XCOM 2: Firaxis Discusses Why Game Had to be PC Exclusive
And it is a reason I can respect.
A few days ago, Firaxis came out and announced XCOM 2, much to the delight of the millions of fans who had jumped on board with the series with the excellent Enemy Unknown, and its equally excellent expansion, Enemy Within. However, there was one surprising element in all of that- the game was announced to just be a PC exclusive, which came as a bit of a shock to everyone, considering that Enemy Unknown and Enemy Within had both been made available on consoles (and tablets too!).
Now, speaking to IGN, Firaxis’ Creative Director Jake Solomon explained why the game had to be a PC exclusive.
“When we looked at what we wanted to do with the sequel, we had all these very, very ambitious goals,” said Solomon. “To do that, we had to use all of our studio expertise … and our expertise here is PC. That’s our home, and that’s where we’re really comfortable.
“Internally, with a relatively small team for the size of the game that we are, to be able to say we can focus on our platform that the studio has a pedigree for, and that X-COM: UFO Defense has a pedigree for, as PC-only… it just made a lot of sense, and that’s how we wanted to dedicate our time.”
“When we have our meetings, when we talk about stuff, we only talk about PC,” said Solomon. “We talk about ‘What is the experience like on PC? What does the mouse feel like in this experience?’” The most obvious change resulting from those conversations is how the team is optimizing the interface to be mouse-and-keyboard friendly, moving UI elements and grouping them logically so that buttons we’re likely to press one after the other aren’t placed on opposite sides of the screen. “It will certainly be recognizable, but there isn’t one UI widget that’s the same.”
So, does all of this mean that the future of the series on consoles is finished? Not so fast, Solomon says. “We’re certainly not opposed to that, but I can assure that’s something we’re not even discussing yet,” he said, noting that the Xbox One and PS4 can technically run the game just fine, but that developing a game as ambitious and feature rich as XCOM 2 on three platforms simultaneously will be impossible for a team the size of Firaxis.
Honestly, I would rather take an excellent game on one platform than a diluted one on three. It’s good to know that a studio made a decision based on artistic and creative vision rather than the economics of it all, for once.