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Fridge Brilliance

  • The various food allergies Verge admits to that plague Sectoids between XCOM 2 and Chimera Squad can be chalked up to control methods the Elders used to try and cripple them and make them dependent on their masters for compatible food (protein shakes and ADVENT burgers). Additionally, when Verge was first created, he didn't even have a mouth. Human-like digestive systems are extremely recent additions for Sectoids, and as such, their new stomachs need to contend with eons of evolutionary biology to function at all.
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  • A series-long question of why the Sectoids were treated by the Ethereal Ones as "vicious, cowardly failures" is finally answered: Sectoids tend to imprint on the minds they are exposed to most when they lack an identity of their own; case in point, Verge developed empathy and kindness from being in close contact with human minds. Meanwhile, back in the finale of Enemy Unknown, the Uber-Ethereal admits that the Elders that XCOM sees aboard the Temple Ship are all considered failures of the Ethereal Ones, and that they were fleeing a greater threat. This, coupled with their vicious treatment of their servitors, meant that Sectoids clearly developed the same vicious, cowardly personality as their former masters. Humanity on the other hand possessed the kindness to forgive and make a good-faith effort to integrate fellow victims of the Ethereal Ones's cruelty into their own society. This same kindness was imprinted onto all the surviving Sectoids.
  • The reason why the prototype Plasma weapons used by some of the criminal groups are so low-powered compared to XCOM plasma weapons despite the similar weapon casings is because they are prototypes and testbed weapons with limited power output and otherwise fragile bits; Tygan and Lily Shen put a lot of effort into making the XCOM plasma weapons more stable and effective.
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    • And if you're wondering why plasma weapons in general are not in your toolkit, remember, you work for XCOM's "Reclamation" division. Plasma is a restricted weapon type. You need to go to the scavenger market just to get one plasma grenade, and that's if you're lucky and got there before Xug handed it over to XCOM in exchange for a finder's fee.
  • Floyd Tesseract, the conspiracy nut Sectoid radio host, at first seems like a typical conspiracy theorist grasping at the supposed threats kept secret by the government. However, given that he was once part of the global organization that actually did perform nefarious plots and schemes hidden in the shadows, and that as a Sectoid he did in fact participate in many of said plots, he would in fact be the best person to speak out against such seeming conspiracies in general.
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  • Overwatch range is much more limited because you're not controlling soldiers in a target-rich environment anymore. A SWAT team in a civilian environment are going to have more restrained trigger discipline — even when taking a reflex shot, they positively identify the target first, pull the trigger second. Similarly none of the hostile groups have the numbers and/or training to risk shooting each other up, so between cowering and not blasting their friends their reaction range is even smaller.
  • Claymore doesn't drink coffee because, as another demolitions expert will tell you: "One errant twitch.. and KABLOOIE!"
  • Godmother's proficiencies with the Shotgun mark her as having the skillset of an Invasion-era Shotgun Assault, complete with skills like Flush. She has been around a while...
  • Patchwork and Terminal are expanded versions of the two types of Specialists in XCOM 2, the offense and defensive types, respectively. Since it'd be boring to have those exact skills from that old skill tree, these two now have expanded, more highly specialized versions. Patchwork's gremlin starts off being able to chain its shock to multiple targets and can inflict status ailments, while Terminal's healing gremlin also provides the defensive bonus to its target at the same time.
  • Torque has a number of Ranger-style stealth and ambush skills, which, given her shared history with Director Jane Kelly, makes sense. They must have found common ground and bonded over training exercises.
  • Some complained about the dialog of the operatives sounding far too casual for what should be hardened former military operatives - but the last war was far more guerrilla and adhoc networks on the XCOM side as opposed to a more rigid hierarchical structure. Even the older ADVENT personnel would either not speak in human languages and patterned off of the others or their more professional tone would take on more negative connotations from association with the old regime, especially with those born post fall of human governments who would only associate professionalism in speech with ADVENT.
  • A lot of the mechanical changes make sense when you consider the time scale of this game is much tighter than the previous two. In Enemy Unknown and XCOM 2, one turn at a full sprint was enough to run most of a city block. Here, it's maybe enough to cross a large room. This explains things like the "I go, you go" turn order (everyone's reacting much quicker in close quarters), grenades having fuses now (previous the action was slow enough they'd detonate before anyone reacted, now people are moving fast enough to dive for cover), etc.
  • A lot of people were caught off-guard by the lack of Vocal Dissonance with all the aliens sounding human instead of having stereotypical accents like Hulk Speak for the Mutons or Sssssnaketalk for the Vipers, but it makes sense from a integration standpoint. Vipers were once Thin Men, who were made specifically to infiltrate human society, having them have such an obvious Verbal Tic would be an awful idea for an spies. As for Mutons (and Vipers if the latter's not a good enough excuse), with gene modification being a known technology, it would be easy to either modify their bodies or create an implant for Translator Microbes that would be considered a failure if it didn't make the recipient verbose enough. As for Sectoids, a race with psionic potential like that can easily just pick up language by scanning a few minds or - worst case, just beam their thoughts directly into the recipient's minds.
  • All the bad guy groups function as a Surprisingly Realistic Outcome for the previous game's happy ending, with the fall of ADVENT and Earth's subsequent attempts to rebuild facing major challenges that each group represents.
    • Grey Phoenix: Life can be pleasant for aliens who manage to successfully integrate into Earth as an adoptive community, but not everyone can, and that can make life very hard for those who can't. And for some, it's so hard that they just want to pack up and leave.
    • Sacred Coil: ADVENT may have fallen, but a lot of rats didn't go down with the ship, as evidenced by an unrelated side mission where the team hunts down an ADVENT war criminal who escaped justice. And this particular ADVENT remnant is led by a former high-ranking officer with a knowledge of ADVENT propaganda and plans to bring back a version of the old ADVENT government, which makes them even more dangerous.
    • The Progeny: ADVENT conducted horrific experiments to create human psionics and put them to work doing horrific things. Many of them were children abducted or orphaned by ADVENT, and with the logistical nightmare of keeping track of everyone still alive on Earth after the events of XCOM 2, some people inevitably slipped through the cracks and became unaccounted for. While Shelter found peace and a new purpose as part of Chimera Squad, it's clear Violet never got the help she needed and as a result, has gone totally bonkers. As a side note, the Progeny's specific hatred for hybrids may seem arbitrary, but it's clear Violet imprinted her mindset on her underlings when she gave them their powers/turned them into thralls; consider then that all the hybrids she was around during her time with ADVENT were violent fascist enforcers. Somebody clearly has an unresolved Trauma Button.
    • The Spoiler Faction: XCOM was a noble La Résistance but they fought a very long war to overthrow the Ethereals, and had to go to dangerous lengths to do it. Plus while the war may be over, the long morally-complex war could plausibly leave many of XCOM's veterans still in a warlike mindstate, which is repeatedly demonstrated with Bradford in the text blurbs. Fortunately, most of XCOM were happy to dial it way back once they were placed into power and accept that the world is changing, but in Shrike's case, it's clear that some former XCOM operatives are simply too deep in the mire of ruthlessness and paranoia to stop fighting a war of some kind or acting in a "Victory justifies everything" kind of way.

Fridge Horror

  • The presence of EXALT agents in XCOM 2, plus the implication of Shrike being the pawns of a greater conspiracy, indicate that EXALT was not destroyed by the Ethereals utterly when Earth was conquered; rather, they laid low and plotted, sending expendable agents to ensure XCOM and the Resistance Forces were able to succeed; they now plan to change the shape of the emerging united government so that they can put their figureheads into power.
  • The realization that aliens are just as capable of empathy and will as humans, at least when they have human DNA spliced in, means that they became the new minority with the death of the Elders in XCOM 1. As bad as Earth got in the XCOM 2 timeline, everything could have gone to Rapture in the XCOM 'Victory' timeline; with no time to acclimate and few humanlike features to impress upon, the newly-freed aliens might not have integrated so well, or could even have been enslaved yet again as the newest untouchable caste. Combine that with existing governments (and recent events reflecting on how they would react to new levels of power), and you've got a recipe for pyrrhic post-invasion World War III.

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