- It's ultimately revealed that the Avatars are super-soldier Human/Ethereal hybrids, letting the Ethereals cheat health problems, and creating an unstoppable brand of supersoldiers that would make The Volunteer look like a field-day rookie.
- Confirmed. One of the Dark Events spawns a UFO, and if it manages to find you, it'll shoot Avenger down and trigger Base Defense mission.
- Unlikely. The Snakemen were probably just what the Thin Men originally are, as we see Ethereal posters and a huge ethereal is seen on the screen in the propaganda building concept art. Also, the game over of the first where the main aliens win is canon.
- The autopsy for Thin Men in Enemy Unknown heavily implies Thin Men are genetically altered snake men, as it says they have reptilian eyes and that their bone structure is similar to that of a serpent.
- Jossed: the Advent propaganda includes representations of the Ethereals, meaning that are indeed the ones who conquered Earth.
- Jossed: In the interview where the developers talked about Chryssalids, they went out of their way to specifically emphasize that you can only control them in multiplayer.
- Arguably not Jossed, you don't need to control the Chryssalids to weaponize there behavior. Just drop them in an enemy controlled area and let them cause havoc.
- You can mind control a Chryssalid, but its spawn won't be allied to you, making it useless as a unit. Every kill it makes runs the risk of spawning 3 more hostiles.
- Confirmed: Hellweave is a variant/upgrade of the traditional Nanoweave. It provides a larger health boost and automatically inflicts a small amount of guaranteed damage on any enemy that tries to melee-attack the wearer, with the possibility of inflicting BURNING status on top of that. The prerequisite research is the Chryssalid Autopsy and to manufacture the vests requires additional Chryssalid Corpses.
- While the above may not necessarily be part of the story, X-COM 2 is indeed set in an alternate version of the war, so all things are possible.
- Building on the above it the when the temple ship exploded it sent the Volunteer into a timeline where Humanity lost and had spent the last few years building up a new X-COM to continue the fight.
- In addition, the reason The Volunteer can't serve as a Disc-One Nuke at the game's start (unless that IS going to be planned) is because either A) the strain of stopping the black hole and travelling to an Alternate Timeline completely drained them of their PSI Power, or B) they are using all of their PSI power to keep the Avenger cloaked from the alien's scanners.
- Jossed. The "Welcome to the Avenger" trailer makes it clear that the Commander is the original XCOM Commander, after twenty years in stasis.
- Serving as XCOM's partner in the insurgency (possibly even merging with them). While EXALT admired the alien's transhuman ambitions for mankind, they more than likely wouldn't approve of the Ethereal's intent to turn humanity into a slave race. Given that the two groups' interest coincide, it seems possible that they're working together. It would also explain how XCOM still has the assets to continue the fight, despite the governments of the world bowing to the invaders: If nothing else, EXALT is resourceful.
- Not outright confirmed, but hinted at - while EXALT itself is never mentioned, the Resistance Warrior DLC pack contains some outfits and props for Rookies that closely resemble EXALT's gear from EW, including their signature orange-and-red bandanna, suggesting that at least some members of the organization have pulled an Enemy Mine with XCOM.
- Act as the new Grey Market for the game. Given how hard up they were for xenotech during the first game, it seems natural that they'd be interested in acquiring it even after the war has ended.
- Becoming extremely influential on Earth since they allied themselves with the Aliens (could lead to an Enemy Mine situation where they finally want the aliens out of earth so they can rule more openly)
- EXALT loyalists are likely what compose the majority of Advent's human forces, since EXALT is pro-alien.
- Jossed: EXALT Never came together in a paramilitary way to try to take over the world in the new timeline. At most they folded into ADVENT if they exist at all.
- That said, it's hinted that EXALT was around for CENTURIES, long before either the Aliens or XCOM ever came into play. And, according to the developer's Exact Words, they never formed a paramilitary group to fight XCOM: it's likely that, while EXALT never openly confronted XCOM, their original form will still make up most of the Vichy Earth government, even if they are now chafing under their Advent masters.
However, some survivors managed to escape the base with what tech, equipment and resources they could carry, possibly hijacking the alien ship that eventually becomes the Avenger along the way. They go underground and try to regroup, but the aliens keep them on the run for quite some time. Eventually, however, the aliens give up the chase and the XCOM survivors have the opportunity to quietly rebuild their strength, which takes even more time. All this time adds up to about 20 years, after which XCOM reemerges and the events of XCOM 2 begin.
- Assuming it is, there's still a little bit of a difference between what's depicted in-game: in Enemy Within, Bradford is killed when XCOM gets overrun. In XCOM 2, Bradford is alive, albeit older and deeply scarred from XCOM's defeat.
- Implied in the post-tutorial flashback snippets, the command center falling apart and a Muton barging in to rifle-butt the Commander in the head, knocking you out.
- Confirmed in the Avenger's logs: XCOM base defense happened only a few weeks into the invasion and involved large mind controlling base personnel. The base was lost and Commander was captured, however Shen, Central and Dr. Vahlen managed to evacuate.
- The old guy we saw commanding the XCOM forces in the gameplay footage trailer is likely an older Bradford.
- Confirmed. Central is back.
- But Vahlen is not.
- Yet. The devs rather ominously state that "we don't know what happened to her." Seems like a hook for a story mission later in the game. . .
- Worth noting that a random image you get after scanning for intelligence has the name "Vahlen" scrawled on a wall in white paint.
- Log entry on Avenger states that she was drawn to very extreme measures in fighting the aliens. I wouldn't be surprised to see her a leader of EXALT-like extremist organisation in Spring DLC, given how far she took gene modifications in EW.
- A random quote from Bradford while idling in the base says that he picked up a mysterious transmission that sounds like it might be... German. Coincidence?
- With the release of the Alien Rulers DLC, she ends up pushing the limits of genetic engineering and creates extremely powerful versions of the Viper, Berserker, and Archon that serve as random boss encounters.
- On the other hand, XCOM's own covert operatives will be able to carry out EXALT-type operations: inciting rebellion (as analogue to spreading panic), draining government funds, etc.
- Confirmed. XCOM can destroy vital facilities, break scientists out of custody, assassinate or abduct VIPs, or arrive for cleanup after guerrilla operations like intercepted convoys and trains.
- Converting empty or redundant sections of the base into new facilities.
- Confirmed; the Avenger is a derelict alien vessel converted into XCOM's HQ, with debris-filled rooms being cleared out for new facilities.
- Building completely new sections / nacelles to the ship-base.
- Upgrading existing facilities to be more and more efficient.
- Confirmed, most of the facilities can be improved by adding engineers and installing upgrades.
- Given the fact that a good portion of the aliens seem to be female, plus fanbase reaction to some of the new stuff, it's more than likely "Willing"...
- Jossed. Word of God is that XCOM in the XCOM 2 timeline did not even have access to Carapace armor when the alien invasion won.
- Which gives us a better timeline of when XCOM lost. Given carapace is step 2 on the research for alien materials, they probably never had a successful enough mission to get the materials to research it. Which leads to the theory XCOM is crushed in its first conflict and it was a downward spiral from them.
- Avenger logs state that XCOM base was destroyed "a few weeks" into the conflicts, while the complete victory over humanity was achieved in two months.
- Given Continuity Snarl in the new Tactical Legacy Pack DLC where your squad totes late-game Enemy Unknown equipments, including Plasma Rifle.
Alternatively, someone gave a rookie a sword instead of a gun as a cruel joke, but ended up racking kills with it to the point that the XCOM leadership decided they should pursue that avenue.
- Given the guerrilla warfare aspect of XCOM, it's likely that using blades was used as a way to conserve precious ammo. Supported by the fact the default blade is a machete, which has been known to be wielded as a standard melee weapon for many armed forces, and even more so for rebel armies.
- "What Lies Ahead" is the Brainsuckers from Apocalypse.
- In my opinion, the last cut scene effectively demonstrates that Commander was the host for Asaru all along.
- Equipping the Avenger with a transmitter for counter-propaganda - probably of the Do Not Adjust Your Set variety - will be a main game objective, like building the Hyperwave Relay or the Gollop Chamber was.
- One way to deal with the current Rooting for the Empire backlash would be to include missions where you don't just blow up the gene-clinics, but steal their tech so that XCOM can hand out cancer treatment but without furthering Advent's (presumably) nefarious ulterior motives.
- Confirmed, in that there are "Dark Agendas" pushed by the Advent, often threatening XCOM by choking supplies, increasing enemies in missions, or advancing the Avatar Project to destroy XCOM for good. However, rather than simply record these attrocities, XCOM either steals data in relation to the Agendas, or kidnaps ADVENT government officials overseeing the Agendas. However, exposing ADVENT's true agenda of melting down humans to aid their genetics research, and thus making ALL of humanity rise up against ADVENT, is the penultimate goal before the final mission, complete with using the ADVENT Tower to highjack a global broadcast, showing the gruesome footage to the world.
- Jossed, as the Avatar project is unrelated to controlling the populace.
- Of course, this begs the question of how the hell you take a muton's body with you. A MEC, perhaps?
- Jossed. Evac missions render it impossible to pick up alien/ADVENT bodies. You only get them in missions where you don't evac.
- You also get plot critical corpses automatically (like your first Codex for example) even if you do evac from the mission.
- It was implied that Central believed Dr. Vahlen to be a little of a Well-Intentioned Extremist for his tastes.
- Maybe there could be a Mirror Universe DLC, featuring an Evil!XCOM? Just imagine playing as the Good!Aliens, against a hit squad of "human supremacist terrorists"; or pitting your best troops against their evil counterparts!
- Doesn't seem to be the case. UFO hunting an Avenger spawns after uncountered random Dark Event or automatically at certain point of plot progression. You are encouraged to avoid getting into proximity with it, but you seem to be reasonably safe just staying on the ground. Obviously, the more regions you have, the more space to maneuver you have. Even if UFO spots the Avenger, Bradford might be able to disengage, additional regions might be increasing the chances of this as well.
- Confirmed. One of the mission types is to neutralize an ADVENT VIP, who you can either kill, or crack on the skull with the butt of your gun and carry him/her to the evac point. Of course, you have to get past the ADVENT troops in the area, as well.
- Jossed, considering the multi-lingual nature of XCOM still persists in XCOM 2 without any negative consequences, and it's more implied that XCOM fell when the aliens kidnapped the Commander during the XCOM Base Assault, decapitating XCOM while also dealing irreparable troop losses.
- Kinda. Troopers left after evac are dead and gone, but there are rescue mission for civilian VIP. They tend to join civilian personnel on the Avenger, assuming you succeed at saving them.
- Nope, Confirmed, Soldiers left onfield, as long as they weren't bleeding are capable of showing up to be rescued. it's just RNG as to how long before it happens. This Troper had a Trooper show up on a VIP rescue three months after he'd went MIA.
- In the War of the Chosen expansion, one ability the Chosen have has them capture a soldier for interrogation. When this happens, a covert action shows up that unlocks a mission to rescue the captured soldier.
- Kinda. Troopers left after evac are dead and gone, but there are rescue mission for civilian VIP. They tend to join civilian personnel on the Avenger, assuming you succeed at saving them.
- Confirmed, although the Gene Clinics are only part of the conspiracy. The records of those attending Gene Clinics lets ADVENT pick and round up prime human subjects to be processed in the quest to advance the aliens genetics, with the Avatar Project leading to a Human-Ethereal hybrids to both save the deteriorating Ethereals, and create unstoppable supersoldiers to purge what's left of XCOM.
- Partially confirmed. The Evolved Sectoids are Sectoids, but they have been improved with a generous sprinkling of human DNA.
- Perhaps they are criminals, exiles, and other low-lives who think the would would be better for them if Advent wasn't around. Perhaps the aliens have a lower class (whether economic or racial) who is unhappy about the way their government treats them. Perhaps there are just some aliens who object to Advent's imperialistic policies, oppression of indigenous peoples, and destruction of native culture. Whatever their motivations, the aliens are not Always Chaotic Evil and will help you, whether directly (joining XCOM as scientists, engineers, soldiers, or the like), indirectly (providing XCOM with funds, intelligence, and resources), or incidentally (fighting and weakening Advent). You will have to balance the benefits they bring with greater risk of infiltration, the possibility of your new "friends" trying to take control once Advent is nearly defeated, or simply losing public support due to humans seeing you as working with the aliens.
- Almost entirely Jossed. Almost because there is a scannable intel-giving even which concerns a sectoid about to expire, and which provides some information under interrogation before expiring. Every other alien is out for blood - yours, specifically.
- Partially confirmed with the War of the Chosen expansion because the Skirmishers faction is composed of rogue ADVENT soldiers.
- Bonus points if the same broadcaster later back-tracks the same way Kent Brockman does when Advent is destroyed/kicked out of their city:"Well, this reporter was... possibly a little hasty earlier and would like to... reaffirm his allegiance to this country and its human president. May not be perfect, but it's still the best government we have. For now." (Quickly tears down "Hail Advent!" poster as camera pulls back)
- Semi-confirmed. After the last mission, a large cutscene plays, mostly the inverse of the opening scene, with XCOM and resistance people broadcasting about defeating ADVENT, caring for refugees, etc. There's one newscaster still loyal to ADVENT, awkwardly trying to brush off the global rebellion as minor insurrection and urging people to stay calm.
- Jossed, at least at first glance: between exposing ADVENT's agenda to the world, and destroying the Avatar Project with the Elders, humanity is united as one front to push the ADVENT forces to the brink of total collapse. However, given the hints from the Elders that they were fleeing an even worse force that annihilated their home planet, and The Stinger at the ruins of the Alien Fortress, humanity likely hasn't fought its last war against an alien menace...
- Kind of confirmed. People are evacuating cities and joining refugee camps en masse and the supplies are thin. It cannot be healthy social situation. The trailer is very cheerful about the whole thing, but there is global war going on against well equipped and very desperate opponent assisted by refugee crisis of unmatched proportion.
- Enemy Chatter between EXALT Troopers, which reveals some of them have a Perverse Sexual Lust for the Vipers, with an emphasis on "Perverse":EXALT 2: Starnes, for the life of me, I dunno how you passed the psych profile.
- Random exclamations from the XCOM soldiers, who splutter things like "Stupid Sexy Vipers!" when encountering Vipers.
- Maybe: Some of the soldiers seem to comment about 'doing that again' after getting freed from a Viper's constrict. Considering they're being lightly dominated by a naga, and she hasn't shot them in the face yet, while her breasts are in their face...
- Data showing how it's not uncommon for Vipers to "mate" with human males... only to literally bite the human's heads off when they finish the mating process.
- Jossed: An interview at Gamescom revealed that Dr. Shen is dead and his daughter is taking his place in the sequel.
- During the Gamescom interview, the developers said "We don't know what happened to (Vahlen)", rather than just write her off as KIA like Dr. Shen. This means that the Advent likely has her captured, but whether she's just rotting in a supermax prison facility, is forced to work for the Advent's research against her will, or or even willingly joins the Advent in betrayal of humanity. This means her mission will be either to bust her out from prison, or assassinate her so she doesn't provide any more aid to the Advent.
- Vahlen's nowhere to be found in the game proper, except for a scannable even which shows a note with her name on it.
- With the release of the Alien Rulers DLC, this is jossed. She ends up pushing the limits of genetic engineering and creates the Viper King, Berserker Queen, and Archon King who end up getting loose and serving as random boss encounters.
- Seemingly confirmed with Codex enemy. You even need to "skulljack" them just like you needed to capture live Outsider in EU.
- Confirmed: During the final mission, XCOM storms the Ethereal fortress to bring an end to the Avatar Project and the alien leaders, while the rest of the world fights against Advent in one huge offensive. Central gives you glimpses of it via radio during the mission.
- Jossed. The final mission takes place in the depths of Earth's ocean. However, you do also fight and destroy the Elders, and the Avatar super-soldiers they are using as hosts.
- Doubting this one. The Gamescom preview seems to imply the Avenger is already up and running by the time the Commander arrives and that the tutorial mission might be the rescue mission to get the Commander back.
- Jossed, the tutorial involves rescuing you from a gene clinic; the Avenger has been recovered and fixed some time before that.
- A sort of Covert Operative that will be able to pass scanners, walk in broad daylight and even in front of the Advent troops without alerting them.
- If that's the case, that class will probably be called "the Infiltrator".
- "Sec Ops" - successor to the PSI trooper, XCOM acquires psychic troopers much earlier by researching the enhanced Sectoids and their upgraded powers.
- A Boring, but Practical Combat Medic.
- To be honest, it's more than likely going to be the Psyker, albeit reworked to bring it in line with the other four classes we currently have.
- Fifth class is confirmed as the Psi Operative. Video and overview of their skill tree here.
- Could also work with the theory about the Volunteer teleporting into this timeline from the original one. They might have to face themselves on the other side of the war.
- Sort of played with: When the first Avatar shows up, players of the first game will likely find their outfit to be rather familiar...it's a slightly ADVENT-ized version of the Psi Armor from Enemy Unknown.
- Finding Dr. Vahlen working for ADVENT
- Meeting Shen's daughter
- Spotting civilian resistance and getting caught up in a firefight with them, then uniting them under the XCOM banner.
- According to the Tie-In Novel, it was when he learned that XCOM had established the Avenger as their new base of operations and were making actual progress against ADVENT.
- This WMG gets more plausible when you recall there's a canonical example of this already; Archons are Floaters rebuilt into a form more like cybernetic angels because their old appearance was too disturbing for humans.
- Jossed, but oddly semi-confirmed. According to devs, Vipers are the true, unmodified forms of Thin Men, but their Non-Mammal Mammaries are a deliberate placement of their venom sacs. The torso's musculature makes spraying it easier, while also attempting to appeal to human lust.
- Alternatively, he is in a symbiotic bond with the Ascended Ethereals as seen in the Bureau, and both of them are highly interested to see if the Commander can rise to the challenge posed by the Elders who failed to ascend.
- Seemingly jossed - while allegedly part of ADVENT, it's ultimately clear that the Informant is really The Mole, and any proof that he would be a double agent is jossed when he breaks into the Unity Tower to broadcast information to shut down the ADVENT, shortly before ADVENT guards burst in to gun him down.
- Close - it's explicitly stated that the Sectoids are hybrids, but a hybrid of Sectoids and humans.
- Probably would try to limit the notion of "dystopian / totalitarian" leadership stories, especially ones where they get overthrown. Don't want the notion of insurgency circulating through the media. No remembering the Fifth of November for you!
- To reduce the number of people who might think about infiltrators like the Faceless, they might ban Species and The Thing (1982).
- Obviously, any Alien Invasion movie is completely OUT of the question, from Invasion of the Body Snatchers to Independence Day.
- Human Resources media, such as Soylent Green, is a bad thing to have in a society where people regularly go missing...
- Assuming Firaxis doesn't take up on that nod with an outright sequel. After all, XCOM 2 takes inspiration from Apocalypse, so an Interceptor take might not be impossible...
- Since The Stinger seems to take place under the ocean, we may actually have Terror In The Deep as the next sequel/expansion.
- Alternately, the Angelis Ethereal was simply replicating the Speaker's voice with their psionic communication since the turn before the Speaker starts goading XCOM, the Ethereal ends their speech by commenting to herself about how the Commander was unwilling to listen to her words or voice, ending it in a way as if musing that a voice that's usually viewed with trust and respect by humanity would allow her to convey her message. Unfortunately, she didn't consider that the voice she picked wasn't so popular with humanity any more and was never trusted by XCOM to begin with.
- She is/was a very powerful psionic, able to create a shockwave without any psi training, and the aliens were ready to blow up a dam over her while EXALT was willing to fight their allies for her so she had to be quite powerful and the Commander's Avatar is able to curb stomp three Avatars.
- Again, counting Annette as being the most powerful psionic being in the world (to the point that the aliens used her as a conduit to en-masse mind control the personnel of XCOM's base long enough to begin their assault), being able to survive being a Wetware CPU in the alien's Psionic Network and then winning a Beam-O-War against multiple Ethereals is easily within her grasp. As for what she's doing coming from Enemy Unknown? Well, it's been confirmed by Word of God that The Volunteer, be it Annette or another XCOM member, managed to survive canceling the black hole caused by the Uber Ethereal's ship, with the implication they went somewhere else instead of dying. In this case, Annette/The Volunteer gets blasted to the past of XCOM 2, and tries to invoke a Stable Time Loop by becoming the Commander of XCOM - only to get overwhelmed by the aliens when the Commander of the Enemy Unknown/Within timeline held their ground, thus leading to their defeat and enslavement by the aliens.
- She might have taken extreme measures to hide herself, because she was personally responsible for the painful torture captured aliens had to endure. If they were still psionically linked, the Ethereals would probably want payback for making them feel all that pain. However, she's still helping out XCOM in her own way, and might even be leading her own rebel organization but in a more subtle fashion. In missions where XCOM is raiding sabotaged supply vehicles, we never see any trace of the resistance fighters; maybe Vahlen's really good at hit and run.
- It's implied that the sabotage missions are resistance cells working semi-cooperatively with XCOM in the region, as a few events have XCOM redirect angry mobs or criminal organizations against ADVENT, resulting in sabotage or Guerrilla Ops missions caused by the actions of the mobs/criminals.
- The twist: She's now a combatant, and after 20 years of running battles with ADVENT, she's become the most dangerous Specialist in the world.
- Close. In the Alien Rulers DLC, she creates three units that are empowered versions of the viper, berserker, and archon enemies. These empowered aliens end up getting loose and serve as random boss encounters.
- There's just no reason for the aliens to waste good Human Resources on food, when they're working hard on the Avatar Project. Rather, the "meat" in ADVENT burgers is a genetically engineered and "vat-grown" meat substance, designed by the aliens for maximum flavor. All the best tastes humans generally agree on, combined with a few choice chemicals that directly stimulate the pleasure centers of the brain, making them psychologically addictive. It's just another means of controlling the human populace. Gene Therapy clinics to cure disease and increase health and longevity, clean and shiny city centers with unlimited power and high-tech luxury devices, sexy snake ladies, and the best food you've ever had and as much of it as you can eat.
- On the other hand, there may be rejected candidates that don't have the juice for Avatar Project, or just a handy way to dispose the bodies of slaughtered dissidents and XCOM members without mass graves or furnaces.
- There is also consistency to think about. ADVENT burgers are Trademark Favorite Food, so one can expect them to be made with a consistent recipe. And given how many of them must go around, there just shouldn't be enough rejects in the Avatar Project to put into every burger. That is not to say that humans aren't being eaten. We don't know what the aliens themselves eat...
- We found out in the Enemy Unknown. It's Alien Food and it has human DNA in it.
- Besides all the obvious logistical issues of feeding a population with itself, the Ethereals probably designed them under the assumption they themselves will be eating ADVENT burgers (or some less "Crass" form of the same meat, like steak) once the Avatar project is finished.
- On the other hand, there may be rejected candidates that don't have the juice for Avatar Project, or just a handy way to dispose the bodies of slaughtered dissidents and XCOM members without mass graves or furnaces.
When XCOM fell, Vahlen was most likely captured or killed- since her body was never found, and Bradford is confident she's still alive, we can assume "captured". In an ironic twist given both her nationality and her reputation among the aliens, she's given asylum, provided she uses her research to further their cause. Essentially, "Join us, or become them".
Since the invasion ended, Vahlen has been forced to work with Advent, leading to the genetic breakthroughs present in XCOM 2- while the aliens could modify the DNA of a Sectoid, Muton or Viper just fine, human DNA was harder to grasp, until they found out it was compatible with Meld. Vahlen is responsible for, in no particular order:
- Human-alien hybridization (ADVENT troopers, evolved Mutons, evolved Sectoids).
- Possibly the evolution of mechanical units- Archons are probably hers, but the new Sectopods seem like they'd be more in line with Shen's work.
- The creation of the Speaker, having been made more human from his original Thin Man form, though not perfect-both as a visual cue to the audience, and a way of Vahlen staying defiant to the Elders.
- Gene therapy clinic development- the orange color associated with the "therapy beds" seems to suggest a use of Meld.
- The creation of Advent Burgers- a cheap way to keep the population in check with quality food.
And then, come 2034-2035, she finds out a few interesting tidbits of information:
- Shen's daughter is alive, and she's commandeered an alien ship.
- Bradford is alive, and he's with Lily Shen.
- The Commander is still alive, and he has been used to ensure alien victory by way of his wargame simulation.
Acting on all this information, she decides to leak some intel. It's never specified where Bradford got the intel as to the Commander's location, just that he acted on it as soon as he got it. It could have come from anywhere- a file sent in an un-encrypted e-mail, a direct line to the Informant, or even rumors spread around the globe, piecing together a message.
Now, one of two things happens here, both equally likely:
- Vahlen is not found out, and continues working with the aliens, who fast-track the Avatar project after their key strategic asset is removed. Vahlen, a trustworthy asset, is put in charge of it, and she keeps leaking details about Avatar to the Informant- things like where their next facility will be built- but doesn't have full access to the data, which is why you need to find the location of The Blacksite, the Forge, and the Psionic Gate via hacking into various things.
- Vahlen, paranoid of being found out, flees her center of research with files pertaining to the Avatar project. Advent doesn't catch onto her presence for a good while- she's a priority asset, she can be trusted, and probably did this prior to the Commander being rescued. She traveled to some far-off country of little strategic significance- probably living in slums of a city center in a third-world country- but eventually, has to pack up and leave, and, through various assumed names, travels the globe, taking revenge on aliens in rather... creative manners.
- Jossed: As of Alien Hunters, we find out that Vahlen has been conducting genetic experiments in a hidden lab with three alien subjects so dangerous that the Etherals had them frozen to prevent them from running amok.
- Alternatively, s/he's been quietly altered by Magnus of the Thousand Sons, having used his last bit of sorcery to affect the point where humanity first learned to hate the alien, making it so that the human most altered by the Ethereals (merging with the psionic network) survived and showed that s/he was still human in all the important ways. He did this to find some modicum of internal forgiveness by altering history just enough to be accepting of psykers (the Psi Lab actually creating them on relative command) and genetic alterations (the Commander's Avatar)-thus, starving the Chaos Gods of trillions of worshipers driven to their side and leading to a less grimdark future. Of course, Tzeentch knew about this, but decided to let it happen-a humanity more accepting of psykers and change means more fruitful ground for his own cult...
Fast forward to when Advent needs a heavy mechanized unit for situations that don't call for a Sectopod, they modified Shen's original notes to make it an entirely robotic unit and integrated it into their forces.
- Confirmed by the Shen's Last Gift DLC mission. Julian states that he helped the aliens with,"perfecting their designs," and mentions that Dr. Shen's work was helpful.
- Building off of this, the renegade Ethereal in question may be Asaru, considering the bright blue psionic aura the Commander's Avatar has in the final mission.
- Its also possible that after being freed from Ethereal control some of the aliens would simply willingly join up with X-com to defend against the upcoming threat
T They've CLEARLY survived their condition for hundreds to thousands of years on an individual basis (from Autopsy evidence in the EU Timeline), and with their level of technology and amount of resources at their disposal,there is ZERO ingame/universe explination given for the conveniently sudden "deteriation"in their condition, and, most suspiciously, there is LITERALLY no excuse for the pitifully crude, assembly-line techniques they use for harvesting Human Genetic material then simple laziness or pointless sadism (not to mention inefficient, since they are KILLING all their subjects for a short-term payoff of material instead of prolonged harvesting that could EASILY be implemented via regular gene clinic check-ups- or being honest and offering rewards for individuals willing to donate tissue samples for cloning- a technology they are allready confirmed to have mastered to the point of flawlessly replicating entire complex organisms, as the entire Sectoid race are VERY heavily suggested/ theorized by Vahlen in EU to be mass-produced clones due to the near identical nature of every specimen encountered- not to mention the ADVENT Trooper strains!)the latter method,while while being slower to START, would gain an exponentially higher yield as their sample base expanded.
- If this is the case, then what are the weird purplish tendrils crawling out of the wrekage of the ethereal underwater base?
- weird purplish tendrils of energy that look a lot like weird purplish psionic energy coming out of the pile of Ethereal bodies?
- Which may explain why some XCOM-affiliated partisans were able to wield ADVENT Mag Rifles at the ending as those partisans were probably ex-ADVENT soldiers who defected to the resistance after discovering the truth of their alien masters and their agenda, taking their weapons with them.
Okay cut the crap, we all know that Humans Are Bastards and We ARE Struggling Together. What do you THINK will happen the exact moment that the entire planet is completely deprived of its dominant government?! With some people staying in the hyper advanced cities and most flocking into the technology-deprived wilderness, the remnants of former extremist nations can now use those shiny new plasma terrorist weapons that Advent was constantly wiping them out for brandishing, AND the fact that you just destroyed Advent's greatest super-soldier project, the one that they probably broadcast to the entire world (out of spite) as the Milky Way Galaxy's last line of defense against a psionic eldritch planet-sized all-devourer that is going to eat the entire galaxy in less than five centuries, you can expect that the world isn't going to hold on to One World Order for a second long. A lot of people are going to be VERY angry at XCOM, some are going to try and fill the power vacuum (possibly Exalt), and a few of your own soldiers are going to defect out of loyalty to their original countries, horror at all the innocents you forced them to grenade, or disgust at how you have completely fucked up the world.
- Yes, because it's not like it's human nature to fall back into existing groups in response to a catastrophe or anything. Or that the same program to create that soldier involves this thing called "eating people". Something tells me XCOM is the same leftover government-most people are going to listen to the guys who stopped a species-wide genocide, and the armed people are also the same ones who were helping XCOM. That kind of alliance is the sort of thing that, despite the best wishes of pessimists attempting to prove they are omniscient in their laziness, tends to last a couple generations. In summation, unlikely, and the Advent newscaster above me can go kiss a Chryssalid.
Hypothetical situation: XCOM and the resistance is quashed, the Avatar Project is completed, said avatars are now "rolled out" to the five or so ethereals that are left, who exert themselves as the dominant powers. As their rule and survival is all but assured, I see no reason why the ethereals and ADVENT wouldn't just leave the contented, docile population of the city centers alone. ADVENT clearly has enough troops to keep the peace within the centers, the media is firmly under their control, hardly anything happens without their knowing within those centers, and the average person is genuinely happy and healthy. There's little reason to worry about what will happen if the grip on the reins is loosened a bit. While it may not be a particularly ideal future for humankind, it is a future, and I don't think it's nearly as dark or apocalyptic as the bad ending of UFO Defense
- Jossed on the account of the Skirmishers. They're ADVENT soldiers who broke out of their microchip-based control.
- Matthew "Alecto" Hawkins Sniper / The Hunter Male
- Fatima "Tisiphone" Tariq Assault / The Assassin Female
- Said "Megaera" Tariq Support / The Warlock Male
They were the first pass at making a Human/Ethereal hybrid and became The Chosen after years of experimentation and conditioning.
Durand is MIA, possibly the leader of the Templars or possibly killed during her rescue mission.
- Pretty thoroughly Jossed. The leader of the Templars is a former XCOM Psi Soldier named Geist that bears no resemblance to Annette. While the Chosen are former humans, they aren't the furies.
Most likely, Meld was a fictional resource that existed only within the tactical simulations that the Commander was running for ADVENT, to:
- spur him/her on to more aggressive tactics in keeping with the aliens' willingness to sacrifice their own,
- justify the existence of MEC Troopers and gene mods, which would - in the real XCOM - have been considered outrageously unethical, and
- control the extent to which the Commander was deploying those troops, so as to emulate the relative scarcity of such units in the ADVENT arsenal.
Further more they are waging war across the different dimensions and have been extremely successful. With access to multiple dimensions they simply picking a fight with each species to learn its weaknesses then exploit them in the next dimension to conquer them and turn the new conquest on the originals. No species ever survived an onslaught like this because the enemy would always know exactly what weakness they had somehow and exploit it. That is until humanity got into the mix with our perfect blend of brain, brawn, and psionic potential.
The Ethereals saw in us something far greater then anyone before had presented the chance at extending their dwindling lives. The Ethereals for all of their power and technology had reached the absolute limit of what they could do to preserve their bodies. More and more of them failed leaving the inhabitants as powerless wraiths kept existent by the psionic power they wielded but also trapped by it, left unable to rule from beyond the mortal coil. Humanity had just the right mix to be reengineered into the perfect shells for them to inhabit with all the strengths they currently had plus the might of the Ethereals.
The problems began almost immediately as we proved far, far more resistant and flexible then any other species had. To the point of actively fighting back against the invasion and winning but that was all part of the plan. Once it was clear they had lost the Ethereals jumped ship to a new dimension and tried again upping their game with the newly gained knowledge of the humans. It didn't work, for the first time in recorded history the humans didn't fall to the same faults as their counterparts in the previous dimension. Sure it worked for a time but as soon as they had self-analyzed and discovered the fault they would correct it and recover to win again.
Taking it as a fluke at first the Ethereals repeated the process again and again each time getting more creative with the attack itself but always met with failure. Too much variation, too much adaptability was slowly draining what they had left in terms of both vitality and resources. The defeats piled up as they scrambled for a solution until the an Ethereal itself fell into the hands of the enemy and suddenly the fight got much more serious. They hadn't pieced it together yet but it was now virtually certain that the particular world which had seized one of their own would eventually figure out how to cross dimensions and find the rest. It also happened to be one of the worlds they had brutalized most harshly giving the inhabitants ample motive for revenge.
The XCOM 2 Ethereals used the knowledge they had on XCOM itself to hunt down a world where the base shared coordinates with another they had already assaulted and launched an all out assault ending the war before it began in earnest. They captured the commander, the man who somehow had always managed to out maneuver them, and tried to figure out just what was so special about him. Nothing, that was the answer. By all rights he was just another human of the exact type they'd slaughtered millions of but somehow this one man just kept on beating them so instead of of trying in vain to discover some secret about him they put him to use analyzing human tactics from combat across dimensions while trying desperately to finish the project they'd started long ago while there were still Ethereals to saves.
Then it happens again, even though they won they still haven't really won because someone somewhere on this tiny blue speck is still willing to fight. Not only that but in a matter of under two decades they not only free the one person who seems to always beat the Ethereals in the end but they've not go a whole lot more of the weapons and technology that the Ethereals fraught so hard to keep from them. Now they've got the resistance on one side doing that damnable thing humans always do, adapt to the situation, and something far worse at their backs out searching for them. An entire dimension of extremely pissed off and highly augmented humans whos capabilities put the Ethereals themselves to shame. The only consolation is that if they fail in creating the new avatar species to carry them through this conflict these two unstoppable human jugernaughts will probably kill each other when the Ethereals are gone.
This troper suspects that the original chosen was a human exposed to the Golop device and allowed to develop to its fullest potential including all three traits the chosen display in excess stealth, martial prowess, and psionic potential. It was powerful beyond its peers in the invasion force, too powerful. The Elders destroyed it because while it did have exactly the traits they wanted it could not be controlled and bent to there will. The three chosen were inferior copies meant to cover that weakness through competition and psychological faults.
Five alien food rations says the commander was the fourth Chosen.
Take a look at the progression in the first game, sectoids who are relatively disposable, infiltrator thin men, and terror bombings. The Aliens were clearly hoping to invade and then have humanity surrender in fear quickly. But then as the resistance to their attacks grow they deploy bigger, rarer, and more powerful devices. Just take a look at the Heavy Floaters and Elite Mutons, clearly they're supposed to be body guards not front line troops! The Elders growing desperate started deploying their own entourage into the field hoping to stop XCOM before things got any worse.
Come the second game we find out the Elders are dying from some incurable wasting disease and desperately hoping to use human DNA to stitch together the best of all other alien genetic material. However we see that even if their bodies die they continue to exist as psionic energy, multiple disembodied ones appear, meaning the body is just their to interact with the physical world as well as amplifying their powers. That and they have so few troops left they can barely control their own cities and have to constantly cull the population of zombies they accidentally created constantly to avoid being overrun. They don't even regularly patrol the skys anymore only sporadically deploying UF Os to hunt their enemies.
Separated it seems arbitrary or like they're simply overconfident but put together the picture becomes clear. The Elders are a dead race, the only survivors hiding out on earth from something real and incredibly deadly. Their own technology is rapidly breaking down with only the most critical projects still receiving funding or resources. The risk of losing control is so great they're intentionally handicapping all their soldiers on the genetic level to prevent uprisings that could potentially succeed. Even the elders themselves are only barely maintaining their intense mind control over their most docile soldiers with the help of advanced technology to boost their psionic prowess to compensate for how few of them are left.
Ultimately this even provides the nature of the bigger threat they're trying to prepare for sacrificing humanity in the process. Whatever it is feeds on psionic energy. Devouring the disembodied Elder wraiths, robbing the living ones of the psionic power that sustains them causing rapid desiccation, and ultimately following their psionic trail across the galaxy right to earth. Presuming psionic energy is the source of life, as implied, Humanity is in big big trouble.
But it would make sense if the Gatekeepers would be dead or degenerated Ethereals. Maybe in an attempt to cure their disease multiple Ethereals got turned into these mounds of flesh. And the other Ethereals , maybe to use their leftover psionic might or maybe out of respect to their lost bretheren , formed these robotic shells for the victims of this mishap.
This would explain a lot about the Gatekeepers. Their rarity and late game appearance would come from the scarcity of these beings,due to not being able or willing to make more of them. Their psionic power would spring from the Ethereal origins of the creature. And they look like the most "sophisticated" of the alien units , because the Ethereals designed their shell to remind themselves and their subjects of the authority the sad creature inside once commanded.
Finally Gatekeepers are tied to the Gate, the most trans-dimensional object in the game and the Ethereals themselves are often theorized to be trans-dimensional