the bureau xcom declassified

New The Bureau: XCOM Declassified Live Action Trailer: What’s The Point?

A new The Bureau: XCOM Declassified live action trailer has been released. It’s tiny and anticlimactic.

The Bureau: XCOM Declassified looks like it may be a very divisive title. When it was first shown in it’s prototype, first-person-shooter form, a pretty huge backlash of original XCOM fans went mad over it. “This isn’t original XCOM!” they cried. “Where’s the strategic gameplay?!” Now the game is a third-person tactical shooting game, which is a minor improvement. But to aid the game’s story, 2K Marin’s media department have started a viral, live action video campaign.  As per usual with advertising campaigns like this, it’s high budget, obligatory and not very original.

This new episode, “The Chase,” sees Lord Of The Rings’ Dominic Monaghan stuck inexplicably in a field with a big radio backpack and a gun. Why is here without backup? Why is he called Agent Cole ala L.A. Noire? Why is he on the phone to the game’s protagonist who looks like he couldn’t give two shits?

There are aspects of this game, and the universe on show in the “viral videos,” which are very effective.

The post-World War II, Cold War weaponry. The sort of paranoia of invasion which gave birth to the mid-West’s UFO obsession is exactly what we see in such a game. Indeed, the first ever UFO sighting was in 1947, the year that the Cold War arguably began. In a way, The Bureau: XCOM Declassified could quite easily be a “What If?” story exploring the Cold War and human culture around that period, using UFO sightings made reality to catalyse the story. And, obviously, with a gallon of shootable pulpy aliens poured on top.

But from the trailer above? This doesn’t necessarily look like the case. I doubt the game will be interested in ’60s politics at all. It’s more interested in technology. The backpack radio which Cole wears is straight out of the period. There are some shiny alien legs all up in the camera’s face. No mention of political ramifications, or what he’s actually doing there. In all the trailer’s we’ve seen this trend. There’s clearly more of a focus on scary technology than the world’s reaction and America’s politics and reality.

Good Pacing

This new trailer has some pretty good pacing under its belt. Clearly, 2K have been throwing money at the producers.

While Agent Cole rushes through high grass, he is followed by aliens. Under the Youtube video, 2K posit the question, ‘is he the predator or the prey’? It’s pretty clear he’s the prey. He panics and runs about, and we have jump cuts to the protagonist trying to keep in the loop. The aliens sure seem threatening. And that’s where the problems arise.

But It’s A Token Video Campaign

There’s no strong plot or thematic motive to this campaign. It’s just to get people excited; I suppose like any advertising campaigns. But this video is particularly lacking. “It’s an ambush,” Dominic says. Whoa, baby, really? You’re all alone in a field where you know there are aliens? More than one? And you’re literally running in there? It’s an ambush?! I call it a bats**t stupid idea to be there in the first place.

And the protagonist- I can’t remember his name, let’s call him Bizarro-Don-Draper. Bizarro-Don-Draper is stood there staring straight ahead with a stern look on his face. He properly doesn’t even care. He’s not even trying. Chances are he’s within twenty miles of his colleague getting abducted by aliens and he’s just standing there trying not to move. It’s trying hard to be cool, it’s trying hard to be relevant. But it’s really not. This is probably the worst one thus far, trying to hit the viewer with suspense and mystery. It’s cliffhanger leaves us with the prospect of the protagonist getting nabbed by aliens. Hopefully the next one will be better.

To conclude: while a previous video’s clever “You Decide What Agent Cole Does” gimmick was really strong, this one does nothing in it’s one-minute runtime. Let’s hope the actual game has some better writing than this.