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Julian Gollop on XCOM Remake

An interview on Edge Magazine talks with Julian Gollop, asking the creator of the original X-COM about XCOM: Enemy Unknown, the the recently announced revival of the strategy series, which is also being revisted as a first-person shooter. Though he's not involved in the new projects, he does have an opinion about what the remake should address:

Yeah, of course. Mainly in the realm of accessibility, which some people might call 'dumbing down' In the early 90s of course you didn't have in-game tutorials or help, because it was all in the big thick manual. Today people do not read manuals, they expect the game to teach them how to play it. Which is fair enough. In Shadow Wars we put a fair amount of effort into making the game accessible, teaching the systems as you're playing the game, hopefully keeping the player interested as they're learning.

This is the major thing, but it doesn't mean you have to dumb anything down in the sense that the full complexity of the game would be eventually revealed to the player as he learns all the systems. That was one thing that was difficult about the original UFO [X-COM was known as UFO in the UK]. It put you there and forced you to make decisions straight away without much idea of what you were supposed to be doing!

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11. Re: Julian Gollop on XCOM Remake Jan 20, 2012, 19:21 Yakubs
 
William Usher wrote on Jan 20, 2012, 17:43:
In Blinx 2 the entire game was a tutorial...

How about the Portal games? Ostensibly "puzzle" games, they spend 90% of the length of the game teaching basic concepts that only "casuals" or children wouldn't be able to figure out on their own.
 
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10. Re: Julian Gollop on XCOM Remake Jan 20, 2012, 18:16 Matshock
 
William Usher wrote on Jan 20, 2012, 17:43:
..."wall of text"...

Now watch, one day someone will release a sandbox FPS with no GPS style automap and everyone will complain endlessly about missing features.

Back in Britannia I had a cloth map and a sextant and I didn't need the sextant except in the middle of the ocean.

 
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9. Re: Julian Gollop on XCOM Remake Jan 20, 2012, 17:43 William Usher
 
Kobalt wrote on Jan 20, 2012, 11:47:
I think dumbing down is the new hitler. Every game at least once is accused of doing it, no matter how ridiculous.


No, many games really are dumbed down to the point of being infantile and asinine.

In Blinx 2 the entire game was a tutorial...you never got to play it "freely" so to speak. By the time you learned all the game mechanics with all the tutorial-type stage designs the game was ending. It was crap.

Most of Assassin's Creed 2 is composed of learning or re-learning the game mechanics...it's just how its designed.

A majority of the first BioShock was just acquiring and learning about the game's mechanics. By the time you were "let loose" you were turning into a Big Daddy and the game was ending.

Most of GTA IV was a giant tutorial and so was The Lost and Damned. It didn't feel like you were actually on your own and playing freely until the middle of The Ballad of Gay Tony.

I think a few good examples of non-hand holding but dumb-downed games include Mass Effect 2, Dragon Age 2, Saints Row 2, Saints Row The Third and Aliens Vs Predator. These games basically make it where it's almost next to nigh impossible to lose or fail or make the wrong choice...most of the time.

I think games like Alpha Protocol, S.T.A.L.K.E.R., Borderlands, and Far Cry 2 are decent examples of games that try to make the hand-holding or the dumbing down as miniscule as possible. Players were given quite a bit of control in the aforementioned games and I think that's what more gamers are looking for when they rag on a title being "dumbed down". Heck, in 007: Blood Stone you just had to press one button and Bond beat up a guy, blocked, countered and incapacitated him, as opposed to 007: Everything or Nothing where you had an attack, counter and grab button which you manually had to execute on your own.
 
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8. Re: Julian Gollop on XCOM Remake Jan 20, 2012, 15:11 Yakubs
 
InBlack wrote on Jan 20, 2012, 10:54:
Way to go Yakubs. Complain about dumbing down to the CREATOR of XCOM. What the fuck is wrong with you?

Being a creator of X-Com is great, obviously, but you're only as good as your last game. Do I need to mention Peter Molyneux?
 
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7. Re: Julian Gollop on XCOM Remake Jan 20, 2012, 15:10 Kobalt
 
Beamer wrote on Jan 20, 2012, 14:38:

But people will still call it dumbed down.

And people with intelligence can laugh at their stupidity.
 
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6. Re: Julian Gollop on XCOM Remake Jan 20, 2012, 14:38 Beamer
 
Dev wrote on Jan 20, 2012, 13:45:
BUT, and here's the problem that most companies get into, its NOT necessary to dumb down the entire game once you get past some learning/tutorial missions! Too often companies think they have to hold your hand and do everything for you, make 100% linear crap thats boring. Also, I hate it when companies force you to go through the tutorial every time you restart or play a new game.

Like I said in the last thread, you can do either a tutorial mission that's separate from the campaign or you can do constant pop-ups that you can turn off (like in Civ 4.) Both work pretty well. A hand-holding tutorial mission is probably ideal. One you can play whenever you want.

But people will still call it dumbed down.
 
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5. Re: Julian Gollop on XCOM Remake Jan 20, 2012, 13:45 Dev
 
He's got a point. I loaded up Master of Orion 2 the other day. I remember loving that thing, its been years since I last played. But the first thing I had to do was crack the manual since there weren't things like balloon and hover help when you held the mouse over things. So yeah, having some tutorial missions or intro missions is fine to help you learn a new game.

BUT, and here's the problem that most companies get into, its NOT necessary to dumb down the entire game once you get past some learning/tutorial missions! Too often companies think they have to hold your hand and do everything for you, make 100% linear crap thats boring. Also, I hate it when companies force you to go through the tutorial every time you restart or play a new game. Some of that crap gets boring fast, especially if you can't skip dialog or cutscenes.
InBlack wrote on Jan 20, 2012, 10:54:
Way to go Yakubs. Complain about dumbing down to the CREATOR of XCOM. What the fuck is wrong with you?
When I RFTA it looks like that the interviewer only asked "Is there anything about X-COM you'd like to see being addressed in this remake?"
The answer from the creator of original xcom is "Yeah, of course. Mainly in the realm of accessibility."
The rest of it is explaining what he means, that it does NOT mean dumbing down. "it doesn't mean you have to dumb anything down"

This comment was edited on Jan 20, 2012, 14:28.
 
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4. Re: Julian Gollop on XCOM Remake Jan 20, 2012, 12:11 J
 
Julian Gollop was my childhood hero  
Avatar 45926
 
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3. Re: Julian Gollop on XCOM Remake Jan 20, 2012, 11:47 Kobalt
 
I think dumbing down is the new hitler. Every game at least once is accused of doing it, no matter how ridiculous.  
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2. Re: Julian Gollop on XCOM Remake Jan 20, 2012, 10:54 InBlack
 
Way to go Yakubs. Complain about dumbing down to the CREATOR of XCOM. What the fuck is wrong with you?  
Avatar 46994
 
I have a nifty blue line!
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1. Re: Julian Gollop on XCOM Remake Jan 20, 2012, 10:26 Yakubs
 
It put you there and forced you to make decisions straight away without much idea of what you were supposed to be doing!

Yes, because adults are incapable of learning by doing, right?
 
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