XCOM: Chimera Squad is nearly here, just weeks after it was revealed. This experimental, budget-priced XCOM game makes some big changes to the series’ standard formula, including a preset team and straying from the usual permadeath element. It’s clear that Firaxis wants to expand the definition of an XCOM game, so GameSpot picked the brain of lead designer Mark Nauta on how it all came together.
What was the genesis for the idea of Chimera Squad? How long has it been in development?
As game developers, we’re always interested in ways that we can change or iterate on the way a game is structured and plays. After we released XCOM 2 and the War of the Chosen expansion, we felt there were still opportunities that had yet to be explored in the XCOM system. XCOM: Chimera Squad gives us a chance to revisit some core ideas of XCOM without having to rebalance all of XCOM 2 and War of the Chosen. This means we can try out ideas like Interleaved Turns and Breach mode, and use agents as characters instead of traditional XCOM soldiers and their classes. I started design work on Chimera Squad after War of the Chosen.