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Julian Gollop, the original creator of X-COM, is currently working on Phoenix Point, a spiritual successor to the X-COM series. During this year's EGX trade fair he had an opportunity to talk about his experiences as a game designer, as well as the origins and the evolution of the genre he helped create. In a 37 minute long presentation he goes as far back as the 70s to talk about the board games that inspired him, then moves forward to the 80s where he shows off his first attempts at designing tactical games with Rebelstar Raiders and later Laser Squad. We get to see the evolution of the genre's mechanics, learn how X-COM came to be and how it changed over the years.
An interesting tidbit there, is that originally, after making X-COM, Julain wanted to make a Lovecraftian X-COM style game, and that later those ideas transferred over to Phoenix Point. XCOM: Enemy Unknown from Firaxis Games also gets a mention. In fact, Julian attributes his starting of Snapshot Games to the success of that game that had shown him that the genre is still very much viable.
And as a cherry on top, we're also treated to a brief demo where we get to see a working prototype of Phoenix Point's Geoscape, with its robust exploration, simulation and 4X elements. So, there's a lot of great stuff there, even a bit of a Q&A session near the end. Check it out:
And then, the old, the new, and the other new, all come together, when Julian Gollop is joined by Jake Solomon from Firaxis, and the two of them talk shop and discuss the X-COM genre of games with its rich history and its, hopefully bright, future. It's quite neat seeing these two developers having an amicable relationship and sharing ideas. And even though during the history of the genre segment there's quite a bit of an overlap with the previous presentation, there are a lot of new takes on things as well. Have a look: