As if XCOM fans needed more reasons to be excited about the upcoming release of XCOM 2, publisher 2K has announced a partnership between Firaxis and Long War Studios, creators of the popular Long War mod for XCOM: Enemy Unknown, directed toward developing multiple, officially supported mods that are slated to launch alongside the game on February 5.
One of the most respected fan-made mods for any PC game, Long War extends and turns up the difficulty of the campaign from Enemy Unknown (and its expansion, Enemy Within) by adding new soldier classes and equipment, along with substantial overhauls to the strategic metagame. Increasing the challenge substantially, Long War adds a fantastic degree of depth and replayability to an already excellent game. Many players who found the base game too easy once mastered, especially fans of the original games from the 90s, have declared Long War to be the definitive way to play, and it is undoubtedly a major factor in the enduring longevity of the 2012 classic.
We have been playing a preview build of XCOM 2 for the last month and have seen that Long War‘s influence has permeated the design, from the game’s amped-up difficulty curve and deeper strategic elements to the addition of such things as specialized ammo. Unlike its predecessor, which also released on consoles, XCOM 2 is launching solely on PC at first, in order to make robust support for the modding community a central feature right out the gate. This is entirely due to the success of mods such as Long War, and lead designer Jake Solomon told us as much when we spoke to him in December: “The Long War certainly inspired us in that if somebody does a good mod, there’s definitely an audience for it and we need to empower these people.”
Long War‘s creators recently announced the formation of their own studio, Long War Studio, to develop Terra Invicta, a “grand strategy game” about defending Earth against an alien invasion, which is currently “in pre-Kickstarter development.” Accordingly, many fans were left wondering if they would be too busy to develop mod content for XCOM 2. This new partnership puts those concerns to rest, promising a bright future for XCOM 2 modding. There is no word yet on the content of the mods in development, but Long War Studios’ John Lumpkin will be joining the Firaxis Megapanel on January 30 at PAX South to explain more, and that presentation will be streamed here.