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Trivia / X-COM: Apocalypse

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  • Creative Differences: The game engine was made by the original X-COM devs (Mythos). The graphics were made by MicroProse, who mostly funded the game (and owned the IP), and the concept artist was Tim White. The two companies got into a pretty big fight over the direction of Apoc. Microprose apparently struggled to get their deliverables out on time, refused to match the look with the previous game, and Tim White and the graphic artists were constantly at loggerheads over what was technically feasible.
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  • Creator Backlash: Even Gollop found it disappointing, but he claims MicroProse micromanaged it to death.
  • Creator Killer: MicroProse was in free fall financially at this point, and the game was rushed out over the objections of Julian Gollop. MicroProse collapsed into bankruptcy proceedings a year later, taking the X-COM series into oblivion with it. Gollop and Mythos pushed out a disaster of a game (Magic and Mayhem) after Apoc, which bankrupted them. It basically took Gollop a decade before anyone trusted him as a lead designer again.
  • Executive Meddling: Originally the game was going to be real-time only. You can see this in the weapons (their fire rates all labeled in shots per second) and a few other glitches (security stations in your base won't fire in turn-based.) Fan reaction was really negative to a real-time X-COM so they put in turn-based. It's one of the reasons the development got held up; there was a statement by one of the coders saying that coding for both modes was one of the hardest parts of development.
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  • Follow Up Failure: The aliens are less memorable, less intelligent (somehow) than the originals. Also, you aren't a military commander saving the world from destruction so much as Head of HR at a pest extermination company. Still, the game (as it is) is playable. It has a cult of dedicated fans who prefer it to the other classics.
  • Magnum Opus Dissonance: TFTD is basically a reskin of the original. Apocalypse was a true sequel. It is the one Julian Gollop worked on after UFO Defense.
  • Troubled Production: Apparently they thought it was a good idea to develop the game in two parts with two different studios working on them, and it failed spectacularly.
    Gollup: "After completing this game I know how Francis Coppola felt after filming Apocalypse Now."
  • What Could Have Been:
    • They left out multiplayer, scrapped the mechanized support vehicles (UAVs) on tactical missions, and generally left a lot of content un-polished. It needed at least another 12 months in the oven.
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    • This wiki documents the unused content still left in the distribution, and these two forum posts list recollections and work notes of a former tester.
    • Yet another Unobtanium called Zorium necessary to reproduce alien technology was planned, much like as Elerium and Zrbite.
    • In the original build, the game was supposed to have a very advanced AI system where the aliens would change tactics depending on your style of gameplay. The devs even claimed that you would be able to swap your .ai files with other players to experience a completely different game.
    • The agents were to have much longer lists of skills. The lines between fighters, spies, interrogators, engineers and scientists were going to be blurry. Anybody could work at anything, though not necessarily well. Hence scientists and engineers participating in the base defense.
    • There were plans for the game to track individual NPCs who worked and moved around the city, potentially engaging in underhanded business between factions, including the aliens. The game contains some unused assets for tracking devices you could have planted on these characters, and a holding cell for humans in your base.
    • People captured and kidnapped by X-COM would be interrogated and could even be forced to work for X-COM. Operatives would be assigned to work in cells.
    • Original design envisioned much more tedious search and screening for Micronoid-infected traitors. Among other things it involved undercover agents posing as members of other organizations to infiltrate them.
    • X-COM operatives would be able to climb and swim, which would prove especially useful for undercover missions.
    • The pipeline connecting alien buildings and providing a weak entry point is a late addition. Originally the operatives would explore the alien world on foot gathering data to process to gain entry. Also there'd be a researchable craft equipment for that.
    • There could be multiple alien buildings of each kind. Aliens would replace destroyed ones if you are too slow.
    • There were going to be false and true good endings, hence the missable "One Way to Win" research item. X-COM would need to conquer not one, but several alien dimensions. If the player beat only one not knowing of the rest, it would look like a victory, but aliens would destroy Earth out of revenge.

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