The Alien Hunters DLC for XCOM 2 introduces three new Ruler aliens. In this blog series, we go into more detail on each of these Rulers and talk with the XCOM 2 team about the new threats they present.
The Viper is not only a fan favorite in XCOM 2, but it’s also one of the development team’s favorite alien units.
“They look terrifying, have awesome abilities, and they‘re a great narrative Easter egg for the XCOM series overall,” Jake Solomon, Creative Director on XCOM 2, says of the base Viper. So when the team was coming up with the concept of Ruler aliens for the Alien Hunters DLC, the Viper was naturally an early contender to get its own representative amongst the Ruler class of aliens – and so the Viper King was born.
“The Viper King was made to embody the idea of a ‘king’ or ‘ruler’ the most out of our three new aliens,” Solomon adds. “The Viper King has a very regal look and its move set combos really nicely with other enemies.”
The Viper King’s move set includes:
- Choke, an upgraded version of the Bind ability that deals more damage and has a chance to knock the target unconscious
- Freezing Breath, a deadly area-of-effect attack that can freeze multiple targets simultaneously
- Huge amount of health that will take multiple engagements to deplete
- Will summon a portal to flee battle after devastating your soldiers or being chased off
- Stalks your soldiers across multiple missions
- Rulers take a turn after every soldier action
“We wanted the Viper King to be distinct, but also have abilities that enhanced the threat of regular Vipers,” Greg Foertsch, Art Director on XCOM 2, adds. “When paired together, they have multiple ways to stop your units in their tracks. If they don’t outright kill your units, their Bind attacks, Tongue Pull, and Freezing attacks will set your soldiers up for their fall.”
Solomon says the ice element not only makes the Viper King much more deadly, but helps it to increase the threat of every other enemy unit on the map. “When a soldier gets frozen, you lose all control, you’re more vulnerable, and now your other soldiers have to compensate for the new challenge.”
It’s hard to argue that the Viper King really takes the “King” look to heart. Its regal design is undeniable, and Foertsch says this was the goal for the team all along. “We wanted to make this ruler look regal which would contrast with some of its more primal animations and abilities. We gave him a headdress with some sci-fi inspired adornments and nothing says ‘regal’ like a cape. Additionally, we wanted to reflect his frost abilities through his icy blue color scheme.”
The Alien Hunters DLC is available standalone for $9.99 or as part of the XCOM 2 Reinforcement Pack. Alien Hunters adds new gameplay highlighting an elite alien hunting unit of XCOM as it tracks down three “Ruler” aliens, plus a new story mission, more powerful weapons and armor, and additional soldier customization options. Alien Hunters launches on May 12 (May 13 for Asia).
That’s it for this update, Commander. Be sure to follow XCOM on Twitter and Like XCOM on Facebook to keep up to date with the latest information on XCOM 2. If you’re looking to enlist with the Resistance, follow XCOM 2 on Steam Community and join the 2K Forums!