Ex-XCOM devs open new turn-based tactics studio

A small group of former Firaxis developers who worked on the XCOM games, led by the series’ art director, have opened a new studio dedicated to making turn-based tactics games. Bit Reactor is their name, and turn-based tactics really is their only type of game. They haven’t announced any specific game yet but say they have several titles in development.

Bit Reactor’s declaration of existence says their “central vision is to define the future of turn-based tactics games by weaving in the high-end production values, riveting storytelling and innovative design for a best-in-class gameplay experience”. No details on anything specific, not yet.

Bit Reactor boast quite a few folks who worked at Firaxis on their reboot of the venerated X-COM series, led by CEO Greg Foertsch, who was the art director of XCOM: Enemy Unknown and XCOM 2. Others include Piero Macgowan (XCOM 1&2 concept artist), Hector Antunez (X1&2 animator and Chimera Squad art director), Stephanie Gitlin (X1&2 character artist), and Kevin Schultz (Chimera Squad marketing man). Plus some other people, even some who—gasp!—didn’t work on XCOM at all. They’re still hiring, too, with listings expected on their website soon.

“The genre is so malleable,” Foertsch told GamesIndustry.biz. “Look at Mario Rabbids and Gears Tactics, they couldn’t be more different. But they all have the same DNA underneath them. There’s a lot of flexibility in it.

“If you lead with story and immersion, I think you can find ways to just make a great game and not just make a strategy game.”

XCOM designer Jake Solomon tweeted in response to the news, “Whatever Greg Foertsch and his team makes will be great, I know from experience.”

Firaxis will this year release Marvel’s Midnight Suns, venturing into the world of Marvel Comics for turn-based tactical superhero action. One of our most anticipated games of 2022, that one.

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