[[quoteright:232:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/bxcom_5074.png]]
[[caption-width-right:232:''[[{{Tagline}} Erase the truth.]]'']]
->''The nations of the Earth must someday make a common front against attack by people from other planets.''
-->'''General Douglas [=MacArthur=]'''

''The Bureau: XCOM Declassified'' is a tactical ThirdPersonShooter prequel to the 2012 ''VideoGame/XCOMEnemyUnknown'' by [[Creator/TakeTwoInteractive 2K Games]], for PC, {{Xbox 360}}, and PlayStation3. It was released on August 20, 2013.

Turns out that the "United States Bureau of Strategic Operations Command" (which would later become XCOM) was established by [[JohnFKennedy JFK]] as a rapid response unit against ''communist'' invasion rather than aliens. But when the Outsiders arrive in middle America in 1962 and Sectoids start showing up in the streets, all bets are off and The Bureau reorganizes itself into XCOM to fight back. The game shares much with ''Enemy Unknown'', including art style, cover mechanics, and emphasis on tactical thinking instead of running-and-gunning. Mike Futter of ''[=GameInformer=]'' compared it to the later ''Franchise/MassEffect'' titles in feel.

''The Bureau'' had a TroubledProduction. When it was initially announced, ''VideoGame/XCOMEnemyUnknown'' had yet to be revealed, so many fans of the ''VideoGame/XCom'' series were appalled to see the franchise revived as an InNameOnly FirstPersonShooter, leading to massive fan backlash. In response, ''The Bureau'' (then known simply as ''XCOM'') was delayed, renamed, and heavily reworked to have more in common with the rest of the franchise. Such changes included a shift to third-person, a greater emphasis on tactics, and the alien antagonists going from StarfishAliens to Sectoids and other familiar ''X-COM'' species. Meanwhile, the entire production was delayed as 2K Marin went to assist Irrational Games with ''BioShockInfinite''.

You play as [[PlayerCharacter William Carter]], a CIA operative stuck in a desk job thanks to a DarkAndTroubledPast that interfered with his otherwise stellar work overseas, who has just arrived at a remote military installation in Groom Range, Nevada with a briefcase in tow, containing a top-secret item that no one else is allowed to handle. Shortly after Director Faulke of the Bureau summons him, he is attacked by the person sent to escort him and choked into unconsciousness. When he comes to, his attacker is dead, but the item has been destroyed. He leaves his room, only to find the base under attack from advanced beings not of this Earth...

A small number of DLC has been released:
* ''Hangar 6 R&D'': Released on October 9, 2013 for Xbox 360 and November 20, 2013 for PC. A story-based DLC which follows Bureau agent Nico [=DaSilva=] shortly before the events of the game.
* ''Codebreakers'': Originally a PreOrderBonus, it was released on October 15, 2013. A side-mission where Agent Carter is sent out to investigate why a key communications facility responsible for intercepting and interpreting the enemy’s transmissions has gone dark.
* ''Light Plasma Pistol'': Originally a PreOrderBonus, it was released on October 15, 2013. It adds the titular Light Plasma Pistol to the game.

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!! ''The Bureau: XCOM Declassified'' contains examples of the following tropes:
* AcePilot: Barnes, who pilots the Skyranger and later, the Avenger.
* ActionGenreHeroGuy: William Carter.
* ActionizedSequel[=/=]SequelDifficultySpike: The ''Hangar 6 R&D'' mini-campaign is heavily combat focused, being a series of 12 prolonged, large-scale firefights in various arenas. It is also ''much'' harder than the original campaign, as you end up facing EliteMooks and mini-bosses right off the bat, and in larger numbers than in the campaign, all while being limited to human weapons until the last few arenas.
* AdaptationalBadass: In ''Enemy Unknown'', Mutons are pretty much EliteMooks; tough, but your own troops can match them one-on-one at mid-to-high levels. In ''The Bureau'', Mutons are ''incredibly'' tough GiantMook mini-boss enemies, and a single one can lay waste to your entire squad if you mess up. Potentially justified, as these Mutons are professional hired guns rather than brain-dumped slaves.
* AllDeathsFinal: An agent who is killed in combat can't be brought back barring SaveScumming.
* AllYourBaseAreBelongToUs:
** The opening level and the aliens' first move is an attack on Groom Range, an important military and research base.
** [[spoiler:XCOM HQ is attacked and destroyed in the penultimate mission.]]
** [[spoiler:In ''Hangar 6 R&D'', the Bureau facility Nico and Dresner are conducting the tests in fall under attack at the same time as Groom Range.]]
* AlternateContinuity: With the original ''VideoGame/{{X-COM}}'' series.
* AlternateHistory: The game has a full-scale alien invasion taking place in early 1960's America, with the opening attack resulting in the deaths of J. Edgar Hoover and former President Truman among others. XCOM is eventually able to cover up the alien nature of the attack, but only by making everyone believe it was a massive ''Soviet'' invasion. It's actually a miracle that by the time the timeline gets to ''Enemy Unknown'', the world's culture and geopolitics are so close to our own.
* AlternateRealityGame:
** ''[[http://www.projectenemyunknown.com Project: Enemy Unknown]]'', also known as "[=InfiniVac=]", was started up in 2010 to help draw interest prior to the game's official announcement. It was placed on hiatus when 2K began retooling the game.
** Afterwards, as an attempt to draw much-needed attention through a different approach (i.e., average citizens keeping tabs on strange phenomena instead of TheGovernment doing so via the now-defunct [=InfiniVac=] Network), 2K started ''[[http://www.citizenskywatch.com Citizen Skywatch]]''.
** ''Erase The Truth'' is the latest installment, coinciding with the game's renaming to ''The Bureau: XCOM Declassified''.
* AllThereInTheManual[=/=]AuthorsSavingThrow: The ''Hangar 6 R&D'' mini-campaign explains why sleeper agents stop showing up after the first mission (Nico and Dr. Dresner managed to shut down that particular functionality of Mosaic, leaving all infected humans as harmless Sleepwalkers).
* ArbitraryHeadcountLimit: Carter can only bring two agents with him.
* AwesomeButImpractical: The [[LightningGun Lightning Cannon]], which you don't get until the last couple of missions, and only if you search for it. You'd think it'd be the best weapon in the game, but it's far from it. You can carry only 4 shots for it at once, and a single shot, while heavily damaging, is ''not'' strong enough to one-hit-kill the EliteMooks who make up most of your enemies in the last missions, let alone a Muton or Sectopod.
* BadassInANiceSuit: Many of the agents sport dapper suits befitting the late '50s-early '60s.
* BilingualBonus: The interrogation of the Soviet spy is conducted entirely in pretty decent Russian[[note]]In fact, Carter's Russian is better than the Russian's, as they apparently used an expat to voice the spy that hasn't had much practice in the language in a while.[[/note]], not all of which lines up with the subtitles, most prominently featuring an apparent ThrowItIn ShoutOut to ''Series/SeventeenMomentsOfSpring''.
* BlobMonster: Silicoids. They are even referred to as blobs by XCOM agents.
* CallForward[=/=]DramaticIrony: Dr. Weir remarks that he thinks the [[spoiler: captured Ethereal is one of a kind, and isn't the precursor to another invasion. If he's the one Asaru chooses to merge with, they will also describe the Ethereals as "good" aliens who want to avoid enslavement.]]
* CameraPerspectiveSwitch: [[spoiler:When Carter rejects the Ethereal, the game momentarily switches to first person perspective while you play as the Ethereal.]]
* CharacterTic: Carter has several tics during conversations with dialogue choices, including clenching his right hand into a fist and smacking it into the palm of his left. [[spoiler: It carries over to the person you choose to merge with for the final mission, implying that either the tic originated from or stuck with Asaru or they're just GoingThroughTheMotions.]]
** Nico does ''not'' have these particular animation tics in the ''Hangar 6 R&D'' DLC campaign, suggesting it's more a case of [[spoiler: the tics being particular to Asaru]] rather than the animators [[TheyJustDidntCare simply not caring]].
* ChargedAttack: The Plasma Sniper Rifle (charged while aiming) and the [[LightningGun Lightning Cannon]] (charged by holding down the fire button) can be fired without charging first, but this heavily cuts damage.
* CodeEmergency: The [=InfiniVac=] Network from ''Project: Enemy Unknown'' was on "Code Black Lockdown" for quite some time. [[spoiler:This may have been related to a possible alien attack on a Russian defector and an XCOM agent who was escorting him; according to the information that was available on the [=InfiniVac=] Network, their remains bore evidence that they might have been killed by Silicoids.]]
* ColdBloodedTorture: A report about the [[spoiler: captured infiltrator]] found in the lab details the the prisoner's legal status. Although technically considered a POW, the Outsiders aren't known signers of the Geneva Convention, so the normal POW protections don't apply. It doesn't take a genius to figure out what is bound to follow...
** Another recording details surgery that sounds quite painful.
* ComicBookFantasyCasting: Multiple reviewers have commented on the remarkable similarity between Agent Carter and Robert "[[TheTerminator T-1000]]" Patrick. The voice actor even sounds quite a lot like Patrick.
* ComputerEqualsTapedrive
* ContinuityNod[=/=]ContinuityPorn:
** Many items bear a marked visual similarity with their ''VideoGame/XCOMEnemyUnknown'' counterparts; Medkits are practically ''identical'' to their 21st century counterparts. There are also similarities in types of aliens: Sectoids and Mutons are pretty much the exact same, with slightly different equipment, and Sectopods make a reappearance, albeit with a different design.
** The final cutscene plays part of a track from ''Enemy Unknown''. It also features an unnamed person simply called the "Councilman" in the subtitles.
* ConvenientlyInterruptedDocument: The Game, with liberal sprinkling of UnPerson on top. It's a major part of the game's promotional campaign (with several trailers showing the creation of such documents), including but not limited to blurring out or blacking out of portions of gameplay footage in the trailers.
* CrutchCharacter[=/=]ATasteOfPower: Agents Nils and Kinney in the first mission. They're both Level 5 (the max for an agent) and have a full set of abilities.
* DecoyProtagonist: While Agent Carter is the PlayerCharacter for most of the game, [[spoiler: the real point of view is from the alien Asaru, an Ethereal, who has been controlling Carter's actions throughout the game.]]
* DeflectorShield: Used by EliteMooks and Zudjari Commanders, with the Shield Commander variant being able to project a similar shield onto another unit. XCOM Commandos can also manifest one with a certain ability.
* DeliberateValuesDissonance: Part of the overall atmosphere, with HQ in particular being seen as a smoking area.
* DownerBeginning: The Bureau's Groom Range base is attacked and utterly wrecked, with only 6 survivors managing to escape.
* EnemyMine: [[spoiler: One of the base personnel turns out to be a Soviet spy who got caught up in the whole alien invasion mess. He can be convinced to help fight the invasion (since the aliens are a threat to the Soviets as well), and joins your squad as a high-level operative.]]
* EnergyBeings: [[spoiler: The Ethereals.]]
* FightingForAHomeland: The Zudjari's motivations, and what keeps most of them fighting even after [[spoiler: Mosaic is crippled.]]
* FlyingSaucer:
** Despite being a game about an alien invasion, the main flying saucer seen in the game is human in origin and is based on a real life design.
** There's also the Titan AttackDrone, a boss who's combat form is disc-shaped.
* FollowTheLeader: Strategy interface aside, many previews of the new TPS iteration point out how ''Franchise/MassEffect''-like the gameplay is. It's even got a dialogue wheel now!
** Though, to make it legally distinct from Bioware's creation, The Bureau's wheel is mirrored, with investigative conversation options being on the right, while the progression-oriented ones are on the left.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: Other characters frequently note that Carter does not act like or is better at his job than his dossier indicates. Also, when the intro cutscene concludes and the player is given control of Carter, there's a strange glow on the edges of the screen. [[spoiler:Turns out they both are because he's been bonded with an Ethereal.]]
* FrickinLaserBeams: As in other XCOM games, it's the middle tier of weaponry. Unlike them, though, the aliens start off with it instead of plasma.
* GameplayAndStoryIntegration: One of the few games to present [[spoiler: the notion that the ThirdPersonShooter perspective is due to an outside force controlling the player-character]].
* GatlingGood: The Rotary Plasma Cannon. Inaccurate and with beastly recoil, but it's rate of fire vastly outstrips any other weapon. It's per-shot damage is pretty good too.
* GiantMook: The Mutons in general.
* GovernmentConspiracy: You play as a member of one. It's pretty much right there on the TagLine.
* HandSignals: [[TheHero Agent William Carter]] makes a twirling motion over his head to signal his squad to regroup. Otherwise, though, he generally resorts to voice commands only.
* HealingHands:
** Carter gains this ability after his encounter with an Infiltrator in the opening cutscene, apparently due to whatever was in the briefcase he was to deliver. [[spoiler: It transfers over to whoever you chose for the final mission.]]
** In ''Hangar 6 R&D'', Nico gains it as a side effect from exposure to the gas being used in the tests.
* HeelFaceTurn: [[spoiler: Doctor Weir's assistant, despite being an Outsider infiltrator helps you along with your mission, even making a HeroicSacrifice.]]
* HeroicBSOD:
** [[CynicismCatalyst Agent]] [[DrowningMySorrows Dennis Cole]] has it from "The Choice" trailer onwards. Agent William Carter gets it during "The Aftermath" trailer.
** Agent Carter had one in his past, [[spoiler: due to the death of his father, wife, and son in a fire at his home while he was overseas, blaming himself for not being there to save them]].
** The first "Sleepwalker" XCOM encounters suffered from one just prior to succumbing. As a result, he's stuck in the BSOD for the rest of his life, unless a cure is found.
* HeroicHost: [[spoiler: Origin invented Mosaic with the help of the Ethereal possessing him, and Carter gains [[RealTimeWithPause Battle Focus]], HealingHands and MindControl from his, as will the person you chose for the final mission.]]
* HeroicWillpower: Strong-willed individuals can resist the Sleepwalker infection ([[spoiler: like [=DaSilva=]]]) or [[spoiler: Ethereal possession (like Origin and Carter)]].
* HerrDoktor: [[RunningGag Seems to be a tradition]] [[VideoGame/XCOMEnemyUnknown for the latest iteration]], as Doctor Heinrich Dresner alludes to the fact that he was, indeed, ''that'' [[StupidJetpackHitler kind of German doctor]], saying that Carter could [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Office_of_Strategic_Services talk to the OSS]] regarding his "immigration" to the US.
** However, an audio file found after the first official mission clarifies that he had no hand in the human experiments, and was trapped between a rock and a hard place when he found out about them.
** Additionally, when Carter captures [[spoiler:Origin's Ethereal]], Dresner is asked by other scientists if he is planning on studying it. Dresner replies that he has no desire to keep these creatures in cages.
* HiredGuns: In-universe speculation confirmed by WordOfGod is that the Mutons you meet aren't Zudjari slaves, but more akin to mercenaries.
* HiveMind: The Zudjari via Mosaic.
* InfantImmortality: Subverted with Kevin, a young boy who featured prominently in some trailers [[spoiler:who ends up being killed in an alien attack. He's later revealed to have been the son of one of the Bureau's agents, who after completing his report on the attack begins to write a resignation letter as [[DespairEventHorizon he's convinced there's nothing left to fight for.]]]]
* ItsPersonal:
** [[spoiler: Agent Weaver storms an alien facility working on the "Sleepwalker" virus by herself, against orders, when she finds out her brother is being held there.]]
** [[spoiler:Carter after he breaks free of the Ethereal possession. He proceeds to try to get revenge, even if it means [[RevengeBeforeReason dooming the whole world in the process]].]]
* JackBauerInterrogationTechnique:
** We see this being applied to some [[SarcasmMode poor]] alien on the [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin "The Interrogation"]] and "The Aftermath" trailers. [[PunctuatedPounding Fisticuffs are involved.]]
** It's an option in the actual in-game interrogation. The alien being questioned is rather docile during the whole thing, though, meaning you can go through it very calmly.
* {{Jetpack}}: Muton Elites have one. In addition to just moving around, they can use it to perform a powerful GoombaStomp by jumping into the air and landing near their target, causing a large explosion on impact.
* KilledOffForReal:
** [[spoiler: Both companion agents in the first mission wind up dead offscreen. Nils dies in the second mission at the hands of an Infiltrator, while Kinney dies investigating the Zudjari base that's the target of the fourth main mission.]]
** [[spoiler: Nico [=DaSilva=] can killed off for real in the fourth main mission, depending on your choices.]]
** [[spoiler: The Zudjari Infiltrator captured in the second mission is killed in the penultimate mission after he's reconnected to Mosaic and reveals XCOM HQ's location.]]
** [[spoiler: Either Weaver, Faulke or Weir will die in the final mission, depending on who you chose to merge with and who you chose to save. Carter may also die, depending on whether you execute him or not.]]
* LaResistance: The original purpose of The Bureau was to serve as an organized resistance if the Soviets managed to successfully invade the US.
* LightningGun: The secret Lightning Cannon, which is only available in the last couple of missions.
* LostForever: Minor operations and dispatch missions, should you choose to take the Major operation without completing them first. The same goes for side quests in the XCOM HQ.
* TheMasquerade: One of the priorities of the titular Bureau is to "Erase" and conceal any evidence of an invasion by extraterrestrials.
* MindControl: Available to Zudjari Psion Commanders, as well as Carter at Level 8 [[spoiler: thanks to the Ethereal possessing him. It transfers over to the person chosen for the final mission.]] Oddly enough, in ''Hangar 6 R&D'', Nico can choose to unlock it at Level 9, despite being an otherwise ordinary human.
* MiniMecha: The Sectopods.
* MookFaceTurn: Taking the right dialogue choices can convince [[spoiler: the captured Zudjari Infiltrator to willingly help XCOM.]]
* {{Mooks}}: The game hits all the FPS basics when it comes to enemy types:
** TheGoomba: Sectoids are basically the Grunts from {{Halo}}, SlaveMooks who are individually weak and poorly equipped, but are deployed in numbers to support more high-value units.
** EliteMooks: The 3 basic Outsiders types (Infantry, Phantoms, and Snipers) all have Elite variants that are equipped with regenerating energy shields and better weapons.
** SuperPoweredMooks: At least 1 Outsider Commander appears in most encounters; besides having energy shields, they can also use the same special abilities as the player to support their minions; summoning turrets, summoning drones, bestowing shields, or mind-controlling your squadmates. Fortunately, each commander type is limited to one ability, while you as the player can use them all at once.
** GiantMook[=/=]HeavilyArmoredMook: Mutons are huge, walk slowly, are equipped with laser shotguns, and can take more than 200 assault rifle rounds before dropping. They also wear heavy body armor that you have to punch through before you can even damage them properly. Beating one requires a coordinated effort from your squad combined with liberal spamming of special abilities (or later in the game you can just use the Lift + Blaster Launcher combo to beat them quickly). Elite Mutons are even tougher and can use their jetpacks to GoombaStomp all over the battlefield.
** MiniMecha: Sectopods are the toughest individual enemies in the game (although the Elite Mutons can probably tie with them). You fight one as early as the 2nd mission, and later in the game you'll often have to deal with 2 at once.
* MultipleEndings: Depending on who you chose for the final mission.
** [[spoiler: Doctor Weir links up to the Mosaic Core and orders the aliens to surrender. The Zudjari help rebuild the damage they caused and hide any trace of their existence. Earth isn't willing to let them stay, so XCOM returns their mothership to them so they can search for a new home. The Sleepwalkers are cured, and have no memory of what happened during their infection.]]
** [[spoiler: Agent Weaver links up to the Mosaic Core and orders the aliens to kill each other. All their installations are destroyed, as is the mothership. The Sleepwalkers are {{Mercy Kill}}ed.]]
** [[spoiler: Director Faulke links up to the Mosaic Core and orders the aliens to surrender. The surviving Zudjari are all executed after they help hide their presence. Their installations and the mothership are destroyed to maintain secrecy. The Sleepwalkers are left in medical care to die from natural causes.]]
* NiceJobBreakingItHero:
** Depending on the dialogue choices the player made just before, [[spoiler: Carter might break free of Asaru's control and attack Shamash, the captured Ethereal, just as Asaru convinces it to TakeAThirdOption.]]
** Faulke decides to [[spoiler: plug the captured Infiltrator back into Mosaic to gather info on Origin's whereabouts. This succeeds, but unfortunately, the Infiltrator falls back under its control and reveals XCOM HQ's location, causing its destruction.]]
* NoticeThis: Items that can be picked up or interacted with will shine a bright yellow.
* NotQuiteDead: [[spoiler: Origin survives taking an Elerium-enhanced nuke to the face in the penultimate mission; it's suggested that he either uploaded his mind into the Mosaic network, ascended into an energy being similar to an Ethereal, or a combination of both. Asaru has to go into the Mosaic network himself to presumably finish the guy off.]]
* NotSoDifferent: Director Faulke offhandedly mentions his interest in using Mosaic to control humanity in a similar way to how Origin used it to control his people, only "more responsibly". Carter is understandably unsettled.
* NoOntologicalInertia: [[spoiler: Crippling Mosaic doesn't cause the Outsiders to stop fighting. Lampshaded by the Infiltrator.]]
--> [[spoiler: '''Infiltrator''': [[TwoOfYourEarthMinutes One hundred of your years]] chasing a desperate goal cannot be erased so easily.]]
* OnceMoreWithClarity: The "The Aftermath" trailer provides this to some scenes of the previous live-action trailers. [[spoiler: It confirms Agent Dennis Cole's death, for one.]] It also provides some more clarity to the first live-action teaser, which appears to happen later.
* ObliviousGuiltSlinging: [[spoiler:Dr. Weir talking to his assistant about how he found evidence of extraterrestrial life and how optimistic he is about it. His assistant, being a Zudjari infiltrator, is very uncomfortable about this.]]
* OneManArmy: Well, 3-man army, as your 3-man squad will mow through entire armies of aliens while the entire U.S. military gets steamrolled off-screen. It's even mentioned several times how Carter is basically an amazing alien-killing machine, with no other XCOM operative able to come even close to his level of performance. [[spoiler: This gets explained later on by it actually being Asaru, aka the Player, being the one really responsible for Carter's success.]]
* PlanetLooters: WordOfGod reveals that the Outsiders' leading race, the Zudjari, are this. Their society is unsustainable to the point where they must constantly invade new planets to drain them of resources and enslave the locals to use in their next invasion. The [[SlaveMooks Sectoids]] are a previous conquest of theirs.
* PlasmaCannon: The strongest weapons available to both the aliens and XCOM.
* PlayerCharacter: William Carter. Also either Weaver, Faulke, or Weir in the final mission. [[spoiler:In truth, however, you're actually [[PlayingThePlayer playing Asaru, an Ethereal]].]]
* PlayingWithSyringes: The fate of [[spoiler: Peter Weaver, agent Angela Weaver's brother]], who's spent the last few years StrappedToAnOperatingTable. The Sleepwalker Virus is brewed up in his chest cavity, and is extracted by a pair of huge articulated syringes.
* {{Prequel}}: To ''VideoGame/XCOMEnemyUnknown'', by WordOfGod from Firaxis. In the 2012 game, XCOM as an organization already exists by the time of the invasion, and ''The Bureau'' is supposed to be the story of how it got started.
* PretentiousLatinMotto: As in ''Enemy Unknown'', XCOM has ''Vigilo, Confido'' on their logo.
* PsychicAssistedSuicide: Prominently used in a cutscene late in the game. [[spoiler: A Psion Commander uses it to force a rebellious Sectoid to shoot itself.]]
* QuickNip: One of Carter's idle animations involves him pulling out a flask and taking a sip.
* RealTimeWithPause[=/=]RingMenu: Accessing the RingMenu, called Battle Focus, slows time to a crawl to allow Carter to choose powers and direct his allies to perform various actions. [[spoiler: The Ethereal possessing him seems to be responsible, since it transfers over to the person chosen for the last mission.]]
** In ''Hangar 6 R&D'', Nico also gains it as a side effect of exposure to the gas being used in the tests.
* RedScare: Set in 1962 at the height of the ColdWar. Rather than a unit intended to fight off aliens, The Bureau is meant as a counter to the Reds.
** Not only that, but one of the side quests involves a captured Soviet agent, whom you have to convince to join the agency.
* RegeneratingHealth: To an extent. The health bar for each XCOM agent is divided into a series of pips. If one of these pips is only partially depleted, it'll regenerate, but if it's completely depleted, it grays out and only Carter's Heal or Drone (if the player chooses the Heal Beam instead of the Lift Beam perk) abilities can restore it. It only takes a couple of hits to fully deplete a pip, so you're very reliant on simply not getting hit, or using Carter's healing ability if you do take damage.
* RevengeBeforeReason:
** Weaver in regards to Axis. She is told to not partake in the mission to retrieve him and also knows he could be a valuable hostage. She ends up stealing a Skyranger to track him [[spoiler:and kills him after he's been incapacitated.]]
** [[spoiler:Carter when he learns about his bond with an Ethereal. Even if Asaru manages to convince Shamash to help the humans, he'll still shoot and kill her, was willing to blow up all of XCOM to prevent from being re-bonded, and even goes on a manhunt against Asaru's new host while they are fighting through the Outsider mothership. Even after his actions get someone killed and the host saves him, he still tries to kill them before they can stop the Outsiders.]]
* {{Revival}}: How it was originally conceived.
* RevivalByCommercialization: The trailer has renewed peoples interest of "Stompy Jones - Don't lie to me".
* RPGElements: Just like ''Enemy Unknown'', agents level up in one of four classes and pick from a pair of skills at each rank.
* ShoutOut:
** Some of the backpacks XCOM agents can wear look like mini [[Film/{{Ghostbusters}} protonpacks.]]
** One of the achievement names is [[Film/MenInBlack "The Last Suit You'll Ever Wear"]].
** [[Film/IndependenceDay "Welcome to Earth"]] involves finishing off 20 aliens with [[GoodOldFisticuffs punches]].
** [[WesternAnimation/ThunderCats "Sight Beyond Sight"]] requires 15 unique scans.
** [[Film/JurassicPark "Clever Girl"]] involves killing 40 flanked enemies.
** [[Film/RaidersOfTheLostArk "Top. Men."]] is probably another one.
** [[Film/TheAvengers "What Are You Without Your Armor?"]] for stripping the armor off five Mutons before killing them.
** During the interrogation of the Soviet spy, said spy refers to Carter as [[Series/SeventeenMomentsOfSpring Stirlitz]] at one point, while the subtitles [[ThrowItIn contain an entirely different line altogether]]. [[note]]It should be noted that while ''Seventeen Moments Of Spring'' takes place during World War II, the book came out in 1969, making the reference a mild case of AnachronismStew, as, dating aside, it's entirely plausible due to the movie adaptation's incredible MemeticMutation.[[/note]]
** The Sleepwalkers are stuck in a loop where they [[BrokenRecord constantly repeat a single sentence]], much like the victims in the Film/InvasionOfTheBodySnatchers.
* ShotgunsAreJustBetter: The weapon of choice for XCOM Engineers, and they are indeed better in close quarters. Later, you get Scatter Lasers, Outsider versions of shotguns which are favored by their Muton mercenaries. Apparently, the Plasma Assault Cannon is the plasma variant (since it's also available to Engineers) but fires a single blob of plasma instead of a spread.
* SideQuest:
** Minor operations don't progress the story, and provide XP and often early or exclusive access to better packs and/or weapons.
** There are also Dispatch missions, but those only permit fellow Agents to go, and are completed while Carter's team is on one of the full Operations (whether minor or storyline).
* SillinessSwitch: On a meta level: the "YOLO" Trailer shows that your characters ''will'' [[TheManyDeathsOfYou die a lot]]-most probably because of [[TooDumbToLive very]] [[EpicFail stupid]] [[GeneralFailure battlefield]] [[ThisLoserIsYou player]] decisions.
* SinisterGeometry: The object in the trailer is a Titan that's about to fire on a house.
* SkewedPriorities: A mission to liberate a nuclear warhead facility from the Aliens is classified as being of "minor" importance. Lets restate that: A problem, which not only is ''proven'' to be the work of the Aliens but also, if not handled quickly, could very easily result in WorldWarIII, is classified as being of the same importance as recovering artifacts and investigating ''possible'' alien activity.
* SlaveMooks: The Sectoids.
* SoundtrackDissonance: Cartoon music sounding over [[spoiler: a montage of the devastated town of Pima, a JackBauerInterrogationTechnique on an alien, and Agent Dennis Cole being found dead and put on a body bag]] on "The Aftermath".
* SoundOnlyDeath: [[spoiler: Agent Dennis Cole, who chases an alien into an ambush and is then surrounded on "The Chase" trailer. We see his body being discovered and being put in a body bag on the "The Aftermath" trailer.]]
* {{Splat}}: Commando (tank), Engineer (trap-laying rogue), Recon (backstabbing rogue), and Support (CombatMedic healer).
* SymbioticPossession: [[spoiler:Ideally, this is what happens when an Ethereal bonds with a host.]]
** DemonicPossession: [[spoiler:If the two don't agree, though, things can get unpleasant, one way or the other. The Zudjari also seem to have this view of the Ethereals in general, since they're repeatedly referred to as "demons".]]
* TakeCover: Features similar cover mechanics to ''Enemy Unknown'': partial and full cover are available, as well as flanking bonuses.
* TakeYourTime: No matter how urgent the mission is supposed to be, you can safely take as much time as you want walking around XCOM HQ or run other, less vital missions in the meantime. The same applies during a mission, feel free to explore those sidepaths.
* ThisIsNotADrill: Said over the PA system several times [[spoiler: during the attack on XCOM HQ.]]
* TragicVillain: The Zudjari show signs of this, given that [[spoiler: during the interrogation of the Zudjari Infiltrator, it is revealed that they are controlled by Origin via "Mosaic" - and that the Zudjari are mind controlled into doing so. The Infiltrator, now having had his implant removed, is amazed by the freedom of thought it allows. If you use the Nice guy route of interrogating him, he even willingly gives up info, as Carter offers his race a chance at true freedom and peaceable existence.]]
** ForegoneConclusion: However, since this game is stated to be the history of XCOM in the ''Enemy Unknown'' universe, and we don't see any Zudjari there...
* {{UnPerson}}: On the live-action trailers, it appears to be what XCOM does to any civilian casualties. [[UpToEleven We see this being applied to an entire town]], [[KillItWithFire and clean-up teams torching it to the ground]], on "The Aftermath".
* UnusableEnemyEquipment: Justified for the same reasons as in ''Enemy Unknown'', they self-destruct if their wielder is killed. One of Dr. Dresner's first inventions does allow it to be averted, but Carter needs to find one that isn't locked to its wielder yet or off an alien that died unexpectedly first.
* VillainOverride: [[spoiler: If the captured Infiltrator was [[MookFaceTurn talked into willingly helping XCOM]], then this happens to him when he gets plugged back into Mosaic late in the game.]]
* VillainousBreakdown: [[spoiler: Having his physical body destroyed and having to power Mosaic with his own consciousness without Shamash to use as an energy source clearly takes a toll on Origin; his dialogue in the final mission is noticeably crazed compared to earlier, and he completely loses it when you finally break into Mosaic's inner sanctum.]]
* ViralMarketing:
** The live-action trailers, amping up the UnPerson and ConvenientlyInterruptedDocument tropes used in the promotional images even further. Which gets rather disturbing at times.
** The ''Project: Enemy Unknown'', ''Citizen Skywatch'', and ''Erase The Truth'' [=ARGs=], all of which follow a common thread.
** And now there's a [[http://hungoverx.com/ tie-in browser not-quite-game]] which approaches "viral" from a different direction.
* WakeUpCallBoss: The Gunship at the end of the third story mission.
* WhamLine:
** [[spoiler: Agent Cole mentioning that ''his own dead wife and child'' will become [[UnPerson UnPersoned]] as he writes an after action report during "The Choice" and "The Decision" trailers.]]
--> [[spoiler: ''"[[OhCrap It's]] [[BolivianArmyEnding an]] [[SoundOnlyDeath ambush]]."'']]

-->[[spoiler: '''XCOM Commando''': ''"What do we do now, sir?"'']]\\
[[spoiler: '''[[TheHero Agent William Carter]]''' ([[HeroicBSOD looking around at destroyed town of Pima, New Mexico]]): ''"[[KillItWithFire Erase it]]. [[UnPerson Erase it all]]."'']]
* XMeetsY:
** ''Franchise/MassEffect'' meets ''VideoGame/XCOMEnemyUnknown'' with a dash of ''Wiki/SCPFoundation'' thrown in for good measure.
** Alternatively, it's been described as ''VideoGame/XCOMEnemyUnknown'' given the ''Series/MadMen'' treatment.
** The creators did state they want to have an ''Series/TheXFiles'' feel to it.
* YourMindMakesItReal: Getting hit by the illusionary aliens that represent the Sleepwalker infection's defenses in the ''Hangar 6 R&D'' {{DLC}} hurts just as much as being hit by the real thing, and can even cause incapacitation and actual death.
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