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The future of City 31 depends on you.

XCOM: Chimera Squad is a 2020 spinoff in the XCOM series, taking place shortly after 2016's XCOM 2.

Five years ago, the remnants of XCOM staged a revolution against the alien armada that occupied Earth for twenty years. Humans were not the only species who found freedom, though: without the psionic influence of their Elders, the surviving alien occupiers regained their free will. Whether out of self-preservation or a genuine desire to do good, most of these aliens chose peace, helping rebuild the world they ravaged.

The crowning achievement of this unification is City 31, a diverse and prosperous urban center that survived the revolution by banding together against ADVENT. But this newfound peace is fragile: criminals and extremists lurk in the shadows, taking advantage of the troubled reconstruction effort to advance their agendas. Standing against them is Chimera Squad, XCOM's new counter-terrorism unit. Consisting of six humans and five aliens from a wide array of backgrounds, their mission is to bring down these underground organizations, and keep City 31 from falling into anarchy.


Chimera Squad is something of an experiment in the series, being more of a small-scale Strategy RPG than the brutal, globe-spanning tactical experience of previous games. Rather than commanding an entire Redshirt Army that can die by the truckload, you operate a squad of set characters with distinct names, personalities, and abilities. While these characters can be temporarily taken out of commission by serious wounds, their death will result in a mission failure, forcing you to retry.

The game was announced on April 14, 2020, and was released on April 24.

Announcement Trailer


XCOM: Chimera Squad contains examples of:

  • Absurdly Cool City: City 31 is the world's current leader in cooperation between humanity and the Elders' former thrall races. Humans, Hybrids (both gene-modded and cloned), Sectoids, Mutons, Vipers and even Faceless and Andromedons co-exist here in (relative) harmony.
  • Action Initiative: One of the biggest differences from the previous entries in the series is that each unit is individually placed in a Visual Initiative Queue rather then each side taking a taking a turn with their full team.
  • After-Combat Recovery: Agents can recover between encounters to full health, up to 50% if they were wounded below that, or not at all. How much is set at the campaign's start.
  • Airstrip One:
    • City 31, natch. What's weird is that neither the city's new administration nor its citizens have come up with a proper name yet even five years later.
    • Terminal complains about it in her recruitment dialogue, asking who names a city after a number. When Whisper asks if she'll keep complaining about it she says no, she'll move on to other things.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Although Sacred Coil and the Progeny are fairly reprehensible, the aliens of Grey Phoenix's only motive is to leave a planet they consider a blood-soaked prison and return home. As soon as this becomes impossible their leader rather mournfully tells her troops to surrender. Or she walks straight into a furnace, depending on when you did the mission.
  • Aliens Speaking English: Unlike the two previous games, all the aliens here speak perfect English, including civilians and criminals.
  • Always Accurate Attack:
    • One particular type of Muton enemy that works with Gray Phoenix, the Praetorian, has the ability to challenge one of your agents to a Duel. This translates to perfect accuracy on attacks made by either duelist towards each other. This doesn't always work in their favour.
    • Some breach points may offer a perk that grants the first or last agent through with perfect accuracy on their first attack during the encounter.
    • Unlike the notoriously inaccurate capture devices in the previous games, Subdue (or other variants of the less-lethal takedown) never miss, due to their increased emphasis.
    • The Progeny's psions make frequent use of Soul Fire, a basic psionic attack that deals moderate damage and is guaranteed to hit. They're the reason why achieving a Flawless mission rating is particularly difficult when going up against the Progeny because unlike all the others, cover and dodge stats don't mean squat against them. Shelter also gains the same ability as he ranks up.
    • Patchwork's gremlin-based shock attacks have a 100% hit rate, as they did in 2. This makes her devastating against enemy forces with a lot of mechanical units, as the shocks also deal extra damage to them.
    • Grenades and Explosive as well as Viper poison spit always hits.
    • Zephyr's entire shtick is that her melee attacks cannot miss.
  • And I Must Scream:
    • The Gatekeeper that appears when Sacred Coil activate their portal is noticeably damaged and scuffed, and tries to escape the area. After the mission we find out that the portal had been closed as it was traveling through, and it had been caught between dimensions for the last five years.
    • An Archive entry mentions that the Archons from the previous game were locked in a perpetual state of pain and suffering that was only lessened when they obeyed the Elders' orders.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Most of those from XCOM 2 return, along with new ones:
    • If Torque has an enemy Bound and all other enemies are incapacitated she'll automatically deal enough damage to incapacitate her bound target, forgoing the need to skip through turns until they pass out.
    • The same is true of any units Patchwork has hacked - they will automatically self-detonate once all other enemies are taken care of.
    • Likewise with any units Verge has mind controlled - they will automatically be incapacitated once all other enemies are taken care of.
    • Clearing the room will automatically stabilize any downed agents, and make all non-downed agents reload their weaponry. If you're on a timed "capture/loot objective" mission and finish the room before the timer runs out, you'll automatically complete that objective even if nobody was near it.
    • If you have at least one member and the VIP escape on an evac mission, the game will count it as a win even if every other member of squad goes down, though they'll still suffer penalties for being gravely wounded and you'll still game over if they bleed out fully before everyone else is down.
    • Also in VIP missions, the game will only ever sic one enemy at a time to target the VIP, and clearly identify which one it is, so you can plan around their presence.
    • Even if an enemy is suffering from lethal damage over time or has suffered any lethal damage at all, finishing them off with a less-lethal attack (like Subdue or Tranq Rounds) will still count as a knockout; they can't bleed out or succumb to the poison/fire/acid.
    • Civilian casualties caused by Sacred Coil's pet chryssalids do not contribute to any possible increase in Unrest. Fortunate, considering their favored tactics and how it's possible for them to engage a civilian before you have an opportunity to prevent it.
    • If Zephyr has both Kinetic Shield from Cherub, and her own Parry active, the first attack that hits her will only consume the Kinetic Shield, leaving her Parry active for any second attack.
    • In addition to the button that opens the supply from the loadout screen right before launching the APC, another button from the agent's loadout allows you to automatically take the equipment from any agents that won't be coming on the mission.
    • After clearing the game once, a new "Meta Content" tab will open up in the game, showing which stuff you have or haven't gotten/used in the past so you can try out more branching story paths, agents you haven't used, or try finding different exotic weapons.
    • The new encounter system activates every enemy in the room, allowing you to flank to your heart's content without fear of overextending and activating another pod.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit:
    • Only four agents and two backup androids can be dispatched to each mission. You can't even use the Assembly to increase your team size, unlike the projects available in the previous games.
    • In a full campaign, you can only bring 8 of the 11 members of Chimera Squad into the city.
  • Arbitrary Maximum Range: The range of Chimera's Overwatch is significantly shorter than that of the agents' weapons or sight, often being too short to cover a spawn point on the opposite side of a room. Luckily, enemy Overwatch is even shorter, covering a radius of a few squares at most.
  • Artificial Brilliance:
    • A lot of grenade types now have a timed fuse instead of exploding on impact, but they can be shot to trigger them prematurely. While low-level enemies often forget that last part in the early game, more advanced elite units will shoot their explosives immediately after throwing them to keep you from moving your agents out of the blast radius.
    • Enemies also have become a lot more aware of the battlefield and its hazards. If you put one or more agents in cover near Explosive Barrels, enemies will generally blow up the barrels instead of targeting your agents individually, something they only did on high difficulty settings in previous games.
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • Vipers are no better about wasting their turn trying to poison your poison-immune units. It's slightly more reasonable in that the attempt deals a small amount of physical impact damage even if the target is immune to the damage over time.
    • Similarly, Purifiers will target hacked turrets & MECs, and XCOM androids, all of whom are mechanical and thus immune to fire damage and the burning debuff.
    • The Progeny's ranks have no exceptions either; Acolytes will happily try to use their Psionic Suplex on immune units, and Sorcerors will give their allies actions using Tyranny even if said allies would die from a Damage Over Time effect as soon as they get to act.
    • Gray Phoenix's pretorians will happily use their Duel ability on even your heavy hitters, and it reaches Too Dumb to Live when they decide to target Blueblood.
  • Art Shift: While the game still retain the art style of XCOM 2, many of the aliens were redesigned with human features, as well as how the trailer, cutscenes, and conversation pictures are presented in a comic-book drawn style.
  • Ascended Meme: The "sexy Vipers" meme from XCOM 2 returns, with the trailer showing signs for a Viper strip club in the background.
  • Awesome Personnel Carrier: Chimera Squad use a wheeled 6x6 APC to get around the city, fitting with their position as a SWAT Team. Curiously, it seems to resemble older Central/Eastern European designs like the OT-64, or the Brazilian EE-11. According to one downtime message, it uses a jacked up, modified, GPS-guided ADVENT MEC brain for navigation - and the design was put together by Lily Shen.
  • A World Half Full: Chimera Squad shows that the Earth of the X-COM games is a broken world following twenty years of alien occupation - but it's a world nonetheless in the process of mending, both literally and figuratively. Aliens live side by side with humanity, and while the transition hasn't been smooth, it is shown to be making actual progress - and while the game starts out with no shortage of problems following the mayor's death, by the end Chimera Squad is so effective that the conspiracy behind the game's plot outright decides to cut its costs in the city.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • The trailer shows someone sneaking up on Terminal and yanking her from behind, followed by a psionic alien using its powers. It quickly turns out he's a team member and just pulled her to safety.
    • At one point, you are told that you have to deal with 'Alien Abductions'. As in, aliens, who have been abducted by members of Gray Phoenix.
  • Bookends: The tutorial has Chimera Squad handling a hostage situation. A month after the final mission, they head off to handle another one.
  • Buddy Cop Show: One of the Archive recording is an episode of "McCache and Binker", a show featuring two cops forced to be partners by Da Chief. Binker was former ADVENT, while McCache was former resistance.
  • City of Adventure: Originally City 31 was a Fortress city under ADVENT occupation, with an active star port. When XCOM won the war, the city became a haven for humans, aliens and hybrids. Unlike many other places, City 31 has self government, agriculture and industry. Unlike many other cities, it avoided retributive attacks from ADVENT Loyalists. That said the city is also infiltrated by three distinct factions with their own goal.
  • Cherry Tapping: The Subdue action is this when used on the more powerful enemies such as Pretorians or faction leaders.
  • Code Name: All the members of Chimera Squad have code names, referencing how units in the previous Firaxis games could gain one through promotion.
  • Concealment Equals Cover: Downplayed. Attacks have a chance to destroy flimsy cover and hit anyway, though in this case the object may absorb some of the damage first. Sometimes they'll destroy the cover even if they miss.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • If you play the tutorial mission, the game begins with an outright Continuity Cavalcade by taking place in a museum dedicated to XCOM's exploits during the war. Apart from pictures of XCOM's core leadership lining the walls, countless relics and world objects from XCOM 2 and its expansion can be spotted everywhere, like an Elder sarcophagus, a model of the original Skyranger from the initial invasion, the Warlock's rifle, or one of the creepy Lost-creating gas pods the aliens dropped on cities back during the initial invasion.
    • Bradford and The Commander are mentioned in an archived conversation. The latter is still in charge of XCOM as a whole.
    • "Burger Palace" is implied to be a rebranded ADVENT Burger. They mention opening "Pending the approval of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission".
    • When criminals are hitting a former ADVENT Vault, the team wonders what they are after. Cherub suggests they are looking for the recipe for ADVENT Burgers.
    • One possible mission site is the ruins of a former ADVENT gene therapy clinic. Where Whisper can only think about the dark side of the facilities as a front for the Avatar Project, Patchwork remembers when she had her prosthetics made at one of these clinics and wishes that something productive could have been made of them.
    • A series of advertising posters show basic SPARK models employed as construction units, chefs, accountants (wearing a tie), and combat robots (holding a comically small assault weapon in one hand), all using the same classic head as the canon design from the Story missions. At one point early on in their investigation the Progeny may also raid a factory producing more of these units, so you can see various bits of them laid out on tables and hooked up to some of the same armatures as ADVENT's MEC units were in 2.
    • One of the Sacred coil investigations reveal they are using a hyperwave beacon to communicate.
  • Contractual Boss Immunity: Whilst it's reasonable that Torque can't Pull and Bind large/heavy units like MECs and Andromedons, she has no trouble with Mutons or Ronin - so it becomes a little glaring when you notice that she can't use these abilities on the faction bosses. They're also immune (or resistant) to certain other special effects like the Stun from Shock Grenades.
  • Cool, but Inefficient: The APC is parked in a corner of the base on boarding platform of the rail depot, while the door is in the exact center of the wall. Meaning the (AI) driver has to make a rather close turn inside the base just to get in or out.
  • Days of Future Past: Downplayed, but with the defeat of ADVENT, fashions have reverted to more conventional styles. Whether it’s Sectoids wearing suits and ties (or jeans), female Mutons in a dress, or human characters in hoodies, it’s an indication of humanity picking up from where they left off before the Alien Invasion, even while embracing new advances and welcoming the very aliens themselves.
  • Defeat Equals Friendship: Due to the Elders' brainwashing wearing off, most of the aliens left behind decided to make peace, though there are extremist factions still lurking around. Chimera Squad itself was formed because Director Kelly wants everyone united to resist the Elders if they ever return.
  • Defector from Decadence: Several of the alien members of Chimera Squad either defected to or assisted the Resistance during the war.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Going for less-lethal takedowns of hostiles requires taking risks with your agents (or spending fifty bucks an agent for tranq rounds), but the intel rewards from arresting them rather than just killing them makes it a rewarding challenge.
  • Dynamic Entry: The Breach mechanic makes every first turn into this, with XCOM breaching the room and shooting enemies. You can spice it up with things like flashbangs, smoke grenades, breaching charges, air-vent entries, and similar surprises.
  • Easy Logistics: Much easier than the mainline XCOM games and XCOM 2.
    • Chimera Squad has a ready supply of magweapons and body armor, and instead 'pay' for their requisitions with "intel" and requisition credits, Elerium resources, and time spent processing paperwork and delivering the requested equipment (and tweaking the fabricator to coax it to make the stuff); UN cash credits and resistance supplies are not applicable here.
    • An offscreen support team maintains and fuels the team's troop carrier without requiring input from the player.
    • Suspects that are less-lethally subdued and arrested are automatically carted off-site by 31PD and processed by the police, as Chimera Squad doesn't have their own brig for detaining people.
    • Unlike the two previous games, every agent is automatically restored to full health when a mission is completed. If they were severely injured, they may get a debuff that does requires 2 days in training to remove, but there is no long stay in the infirmary the way the way there was in the previous games. Similarly, there's also no fatigue or will penalty for deploying the same units day after day.
    • At the world-building level, City 31 is not having trouble with insufficient power, thanks to the large amounts of Elerium and Elerium Generator caches hidden in the city by the ADVENT administration at the instruction of the Ethereals. What they do have is a power grid problem, as large portions of the "Old World" pre-invasion power grid was designed for human power infrastructure rather than alien Elerium-powered infrastructure; small blurbs and radio snippets indicate that the real reason City 31 implemented a lot of traditional human power systems like the dam-side turbine generators was to reduce the amount of Elerium power being injected into the grid, thus reducing the number of brown-out incidents from grid overloads. An engineer speaking to the city's council reports that brown-out incidents were reduced to monthly rather than daily occurances after the dam was connected to the grid.
    • As a result of the aforementioned power grid issues, a lot of construction work, whether being restoration of older buildings that were still safe to use, or making whole new blocks, has run into delays as the crews wait for the infrastructure and equipment to be freed up or made usable. Several locations marked for reconstruction or modernization are indicated to be stuck in transitional states due to shortage of equipment or power grid issues.
  • Elite Mooks: Aside from returning elite troops like andromedons, MECs, shieldbearers and the like, each of the three antagonist factions has their own unique super unit: Sorcerers for the Progeny, Ronin for the Sacred Coil and Praetorians for the Gray Phoenix. Capturing these guys alive unlocks an achievement each.
  • Enemy Summoner: Necromancers are sectoid psions with some of the Chosen Warlock's abilities, mainly the one to summon a bunch of fairly resilient and explosive spectral zombies into battle. As is the rule for necromancers in fiction, No Ontological Inertia is in full effect.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: One of the Archive recording is an episode of "McCache and Binker". Da Chief complains that the two cops argue so much he should throw them in the trash. This prompts the following:
    McCache: Chief that's it! All the victims...
    Binker: ...worked near the recycling center. Maybe someone who worked there didn't appreciate the victims...
    McCache:...leaving a paper trail!
  • Fantastic Ghetto: Andromedons live in the "Andromedon Sanctuary", a separated part of town with its own leadership. Justified in that Andromedons cannot survive in Earth's atmosphere outside of their exosuit, so the Sanctuary is a sealed area adapted to their needs. Relations with the Sanctuary are... strained, and not helped by the Andromedons' refusal to cooperate with authorities on internal matters. One archived conversation has a rookie 31PD dispatcher report shots fired in the Sanctuary, only for a more jaded officer to inform him that this happens every Thursday afternoon, like clockwork, and nobody knows why because the Andromedons refuse to tell anyone.
  • Final Death: Averted. If a member of the Squad dies, it's Game Over, and you have to start the mission over again.
  • Final Death Mode: But not if you're playing Hardcore. As all encounters must be restarted on a squadmember death, Chimera Squad ups the ante; a squadmember death ends the entire campaign and you have to start over from scratch!
  • Flunky Boss: All enemy faction leaders are surrounded by their goons when you fight them.
  • Foreshadowing: Radio broadcasts play at Chimera Squad's HQ between missions, the talk shows going on typically immediately relevant to the crime organization the player is currently taking on: for the Progeny, it's news talks about tensions between Psionics and non-Psionics, and for the Sacred Coil, advertisements come on for "the Bonded Stair", a likely front for Sacred Coil itself. For Grey Phoenix, however? Reports of tension at City 31's starport, foreshadowing Grey Phoenix's actual desire to use starships to return home.
  • For Want of a Nail: Choosing to do the tutorial or not has the events change in the story. With the tutorial on, Chimera Squad's first mission is rescuing the mayor from a kidnapping, with her vehicle detonating from a plasma bomb as she leaves. Without it, 31 PD try to do it themselves only to trigger the bomb, killing the Mayor.
    • In Spite of a Nail: The primary focus of the game is regardless the same- find out who killed the Mayor, and how they got the materials for a plasma bomb.
  • Future Food Is Artificial:
    • So after the invasion was over and humanity learned just what goes into an Advent Burger, the burger chain (now rebranded 'Burger Palace'), has switched it up to a Kelp derivative protein base.
    • Also, NotDogs, an artificial version of — you guessed it — hot dogs. They're artificial out of a necessity to be consumable by all races.
    • Traditional food has yet to be phased out, though. Verge notes that a restaurant in City 31 sells steak sandwiches, and wants to try one despite his biology making it harmful for him.
    • ''BIIIG CRUNCH!'' The cereal that writhes! Made with gene-tailored larval nuggets, just add milk! Unless you're a sectoid.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: One which can potentially makes you restart the entire final Sacred Coil mission from scratch is getting Watchtower (all units passing through gain Overwatch) in the second room. Because the Gatekeeper is actually present on the field before leaving, it can potentially results in all your soldiers shooting at it, and killing it, long before it becomes an objective to do so. Which means that when it finally becomes an objective later on, it can't be completed, and the mission never ends.
    • Another one can happen in the final Gray Phoenix mission if that investigation is done last. The final encounter requires you to destroy the starship's power cores when they are exposed, and which power core is exposed rotates across two different areas of the room. However its possible that the next (often first) power core in the sequence will not spawn or will despawn though its icon will show up, rendering the encounter unwinnable. Described here:
  • Game-Breaking Injury: An agent who gets injured or incapacitated has a chance to develop a scar, which hurts their base stats. If it happens again, the scar can deepen and further hamper them. Scars can be treated through a training program to remove the malus. It can really suck to get a critical chance or mobility reduction scar on someone like Godmother given shotguns are all about flanking for critical hits.
  • Game Mod: Despite the smaller scale and lack of Character Customization, the game still support mods like the predecessor. Even making custom squadmate is possible.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: The research mechanic for obtaining new types of equipment returns, but receives an explanation befitting the Squad's situation. The Matter Replicator the Squad was provided is an old and clunky model that's incompatible with most of the high-end schematics that XCOM provided them, necessitating an investment of time and elerium to retrofit it for anything beyond basic equipment.
  • Genre Shift: A Strategy RPG in a series consisting primarily of Turn-Based Tactics games with some RPG elements at most.
  • Going Native: Most Earth's remaining aliens have done this, partly to survive, partly because the Elders annihilated much of their existing culture anyway, and partly from genuine affection for Earth. Basically all aliens save for the Andromedons wear human-influenced clothes. Almost all of them seem to have learned human languages and even adopted them as their mother tonguesnote . As mentioned below, many Sectoids and Mutons have even gotten plastic surgery or genetic modifications to give themselves human-style lips, to make their appearances less threatening; Sectoids who're involved in City 31's criminal underworld generally keep their natural jaws. Torque, having been hatched in Siberia, genuinely considers Earth her homeworld.
  • Good Lips, Evil Jaws: Some sectoids, mostly ones that have very public jobs like Verge or the various newscasters, have gotten gene mods to give them lips rather than their natural exposed rictus, to make themselves less intimidating to others. Many retain their natural faces, though, especially ones from the city's various criminal organizations.
  • Gun Accessories: The Modular Weapons System used by ADVENT and reverse-engineered by XCOM makes a return. Chimera Squad doesn't start operation with weapons optimized for it, so you'll need to request the armory to requisition modular weapons before you can start using the system.
  • Harmless Electrocution: Squarely averted; Patchwork's electrical abilities are all quite lethal. Given they have a 100% hit rate and minimal cooldowns, this was likely a conscious decision to keep her from being too good at less-lethal takedowns.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: A recurring motif in the game, showing how the ends don't justify the means. This is especially evident in Shrike, a covert force made of renegade XCOM and ex-Resistance members who, in the name of fighting extraterrestrial threats like the Elders, seek to recreate ADVENT's military rule in humanity's image.
  • Hostage Situation: Civilians will appear in the levels; move next to one to evacuate them from the mission. The enemy is typically merciful when prioritizing who to attack and will choose your agents most of the time, but be wary of civilians that get caught in the crossfire or those that get targeted by Chryssalids; if they die, district unrest rises.
    • In some missions, an enemy will specifically become a "hostage-taker" and will single out a particular civilian. The civilian can't be evacuated by moving next to them, you must neutralize the hostage-taker before they shoot the civilian.
  • Humanity Is Infectious: Freed from the Elders and ADVENT, many aliens have not only chosen to work alongside humanity, but they’ve also adapted into Earth societies rather quickly. It can be rather surreal to find Sectoids, Vipers and Mutons speaking English and wearing human clothing.
  • If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten: Inverted example. In order to integrate into human society, former ADVENT aliens need to demonstrate a "capacity for compassion," often involving government-issued cats to care for. Axiom and Verge find out they bypassed the cat test; Axiom proved his compassion by selflessly aiding humans during the Bugtown Massacre, and Verge passed due to previously aiding the Resistance and because cats specifically hate Verge, and only Verge.
  • In-Series Nickname: Aside from everyone's codenames, the downtime/no activity screen that reveals who drives the squad's Awesome Personnel Carrier also reveals that the vehicle design is common enough to have a nickname; Lily Shen (and possibly others) apparently refers to them as "axe heads", presumably due to the distinctive wedge profile.
  • Interface Spoiler: The investigation screen for two of the three enemy factions shows you how their leader looks like long before you actually uncover their identity.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: Referenced, but ultimately averted. Whisper voices concerns that going after the three gangs is 31PD's jurisdiction, and Director Kelly argues that the illegal ADVENT tech these factions wield put them firmly in Reclamation and Chimera Squad's jurisdiction. However, 31PD Commissioner Maloof is openly welcoming of the support, frequently calling in Chimera Squad for help and passing on anything she sees as relevant to the investigations. It helps that 31PD is exactly what it says on the tin; a police department: they're just not equipped to handle things like rogue psychics and former ADVENT personnel unleashing living terror weapons in public spaces - same as how Megapol and Marsec aren't equipped to deal with a full-blown alien invasion in Apocalypse.
  • Just a Machine: It is impossible to take robots in alive. They are designed to be mostly autonomous, but apparently that is not enough for them to earn full rights, and are treated as a disposable labor force throughout the city. More than a little justified, as ADVENT-era robotics were apparently too independent at times; the Momentum Foundation specifically requires intelligent, living oversight for its androids. Not that it stops them from occasionally going rogue, handcuffing their naked owners to their frames, and marching down the street going "recall, recall, recall" over and over...
    • The only exception to "taking robots alive" is when you Subdue an Andromedon's power suit. The Andromedon is not technically dead yet (though probably not in good shape) so beating its armor into submission counts as a capture.
  • King Mook: The leaders of the three antagonist factions, when finally confronted in person, are beefed-up versions of their respective unique elite unit, with improved stats and some additional abilities/immunities. Bellus Mar, for instance, is a beefed up Ronin with immunity to Shock/Stun effects and Torque's pull.
  • Large Ham: The radio advertisement campaign for the In-Universe cereal ''BIIIG CRUNCH!'' features a character who is unable to resist talking in a grandiose, over-the-top way, especially if he's referencing his cereal by name.
  • Legendary in the Sequel: Just about every canonically named member of XCOM survived the war and became famous throughout the world for their part in retaking Earth. The Commander and Bradford are still leading XCOM off-screen, Shen and Tygan are still doing what they do best in service to the post-war society, and Jane Kelly (formerly an ordinary soldier you got after completing the XCOM2 tutorial) is the game's Big Good and your boss. No word of Dr. Vahlen or the Spokesman/Councilor so far, though.
  • Lighter and Softer: As opposed to the fate of humanity being on the line in the previous games, Chimera Squad has more of a police procedural vibenote . It's just a tightly-knit group trying to keep the peace in City 31 and build a brighter future after the war. Their party banter is almost entirely humorous in nature, and the fact that your agents can't die permanently gives the game a much more relaxed feel overall. This even extend to the lighting/shading of the game, which give the game a brighter, more vibrant look than anything previously.
  • Magnetic Weapons: The weapons Chimera Squad is equipped with resemble and act like more refined and streamlined versions of the mag rifles that the player obtained by midgame of the previous game. Makes sense as with the huge amounts of mag rifles produced by ADVENT and the limited deployment of plasma weapons by both XCOM and ADVENT, there would probably be more examples of mag guns of all types than either plasma or gunpowder firearms. The description for the baseline weapons outright calls them XCOM surplus. Interestingly, gameplay-wise, the plasma weapons deal the same amount of damage as mag weapons, either ones wielded by enemies or by you (through unique weapons). It's possible, though likely, that Magnetic Weapons technology has just advanced to be on par with plasma finally. (Also the Reclamation Agency specifically is tasked with recovering plasma weapons, like the bomb that killed the mayor, so they're all public no-nos anyway).
  • Meaningful Name: The Chimera was a powerful hybrid of several animals in Classical Mythology and is the scientific term for a properly formed animal that is the result of two embryos, possibly those of two different species, fusing together to create a single one. Chimera Squadron is a team consisting of some of the best, drawn from the ranks of humans and aliens. Fittingly, the squad's badge design includes lion, goat, and viper heads as the central motif.
  • Mook–Face Turn: A good chunk of Chimera Squad consists of examples of the aliens you spent the last game blowing away, given distinct and fully-formed personalities. On a larger scale, the Elders' myriad subjugated mook races, once freed from their control and left stuck on Earth, signed peace accords with humanity and have begun the process of reintegration into normal society. Or at least, the Hybrids, Sectoids, Vipers, Mutons, Faceless, Andromedons, and Archons did. The Chryssalids are naturally bestial and hostile and are apparently controlled via psionic emitters, so there's not much to be done about them. It's not entirely clear what happened to the Gatekeepers and Codexes; the only Gatekeeper we see was trapped in the gate network for five years, and the Codices should be gone after the ADVENT Psionic Network was destroyed but the Progeny are somehow able to acquire one which they replicate (pushing it well past the point of stability in the process) to provide a supply of their own.
  • Mook Promotion: Several high-tier enemies from XCOM 2 are now single-encounter boss fights all of their own. A berserk Gatekeeper is faced in the climax of the Sacred Coil fight, and Grey Phoenix has one—just one— Sectopod guarding their UFO. Due to the lower party size limit, these creatures are justifiably bosses all their own.
  • Multiple Game Openings: If the tutorial is enabled, Chimera Squad rescues the mayor from armed attackers only for her to be killed by a car bomb. If the tutorial is disabled, Chimera Squad is never even invited to intervene in the attack, with predictable results.
  • My Rules Are Not Your Rules: Your agents' Overwatch only covers a narrow cone with very limited range (based on their weapon), but when an enemy unit goes on Overwatch they have the full 360° angle to work with to shoot at anyone who enters their line of sight, but at an even more reduced range. Turrets specifically use "radial overwatch" which is very short ranged. This is all probably to discourage Overwatch-camping in favor of proactively destroying the enemy. The only one to keep EU/2's 360 degree with weapon range Overwatch is Blueblood, and only when he's using Ever Vigilant.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Chimera Squad operates out of an old dilapidated warehouse with a very spacious basement because their actual HQ is still under construction. Operating out of the basements of abandoned warehouses is one of the two HQ options in XCOM Apocalypse (the other being operating from bases built under slums).
    • One of the maps has a dance floor with speakers playing music. That music is based on the original UFO Enemy Unknown's title and air combat theme.
  • Nerf: The previously omnidirectional Overwatch ability now only works in a narrow conical area with severely limited range (with Blueblood's Ever Vigilant being the sole exception), making it significantly less useful even in situations where you're told where enemy reinforcements might enter the battlefield. Thankfully, this applies to the enemies too, and the UI tells you where they're looking.
  • Nice Hat: The Cobra subtype of Vipers wear a fancy full-head helmet that has a bit of a stealth fighter/bomber vibe to it, though a little more bulbous than sleek and angular.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Thinking Gray Phoenix is going to use the Plasma Drill ship on the city, Chimera Squad boards out and takes out its pilot, Crew Chief Yarvo. In taking him out however, they cause the ship to lose control and risk crashing on the city, destroying it. Had they done nothing, Yarvo and his crew would've simply left with the ship to return to their homeworld with no actual harm to the city. Of course Gray Phoenix' actions prior to this gave Chimera Squad no reason to expect they'd do anything peaceful like this.
    • Alternately, If you take out Phoenix first, the ship never gets off the ground (the final mission sees you breaching the starport and fails if they are allowed to launch the ship at all). Taking down Yarvo and their crew causes Custodian Xel to order the remaining Phoenix personnel to stand down, resolving the situation with less bloodshed.
  • No Biochemical Barriers: Averted thoroughly; radio broadcast advertisements note that catering food to every kind of species living in City 31 is difficult, with Sectoids' inability to eat practically anything that other races can posing a special issue. One of the few foods that is edible to everyone is NotDogs, and even then there's a disclaimer to avoid ingesting more than one packet of 'dogs a week. Andromedons also still need to live in their own dome because they can't breathe Earth air.
  • Obvious Beta: Despite being a shorter and somewhat more linear than it's predecessors, it very much lacks their polish. One can't go through a single encounter without seeing signs of cutting corners on programming. Agents firing diagonally, agents pounding on glass to break it but not breaking it and shooting through it anyway, enemies moving back and forth without taking an action... The bugs are strangely numerous. They are mostly cosmetic, though, except for a particularly painful one. The previous games had cars explode at any stray shot, but sometimes cars in Chimera Squad explode without even being shot first.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • If you made the Progeny your final investigation, halfway through the stronghold mission, Whisper suddenly gets a lot more urgent. The reason? He can see the building glowing, from the HQ halfway across the city.
    • Similarly, Whisper and your squad are quite startled by the appearance of a Gatekeeper during the Sacred Coil's stronghold mission, and the Sectopod during the final takedown of Gray Phoenix. Whisper pretty much says the trope name verbatim.
  • One Stat to Rule Them All: Of the three Macrogame resources, Intel is usually more useful than Credits or Elerium. You only use Credits to buy items from the Supply, which is not only limited by your research but typically only needs a small pool of purchases. Research can drain Elerium, but the limiting factor on those is typically time, and one can easily generate Elerium faster than they can use it up. Intel, on the other hand, is rarely useless: you use it to buy from the Scavenger's Market, which offers equipment superior to what you can get from the Supply, and purchase field teams, which can be used to keep city tensions as low as possible in addition to generating all three types of resources.
  • Pacifist Run: Encouraged mechanically as well as thematically In-Universe since capturing perps instead of killing them nets you intel rewards from post-mission interrogations. You also get an achievement for completing a mission without killing anyone.
  • Pistol-Whipping: One of the modular weapons attachments is the Impact Frame, which makes the Subdue attack deal more ("less-lethal") damage. Don't mind the concussions or broken bones.
  • Player Mooks: Androids can be sent in to replace in incapacitated agents between encounters. While they lack an agent's individual skills they're highly customizable and can plug the gaps just fine.
  • Point of No Return: Taking down the third faction's HQ locks you into the end game no questions asked. There's not even a warning of any kind - you're simply given two consecutive critical missions you have to complete immediately without the option to treat scars or complete research projects.
  • Pretentious Latin Motto: Diversis Viribus: "Strength through Diversity".
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Chimera Squad is a Downplayed Trope, clearly being better organized than XCOM was in the previous game, but not quite up to the professionalism of the organization in XCOM: Enemy Unknown.
  • Reality Ensues: A minor example, but as Claymore, the resident Demolitions expert affirms in a quote at the top of his agent profile, the Wire Dilemma never happens in the XCOM verse.
  • Replay Value: You can never have more than 8 of the 11 members of Chimera Squad at your base in a given campaign, and the plotlines have a modest degree of Story Branching based either on the order you approach them and the decision point you follow half way through the investigation. And the squad members you do get have mutually exclusive upgrade paths, so they may not even play the same way if you use them differently.
  • Retcon:
    • Chimera Squad takes XCOM's custom plasma weapon designs from XCOM 2 and turns them into salvaged or experimental ADVENT weapons instead that never entered mass production. While not exactly critical to lore consistency, it can feel jarring to returning players who know how different XCOM's and ADVENT's weapon designs used to look during the occupation. It's also very jarring to see enemies firing at you with plasma weapons that deal the same amount of damage as your mag weapons.
    • Various background art (along with female voices) imply that there are regular Muton females. In XCOM 2 it is said that Berserkers are the females of the Muton species and the regular Mutons are all male. It is possible that there's some in universe explanation as Mutons are, after all aliens.
      • It was never implied that all Mutons are male. Beserkers were shown to be all female, but it was never said that all females are Beserkers.
  • Running Gag:
    • Both the radio channels at HQ and various pieces of background chatter and team banter keep listing all the things that sectoids can't eat, to the point that a commercial about something that's actually not inedible to The Greys (at least not completely) feels like a shocking twist.
    • An unusually high amount of mention is given to common house cats. Every Muton is given one as a test to see whether they are capable of compassion. We learn that Axiom did not need a cat, cats are distrustful of Sectoids in general, and Yarvo, a Muton leader of Gray Phoenix accidentally "broke" two cats. One billboard features a Faceless who retrieves cats stuck in trees.
  • Sadistic Choice: Wouldn't be XCOM without plenty of them.
    • Each day gives you at least two situations or missions to resolve on the strategy map while only allowing you to choose one, forfeiting the rewards of the other and also raising unrest in its associated district. Do you go after that unique weapon but risk the city's anarchy level spiraling out of control, or do you rather play it safe at the cost of a powerful piece of gear, a large paycheck or useful intel?
    • Halfway through each investigation you're given a choice between two story branches, each with its own Dark Event that adds additional challenges to all subsequent missions. These usually make you choose between the enemy faction gaining access to a strong passive ability or a powerful new unit.
    • Each faction gains additional Dark Event bonuses every time one of the other factions is taken out of the picture. Better choose wisely the order in which you investigate your opponents lest you end up facing an enemy skillset your playstyle can't handle. This is made worse by being a case of Guide Dang It! since you aren't shown what buffs the remaining factions will gain over time until they already have them.
    • After completing your first investigation, they up the ante; the unrest generated by ignored Missions increases by 1, and ignored Situations begin generating unrest as well. After your second, ignored missions generate another 1 unrest, and a new type of situation can appear; a Field Team Siege. Not only do these offer less rewards than standard Situations, but failing to respond will result in the loss of the Field Team.
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike:
    • Purifiers return from XCOM 2 War of the Chosen: while they were mostly a joke back then, as their very limited range and crippling overspecialization meant that they could be safely defeated without ever causing an injury to your soldiers (on top of them being unable to actually harm Psiops with the Fortress skill, anyone with a hazmat vest, or SPARK troopers). In this game however, with no change to their movesets, Purifiers are now very effective. The maps are all much smaller than in the first game, which means that it's not rare for your soldiers to begin the mission in range of a Purifier. Hazmat vests are much rarer and harder to produce, and there's no Psiops soldier who can No-Sell all their attacks. This leaves Purifiers free to use their flamethrowers to apply burning to your soldiers through cover.
    • The smaller maps often daunting numbers of enemies the squad faces means it's a lot harder to complete missions with no wounded soldiers. Unlike in previous games of the series where players could assault enemy pods individually and have either equal numbers or even a slight numerical advantage for the vast majority of fights, Chimera Squad never deploys more than 4 soldiers at once, and now every enemy in an encounter takes part in the fight from the start. This means that it's not rare for Chimera Squad to face 8 or more foes in an encounter (some of whom may be able to take multiple actions, like Sacred Coil Ronin), and this all but guarantees someone on the squad takes a hit. It drastically shifts your focus from "who can I kill" to "who can I disable" (making Verge one of your most powerful agents early on), and it's worth noting that grenades no longer cost an action to throw nor do they end your turn on doing so.
    • The new intermixed initiative order makes being Mind Controlled even more dangerous. As mind controlled units retain their initiative order, so it's entirely possible the unit being mind controlled goes next, before any of their allies might attempt to end the mind control. Also, when your control effects end (such as Patchwork's hacking of enemy robots or turrets) they get to take their turn instantly!
  • Set Swords to "Stun":
    • You can issue your team with tranq rounds, which causes enemies to be "knocked out" when their health is reduced to 0, which is worth doing for the intel bonus at the end of missions. These rounds are no less effective than regular ones and use exactly the same kill animations. You only need to deliver the final blow with tranq rounds for this to work, even if the target was previously shot within an inch of its life with regular ammo. Some weapons exaggerate this especially; nothing says "less-lethal" than a torso-full of tranquilizing double-aught buckshot, or even moreso, delivering a tranquilizing plasma beam to an enemy's face.
    • Once an enemy is downed less-lethally, they're completely safe from all further damage. They could be knocked off a skyscraper from the final blow, be hoisted over a car that promptly explodes, or get caught in the blast radius of multiple grenades, yet still be alive enough for 31PD to interrogate them successfully.
    • Averted with Blueblood's second pistol, the Lancer. It is always lethal, even if he equips tranq rounds. It doesn't matter if it's using the regular shot during breach, or the big beam shot it can fire during actual encounters.
  • Sequel Hook: There are numerous throughout the story, some more blatant than others.
    • The Progeny's deranged rambling includes constant references to The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and the ocean in general, further teasing a Terror From the Deep theme for the next game after the Templars' stinger in War of the Chosen.
    • Sacred Coil's finale reveals that at least one of the Ethereals' psionic gateways was still around and could be repaired with enough effort - which means there could be more, raising the possibility of a coming counterattack.
    • Lastly, The Stinger reveals that Shrike is only one cell of a larger conspiracy that appears to be planning a coup d'etat against XCOM.
  • Shield-Bearing Mook: Two, actually. Bruisers are heavily armored troops equipped with riot shields and heavy pistols, so basically the same kit Chimera's Cherub lugs around; they also fight pretty much the same. Sacred Coil's Guardians are a step above Bruisers, carry holographic shields instead of physical ones and inherited the ADVENT Shieldbearers' ability to generate Deflector Shields for themselves and their allies around them, giving them additional hitpoints. There's also the Gray Phoenix-exclusive Praetorian, an extremely heavily armored muton warrior that has a small buckler strapped to his left forearm, but they don't really count because their shield is so small and also only used as a melee weapon instead of for protection.
  • Shout-Out:
    • When using Torque's Tongue Pull, there's a chance she'll shout "Get over here!"
    • You eventually unlock a spec op that temporarily increases XP gain for your whole squad. It is called the STAR Initiative.
  • Slave Mooks: The Progeny, an enemy faction of human psions, is fond of this. They regularly use mind-controlled people (usually hybrids) as soldiers, and even have controlled sectoids at their command. The hybrids have a Madness Mantra about hearing the sound of their commander.
  • Spin-Off: Naturally. Aside from being a sort of reimagining of Apocalypse (which is oddly thematic, considering the TFTD-esque teaser at the end of 2) Chimera Squad also feels a lot like an experiment on Firaxis' part, to see how the community reacts to more drastic gameplay flow changes such as the Breach Phase and Interlaced Initiative.
  • Spiritual Successor: The premise is clearly inspired by XCOM Apocalypse, since both start out in a single city and revolve around a multi-species squad. Chimera Squad is less dystopian. Like X-COM in Apocalypse, Chimera Squad even finds themselves dead center of a political mess - but thankfully, you don't have to deal with too much of it; the Police Commissioner will keep the Council off your back, simply because they can't afford to fire her.
  • Standard Status Effects: Chimera Squad adds rooted to the existing pool of effects seen in 2; units with this effect can't move until it's removed or expires, but can otherwise act normally. Fortunately it's quite rare, but Cobra-class Vipers will start using it as an alternative to poison later in the campaign.
  • Story Branching: You may investigate the three criminal factions in any order; while each faction's core motivations are always the same, the smaller details have considerable variance based on the order you've chosen. The game tracks a percentage value of how many different possibilities you've seen for each faction's plotline.
  • Super Registration Act: During the Progeny investigation, with a rise in Psionic incidents and Psionic-gifted citizens removing their dampeners in public, 31PD's commissioner Maloof will suggest the creation of a Mandatory Psionic Registry. The resulting backlash (including from some non-psionically gifted citizens who feel it's unfair to subject people to this for something they were born with) forces the City Council to open a special meeting to review 31PD's actions.
  • SWAT Team: The story, structure, and gameplay definitely show Chimera Squad to be one of these, limited in jurisdiction to a single city, travelling around in a wheeled APC, and a major segment of gameplay being a 'breach phase' about the squad making its entrance through various openings and methods.
  • Tap on the Head: Agents can forgo shooting for a weaker, close-range subdue attack that clubs them over their head. Doing this leaves the target unconscious but still healthy enough to extract intel from at the end of the mission.
  • There Was a Door: Breaching charges can be used during the breach phase to explode walls and create new entry points, depending on the encounter. Usually this causes enemies to be surprised instead of aggressive or alert, for obvious reasons. It can also give you better vantage points on the enemy.
  • Variable Mix: Breach phase music mostly consists of short loops, but will ramp up in intensity as you set down agents on breach points.
  • Visual Initiative Queue: The turn order is visible on the top right corner of the screen during battles.
  • Vocal Dissonance: While the game's voice work in general is first rate, aliens tend to have weird voices compared to what they are. Mutons speak with moderately deep male or female voices, but nowhere near the bass rumble you'd expect from these hulking brutes, Vipers have bog-standard female voices without any alien inflection or Sssssnaketalk (Possibly a carry-over from their time as Thin Men, who were notably fluent in at least ten human languages), and the ADVENT hybrids apparently lost their turian-like flanging after they were freed. Strangely, Sectoids also sounding like completely normal humans feels the least out of place.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: Yes you can! Depending on which group you decide to take on first, you'll catch them with their metaphorical pants down.
    • The Progeny has no time to build their psionic inducer, and their leader is completely taken aback because she has yet to 'light the torch' - in her own words.
    • Grey Phoenix doesn't even get a single UFO off the ground, and their final mission plays more like them making a mad dash towards the UFO to at least get one in the air and just leave.
    • Sacred Coil are slightly better prepared, as they're still able to get one psionic gateway up and running (the one containing the berserk Gatekeeper). However they don't have time to build the room full of gateways they do if they're left until last. Also, if you clear out the final room before deactivating the gateway, the Gatekeeper can appear as the very last enemy, and it's much easier to destroy.
  • Wall of Weapons: Certain map sets have these. Notably, one nightclub backroom includes several early-Resistance ballistic weapons (half a dozen assault rifles and a pair of sniper rifles), a pair of ADVENT magrifles, and a full-scale MEC magcannon. The room also contains what appear to be several grenades and a pair of cabinets that could hold even more weapons.
  • We Cannot Go On Without You: Extended to your entire squad - once your soldier takes lethal damage, you have a few turns to stabilize them. If you can't do it, they bleed out to death, and you go back to your last save.
  • Wire Dilemma: Claymore's profile quote offers a nice dose of reality:
    "There is never a red wire. I'm lucky if there are even wires."
  • Wretched Hive: It's downplayed, but City 31 is a still not a great place to live. The story opens with the assassination of Mayor Nightingale and there are three major criminal organizations that could have ordered her death, and a fourth faction that's masterminding everything. As the game progresses, the organizations get more desperate and ruthless, using tactics like taking hostages and releasing chryssalids into civilian areas to cause as much damage and chaos as possible. There's a wasting disease ravaging the Hybrid population in the background, just to top things off. Oh, and it's also made clear that despite all this, it's still one of the nicest cities in the world.
  • You Have Researched Breathing:
    • Terminal and Patchwork both need to spend 3 days training to learn how to carry an extra utility item.
    • Torque's final tier ability is simply biting enemies with her fangs, and Axiom's is a simple smash attack.


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