so successful that it basically created its own genre. Sure, the original series laid out the groundwork back in the day. However, these types of games never really achieved mass appeal until Firaxis’ XCOM: Enemy Unknown. Since then, we’ve had a few other notable titles that took the essence of what makes this turn-based series so great and put their own spin on it. Xenonauts is one such title, a game that’s now getting a sequel simply titled Xenonauts 2.
The original Xenonauts is a spiritual successor to the original X-COM series which debuted in 1994. In many ways, it’s an even more faithful recreation than XCOM: Enemy Unknown or its follow-up. That said, this indie game is far from perfect so developer Goldhawk Interactive decided to try again. Xenonaunts 2 aims to be an improvement in pretty much every way over its predecessor, which is no small feat for an indie dev. Luckily, the team has plenty of support from fans eager for more Xenonauts as evidenced by its very successful Kickstarter Campaign.
Goldhawk launched the campaign on June 20th in the hopes of raising £50,000 to fund Xenonauts 2. That initial goal was met in just 8 hours and eventually the team managed to raise a little over £190,000. Four additional stretch goals were unlocked thanks to these contributions so expect Xenonauts 2 to be even more ambitious than initially planned. Goldhawk did have two other stretch goals in place but the Kickstarter ended earlier today so it won’t be possible to unlock them anymore. Still, £190,000 is definitely not too shabby for what many would consider a niche indie game.
Xenonauts 2 is More of a Reboot Than a Sequel
In spite of its name, Xenonauts 2 won’t actually be a sequel to the 2014 game. Instead, Goldhawk is working on a reimagining of the original that will also be set during the Cold War. The game actually takes place in modern times but this is an alternative timeline where the Cold War never ended. As if the situation wasn’t tense enough, Earth has just become the target of an alien invasion. Of course, it’s up to you to stop it.
The Cold War was an interesting setting in the original and will play a more tangible role in Xenonauts 2. In spite of the alien menace, tensions between NATO and the Soviet Union will continue to rise through the game and can eventually lead to World War 3. This essentially means you failed and must start a new game.
Xenonaunts 2 introduces a new DEFCON system that allows you to keep track of the situation so you can intervene before it gets out of hand. Unfortunately, the aliens are working towards increasing the DEFCON meter so you’ll need to constantly keep an eye on it. If you’re familiar with XCOM 2 and the Avatar project meter you’ll know what to expect here.
You’re also going to operate from a new main base this time around known as the ATLAS. Xenonauts 2 does things a bit differently compared to its predecessor and won’t allow players to construct multiple bases. Again, not unlike XCOM 2. Forward airbase and radar installations will still be available, however, so you won’t have to rely entirely on ATLAS. This change was apparently made to reflect the fact that most players didn’t build multiple bases in the original game and preferred to stick with just the main one.
Closed Beta Coming Soon
Xenonauts 2 will enter closed beta in around three months according to Goldhawk. This testing phase will only be available to Kickstarter backers, though. There’s no word on whether an open beta is also in the works. However, you can get a small taste of what the game is all about right now. The Xenonauts 2 Kickstarter page allows everyone to download an alpha combat demo of the game for free so go check it out if you’re interested. Alternatively, the demo is also available via GOG.
At the time of this writting Xenonauts 2 is still pegged for a 2018 release. The game will be available exclusively on PC.