When playing XCOM 2, you’re sure to stumble upon a Point of Interest or two within the Geoscape. Each of these Points of Interest include an evocative illustration, and this blog series aims to highlight some of our favorites while offering greater context on what each individual piece is meant to convey. This week, we’re looking at images themed around The ADVENT and Alien menace in XCOM 2.

This piece is called “Alien Cache.” Greg Foertsch, Art Director on XCOM 2, says the goal of this image, from an artistic perspective, was to show a site that looked abandoned, and yet still potentially useful. “The night sky and ground fog gives the image a very tranquil yet ominous feel. The UFO has no light on and is not active and has had a hard landing, but clearly it has been here for a while with the foliage overtaking the alien objects,” Foertsch adds. “The alien barrels and supplies are still useful with their lights still on. The green lights provide a very unnatural color and light within a very earthy scene adding to the underlying uncomfortable feel of the image.” It also has an other-worldly look, wouldn’t you say?

This next piece, a bit more on the unsettling side, is called “Disease.”  As you can see, the Sectoid featured prominently is suffering from some form of contagion. “In this piece we wanted to show a diseased Sectoid, covered in large pustules and boils, its limbs unnaturally swollen as it sits against the wall in an abandoned house,” Foertsch says. “It’s almost hard to not feel bad for this creature as it suffers in isolation. Of all of the aliens, the Sectoids are the species that I feel connect with humanity the most. They are the most like us, so on some level my hope was to also make the player feel a bit sorry for this creature as it suffers by itself on a planet far from its home. Its eyes are turned away, so we are not sure if it is alive or dead.” 

“Solitary,” our next piece, also features themes of isolation and suffering. “In this image we are showing an ADVENT hybrid, stripped of his armor, sitting in a jail cell, arms curled around his knees, a weak light filtering in through a small high window above. I wanted it to be unclear as to whether the ADVENT or XCOM have imprisoned him,” Foertsch says. “The ADVENT soldiers never asked for this life and are a genetically engineered species created from Human and Sectoid DNA. It is important to understand that under their armor these aliens are still capable of suffering.”

Our final piece this week is called “Abandoned” and centers around an ADVENT facility with an Ethereal Statue, surrounded by ruined and dilapidated walls. An ADVENT sign warning people away is now scratched and faded, with the ADVENT building abandoned in the distance. “Even abandoned the ADVENT and alien presence looms large,” Foertsch says. “There is a huge contrast in the image within the clean statue and the ugliness of the ruins and barbed wire. The broken gate symbolizes that there is hope for breaking the strength of the ADVENT. In this image the statue has always represented how the destruction came at the hands of the Ethereals.”

That’s it for this week’s art showcase. 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!