Tension building

With all the mythos surrounding PP, I am hoping that there will be some elements of horror in the game, that have me crossing my fingers and holding my breath.

It got me thinking, how other games have achieved this and once a battle is finished, I breathe a sigh of relief as if I had been in the thick of the battle.

I’d like to share some aspects that got my palms sweaty, and hear some of yours.

  • Chrysalids - Not only do you risk a soldiers life, but also spawns an enemy. Also the Chrysalid misson where you have to get back to a drop point across the map.

  • The Lost - whilst they can be easy to kill, if you have someone out on the wing, exposed as soon as ammo runs out you can be screwed.

  • Unconscious/bleedout - Maybe not so much when soldiers are at a low level, but once a shot injures a main character having to balance the rest of the force to accommodate someone acting as medic is a tough juggling act, and can result in more casualties.

  • Fallout Suiciders - Just the sound of insta-death puts me on edge.

  • Eternal Darkness - Anything from this game . . . Popping fires, restricted views, environment that changes.

What good examples of tension building do you have?

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I really like the idea how virus changes its surroundings, creating these scrambled and disturbing shapes out of the ground; mixing up something familiar with something strange and alien.
Imagine that some elements of environment in PP could be deadly as much as enemies. Not sure this is going to be implemented but definitely sounds like fun. And could make things more scary and uncertain. But we know already that mist plays similar role plus much more than that (like affecting our soldiers in some ways or hiding and strengthening enemies).

Mist certainly sounds like one great element of fear and tension.

Not knowing your enemies could be even more scary than fighting with them: I’ll welcome sudden shots from mist, blurred images of enemies on the very edge of that mist, strange shapes and unknown characteristics of mutants (their weapons, abilities, agility, speed, intelligence or amount of health points) - unknown especially during the first playthrough.

Night missions, with flashlights and even more limited sight range, maybe sometimes with specific mutants who like to stalk in darkness. Would be great to have separated soundtracks for night & day missions, too.

Limited cone of view which gives opportunities to the mutants (who like to attack by surprise) and creates necessity to cover your soldiers’ backs.

Strange noises (and/or visions) announcing some fearful and powerful enemy to be revealed.

In terms of visuals: dirty, gory and more realistic design instead of colorful and cartoonish ones known from FXCOM.


Yes! A seemingly easy recovery mission that turns into a fight for survival!

Not many games manage to pivot the main mechanic in different ways for variety.

Personally I think some sort of sanity system linked to will would be cool. Start off with soldiers missing reloads, and end up with full on hallucinations.

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The first mission of a classic UFO game. Especially your first mission ever, which I made the rookie mistake of doing at night. Having no idea what’s going on until shots come out of the dark and your soldiers start dropping like flies had me terrified. Once you get used to it you begin to settle in to the routine but the first missions are the worst. The ever changing threat in Phoenix Point sounds like it won’t allow the player to reach that level of being in control, so we can all go back to quaking in our boots once more


Interactive and dangerous environment might be too much for this game, but still nice idea. Maybe in PP part 2? :wink:

I wonder how much mist will affect our and enemy statistics :slight_smile: Along with vision.

Night missions are a must! @UnstableVoltage please sell this idea from bartek to development team. :wink:

Cone of view is also nice idea, I only dislike idea from other thread of spending AP to turn soldiers to set specific cone.

Sound and visuals I think are planned. Fort Freiheit is good egzample of such setting. :wink:

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Night time missions have been planned from the start.


Resident Evils ammo restrictions made for tense, tactical battles, and the dog through the window is still effective, even when you know it’s coming. That feeling of “just make it too the door” panic was so good.

Battletoads on the Gameboy - Brain chase. So much panic as a 10 year old. Shame it couldn’t translate to TBS.

To throw something obscure into the mix, what about the rainbow road shortcut? The all or nothing gambit, that could make you king of the road, or fish food was a pretty good example of tense gameplay.

Looking forward to night missions. . . I think! :grinning:

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Tentacaults. Nuff said.

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I understand you are talking about FXcom, not the original XCom, right? Honestly, FCXom chrysalids are not something that generates a particularly much tension. A dangerous enemy, sure but nothing too bad either. Now original chrysalids, that was scary as hell. Not only were those guys tough, they were very fast too. Which means even with a full squad in overwatch crawl, if you’re not careful with your positioning, a chrys could pop around the corner, close in while shrugging off a shot or two and kill(or worse, infect) a soldier, all in one turn. Infected soldiers were much more dangerous too, incubating into a full chrysalids noticeably faster. All that made original chrysalids something you truly feared so when you caught a glimpse of one lurking somewhere in the building ahead, you were scared.

Exactly. That is the main reason I would like PP to only show detailed enemy stats after research. And in addition to that, stats for each mutant body part should be variable, changed for each playthrough. That way we will still have the sense of dealing with a truly “enemy unknown”, regardless of how many times we played before.

This one is a bit tricky. As much as I agree that scarcity of resources raises up the tension, RE games had much more options rather than shoot whatever is coming at you. I do agree that having a mission type where your supplies are limited(covert ops, recon etc) or have to deal with occasional supply shortages can be tense and enjoyable, having weapons and ammo on short supply all the time will be too much.


I would say this is really similar to “timed-missions”. If you have a few, they can be enjoyable and full of tension (can I get there fast enough without losing soldiers?), but if you have every mission timed like FXCOM…


I think as a faction, it would be irresponsible to send soldiers into battle without enough ammo to fight unless the objective wasn’t to fight. What RE did well, was make you care about every shot you did take. I’m forever taking 50-60% shots because the consequences of missing are usually minimal.

I very seldom take a shot below 70% (talking about FXCom and variations here, mostly LW) because the consequences of a miss are that one of your actions did nothing. Assuming you’re in a tense situation (which sadly doesn’t happen past the first months in Vanilla FXcoms), a wasted action is a huge thing.

That’s one of the reason hacking wasn’t super popular in XCOM 2. Failing a hack meant a double penalty. You lost an action attempting to hack something AND often gave the enemy a significant buff.

As far as ammo scarcity, it makes less sense in a tactical shooter than in a survival horror game. We shouldn’t be overly concerned about ammo for basic weapons at least. Advanced weapons/heavy weapons/prototypes should probably require a bit of management depending on the availability of resources and PP’s manufacturing capabilities.

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I’ve not played the long war mods, but in all the originals and remakes, I have never requested evacuation, as it feels like an irredeemable failure, rather than a chance to regroup, reflect and learn from my mistakes.

I assume that with the cripple system, forced retreats might be a natural part of play, but it will be hard for the team to make that into an opportunity to learn and grow, rather than “you failed because you suck”. Restricted ammo could also play into these forced retreat scenarios too.

Sorry to sidetrack the thread, so let me just Throw headcrabs into the ring. Mind control is the worst IMHO. To slay or not to slay. . . That is the question!

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