Star Wars Strategy Game Inbound

The as yet unnamed title is being worked on by a team of 15 former XCOM developers.

Bit Reactor, a newly formed studio, is setting its sights on revolutionizing the tactical strategy genre with a Star Wars-themed game. Boasting a team of 15 former XCOM developers, including co-founder and CEO Greg Foertsch, the studio is poised to draw on their rich experience to push the boundaries of the genre. Their aim is to create a game that blends deep strategy with cinematic storytelling, without compromising on either.

The Legacy of XCOM and Vision for Innovation

It’s impossible to discuss Bit Reactor without acknowledging the legacy of XCOM. The studio’s team includes veterans who have been pivotal in the development of the XCOM series, and this heritage is evident in their approach to game design. According to Foertsch, the tactical strategy genre has immense potential for growth, particularly through enhanced immersion, storytelling, visual presentation, and pacing. The team at Bit Reactor is focused on harnessing these elements to innovate and expand the genre.

Foertsch is unreserved in his ambitious vision for their upcoming project. Despite the absence of an official title, the confidence is palpable. The involvement of XCOM veterans across various departments, many in lead positions, underscores the depth of experience and expertise driving the project. Lead animator Hector Antunez, who has contributed to every game in the XCOM series since Enemy Unknown, emphasizes the collaborative nature of their development process, allowing team members to influence multiple facets of the game.

Balancing Depth and Accessibility

One of the central challenges Bit Reactor aims to tackle is the perceived trade-off between depth and elegance in strategy games. Foertsch and Antunez reject the notion that a game must sacrifice visual and narrative richness for strategic complexity. They believe that it’s possible to create a game that is both beautiful and deeply engaging without compromising on the intricacies of tactical gameplay.

Accessibility is another key focus for Bit Reactor. They aspire to make their game appealing to a broader audience, beyond the traditional strategy game enthusiasts. Antunez points out that many potential players are deterred by preconceived notions about the complexity of strategy games. By making the game inviting and intuitive for newcomers, Bit Reactor hopes to introduce more players to the genre and demonstrate its unique appeal.

Unconventional Publishing Partnerships

The publishing arrangement for Bit Reactor’s Star Wars game is as unconventional as it is intriguing. The game is being published by Respawn Entertainment, a studio under EA, known for its cinematic and broad-appeal games like Titanfall and the Star Wars Jedi series. This partnership is particularly notable because Respawn typically focuses on action games rather than strategy.

Foertsch speaks highly of the collaborative relationship with Respawn, noting that they treat Bit Reactor like an internal team and provide significant support while allowing creative freedom. This hands-off approach from Respawn, coupled with support from LucasFilm, gives Bit Reactor the autonomy to develop the game they envision while benefiting from the resources and expertise of larger studios.

The Future of Tactical Strategy Games

The dedication of Bit Reactor’s team to the tactical strategy genre is unwavering. Both Foertsch and Antunez express a deep commitment to making these types of games for the rest of their careers. This passion is not just about preserving the legacy of XCOM but about advancing and evolving the genre. They see their new project as an opportunity to introduce innovative elements that could redefine what players expect from tactical strategy games.

Art director Daanish Syed and technical director Ryan McFall, though unable to discuss specifics about the Star Wars game, shared insights into their broader design philosophy. They aim to expand the perception of what strategy games can be, drawing on lessons from other genres to make their game more accessible and engaging. Their focus on creating a user-friendly interface that provides maximum fun with minimal input is central to this approach. They also aim to support a variety of input devices, ensuring the game is playable on gamepads and touchscreens in addition to the traditional mouse and keyboard setup.

A Promising Horizon

While the specifics of Bit Reactor’s Star Wars tactical strategy game remain under wraps, the enthusiasm and expertise of the team are evident. Their commitment to balancing depth with accessibility, coupled with the support from Respawn and LucasFilm, positions them well to make a significant impact on the genre. As fans of tactical strategy games and Star Wars alike eagerly await more details, the future of this project holds promise for a fresh and engaging addition to the gaming landscape. Whether their ambitious vision will fully materialize is yet to be seen, but the passion driving Bit Reactor is undeniably strong.

  1. Having up to 15 former Xcom developers assemble to build a game is proof that the game will definitely come out fine. While it is not yet known what the game title will be, I hope the Bit Reactor’s team builds a game that fans of tactical strategy genre will be proud of.

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