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PAX East: 2K Announces XCOM: Enemy Unknown for iOS

During their conference at PAX East, games publisher 2K Games announced that their turn-based strategy title XCOM: Enemy Unknown – one of the most critically-acclaimed games of 2012 – would be coming to iOS this summer. And they’re not talking about a watered-down version or ‘companion’ game (think Borderlands: Legends): XCOM: Enemy Unknown will essentially be the same game players enjoyed on consoles and PC last winter.

How is this possible? Project lead Jake Solomon credits Epic’s Unreal Engine, which allows developer 2K China to port nearly the entire console title to iOS, including the destructible environments, fog of war, and the fantastic control and menu scheme of the original, only now made for touch. There are going to be a few small concessions: the game won’t meet Apple’s size restrictions and will probably be missing a couple maps (along with a few UI tweaks to optimize for touch).

There’s a reason we don’t see this more often on iOS: it’s too difficult to translate complex, intricate controls of shooters and sports games to the touch screen without sacrificing much of the functionality. Being a turn-based strategy game with a very clean, touch-friendly AI, XCOM finds itself in a unique position, easier to port to mobile than its console counterparts would.

What will be interesting to see when XCOM launches this summer is twofold: what platforms it will be compatible with, and what the price point will be. 2K was pretty mum on this information, simply stating it would be available on iOS (which I would think would be the two newest iPad models and the iPhone 5 & 5S (or whatever they’ll release this summer), and that there wouldn’t be any in-app purchases.

Does that mean we’re looking at the first $30 iOS game (I’m not including IAP, of course)? We’ll find out soon, but one thing is clear: the full AAA console version of XCOM will be in our grimy little mitts this summer.



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