Skip to main content

What is XCOM: Chimera Squad?

Announced out of nowhere and released shortly after, XCOM: Chimera Squad continues the long-running turn-based series. Described as neither a sequel or expansion, it’s fair to ask, “What is XCOM: Chimera Squad?” In this guide, we’re going to give you the rundown on the series’ latest spinoff.

What is XCOM: Chimera Squad?

Image used with permission by copyright holder

XCOM: Chimera Squad is a spinoff of the XCOM series, featuring the same turn-based combat where you command a small squad of elite soldiers taking on an alien threat. However, in Chimera Squad, you don’t just control humans. Your squad is made up of humans and aliens.

Set five years after XCOM 2: War of the Chosen, the game takes place in City 31, where humans and aliens have lived in harmony since the events of War of the Chosen. You take command of Chimera Squad, a task force comprised of humans and aliens who respond to urgent and dangerous calls in City 31.

Get your weekly teardown of the tech behind PC gaming
Check your inbox!

Chimera Squad’s small scope in narrative seeps into gameplay, too. Rather than recruiting new soldiers and training them up, you command a set squad of characters. You still get to choose which of the 11 characters you take into battle, though there aren’t any options to expand that pool.

Even with the set cast, Chimera Squad still features the series’ signature Ironman Mode. If you choose to play on this difficulty, you can only save to a single slot, overwriting when you want to update your progress, and your characters are susceptible to permadeath. Otherwise, if a character dies, you’ll simply fail the mission.

Missions also have a more direct effect on the game world. If your tactics are sloppy or you fail a mission, unrest will begin building in City 31. Should it grow too large, anarchy will break out, causing more issues to pop up.

Changes to combat

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Chimera Squad’s combat is mostly the same as XCOM 2. Battles are turn-based, you have two actions per turn — unless you rush — and the same cover mechanics apply. However, a new phase has been added. At the beginning of each battle, you’ll enter “breach mode.” During this time, you choose your entry points, with some points offering unique bonuses.

There are few differences once in combat, too. The biggest is that Chimera Squad has interleaved turns. Rather than commanding all of your units and allowing the enemy to command all of theirs, turns are mixed. There are some new abilities that allow you to modify the turn order, as well.

How much is XCOM: Chimera Squad?

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Chimera Squad is $19.99, which is surprisingly low, considering the main story is about as long as XCOM 2 (more on that in a minute). However, publisher 2K Games is running a 50% off sale from the launch date, April 24, until May 1 in an attempt to draw new players into the series. If that’s you, XCOM 2 is free to play in celebration of Chimera Squad‘s launch.

It’s planned as a standalone release. 2K and Firaxis say they have no downloadable content (DLC) plans.

How long is XCOM: Chimera Squad?

Image used with permission by copyright holder

XCOM: Chimera Squad takes around 20 hours to beat according to early player reports. By contrast, the main campaign of XCOM 2 takes around 30 hours to beat, with another 20 or so hours of content if you beat all of the side missions. XCOM 2’s massive expansion, War of the Chosen, is even longer. A playthrough of it will take nearly 40 hours.

What platforms is XCOM: Chimera Squad on?

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Currently, Chimera Squad is only on PC. Although XCOM 2 and XCOM: Enemy Unknown both eventually made their way to consoles, there are no plans to bring Chimera Squad over. Enemy Unknown launched on the same day for PS3 and Xbox 360 as it did on PC. XCOM 2, however, made its way to PS4 and Xbox One seven months after the PC release.

Since rebooting the series, Firaxis and 2K have had a clear dedication to bring XCOM to consoles, which was considered a PC-exclusive franchise until the release of Enemy Unknown in 2012. It’s possible that Chimera Squad could make its way to consoles at some point. For the time being, however, it’s on PC alone.

Editors' Recommendations

Jacob Roach
Lead Reporter, PC Hardware
Jacob Roach is the lead reporter for PC hardware at Digital Trends. In addition to covering the latest PC components, from…
What is Discord? What you need to know about the messaging app

What is Discord these days; an app for gamers, a community-building app, an off-the-beaten path social media alternative, or a more personal alternative to streaming on Twitch? It's not as cut and dried as it used to be, where the entire platform was centered around gaming. If you're the chronically online sort or (increasingly) just sort of online, you've probably heard a content creator invite you to join their Discord. With a greater emphasis on community than pure gaming, it can be easy to get lost as to what Discord actually is today, as well as what it does.

Here, we explore how to use Discord, it's most important features, and what makes it different than other platforms. Along the way we'll discover what Discord does, who it will appeal to, and how to make the most of your time on Discord if you decide to use it.

Read more
The best PC games for kids
Spyro running away from enemy.

As video games continue to evolve and mature, it can sometimes be difficult to find a fun, family-friendly PC game. Fast-paced shooters and brooding RPGs have dominated the spotlight as of late, but that doesn't mean lighthearted adventures have completely vanished from the marketplace. In fact, there are hundreds of highly rated, family-friendly titles that everyone can enjoy.

From Minecraft and Fortnite to Planet Zoo and more, here are the best PC games for kids. Whether you're looking for an educational simulation or an outlet for creativity, these popular video games are bound to be a hit with kids of all ages.

Read more
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League: release date, trailers, gameplay, and more
Deadshot, Harley Quinn, King Shark, and Captain Boomerang in Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League.

Rocksteady made a name for itself as one of the first teams to make a universally acclaimed superhero game with Batman: Arkham Asylum. It followed that success with two sequels, the even more beloved Batman: Arkham City and the divisive, though still fantastic Batman: Arkham Knight. Fans were left waiting to hear what this studio would tackle next. Most assumed it would be another DC property, since it is owned by Warner Bros. Games, and those suspicions turned out to be right on the money, though with a property not many would have predicted.

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League was given a formal announcement as the newest project from Rocksteady at the DC FanDome event in 2020. At the time, outside of the graphic novels, of course, we only had the one flop of a film based on this antihero group, so many fans were hesitant to see Rocksteady tackle this property. Now that we've gotten a few trailers and footage of gameplay, however, it has become clear that Rocksteady hasn't lost its touch. We took on this suicide mission for you and made off with all the details you need to know about Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League.
Release date

Read more