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 established world of XCOM 2.

This piece is called “Overgrown Military.” Greg Foertsch, Art Director on XCOM 2, says the goal of this image, from an artistic perspective, was to show how ineffective modern military forces were against the alien invasion. "The jet and tank are relics on the battlefield with their operators long since gone. The mood is important in this image -- it is a gloomy scene with rust and plant growth overtaking the wreckage with these machines of war frozen in time. It’s now peaceful and serene as opposed to what at one time was a raging battle field."

This next piece is appropriately called "Refugees" and highlights some humans on the move. "Their weapons are primitive and these people are hanging on to life outside of the ADVENT City Centers," Foertsch explains. "They are constantly on the move, never staying in one place for very long. It is a nomadic, hard life and you can see the suffering in their faces. But, if you look closely, there is something more: Under the pain you can see their fierce determination to survive. Unlike those in the City Centers, they are free -- or at least as free as they can be."

“Traveler,” our next piece, gives us a glimpse into solitary survival in a world dominated by ADVENT. "We really want this image to be very mysterious," Foertsch admits. "There is a hooded, hunched traveler that sits by a small fire. A large sack is on the ground beside him. The eyes glint in the firelight, possibly a little too big to be human. Nothing else is visible of the face. It is questionable whether this character is someone the player can trust. Unsure if this individual is human, alien or something in between, the people travelling the outskirts alone may have some questionable ethics that they rely on to survive." 

Our next piece, "Worlds of Fun," showcases the dichotomy of the old free world of humanity and the harsh new reality of life on the run from ADVENT. In this piece, Foertsch wants the dilapidated rollercoaster to be the focal point. "An amusement park rises in the background with a roller coaster covered in vines, and falling apart. This hulk of a ghost from day’s long gone serves as a constant reminder to those who pass by it. A small encampment bustles at the base of the park where humanity finds each other in the aftermath of the destruction of their cities." 

Our final image this week is called "Haven" and gives an example of those settlements where small bands of people ban together to live outside of ADVENT control. "These survivors make use of abandoned buildings, doing their best to repurpose whatever pre-invasion supplies they can find," Foertsch says. "In this image of a haven there are no visible people leaving the viewer to wonder where that have gone. Are they hiding? Have they moved on? Have the ADVENT rounded them up?"

You may also notice some debris blowing in the wind. "The wind symbolizes activity and life in this place, but the viewer may decide if the wind is dying down or stirring up. The communications/radio tower, which is the focal point of the image, may be archaic in 2035, but these towers are the life line of the resistance. Communication is key to survival in the havens and allow people to hopefully stay one step ahead of the new world order."

Click here for an album of all XCOM 2 POI art

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!