Firaxis Explains Why XCOM 2 Is PC Only

We still have platform exclusives (sadly), but it's unusual for the platform to be PC. So when Firaxis announced that XCOM 2 would be PC only, more than a few questioning eyebrows were raised. Once you hear why the developer made the decision however, it makes complete sense.

In an interview with IGN's Dan Stapleton, creative director Jake Solomon cites the studio's "expertise" with the PC and its "ambitious goals" for XCOM 2 as its main reasons for sticking with the platform:

On [Solomon's] must-have list were high-fidelity characters and environments, better-looking destruction, physically based rendering, and the crown jewel he'd wanted to get into Enemy Unknown but couldn't: procedurally generated maps. "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."

I think we can all agree the last thing we'd want is for Firaxis to spread itself too thin and pump out a multi-platform disappointment. After the lukewarm receptions for Civilization: Beyond Earth and Sid Meier's Starships, you can understand why the developer wants to get it right with XCOM 2.

That said, Solomon doesn't rule out an eventual release on consoles, with the Xbox One and PS4 the most likely candidates as they have the hardware for it, but right now it's something Firaxis is "not even discussing yet".



    Nice to know they took the smart choice to create a game with a single focus on one platform. Since XCOM 1 wasn't that hardware heavy anyway, it's not really that much of a problem.

    I'm confused. Firaxis just decided to not release on consoles, in an effort to not totally gimp the performance of the game in the environment of the superior PC.

      I don't think that's the real answer.

      I think Strategy titles never do well on Console. Advance Wars, Fire Emblem they belong there but I want to play X Com with a mouse and keyboard not a Game Pad.

        They'll never do well if they're not even released. Command and Conquer seemed like the only series that made an actually made an effort on consoles. Which is disappointing; the first XCOM actually worked pretty well on consoles. Come to think of it, it's a shame there aren't any strategy games for WiiU; the touchscreen controller would make a perfect tool for viewing the map and organising troop movements while the action plays out on the TV.

      Superior is a strong word and not accurate depending on your perspective. The highs are higher on PC than consoles, sure, but the lows are definitely lower. Not to mention there's no guarantee on the hardware config of each machine, so optimisation is a much, much bigger job.

      Consoles are like iPhones. A known quantity. It's why most developers prefer them, even if the install base for PC, not unlike android phones, is much higher (everyone owns a computer, after all).

      When you have a locked in hardware configuration, you can optimise the shit out of it. You can play to the platform's strengths and take risks you can test with 100% accuracy because the hardware will never change on the consumer's end.

      That's how games like The Last Of Us came out on PS3 looking ridiculously good even though the hardware was pitiful at that point. That's why The Witcher 3 clearly compromised potential graphics for actual graphics and the PS4 and PC versions looked damn near identical at launch. It's better to achieve the sure thing than compromise the base experience for a small percentage of your market (the people with PCs good enough for Ultra settings). And it's going to be happening more, not less, in the future.

      I know that's not what hardcore PC gamers want to hear, nobody wants to hear that their hard earned investment will be barely worth it, but it's the truth nonetheless.

      xcom sold around 600k copies on consoles, yet if you check Steam sales, it sold around 2.7 million copies, not counting copies sold instore (not sure of those numbers) and numbers are still climbing for Steam, since it was announced a part 2 was coming out. They're going with the platform that's got the legs essentially and has a future. Personally I understand this approach. I own all platforms but he Xb0 (one day), but I can respect a dev deciding to go PC only so they don't have to hold back their product due to weaker hardware.

    There's an XCOM 2?! I had not learned of this!

    Last edited 06/06/15 4:04 pm

    Well that is one reason... the PC Sales figures on XCOM were hugely successful especially on Steam, the console sales were very pitiful and the console profits had to be offset.

    Question: Will there be a Tablet version ?

    Game looks like it would run perfectly fine on consoles. Also xb1/ps4 consoles are x86, so there really isn't much stopping them running on consoles, the XB1 would practically launch the PC version for example (dx11).

      They never said anything about performance, they mention expertise, meaning they know how to achieve those results on PC not necessarily on console

    "Procedurally generated maps"

    Being the XCOM fanboy I am I was sold the moment it was announced, but that will be such awesome feature for a game like this if done well.

    Ohhhhh this sucks a million sucks!

    Hopefully the game sells really well on PC and we get a console version down the track, because there’s absolutely no reason that X-Com 2 can’t be great on a console the same way that Enemy Unknown/ Within was.

    What kind of developer takes a proven gameplay concept and then overlays it across a game engine so processor intensive that only those with the most high end PC’s can even play it (which is the market you’re looking at if you can’t even get it run on optimised console hardware), and then whinges that being a small team?

    Turn based, isometric combat works perfectly with a PS/Xbox controller, it’s not like an RTS or something that requires heavy modification to work. It really makes perfect sense for the game to hit consoles at some point.

    While they’re at it can we have a Civilisation Revolution 2 for consoles? I know it’s blasphemous but I find that the PC Civ games can get bogged down in their own minutia and it’s nice to be able to play a Civ game that you can feasibly knock over in a single (healthy) sitting.

    Unusual for the platform to be PC? PC gets more exclusives than Xbox One and PS4 combined.

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