XCOM: Enemy Unknown is getting something new with its Slingshot DLC: a self-contained story. Players tend to create a number of their own stories in XCOM, through customising their squads and telling stories about what happens to them as they undertake missions.
The Slingshot DLC is a little different: it comes with a specific background, a specific look, and a specific story to tell.
The Slingshot content adds an arc of missions to XCOM, XCOM lead designer Garth DeAngelis and lead DLC designer Ananda Gupta explained in a call. Players receive the new assignment from the Council. In a set of three linked missions, players move through a mini storyline taking place on new maps with new gameplay. The Slingshot DLC also adds a new, unique squad member, with a different backstory, voice, and customisation options. After completing the DLC, players can take their rewards and new squad member back into the "core" game.
"We're trying to take the concept of the funding council a little further," Gupta explained. "In XCOM, we're not heavy-handed with the story," he added. "We're a strategy game, we like the players to sort of dictate that themselves." The idea, then, is that players can jump into this story, experience it briefly, and then return to XCOM as usual.
"I'm a huge fan of the emergent narrative aspect of [XCOM]," DeAngelis added, "but this really gives you more of the designed narrative, and you get a specific character as a result of completing these three missions."
A second piece of DLC will follow in the same "story within a story" style, but there is as yet no comment on what that DLC might be or when players might expect to see it.
2K Games has not yet announced either the price or the release date for the Slingshot DLC.
Players can, however, now purchase the "Elite Soldier Pack" on all platforms. The Elite pack was included as a pre-order bonus with XCOM, includes the "classic" looking soldier (with a well-known hairstyle) and allows players to decorate and dye soldiers' armour. The Elite pack runs for 400 Microsoft points (360) or $US4.99 (PC/PS3).