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Artifact Red-X: Kinda Like X-COM But With Reversed Roles?

By on May 17th, 2013 3:13 pm

Artifact Red-X | concept art - Kickstarter

Squad-based strategy games are fashionable once more. How couldn’t they be? The recent XCOM: Enemy Unknown brought back X-COM, one of the most influential PC gaming franchises of all time. And, there’s also the prospect, although a dire one at the moment, of seeing a new Jagged Alliance installment come to life as well.

However, Tier2 Games, a “dedicated bunch of game developers who want to make some great hardcore games”, as they describe themselves, don’t seem very happy with modern squad-based strategy titles though. So, they want to create Artifact Red-X, their own take on the genre.

The idea with Artifact Red-X is to make a hybrid between a real-time “empire-style builder” with turn-based squad tactical combat, influenced by classic RPG systems. I guess they may be talking about a blend between a 4X game, a turn-based squad tactics game and an RPG.

You’d be doing base building and management, research, manufacturing, alien craft interception, abductions, terror missions, enemy base raids and turn-based squad tactical combat. There’s even a human-lead council responsible for financing the invasion operations. Sounds familiar? It’s clearly inspired by X-COM. But, Humans seem to be the “bad guys” this time, invading where in X-COM they are the defenders. The novelty seems to be a sort of 4X “empire-style builder” layer.

Artifact Red-X | concept art - Kickstarter

Tier2 Games’ Artifact Red-X proposal in a nutshell:

  • Real-time strategy / Turn-based tactics
  • Military sci-fi setting (inspired by X-COM series)
  • single-player and multiplayer
  • Windows, iOS
  • ETA: May 2014
  • Target: $25,000 (June 15, 9:18pm EDT)
  • $7 (‘lite’ version) $15 (full game) pledge to get digital game copy (a lower level stretch goal unlocks a tabletop version of Artifact Red-X)
  • Why Kickstarter: Development of the core game. Get feedback to make “the right kind of game”.

Tier2 presents an interesting game concept and an intriguing story, although quite clichéd I would add. They seem to have an idea for a squad-based strategy game, but my feeling is that they present more of a framework of ideas than an actual solid proposal. And, there’s even a tabletop game hypothesis thrown in the middle. Will the community share their vision and help them sort it out ? Time will tell.

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  1. Kordanor says:

    Will probably wait a little bit. But they seem like a capable bunch of guys who just lack communication skills (the presentation video is too long and boring)

    Also very interesting is the following as 200k stretch goal:
    Up to 4 players online & local LAN
    Team video, voice & text chat
    Team resource sharing
    Team joint research, manufacturing and base building

    • Adam Solo says:

      Yes, communication is definitely not one of the their strengths, which comes with a high cost on a platform like Kickstarter.

      I got the feeling that there are some nice ideas in there, although they are not very well structured. They do sound capable, but seems like they just copy and pasted their draft concept doc to the kickstarter page or something. Maybe they can fix it with the updates.

  2. Jeff P says:

    I wish them luck, but I have no idea what I’d be investing in. The presentation consisted of an obviously uncomfortable fellow rambling on in front of several blurry drawings of concept art.

    I agree with Adam that there is more framework than proposal here. The idea of a reverse XCOM is interesting, but there is nothing here to suggest that the project has advanced beyond the “hey, I’ve got an idea…” stage.

    Given some the recent Kickstarter disappointments, Tier2 will need to have more to show if they expect to shake out $25,000+ from crowd sourcing.

    • Adam Solo says:

      Yea, I did my best to summarize their proposal, but at some point it became clear that there’s not a solid and central one to be found on the first place, but a collection of thoughts and ideas.

      They seem to be on the early concept stages still. Like I said above, maybe they can put the kickstarter updates to good use in order to give better shape to their vision. Perhaps it was really poor communication only. Let’s see.

  3. DevildogFF says:

    Meh, I backed them. I like the idea and I’ll throw my money at unique ideas.

    Let’s hope I end up being right with this one :)

  4. Lens Flares Suck says:

    Kinda like X-Com? That perks up my interest level right there. 4X and turn based combat, yes. RPG stuff…. maybe not so much.

    • Kordanor says:

      Well, I didn’t read too much into it, but they are mostly saying that it’s influenced by an RPG system. Besides that, don’t forget that also JA2 is a Tactics game with “RPG Elements” as you could read on it’s box.

  5. Mark says:

    Interesting idea with a great deal of potential. For such a long video, its remarkable how little they talk about what the actual gameplay will involve. It sounds good at face value, but I’m forced to make a lot of assumptions because there’s just not much detail to go on.

    I can definitely empathize with their dissatisfaction with modern squad-based strategy games. In particular I found the modern version of X-Com to be quite shallow and dumbed down in comparison to its awesome predecessor.

    Hopefully that dissatisfaction will prompt them to make a deep, complex and immersive strategy game worthy of those older titles, but at the moment there really isn’t enough information to tell.

  6. Towerbooks3192 says:

    Reversed Roles? interesting. Will keep an eye on it. I am worried about that lite version and the fact that it would be coming out for ios. The last thing I would like is a game made for ios and moved to pc. It usually retains the microtransaction part of the ios version.

  7. Ark says:

    Looks interesting, and I love the idea of a reverse XCOM, but the KS doesn’t inspire too much confidence.

    Thanks for the article, Adam!

  8. ArtifactRedX says:

    Hey all

    I am the creator of the project Artifact Red-X. I see that the video and my horribly nervous disposition must be hurting our goals since we’ve had 1500 video views in 3 days.

    Im having a new video made with a proper voice over artist to go over the key features.

    Later videos will go more in depth.

    Towerbooks3192 – the iOS version will NOT be a port. the game will be designed for gesture controls which the PC does not have. There will be no micro transactions as it cheapens the game.

    Thanks for the comments

    Ashley Hodgetts

    • Towerbooks3192 says:

      Ok. I will keep an eye on it then and thanks for the info and not following most AAA devs today that only make games that are tried and tested. I appreciate it that you are not afraid to try a unique idea since devs nowadays release the same old thing each year. I wish you luck in your project.

    • Mark says:

      Hi Ashley,

      I really couldn’t care less about your disposition or acting ability, these are totally irrelevant. The real problem with the video (Which certainly *is* hurting your goals) is that it doesn’t give enough information about the proposed gameplay to allow me to decide whether I want to support it or not.

      You talk a lot about marketing and other things that hold absolutely no interest for me and even though its a pretty long video, I only have the vaguest idea what the game will actually be about. You need to tell your potential customers in the clearest possible terms what you will actually be selling them. Only then can we make an informed decision.

    • Adam Solo says:

      I make Mark’s words mine Ashley.

      It’s really not about the style, if you’re more nervous or less, or your acting or selling abilities. The issue is that the video is a bit vague on what exactly are you guys proposing.

      It’s not about the length either. I understand that you may have little to no gameplay to show yet, since you’re still mostly on the conception/pre-production phase (at least that was my impression), and need the feedback to close the loop and then the money to make it happen.

      The general idea seems good. Actually, it sounds pretty cool to be able to invade planets on an X-COM reversed kind of way. And, the 4X layer (the empire-building layer) on-top, that I think you’re after, also interests me a lot.

      So, you need to show something more (concept art, more art, more videos, …) and be more precise on what gameplay are you exactly aiming for. Only then can people be sure on what they’re backing. Maybe your KS updates will make things more clear.

      • Kordanor says:

        I agree with Adam and Mark. And to give a good example on how I think a video should be done without having too much experience, budget, or professional help I’d name the malevolence kickstarter video:

        It is very short (shouldn’t be longer than 5 minutes) clearly points out the key features of the game, gives some background about the people behind it and that’s basically it. If you don’t have ingame footage throw in some artwork or pictures of the 3d models you have.

      • Towerbooks3192 says:

        I agree with Adam.

        Being a student of business we mare taught that it is very important to be able to go straight to the point on what you want to achieve and what we could get if we would invest our money in to your project.

  9. Daniel Judah says:

    Sadly, the gameplay is not really emphasized on the video. We would like to see some videos and screens, but we don’t get any.

    The concept is fine, a reverse role will be great. But how about the core of the gameplay? The role can be a pure cosmetic also, or there are things that is different than the X-COM?

  10. Timmaigh! says:

    I have to say, quite a smart idea doing the game from the reversed perspective, humans invading alien worlds instead of defending Earth against alien invasion. Always fan of such upside-down approach, well done.

    Regarding presentation, yeah, i stopped watching after 2 minutes. You need to have something to show to people, if you want to convince them, IMHO. Like the Planetary Annihilation, i doubt it would get so much backers/money, if they started their Kickstarter Campaign with a video like this. Instead they had that jaw-dropping gameplay video and everyone was like WTF, i need to play that game NAOW.

  11. ArtifactRedX says:

    Hey guys

    Screenshots are available at

    also we are on steam greenlight, please vote for us!

  12. Gary says:

    Too bad the Kickstarter was canceled, although Tier2 said they’d be working on the game anyway. Maybe Adam can keep us updated when there is gameplay to see.

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