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The original X-COM was cancelled, but development continued in secret

Here's a thing.

You'll have heard stories before now about great games almost facing cancellation during development, but this one's a little different. The original X-COM, it turns out, was actually, properly canned. Its publisher Microprose was taken over by a new, major shareholder and as part of that process, made the decision to scrap the project with immediate effect.

In this week's episode of Here's A Thing, we'll be telling the story of the three people that decided to disobey these instructions and ensure the game was developed in secret. They did such a good job at this, in fact, that X-COM creator Julian Gollop only found out it had happened 20 years after the fact.

Join me in the video below as we delve into the details.

I'd like to give a big thank you to both Julian Gollop and Pete Moreland for talking me through this story and sharing their own perspectives on what exactly happened all those years ago. And hey, if you're interested in listening to my conversation with the creator of X-COM himself, I've uploaded the whole thing to SoundCloud. We also chatted about his next project, Phoenix Point, but that's another story.

If you've got any questions about this week's episode, I'll be keeping an eye on the comments section for this article. Hope you enjoyed it!

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Chris Bratt avatar

Chris Bratt


Chris is the host of People Make Games, a crowdfunded YouTube channel that tells cool stories about video games and how they're made.

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