The new first-person shooter interpretation of XCOM is built around a series of eerie and tense missions embarked on from an underground FBI base hub.
Developer 2K Australia presents hero Carter (who has a "chequered past") with a US wall-map of choice, according to the June issue of Official Xbox Magazine (read by NeoGAF).
Missions are broken into locations and highlighted either because of extra terrestrial activity or for containing Elerium, a valuable resource. Missions are quasi-real-time and their outcome "uncertain". Other missions may expire by the time you're finished with one, and leads given at locations may also disappear over time.
Carter will always be accompanied by FBI agents on mission, although there is no evidence yet of a squad-command system. In the example given, Carter is joined by Jonas and Frank and heads to Flagstaff, Arizona.
There the trio find an eerily quiet town. Carter uses a weird Petri dish containing a black inky substance to track alien activity and hones in on a house with a goo smear on the path.
Following the clues, the FBI agents bump into a hostile alien blob and, after finding bullets ineffective, whip out Blobatov grenades - glass jars filled with a strange combustible substance - and ignite their foe. This works.
The trio encounter more blobs inside and Carter finds himself a man down. He vacates the building but is discovered by a hovering Titan Monolith equipped with a deadly beam. He bobs and weaves around suburbia, evading the Titan Monolith while wasting blob resistance with shotgun blasts. Eventually he stumbles on the Elerium he's after and after a tough final battle has completed his task.
Elerium can be taken to the FBI base and used by inventor Malcolm Quinn to make more wacky weaponry and equipment. This is the only sniff of an upgrade system the preview offered. Carter will be equipped with a camera, however, the pictures from which can be used to research enemies and create weapons and strategies from.
2K Australia wouldn't talk about multiplayer. However, lead game designer Ed Orman has said his team "clocked a lot of hours" playing the original X-COM as research.
2K announced the new XCOM in early April. The big twist was that this reinvention would be a strategical first-person shooter rather than a turn-based strategy game.
XCOM is in development for PC and Xbox 360. There's no date yet.