2K and Firaxis Games have announced that Long War 2, the mod for XCOM 2 on PC from Pavonis Interactive, is now available from Steam Workshop. Pavonis Interactive, the creators of the Long War mod for XCOM: Enemy Unknown and XCOM: Enemy Within have been hard at work on its successor for XCOM 2.
The Long War 2 mod presents a series of changes to the game’s campaign including the introduction of new tactical mission scenarios like Jailbreak, the Technical class for your XCOM soldiers, and more varied counter-operations from ADVENT forces.
Here’s a tête-à-tête with John Lumpkin, the design lead and managing partner at Pavonis Interactive:
Can you tell us what your exact position at Pavonis Interactive is?
We got to make up our own titles. I’m the design lead. Also a managing partner. And public relations coordinator. And rookie-killing sadist.
How did Pavonis Interactive form?
Its informal beginning was when my partner Rachel “Amineri” Norman contacted me in early 2013 with some suggestions on how to dig into XCOM: Enemy Unknown’s code to make grenades a little less reliable. We started modding EU and then EW together with the help of several other talented programmers. We formed Long War Studios as a company as we got to work on our own title and shortly before signing a contract to develop the release-day mods for XCOM 2. With the release of Long War 2, we are rechristening our company Pavonis Interactive to capture that our future work will range beyond modding XCOM and toward developing our own independent titles. “Long War” will be indelibly linked with XCOM.
What are you and your team most proud of in Long War 2?
We think we’ve recreated a lot of the “Long War” feel in the XCOM 2 engine, although we tried to peg full campaigns at around 100 to 120 missions, which isn’t quite as many as the original.
Can you briefly describe how you’ve changed the Strategy Layer?
We’ve made a lot of changes. ADVENT now has a certain strength in each region on Earth, and it will move troops around in response to XCOM activity. This strength will determine how hard missions will be. This encourages XCOM to build a global Resistance and strike where ADVENT is weakest, just as a proper insurgency should.
In addition, in each region you’ve made contact with, you assign Resistance members to various jobs in a Haven: scavenging supplies, recruiting more rebels and soldiers, or gathering intelligence to generate missions. Many missions have set durations, and you must send a squad to infiltrate the target site over several days. The longer you infiltrate, the fewer enemies you will face, but larger squads need more time to sneak into the mission area.
Finally, it is now possible to liberate regions entirely from ADVENT control. Doing so will grant bonuses in resource gathering and more importantly trigger the AVATAR plot missions, but ADVENT will try to take them back.
How did you conceptualize and execute on these changes? Did you always have a vision in mind or is it something you guys stumbled upon by testing out different mechanics?
The general ideas of a hit-and-run insurgency and having mission difficulty scale both with strategic conditions as well as squad size are things we’ve had from the start. The general idea behind the infiltration mechanic was to replace our fatigue mechanic from the original Long War – we want to tie up your soldiers and force you to develop a deeper roster, and frankly the infiltration mechanic works better narratively than fatigue to fulfill this purpose, especially in a guerrilla war narrative. We also wanted to make squad size something organically determined rather than a straight set of upgrades you acquire over a campaign. Now, the extra flexibility provided by bringing 10 soldiers on a mission has costs, so it’s ultimately up to the player to decide how they want to take on a mission.
In your own words, can you briefly describe how you’ve changed the Tactical Mission gameplay?
We’ve implemented, and in many cases improved on, most of the content from our prior mods. We’ve also added an additional soldier class, the Technical, who can specialize in either the rocket launcher or flamethrower wrist weapons, which are available from the start. Each of our new classes has its own secondary weapon: The Sharpshooter has a holo-targeter, the Ranger a sawed-off shotgun, the Assault an arc thrower, and the Gunner a combat knife for self-defense. (We’re allowing all classes to equip pistols.) In addition, we’ve reworked the AWC bonus perk system to give each soldier a randomized mini-tree of offensive, defensive and pistol perks they can train, but they have to spend several days in the training tube to acquire the additional abilities.
We’ve added several mission types – ambushing a troop column, attacking an ADVENT military base, and rescuing multiple rebels from a jail, to name a few. We did try to add more pitched battles alongside the timed missions.
We’ve also made officers more integral to tactical play. They have the Command ability from Long War; they also provide bonuses to soldiers whom they have been on several missions with, and they have the ability to spend the intel resource to extend the timers on timed missions.
What else? All of Alien Pack is in there, plus some new ADVENT bad guys, sometimes in pods of up to eight enemies. Uncontacted enemy pods will now behave differently, sometimes trying to flank your squad or moving to defend the objective. The Skyranger now takes several turns to arrive when you throw the flare.
Which of the new mission types is your favorite and why?
Probably a toss-up between our alternate Haven defense mission, in which you have to defend an extraction zone in the center of the map while holding off increasingly strong Alien reinforcements and rescuing your rebels, and the invasion, when ADVENT tries to re-take a region. It functions something like a retaliation mission, but in a city.
What are you and the team most proud of in your changes to the Tactical gameplay?
I polled our playtesters, led by the illustrious Tim “Bilfdoffle” Evans, and they offered the following:
- The AWC/officer perks creating unique soldiers
- Corpse reanimation by unactivated sectoids
- Yellow alert and pod job mechanics
- The coil cannon
- All the new missions
- Changes to evac timer and meta around stealthier missions/
- Controlling Rebels and Civs
- Defending the Evac
- The new Arc Thrower
PUBG MOBILE Partners with YouTube Premium
Today PUBG MOBILE has announced a new partnership with YouTube Premium and Google Play, bringing players a whole host of exciting rewards. players will have the opportunity to claim a FREE YouTube Premium-themed gift bag including a 3-month trial of YouTube Premium, an exclusive 15-day limited edition parachute,1000 BP, and more. Additionally, PUBG MOBILE players can look forward to earning free gear, with new content available every month until May 28th,2022. Players will have an opportunity to claim exclusive permanent in-game items.
YouTube Premium gives viewers uninterrupted access to YouTube, where over a billion hours of video are watched each day! Experience ad-free viewing, download videos to watch offline and play videos and music seamlessly whether you’re on the move, using other apps or your screen is turned off.
YouTube Premium also includes access to YouTube Music Premium, featuring over 80 million official songs, covers, and remixes. The partnership between PUBG MOBILE and YouTube Premium is part of the new Version 1.7 update, bringing new content, game modes, and even more exciting collaborations to the game.
Etisalat Brings Xbox All Access to the Region
Etisalat announced that it is exclusively bringing Xbox All Access, the all-inclusive programme for a next-gen gaming experience, to the region. The highly anticipated all-inclusive programme includes a next-generation console of one’s choice between Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S, depending on one’s preferences, and a 24-month subscription to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which includes a library of over 100 high-quality games and instant access to EA Play.
Khaled Elkhouly, Chief Consumer Officer, Etisalat, said, “We are thrilled to open a new chapter in our strategic partnership with Microsoft. A first in the region, Etisalat exclusively brings the much-awaited Xbox All Access by Microsoft to the region. “As the world’s fastest mobile network, Etisalat offers low latency and fastest speed to gamers, establishing itself as the best network for gamers and a key player in the gaming world. Our partnership with Microsoft brings us one step closer to this vision.”
“We are delighted about entering into this exciting partnership with Etisalat,” said Henrik Ertman Baunsgaard, General Manager, Consumer Channel Sales and Marketing, Middle East and Africa, Microsoft. “Xbox All Access gives our customers everything they need to get into gaming with Xbox – not only an Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S console, but also a library of over 100 high-quality games for console and PC with 24-months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate included. Together with Etisalat, we look forward to bringing the best that Xbox has to offer to passionate players in the UAE.”
Xbox All Access allows all video game enthusiasts to opt for two different packages, both including Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, based on the console they want: Xbox Series S, the smallest Xbox hardware ever, capable of offering next-generation performance, is priced at AED99 for 24 months; while it will be AED139 per month for 24 months for those who prefer to play with Xbox Series X, the fastest and most powerful Xbox console ever. All prices are VAT inclusive.
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate includes access to online multiplayer with Xbox Live Gold; an EA Play membership; brand new games on day one from Xbox Game Studios and Bethesda Softworks, as well as select indies and blockbusters; over 100 high-quality games to play with friends on console and PC; and up 20 percent off select games in the Xbox Game Pass library, and up to 10 percent off on game add-ons, Deals with Gold, and Games with Gold. Video game enthusiasts will get to enjoy free perks, including in-game content, consumables, and more.
Milestone Releases the Batman Expansion for Hot Wheels Unleashed
The amazing post-launch plan for Hot Wheels Unleashed is moving forward. Milestone released the Batman Expansion, a brand new themed DLC with content coming from the DC Universe, dedicated in specific to the Dark Knight legacy. The Batman Expansion brings a huge amount of new playable content with a brand-new Career map to complete, inspired by Gotham, and a breathtaking new environment with many new tracks, the Batcave. The Expansion also includes 5 themed vehicles, The Penguin, Robin™ 2.0T, Armored Batman™, Batman™ Rebirth, The Joker™ GT, a new Track Builder Module, the Joker Funhouse Split, and many themed customization items. The Batman Expansion is included in the HOT WHEELS™ Pass Vol. 1 or can be purchased separately.
Hot Wheels Unleashed offers players the opportunity to drive the cars as if they were playing with the die-cast toys. The gameplay includes adrenaline-filled races, an extended choice of Hot Wheels vehicles with different attributes and rarity levels that players can customize with different skins, and jaw-dropping tracks set in everyday-life locations with special track modules and interactive items. The game also features a revolutionary Track Builder enabling players to customize tracks in any game environment and share them with the game’s community.
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