Image via Hooded Horse

X-COM inspired Xenonauts 2 gets a big update on path to full release

This time, it's the aliens.

As successful and critically acclaimed as XCOM 2 may be, it might not have done much for you if you’re a fan of the original X-COM games. Instead, 2014’s Xenonauts was a more true-to-form re-envisioning, and its Early Access sequel just got a big new update.

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Xenonauts 2 released via Steam Early Access in July 2023, almost a full decade after its predecessor first came out, and it’s been trucking along ever since. Its latest update, Milestone 3 (version 3.0.8) is substantial indeed, introducing an all-new Cruiser UFO encounter, Fusion-tier weapons for the invaders and Xenonaut forces, and a variety of other bits and bobs, such as the upgraded ARES combat drone. Another huge improvement is the switch over to the Unity 2022 version of the engine, though the addition of a new mobile weapons platform is obviously the more exciting tidbit.

Image via Hooded Horse

Xenonauts 2’s Milestone 3 adds a bunch of new content, final release pending still

Described by the developer as “less a direct sequel and more a re-imagining of the original vision, featuring a modern engine, a new setting, and refined mechanics,” Xenonauts 2 takes place in a neo-Cold War setting in the late aughts, all the while keeping the spirit of the original X-COM alive and well.

Milestone 3 is, broadly, all about expanding the game’s Early Access campaign mode. According to the official blog post, Xenonauts 2‘s full campaign won’t be playable from tip to toe before Milestone 5, but version 3.0.8 is still a huge step forward. Notably, the campaign’s length has been extended from 180 to 260 days, and a whole new level of technology is now available for players to peruse.

The most important pieces of new content, all fueled by the tech found in the Cruiser UFO, are:

  • The ARES combat platform (MARS upgrade)
  • Pegasus dropship
  • Gemini interceptor
  • Fusion-tier armaments

Aside from a bunch of new content, players can also look forward to improved load times and proper borderless windowed support thanks to the transition over to Unity 2022. Further, the game’s AI has also been improved, which should make the entire campaign far more interesting in moment-to-moment gameplay.

  • Civilians are now less suicidal
  • Melee units will “make better decisions” in combat
  • AI units will move out of the way of fire and smoke and open doors to surprise camping Xenonauts
  • Cleaner units will behave more aggressively and push towards the Xenonaut dropships when possible

Hooded Horse has also delivered a number of improvements to the pre-mission preparation screen, Abduction, Data Raid, Extract VIP, and Eliminate VIP missions, as well as a suite of balancing changes.

The full 1.0 release of Xenonauts 2 hasn’t been referenced by the developer, but with at least two more major Milestone updates coming down the line, it doesn’t appear to be on the horizon just yet.


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Filip Galekovic
A lifetime gamer and writer, Filip has successfully made a career out of combining the two just in time for the bot-driven AI revolution to come into its own.