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Xenonauts 2

Platform(s): PC
Genre: Strategy
Developer: Goldhawk Interactive
Release Date: July 18, 2023

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'Xenonauts 2' Early Access Update Adds New UFO Type, Tactical Missions And More

by Rainier on Nov. 29, 2023 @ 12:00 a.m. PST

Inspired by strategy titles such as XCOM and UFO, Xenonauts 2 will not be a chronological sequel, rather it will cover similar events taking place in an alternate timeline – an alien invasion occurring in a Cold War-era Earth.

Set in an alternate timeline where the Cold War never ended, players must lead a multinational organization in a coordinated effort to investigate and repel alien activity across the globe. Construct a global network of bases, arm and train elite squads to respond to incursions, and learn the enemy’s true objectives as the war for humanity’s survival escalates.

Xenonauts 2 offers complete strategic freedom in how the war progresses. Bases can be constructed anywhere around the globe and specialized in line with the player’s grand strategy. Well-placed listening posts can alert fighter bases to scramble interceptors to shoot down hostile aircraft, which the nearest garrison can investigate. The enemy won’t ignore the Xenonauts either – ensure the most critical installations are well-defended, as the enemy will seek out and attempt to destroy these bases.

Fighting the aliens takes place on multiple fronts, with air combat just as crucial as getting boots on the ground. Xenonauts 2 offers interactive real-time aerial engagements, where entire fighter wings can engage alien ships at once. Keeping the fleet maintained and up-to-date with the latest technology is critical to the war effort.

Xenonauts 2’s detailed ground-based tactical combat offers a diverse and dangerous cast of alien invaders lurking around every corner, aided by human sympathizers trying to further the enemy’s cause. Soldiers develop skills organically based on their actions in combat, and as the organization’s technology level increases, veteran soldiers can be specialized and outfitted with cutting-edge weapons and armor. There are no classes in Xenonauts, just soldiers, and they can be customized with different loadouts depending on skill, the needs of the missions, or simply on what’s in the armory.

Xenonauts 2  is less a direct sequel and more a re-imagining of the original vision, featuring a modern engine, a new setting, and refined mechanics built for long-time fans and new strategy gamers alike. 

Xenonauts 2 has just received a new milestone update as it progresses through early access (Steam, GOG, and the Epic Games Store).

With new mission types, reworked progression for the early campaign, and even a new type of UFO, the war to defend Earth from alien invaders just got a lot more interesting.

Xenonauts 2’s “Milestone 2” update focuses on content variety and early campaign balancing to make new runs more enticing, and many of the changes were inspired directly by community feedback. The opening phase now features a new story, tutorial, and the “Cleaner” faction holds a more prominent role in the narrative. Campaigns now last 200 days, as you’ll spend a lot more time fighting these human opponents before the aliens arrive in force.

There’s plenty of new content to flesh out the campaign as well – five new crash site maps have been created, replacing the pre-existing dockyard and jungle biomes. There are also five new types of tactical missions: Rescue Soldiers, Convoy Ambush, Rescue VIP, and two mission types based on the Cleaner Intel Hub and Cleaner Cell story missions. Players can also enjoy their first new UFO type - the Probe! This is an unmanned enemy, so it doesn’t generate a crash site, but it does provide early-game air combat practice and research unlocks. As the invasion progresses, it finds a new role as an early-game escort that the Fighter UFO eventually replaces.

Other improvements as part of Milestone 2 include:

  • Air combat rework and new aircraft loadout systems
  • Infantry heavy armor variants
  • Civilian AI improvements
  • Engine improvements
  • The early foundations of modding
  • And plenty of tweaks, bug fixes, and balance changes!

Key Features:

  • A massive variety of enemy types will keep you on your toes as you fight against a multitude of species, each with their own strengths, weaknesses, and fighting styles. Securing alien bodies to perform autopsies on will give you insights into their potential weaknesses, allowing you to prepare accordingly.
  • Aliens aren't all you'll be fighting - human agents known as Cleaners work in tandem with the extraterrestrial threat, bringing with them added varieties of troops, combat locations, and mission objectives. The Cleaners work to further alien goals and objectives, operating directly under their influence - any strike against the Cleaners is an indirect strike against their alien overlords. You will have the opportunity to gather intel by infiltrating their bases, securing data, and seeing how far the conspiracy goes.
  • Every combat engagement is an opportunity to learn more about the enemy force and how it fights - if you're willing to take the risk. Will you look to quickly eliminate active threats using explosives, grenades, and missiles, or will you take a more tempered approach to secure bodies and alien technology that can be taken back to HQ for autopsies and reverse-engineering? Will you focus on the development of airpower to bring down UFOs and investigate their crash sites for additional intel? Your adversary has the advantage in both technology and equipment – any choice you make will involve tradeoffs.
  • A small radar station in Alaska detects an anomaly over the Bering Strait. Air Bases in Kamchatka and Yukon scramble jets to investigate, chasing multiple bogeys each, bringing them down over the water. Thousands of miles away, a radar station in Italy works in tandem with response teams stationed at a base in Algeria and an air base in France to take down alien operations on the Iberian Peninsula. Meanwhile, a new base is being built in Southeast Asia where the invaders have slipped through the cracks multiple times, inciting panic. Build, design, and manage multiple bases, each with its own squadrons of fighter jets and transports, radar arrays, research teams, operatives, and more. Consider the limitations of fuel ranges when you place them and use a grid-based construction system to optimally lay each of your bases out. Specialize your bases for detection, rapid response teams, research, manufacturing, and defenses as you see fit.
  • Pursue multiple avenues of research to acquire a vast variety of aircraft, vehicles, weapons, armor, and other battlefield equipment to experiment with. Your approach on the battlefield will be determined by a combination of the terrain you're engaging in and what equipment you've chosen to bring to the field. The presence of mechanized combat platforms and vehicles can tilt many situations in your favor as they break through cover and deliver particularly devastating ordnance, though their use can come at the cost of the ability to procure valuable resources from intact alien bodies and equipment. The research tree is vast, with over one hundred projects to unlock, allowing you to take on the alien threat with your own personal strategic and tactical touches.
  • Infuse alien technology across all manner of equipment, and even develop autonomous battlefield combat platforms and sentry guns to assist with your forward operations as well as the defense of your bases. If you give your engineering teams enough time, money, and resources, you'll find yourself well equipped for the threat - unfortunately, all three are perpetually scarce. Will you rush to produce automated combat platforms to minimize the threat to your operatives? Or produce additional dropships to respond to more threats at a time? Or will you seek improved armaments for your fighters to strengthen their ability to intercept and take down alien squadrons?
  • Training centers you build at your bases allow soldiers to improve their combat capabilities during downtime, but actual combat experience is of course of unparalleled value. Each mission gives your operatives an opportunity to improve their abilities according to the actual actions they take in combat, and even earn medals for their deeds.
  • Scramble jets to respond to UFO sightings, engaging them in real-time tactical battles that put you in command of your fighter wings. Tell your pilots how to maneuver and who to target, ensuring their victory while also keeping an eye on their fuel gauge and the proximity of your nearby hangars. No forced 1-1 duals here – if the aliens bring a technologically advanced and heavily armed space craft to the fight, gang up and send a whole squadron of your best planes to bring it down. The strategic layer and air battles are closely intertwined, and careful planning of your global network of bases is of the utmost importance.
  • Put boots on the ground by sending in your operatives for a variety of mission types, pursuing a range of objectives, but beware – your adversaries will not passively wait for you to discover them. Aliens will actively maneuver and seek you out from across the map, moving intelligently to strike at you from beyond visual range, hiding behind cover and taking advantage of the high ground. Maximize your chance of success through effective reconnaissance and lay ambush to eliminate the enemy.
  • The battlefield is a dangerous place, and with an alien threat that will not stand idly by as you try to hunt them down, losses are inevitable. This isn’t the story of an elite squad of heroes winning battle after battle without loss – war is hell, and many of your troops will give their lives to resist the alien invasion. Your veteran troops will be invaluable, but even your basic recruits are skilled soldiers ready for combat. It is up to you to enable them to become the veterans of tomorrow.

Xenonauts 2 is available through early access for PC (Steam, GOG, and the Epic Games Store), and support French, German, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Polish, and Brazilian Portuguese.

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