XCOM Dev Concerned About “The Hipster Effect”

Something that never really gets discussed when talking about gamer culture is the fact that we have our own shibboleths and trends, and can be just as snooty about certain things as the most insufferable music snob on earth*. For lack of a better way to put it, there are in fact hipster gamers**, tend to be really persnickety about things like platform (PC, seriously, if you’re not playing PC you aren’t a hardcore gamer), and especially about difficulty.

That topic came up in a fascinating interview Rock, Paper, Shotgun conducted with Firaxis’ Jake Solomon about their upcoming XCOM remake. Discussing the max difficulty of the game, Solomon had this to say:

RPS: I noticed you said in the video that even people who think they’re hot-shit at this kind of thing should not go straight to Iron Man mode…

I’m concerned that it’s the hipster effect, “save and reload, why would I do that?”, but I would strongly recommend they don’t go straight there. I just don’t want people to romanticise getting your ass kicked too much, because while it is fun and internally we view playing on Classic difficulty in Iron Man mode to be the true form of the game, the pure form, I would not recommend that people do that first. Just because there are so many new mechanics to learn that it will be punishing. There actually is a difficulty level above Classic, Impossible, and we had one guy beat the game on that mode, just to prove that it could be done. And then we actually we had a guy at 2K who played on Iron Man Impossible. He made it further than I thought was possible, but even so, he just lost the game.

I’m very excited to see the first time someone beats it on that mode, because I’d like to say that it’s impossible but that’s never really the case.

His comments about easing into the game’s difficulty aside, what do you think about the so-called hipster effect? Sound off in comments.

*I should know, because seriously, I am cruel about the terrible taste many people have.
**this isn’t a bad thing. Hipster-bashing is one of the more tedious things about the last 10 years. There is NOTHING wrong with enthusiastically going all in on your chosen passions and being super hardcore about them and about the community surrounding them. Gamers need to be a bit insular and stop trying to make the gaming community respectable by the standards of other genres. Also, FWIW, I find most people obsessed with bashing hipsters are kind of jells that they aren’t having as much fun. This is not a justification for being a dick, I’m just not among those who finds hipstery things to be proof of terrible character. Maybe because I have Purity Ring on vinyl.

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2 Comments on XCOM Dev Concerned About “The Hipster Effect”


On September 7, 2012 at 11:41 am

I think the dev’s should be more concerned about the sheer number of original XCOM fans that see this game as (to quote the SpoonyOne) “a betrayal”. If you think the fans were unforgiving of ME3 simply because of its ending was bad, oh my friends just wait. That is nothing compared to the oncoming hurricane that awaits this game. I think the dev team should be more concerned about that than making sure someone doesnt jump into the hardest difficulty right away.


On September 7, 2012 at 4:51 pm

@Axetwin … I have two words for you, and there are two XCOM games for you. Without much context, both games, and both words have a very different passionate meaning. Yet, I’ll reserve both words, ’cause I can’t find them on the dictionary, and not even spelling them. I’m NOT an alien.