Someone on reddit has mentioned focus on horror elements in the game: https://www.reddit.com/r/PhoenixPoint/comments/6g1xdl/will_the_game_handle_some_kind_of_horror_element/ including shadows moving in the fog of war.
Based on this idea, I'd like to suggest another concept from lovecraftian realm, namely disturbing visions, dreamlike sequences, glipses of future etc. merged into the gameplay.
Imagine the following:
- it's alien horde turn,
- shadows moving in the fog of war (or mist) outside vision range of your squad,
- one of your soldiers is near death, out of willpoints, hallucinating, poisoned, near mist etc.
- eerie sound cue, camera focuses on the soldier,
- you see soldiers' point of view (like when aiming), with gray/sepia vision, grained, bloodied and distorted screen borders, heartbeat sound, alien echoes etc. know as "FPS near death effect",
- now we see few very short 2-3 sec cuts (still distorted vision, like precognition or sixth sense) of alien activity in fog of war, including:
- movement of undetected enemy on the map, and you squad is visible in a distance,
- deployment of new type of mutant, but with only some body part or contour visible,
- introduction of a boss monster lurking in the shadows and waiting for you,
- some other clue that may not reveal much but provide a hint what player may expect.
- then camera returns to normal view.
Basically it's the equivalent of horror movie sequence when camera follows protagonist from the distance indicating some threatening presence.
Of course this effect needs to be special and worth waiting for, instead of predictable and boring, so a few conditions should be met.
- It should be random and rare, once or twice for every few hours spent on battlescape.
- It should be involutarily triggered by the physical or mental state of the soldier (perhaps Disciples of Anu may develop a way to control it?) or squad heavy losses.
- It should provide helpful informations: something is flanking me from the side, a new unknown mutant has been deployed, prepare for a difficult battle etc. to make it desirable, as the game throws some kind of "rescue wheel" to unfortunate player.
(I am however strongly opposed to use "blurred borders" effect all the time (like "concealment" in XCOM2) because it just obscures field of vision, breaks the clarity of UI and it simply feels like annoying obstacle in front of the screen)