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Firaxis veterans form new studio Bit Reactor to focus on turn-based strategy games

With "high-end production values, riveting storytelling, and innovative design".

Veterans of XCOM and Civilization developer Firaxis Games have announced the formation of Bit Reactor, a new Maryland-based studio that intends to focus its efforts on creating turn-based tactics games with "high-end production values".

Bit Reactor co-founder and CEO Greg Foertsch was a member of the Firaxis team for nearly 22 years, with 14 of those spent as the studio's senior art director - his credits include Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, SimGolf, Civilization 3 and 4, Pirates!, and the first two XCOM games.

Joining Foertsch at Bit Reactor are "lead developers and creatives" who previously work on Firaxis' XCOM series, and the studio's mission is to rejuvenate the strategy genre, with a particular focus on turn-based tactics games - a genre Foertsch calls "greatly overlooked" in the press release announcing the company's formation.

Cover image for YouTube videoHow Firaxis saved XCOM from complete disaster - Here's A Thing
How Firaxis saved XCOM from complete disaster.

Expanding on that sentiment in an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Foertsch explained, "The whole genre started to fall backwards [as the popularity of Xbox and PlayStation consoles grew] and it got dropped a bit. Now, that's not a problem. Screen resolution isn't an issue. There are ways to tell stories and convey information that doesn't require a wall of text.

"That's what we're focused on, bringing that to the genre, and really blurring that line between what a strategy game is and what an action game is." This, according to the press release, means "high-end production values, riveting storytelling, and innovative design for a best-in-class gameplay experience".

Foertsch certainly has big ambitions for Bit Reactor - "Our goal is to win Game of the Year... we expect to go head to head with Halo or whoever is out there, just like [Firaxis' XCOM] did in 2012", he says - and the studio is said to already have a number of unannounced projects in development. No additional details have so far been shared on the titles, but hopefully it won't be too long before Bit Reactor is able to share more.