XCOM: Chimera Squad Interview

XCOM: Chimera Squad, a new standalone entry in Firaxis Games’ XCOM series, will be launching tomorrow, April 24, 2020. The game’s announcement came as a surprise and as such, at this point we don’t really know much about it apart from what the official promotional materials tell us.

If you’d like to remedy that, you can now check out this Game Informer interview with Chimera Squad’s lead designer Mark Nauta that touches on the game’s unorthodox choice of setting, its new mechanics, and its place in the bigger XCOM series. An excerpt:

The change from expendable units to instant failure on death feels like a big change for the series. How did you settle on this change?

Nauta: In previous XCOM games, Permadeath made both narrative and gameplay sense as you were engaged in a war of attrition – soldiers are recruited from many different nations, and losses were to be expected. It was also a major part of the consequences of that game, in that losing a veteran soldier could leave you without skills and abilities you had come to rely on for successful missions.

In XCOM: Chimera Squad, you’re now working with a specific set of characters in agents and we felt permadeath ran counter to the experience of playing with these characters. And, practically speaking, there were a lot of players who didn’t want to lose their XCOM soldiers and would reload if missions went bad. So, for the sake of Chimera Squad, we came up with a compromise – you lose a mission if one of your agents bleeds out on the battlefield. Any character can stabilize someone who’s down, and there are consequences for having an agent get seriously wounded. But losing an agent means you have to restart the mission.

That said, there are still consequences for failure. It is possible to lose the game at the strategic level. We also understand that permadeath presents a fun challenge that franchise veterans and fans have enjoyed, and so we’ve added a hardcore mode to retain that same tension.