As you might surmise from the thousands of words of detail below, gleaned from a massive, hour-long info dump from XCOM Creative Director Jake Solomon today, XCOM 2: War of the Chosen is a huge expansion. What it promises to revamp and layer on top of an already amazing tactical combat game makes me a little bit frightened at how much time I’m likely to sink into it when it comes out on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 at the end of August. Stay with me, because this gets kind of complex.
First, a big issue for the existing XCOM 2 community: what’s to become of the Rulers, the absolutely vicious boss characters introduced in the Alien Hunters DLC? Once the ultimate threat to XCOM, they’ve been scaled back and reigned in. With War of the Chosen installed, you’ll be notified that certain facilities are guarded by a Ruler; they won’t come after you until you’ve voluntarily attacked their hideout at the time of your choosing. However, once you’ve engaged them if they escape they’re free to pop up in any other mission as normal (unless that mission is also invaded by a Chosen). They’ll also be easier to manage: instead of reacting to every single action any XCOM soldier takes, they’ll now only get a free move for an attack or a movement, and even then only if it happens within the Ruler’s line of sight. That means things like reloads or certain special abilities won’t trigger them, which should give us a little more room to breathe when in combat.