I’m starting this stream cos I don’t want it to get lost in my response to a VERY long post elsewhere - so long in fact that I stopped reading and just started skimming it. But one thing stood out.
The poster seemed to be arguing that character customisation in the Firaxis XCOM was a bad thing and somehow detracted from the atmosphere of horror found in the original X-COM.
One of the things, if not THE thing I most love about the Firaxis version is the character customisation - especially in XCOM2, which took it to a whole 'nother level. It elevated your squaddies from a bunch of pixellated 1’s and 0’s that you simply moved as pawns into people you really cared about - and that in my opinion was really clever. It meant that you as a player actually started thinking about the consequences of your actions, actually started treating your squaddies as human beings rather than pieces, actually started thinking like a real Commander rather than a Gamer. You played with caution, you cared if they got killed - and that INCREASED the tension rather than decreasing it.
Sure, it encouraged turtling, and for some save scumming - but that’s the personal choice of each player and I don’t judge anyone for it. This is a game, and everyone has different ways of enjoying it. My point is, the characterisation system of XCOM elevates it from just another wargame into something much more personal. There are times when you will choose discretion rather than recklessness, because you don’t want to lose these people, and that’s how it should be - that’s how real commanders in battlefield conditions think about their soldiers. It SHOULD hurt when they die, and the decision to send them to their deaths because the objective is too important should be a painful one.
It also very cleverly started making you think like a Vietnam Vet. I don’t bother to customise my peeps until they earn a nickname. At that point, I’ll change the nickname into something more appropriate to their actions so far and start tweaking them as their history develops over time.
Then the icing on the cake of XCOM2 was the discovery that you could CREATE characters! Suddenly ‘Moby’ Wong, sole survivor of the Nantucket Whale Disaster of Enemy Within [which fatally crashed my Ironman run and persuaded me to play ‘Honest Man’ with regular saves from then on] rejoined the Resistance as a Twitchy character covered in deep scars, with such a pathological aversion to Chryssalids that one of my house rules is when a Chryssalid appears she targets that to the detriment of everything else.
Character customisation is good. It makes the game mean more. I doubt it’s on Snaposhot’s short term planning list, but please don’t lose it completely.