Creative Director For XCOM 2 Clarifies Why its a PC Exclusive

Jeff Williams
Jun 7, 2015

The announcement of the next XCOM 2 was an appreciable surprise that seemed to come with caveats that wasn’t so well received by everyone. The issue of PC exclusivity was quickly pointed out as a theoretical weakness for such a superb series. The XCOM 2 creative director stepped forward with IGN with an explanation as to why.

Jake Solomon came forward about the merits of PC exclusivity for XCOM 2, and how exclusive can mean a better end product for everyone.

XCOM 2 is already a very formidable project, with a media reveal that was designed to foretell the large vision they have. John Solomon stated that they have some “very ambitious goals,” with this sequel. There are elements and a level of visual fidelity that might not necessarily be achievable with consoles. Particle effects, physics, models and polygon counts are going to potentially be incredible in this game.

They want it to be fantastic, and the PC makes the most sense to realize that goal. And they wanted to give something back to the original fans but focusing on the platform from whence it was born.

Internally, with a relatively small team for the size of the game that we are, to be able to say we can focus on our platform that the studio has a pedigree for, and that X-COM: UFO Defense has a pedigree for, as PC-only… it just made a lot of sense, and that’s how we wanted to dedicate our time.

– Jake Solomon

Even though the engine used is a heavily modified Unreal Engine 3.5, it’s so deeply modified that it makes sense for them to focus on one platform alone. The hardware available to them will also be orders of magnitude more powerful, meaning that the highest settings can potentially be very powerful indeed.

Focusing on one platform also means that the input and control scheme can be perfected and actually be made to work very well. The UI and how the mouse interacts with the screen can be optimized so that it works really well, as opposed to an incomplete port.

When we have our meetings, when we talk about stuff, we only talk about PC. We talk about, ‘What is the experience like on PC? What does the mouse feel like in this experience?

-John Solomon

While the Xbox One and PS4 certainly are powerful enough to run the game, or most games, at some type of settings, the development on three different platforms simultaneously just isn’t something feasible, and the quality could potentially drop, and they don’t want that.

We’ve seen the effect that porting a game or simultaneous development can have on the final product. Even GTA V had teething issues on the PC due to the nature of the original platform. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is also no stranger to performance and other issues likely due to its being developed at the same time. This focus can only provide us a better product and a much better game.

Just because it’s designed as a PC exclusive initially doesn’t mean that it won’t eventually see consoles at some point. Perhaps in the future either another developer or Firaxis themselves will find it in their hearts to give consoles a bone. It’s not outside the realm of possibility at least.