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Sid Meier’s Role and Take on XCOM: Enemy Unknown

By on January 24th, 2012 6:25 am

Sid Meier is the director of creative development at Firaxis Games. He is also a former founder of MicroProse and a gaming industry legend. He is not one of the most respected persons on this industry by accident though. He earned his place on the industry’ Titans for developing, and helping to develop, many revolutionary and memorable game titles like Pirates!, Railroad Tycoon, the Colonization series, the Civilization series, Master of Orion I and II, Alpha Centauri and the original X-COM series, as examples. You can’t miss his games easily because many of them start with the prefix “Sid Meier’s” :)

Game Informer, which has an exclusive coverage deal for XCOM: Enemy Unknown (the recently announced new X-COM title), has (cleverly) requested Sid for an interview to know what he has to say about the game, and to clarify what is his role on its development. After all Firaxis is developing the game and he is Firaxis’ creative development director (and founder). He is also one of the persons directly or indirectly responsible for the original X-COM titles coming to life in the first place. So, the interview was a natural one to do.

Sid clarified that he is “available essentially as a resource for X-COM” (basically in a consultant role so to speak), in a call by need basis. So, he is neither behind or leading the game’s design, which in the end means that the new X-COM is not really his project (although the game does have his blessing of course). If it was really his project most probably it would be called Sid Meier’s XCOM Enemy Unknown anyhow :)

Asked about what audience does Firaxis wants to grab with this new X-COM Sid talks about offering something for everyone – “you get some strategy, you get some RPG, you get some action”. It’s of course a clever response but in a sense I do agree with him. The original X-COM games do include a nice blend of these three genres. The original games offer a strategic decision-making process where you need to decide which UFOs, and which UFO’s abduction sites, you want to strike. You also need to think on how to spend your hard-earned cash (should you spend it on improving the XCOM’s base or on buying new gear for your squad?). You also have the natural, and predominant, tactical combat aspect of the game (that although being turn-based does contain lots of action moments) and you do have the squad members progression part. Your team gets experience from battle and gets better at it. That makes them develop their skills, which in a way is like “leveling up”, as in traditional RPG games. So, if the new XCOM follows on the original game’s footsteps it should really appeal to a broad scope of players.

I hope you enjoy watching this quick interview. Boy, how I would love to be in the interviewer’s shoes. Sid is a gaming legend for me, and in a way a mentor. One day I hope l have that opportunity to have a chat with him. Who knows, maybe one day he decides to make Master of Orion IV and perhaps I can get an exclusive interview with Sid here at Space Sector ;)

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2 Comments


  1. BiggTedd says:

    Hey Adam, we know you would have done a better interview :) Thanks!

    • Adam Solo says:

      It was a quick interview but the questions were not bad, they were quite good in fact. It was short but to the point. So, the Game Informer was up to the task in my opinion, although I would have done much better :D


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