I knew I liked XCOM 2 a whole lot pretty much from the moment I started playing it. I knew I loved it when I embarked on a mission called “Operation Tomb Fist”.
XCOM 2 randomly generates a lot of things, characters and level designs being the most prominent. But the mission naming system? Criminally underrated. I’ve been screenshotting the stuff it’s given me. Here are a few of my favourites:
What I love about this system is that it’s not just random silliness. Sure, some of it feels like it was created by a Firaxis designer who insists that everybody calls him “Goofs Supreme”, but I’ve gotten a few mission names that were downright prescient. Case in point:
Operation Storm Walk ended up being a looooong walk down a narrow death corridor of an alley. The goal? Snag a VIP and evac out. The evac point was nearly in sight from the start of the level. I thought it was gonna be cake (or alien cake that looks like regular cake except for the part of the cake obscured by a sinister mask). Problem: every time my squad so much as twitched, a new swarm of aliens emerged from the shadows. Snake Jerks wreaked havoc on my front line while Teleport Bastards and Totally Not Krogans From Mass Effect slammed my sharpshooters. It was gnarly as hell. We barely made it out alive, and I had to settle for killing the VIP rather than apprehending him alive.
In other words, it was an apt mission name.
Oh, and then there was this one:
Operation Vengeful Dance saw me lose one of my best characters, a Specialist who was part of my original squad. I pushed too hard too soon, and my Specialist ended up being the character with his neck sticking out further than everybody else for one turn. That’s all it took. The rest of the mission was coldly calculated vengeance. Each time my sharpshooters connected with critical shots, it felt like righteous fury expelling itself in tiny gasps. My squad moved with demonic fury. Each footfall, each alien corpse hitting the ground came together in a grim sort of rhythm.
I’ve seen some great ones online, too. For instance, a friend of mine, Unwinnable‘s Stu Horvath, got this one close to the end of the game:
Operation Silent Tears? After all the heroism and loss that is XCOM 2‘s campaign? Damn.
Oh, and then there’s the chicken algorithm. Yes, the mission generator apparently has a built-in function that adds the word “chicken” to mission names roughly one in every 500 times. Here’s an example of it in action:
Goofs Supreme, I salute you.