By Joseph Walter
It's a game of high-stakes and hard choices, where no decision is ever absolutely right. For example, London is reporting abductions and are offering scientists to help you complete your newest batch of fighters, but Germany is under a full-assault and, should you fail to help them, they'll pull out of the XCOM project, halting their contribution to your income. Unfortunately, should London's threat not be dealt with, there is a chance that they, too, will pull out, leaving you with two decimated countries and far less means of successfully completing your goals.
These tough decisions aren't just native to the overall strategy layer, but also the tactical one as well: In XCOM's combat scenarios, you send a small team of operatives to exterminate the alien warriors, capture important technology or rescue citizens. The worrisome element is that when a soldier is killed, they're gone for good. If you rely too much on one extremely skilled soldier, only for them to be killed in the line of duty, you may be left with a squad of rookies who are too under-developed to stand up to the ever-increasing threat levels of the xeno-menace. What makes it even worse is that they can be customized to bear the name and looks of people you know, causing an unexpected connection with them.
XCOM is one of my favorite games of 2012, and now that I have the ability to stream, I couldn't think of a better choice than this to be the inaugural adventure. But what of the promised "interactivity," you say? That's the fun part:
How would you like to be one of the elite soldiers in our communal XCOM project? How would you like to have a part in the grueling decision making process, both strategic and tactical?
That's my goal for this test run. I'd like to have the community involved in all decision making processes. We'd be the Council, making the hard decisions together. Naturally (and with your permission) we'd create avatars of ourselves for the soldiers in our combat unit, down to the closest likeness possible, and they'll even bear your names (first name, last initial, if you're worried about privacy.) Together, we can celebrate victories such as shooting down our first UFO, or cheering as that one soldier with a 10% chance to hit an enemy actually succeeds, saving our entire team. We can also weep uncontrollably as we're torn to shreds by Cyberdisks and Sectopods.
The best part is that XCOM is so cripplingly difficult that I can't even promise that we'll win. Yes, it's possible to face absolute defeat in this game. But if that's our fate, we'll face it together and take the blame for the outcome as one.
I'm unsure of a schedule just yet, with an upcoming vacation on its way, but I'll be aiming for something like 1 hour a night, once or twice a week. It'll be a long process, but that makes it fun. If you're interested in being part of this, sound off in the comments.
Vigilo Confido, Commander.