XCOM: Enemy Unknown’s PC Version Has Features Consoles Don’t

The team at Firaxis working on XCOM: Enemy Unknown knew that PC players would be expecting a lot from a reboot of a beloved franchise, which is why they added a number of features to the PC build that didn’t make it onto the console side.

Though it’s more action game than strategy, on PC, Enemy Unknown retains a number of its strategy elements. Among the most notable are a number of elements maintained from the UI of the 1990s originals. For example, while console players will experience the game in third-person view with a freelook option pretty much consistently, PC players will have the option of switching to a grid-based view that fans of the series will find very familiar. That view will include a lot of tactical information about enemies and the situation that’s more at home in a strategy game, and which felt like it belonged in the PC build of the title.

Firaxis’ game designer Jake Solomon told Polygon that the developer had two teams working simultaneously on the UI for the game — one for console, one for PC, so they’re specific to each platform. The PC build also includes a higher resolution and more details that consoles don’t, he said, which players can experience by zooming in and out when playing the game.

Part of the reason there’s more to the PC version is that Firaxis had time to throw in extra stuff. The certification process for getting games onto consoles is longer than what’s required for Steam, the service that Firaxis is using to distribute Enemy Unknown. The team found itself with a couple of months and nothing to do, so it went back and amped up the PC version a little more.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown is currently available for pre-order on Steam for $49.99. Grabbing it now nets a number of pre-order bonuses, including the possibility of receiving a free copy of Civilization V is enough people pre-order. Solomon said Firaxis hadn’t decided if Steamworks — and therefore modding — was in the game’s future, however. The game becomes available on Oct. 9.

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