X-Com Alliance is one of several X-Com titles that was never published. It was intended to be a squad based first person shooter. The following excerpt from XCommand1 details the history of this ill fated title.
|“||XCom Alliance was to be a small squad-based game where the player controlled between 1 and four characters depending on the mission.
The game was set in the year 2062 (22 years after X-COM: Terror from the Deep but before X-COM: Interceptor). The story centered on the UGS Patton, a research vessel staffed by a mixture of scientists and military, that is sent to Mars to retrieve alien artifacts and recover what it can from the ruins of Cydonia.
Unfortunately on arrival the Patton triggers an automatic portal and activates a wormhole that transports it dozens of light years to the alien system that was the source of the invaders from the first game (UFO Enemy Unknown).
Once there they form an alliance (hence the name of the game) with a new alien race (The Ascidians) who are at war with Earth’s old nemesis.
Alliance was intended to revisit many of the original alien types encountered from the first Xcom game and rationalize their relationships to each other, along with adding a fair few new ones in the process.
– Terry Greer
Earlier in 2001, the Unreal-powered X-COM: Alliance was officially canceled. The game was originally conceived in the mid 90s at the Microprose UK (Chipping Sodbury) studio. However, in late 1998/early 1999, after internal studio problems, the project was moved to the Microprose Hunt Valley studio, located in Maryland, United States. The game was reworked, and the development really started to look impressive, winning acclaim from many gaming websites. However, in April/May of 2000, development came to a crashing halt. The exact nature of what happened isn't totally known, but it is believed that a key team member (possibly Lead Programmer) left the studio. It's not known whether the person was sacked or quit. The loss of this member caused issues with development, leading to Hasbro Interactive stopping the project and asking the X-COM: Alliance team to create X-COM: Enforcer.
Early in 2001, the public relations manager of Infogrames UK announced that the game had been canceled (basically because of its development history). The public relations at a previously owned Microprose/Hasbro studio claimed it wasn't canceled (and still presumably do), but seeing as the person who claims it is, is a public relations manager, at the main Infogrames UK studio, then there's obviously been lack of communication between studios, and the game is officially canceled.
Anyhow, here's what the game was going to be. This is the biggest X-COM: Alliance 'preview' (memorial?) on the internet. XCommand was the first X-COM fansite to acknowledge X-COM: Alliance's existence, and I (Byron) was the first person in the X-COM community to discover it's existance. A long time ago (1998?) I typed 'X-COM 5' into a Lycos search, and came across a stocks/shares forum which mentioned an Unreal powered X-COM game, called X-COM: Alliance. It was a very cool moment to come across a game previously unknown about! =)
"The year is 2062. X-COM is returning to the ruins of the alien invasion base at Cydonia on Mars. Their mission: to search for any technology overlooked at the end of the first alien war fought in UFO: Enemy Unknown. As X-COM reaches orbit around Mars, an abandoned dimension gate flings them 60 light-years from Earth into the middle of a war between X-COM's original foes and a race called the Ascidians. Attempting to return home, X-COM allies join with the Ascidians to defeat the alien threat.
X-COM Alliance is a first-person point-of-view action game that plunges the player into the X-COM universe to take on the alien threat. The explosive battles take place on numerous unique 3-D worlds in a 15-mission fight to kill the aliens and find your way back to Earth. Utilizing a new and exciting view of combat, in which you can also see the first-person view of up to four troopers in your X-COM strike team, the player commands an X-COM squad as they fight their way to the enemies' home world to prevent the decimation of their allies, the Ascidians. On board the X-COM ship, the Patton, the player controls the resources scavenged from the alien craft during combat missions, handpicking squads and arming them with the latest technology researched from both alien and human technologies."
X‑COM 5 Alliance Features (design doc) 2
- The thrill of exploration and combat in a 3D texture mapped world
- Full screen, 640 x 480 3D
- Fast combat action against hordes of ravening aliens
- In-depth strategy and resource management
- Networked multi-player action within a 3D environment
- Audio links between players in multi-player games
- Interactive musical score
- Group and individual order system with instant access between all 4 troopers
- Set troopers to cover areas while others scout out the areas ahead
- Research to master the alien technology
- Promotion and training to improve trooper skills
- Sophisticated AI system for aliens and X‑COM troopers
Alliance Game Background 2
|Alliance Game Background (design doc)|
It is the year 2062. A research expedition on board the UGS Patton has been sent to the ruins of the Mars invasion base, their initial mission is to scour the site for any new technology overlooked at the end of the First Alien War. The base has previously been cleared out by X‑COM troops so nothing untoward is expected. A few troopers are sent , along with a smattering of weapons, but this is a research mission so valuable space is not wasted on items of mass destruction.
When the expedition reaches Mars orbit it unwittingly triggers sensors linked to undiscovered equipment buried deep within the Cydonia base. A dimension gate of tremendous power is activated, and focusing on the Patton, releases an energy beam that flings the craft through an artificial wormhole to an unknown destination.
As the ship's systems flicker back on line the Bridge crew stagger to the viewscreen to find themselves orbiting a strange planet many light years from Earth and in the midst of an ongoing space battle.
The vicious conflict rages around them and they see the last of what seem to be the attacking alien craft start suicide runs on the Command ship of the defending alien fleet. Explosions ripple along the its back as the suicide craft impact upon the surface and it begins to slip planetward. Taking this as a cue the Patton attempts to slip quietly away from the planet but is tailed by one of the enemy ships. Suddenly a garbled transmission bursts across the bridge speakers, and while scientists try to decode the transmissions the Patton opens fire on the pursuing craft.
During the first mission briefing the player discovers that the attacking force seen by the crew of the Patton are an Alien race known as the Ascidians and that their target, was the same breed of foot soldiers as those seen in the first game in the brand ‘X‑COM: Enemy Unknown’.
Taking the role of the X‑COM Commander of the Patton, the player must command the rookie troopers ‘drafted’ from the ship’s population of engineers and scientists. On board the Patton the player controls the resources scavenged from the alien craft, and bases, during combat missions. Hand picking squads and arming them with the latest technology developed from both Alien and Human technologies he prepares them for their next foray into the unknown.
As the player progresses through the missions, they receive information about their new allies the Ascidians, and the alien races they are at war with. On board the Patton the scientists and engineers must master the recovered alien technology and construct new weapons and equipment from materials scavenged from both their encounters and what lies within the hold of their own ship.
Within the combat missions the player controls their squad as they fight their way to the enemies’ home world to prevent the decimation of the Ascidian’s homeworld and to gain the dimension gate technology to enable them to return home. Direct control of the troopers can be given to the X‑COM Commander, assisting the trooper if they become injured or panic as they get thrown in to the heat of combat.
Source: Terry Greer
Background on the Ascidian Caste system 2
Intellects These creatures have evolved to maximise their efficiency for discovery and scientific study. These creatures have an increased brain pan size, with associated atrophy of their defence and attack elements of their bodies forms.
Vestigial elements of the warrior caste’s defence spines are present. The lack of heavy physical labour within their lives has lead to the weakening of their tool using upper limb set.
Loss of the thickened hide and bone plating with respect to the warrior species has occurred, presumably to support the increased blood flow in the increased tissue mass within the cerebral cortex.
Workers Showing a remarkable level of deviation from the general physiology of the Genus creatures of this caste show increased quantities of muscle mass within their bodies to allow them to perform the heavy manual labour that is usually their lot.
The reduced requirements for abstract thinking and the increased requirements for fine motor control and reactions has led to a startling evolutionary solution. Rather than having one centralised brain these creatures have developed localised centres of control. These “sub-brains” have apparently developed to impart the creatures with increased reactions and strength through much better localised control of their Cardio-vascular systems. These gains are however offset by the reduced speed of high level thought and reactions to tactical situations as the increased ‘pre-processing’ that takes place within the sub-brains leads to the requirement of data accumulation and error checking of suppositions made by the lower order sub-brains.
The loss of any spikes on the creatures body and the warriors aggressive jaw variants, while still retaining the thickened hide and solid bone plates allows the creatures a high level of protection, whilst keeping them submissive and easy to control.
Warriors Featuring the delocalised control centres found in the worker caste, the creatures have a “Command & Strategy” brain located in the cranial cavity, whilst retaining the localised sub brain system to deal with reflex actions within the body.
A localised sub brain located immediately behind the retinal surfaces of the eyes appears to be dedicated to image processing, allowing a far greater level of visual acuity than would otherwise be possible. Improved sensitivity of the retinal surfaces allows a much wider range of Electro-Magnetic radiation to be imaged by the eyes, the range of wavelengths the eye is sensitive to apparently ranging from near microwave radiation wavelengths to the end of the visible spectrum for humans, the respective wavelength limits being 2 x 10-4 metres to 4 x 10-7 metres.
This ability allows the creatures to sense the emissions from our electronic equipment & to locate a unit without the need for a physical line of sight.
Please note that this only refers to those who worked on it in the UK.2
Design and level design
- Me (Terry Greer)
- Andy Williams
- Marc Curtis
- Stuart Poole
- Rab Letham
- Paul Truss
- Drew Northcott
- Jonathan Rowe
- Paul Truss
- Kevin Wicks
- Erol Kentli
- Guy Jeffries
- Martin Smilee
- Mathew Knott
- Martin Severn
- Kevin Wicks
- Andy Cook
- Greg Shill
- John Broomhall
- Grant Dean
- Stuart Whyte
- Nick Thompson
- Andy Parton (Audio)
- Scott Johnston
- Finlay Monroe
- Andrew Luckett
- John Broomhall
- Darren Lam bourne
Gallery Terry Greers Screens 2
Gallery Gamespot and IGN Screens
XCOM Enforcer reuses assets from Alliance
Early versions of Alliance garnered very favorable responses from several video game publications, including GameSpot's "Best of E3 (Sequels)" award in 1998 and IGN PC's "Best Action Game of E3" award in 2000.https://www.ign.com/articles/2000/05/17/ignpcs-best-of-e3-2000 GameSpy called it "the most ambitious game we've seen at E3" and "the pinnacle of tactical gaming, a new high-water mark that'll bust through established game genres," and PC Zone called it "a serious contender for 'game of the year'" in 2000. http://xcomalliance.3dactionplanet.gamespy.com/webcoverage.htm or https://web.archive.org/web/20060926140228/http://xcomalliance.3dactionplanet.gamespy.com/webcoverage.htm
1 XCommand, formerly available at http://dynamic.gamespy.com/~xcom/ is now defunct.
2 Terry Greer, at http://www.terrygreer.com/xcomalliance.html.
3 Gamespot, at https://www.gamespot.com/games/x-com-alliance/images/ .
5 Fansite, at https://web.archive.org/web/20070621223203/http://xcomalliance.3dactionplanet.gamespy.com/. lot of information
6 A leaked Beta is available for use in the Unreal program: http://www.xcomufo.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=242035170
7 YouTube X-COM Alliance Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVwIkJPMeP4
8 YouTube X-COM Alliance Intro: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNwJmMcImcU
9 YouTube Some gameplay footage of X-COM Alliance "Beta 219" - One Level, mainly from this beta, is also available online on Youtube. For example, the opening level:
10 YouTube X-COM Alliance Briefing Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DEivO1KXfk
|Original Series||UFO Defense Info (1994) • TFTD Info • Apocalypse Info|
|Reboot Series||XCOM Enemy Unknown (2012) Info • The Bureau: XCOM Declassified Info|
|Reboot Sequels||XCOM 2 Info • XCOM: Chimera Squad Info|
|Spinoffs||Interceptor Info • Em@il Info • Enforcer Info|
|Discontinued||X-Com Genesis Info • X-Com Alliance Info|