Phoenix Point: Enemy Without (Expansion / Remaster)

After playing Phoenix Point for a few hours today, and cognizant of the impending DLC that will add more content, I thought of something interesting, that would significantly shake the dynamic of the game, while also not being a full-length Game worth of work for the Team to make (though still somewhat significant of course)

Essentially, releasing after all of the DLC, it would be a ‘remaster’ of a form, including ALL the DLC, including the base-game of course, and the Expansion itself (a means of adding a significant amount of content while justifying the price, and allowing the game to be balanced entirely around ALL of that content already being in the ‘base game’ at that point)

It would include a new Playable Faction, the Pandoran Virus, inverting the typical trope, and set you to fighting against the titular Phoenix Point, New Jericho, Disciples of Anu, and Synedrion, with a few alterations to the Alien set-up

A Phoenix Point aquatic base is captured by the Pandorans early into the war (decades ago at this point), housing some of the greatest minds the world had to offer, hiding its darkest secrets, it fell into enemy hands. There, in the intervening period, a new form of the Pandoran Virus began to evolve, adapting the intelligence of those it captured, slowly but surely gaining true independent sentience, it developed a true strategy and tactical brilliance, unlike all others, this one could learn of its own volition. Now it has emerged from its hiding place, it seeks to conquer the world, and the last bastions of humanity stand against it.
-Essentially just a bit of justification for having an ‘intelligent’ (aka Player) ‘commander’ of the Pandoran, serves as an inverse of the main Campaign. You seek to wipe out the various Factions, attacking Havens, harassing their Teams in the field, defending your Lairs, and more.
-A new and deadly Pandoran has emerged, mimicking the versatility offered by the standard Soldier in the Phoenix Point militia, it has the means of adapting to the situation (aka, ‘Classes’ called Strains; ‘Armor’ in the form of Mutations; ‘Weapons’ both in the Literal sense of acquired from the Enemy (Human-Made) and Biological or innate)
–Nowhere near as much variability as in the Phoenix Point Campaign, realistically you’re opposing all of the Factions, although they’ll commit to infighting as well

(Would) add NEW Vehicles, Weapons, Armors, Classes and Abilities for the Phoenix Point and other Factions (including Pandoran), meaning that it facilitates an actual revamp of the Base-Game + DLC; more toys and enemies to use them on, for both sides

Base-building for the Pandorans wouldn’t require too much, mostly it would just require a LOT of flavor text, among other things

Rather than just simply numerous units, you would have say 10 controllable characters, in some cases, with them being of various qualities and taking up additional slots as appropriate
-Chirons take up more slots than simply slapping together a BUNCH of fodder
-Queens take up a ton of slots, but are insanely powerful

“But, how would you balance it?”
-By giving the various Factions new toys that can act as a counter-weight, perhaps making each Nest (or higher tier) have a ‘Central Production Facility’ for more complex units (advanced units; i.e. Tritons, Chirons, Queens, etc.), with the Higher Tiers being required for better and better units
-The Pandorans will have a benefit from Capturing Enemy Soldiers Alive, which would allow them to convert them, gaining a powerful unit; alternatively, you may need ‘biological material’ (insert edgy harvester of souls reference here), which could be gained by capturing enemy units, wiping out / conquering Havens, etc.
-Capturing Non-AI Units (aka Yes to Vehicles, Aircraft, etc.) would allow you to integrate them into your forces at a Cheaper Cost than what would normally be involved (per slot; aka a captured Vehicle might only take up 3 slots where a comparable-in-strength Pandoran unit takes up 4)

Perhaps even balance the Campaign around having several attacking forces at once, sacrificing and capturing Units, developing Units based on their experience , and similar effects (i.e. you have Pawns that will die and be replaced often, typically, but stronger elite units that aren’t meant to be anywhere near as replaceable)

Research would occur in the form of ‘Strains’ (Classes and Mutations), essentially acting as a means of the virus furthering its adaption, progress accelerated through the Capturing of Units or Havens

Lighter unit management than the Phoenix Point, but you have say 20 units to manage early, and it easily grows from there, with the weaker units still having customization, but less than say a Queen (meant to streamline and reduce annoying micromanagement)
-You can retool existing units as you choose to, but also change how a unit will be produced in the future, i.e. Acid Spitting + Grenade Launcher + Minigun
–Each change costs ‘points’ which, essentially Stats or the Strain (Research) will permit more as you go on, early game you’re more limited than late game, but even in the early game a Pawn could become really powerful if you keep it alive

Thoughts on the premise? I know the game just released, but if they were going to do something like this they would need to start sooner not later.

The basic idea is to offer a different experience than just the Phoenix Point has, while also adding a ton of new content to the base-game (not even factoring in that the DLC would be included by default with this version of the game), and that it would be a pretty interesting experience

Two basic design premises would be to have it added as either being ‘in control’ of the Pandorans, or as a tertiary ‘faction’ of the Pandorans, i.e. a semi-independent form that exists as an Intelligent, albeit not entirely separate entity, which seeks to conquer the world
-In the secondary concept, peace with the Disciples of Anu, Synedrion, and even the ‘original’ Pandoran virus could act as the separate choices Story-wise, with New Jericho seeking your destruction either way, the Phoenix Point antagonizing you and siding with New Jericho as well (or otherwise being a Neutral Obstacle that will ultimately try to stop the Original Virus, and potentially have negative effects for you as well)
–Perhaps even going so far as siding with say Synedrion or Disciples makes you go to war with the ‘Original Pandoran Virus’ as well

I know it isn’t a perfect concept, but it took me like 15 minutes (including typing) so don’t judge too hard :*(

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I like where you are going with this, I started to think of it in terms of ‘ancient strains’ missions - e.g. what happened with Gilgamesh and Enkidu early on against the strain from Wormwood and then how certain minds from the books who were captured served to inform and seed the current threat to the factions that Phoenix Point is trying to rally against. That one base in the video that looks like it’s covered in living tissue, that could have been the ‘first big win’ for the mind that controls the virus and perhaps some early missions are about learning to debilitate and diminish the nation’s of earth using Phoenix Point knowledge from that failed base… I like the Anu angle too! All in good fun and who knows what might be possible in the future.

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Post-thoughts would be something akin to a ‘duality’ system, essentially the Phoenix Point members captured and integrated have not wholly lost their Humanity, so there is still a choice to be made.

To oppose the Mist, the Pandoran Virus, existing as altered beings though not as part of the Menace (Synedrion / Independent), to seek to Control the Virus (Disciples of Anu / Independent), or to join the Virus in seeking to eradicate the last ditches of Human Resistance (Pandoran Virus).

Each choice could even have differing Units, Strains, or effectual Research choices. You could still Steal Research / Units / Strains / Facilities, but it may be more difficult, or Pinnacle choices may remain closed forever potentially.

Acquiring new Pandoran units may need you to conquer Nests (or upgraded Variations), seize the Advanced Units (Capturing or Mind-Controlling them), even seeking to directly integrate seized Units to your Command (say Capture a Queen, which would be insanely difficult, but that would eventually lead to creation of your own Queens, on top of having that powerful Unit added to your Roster).

Alternatively, creating ‘conquered’ versions of existing Classes would work too, i.e. taking a Synedrion Infiltrator could allowing you to make an empowered ‘unique’ organism, with Alien-visuals attached, though mostly their previous form peeking through at differing areas.

Choices of ‘what to do with’ a conquered Haven’s populace could feed into this as well; harvesting the poor unfortunate souls will ultimately make enemies with all of Humanity. Turning them over to Synedrion or Disciples of Anu would add to their collective power, but might anger the Original Virus (or as close to ‘anger’ as it can get).

Ultimately, choosing to supplant the Original Virus as the Pinnacle form of Life would be an option, so would standing against it by siding with Synedrion (choosing co-existence as a possibility, equals despite the differences), adaption via Disciples of Anu (modifying what remains of Humanity and even ‘yourself’ to become a more symbiotic and unified series of entities), or going forward with the plan to annihilate, consume, and devour all Organic Life alongside the Original Virus.

An idea I’d like to see explored, even if not possible in Phoenix Point (or this new version of it), would be Aerial Units on the Ground (I know they are adding a Strike-Interceptor later, but this would be Aerial Units). Perhaps retuning the Combat to be more akin to Warhammer 40k, than X-Com (although very, very similar all the same).