Long War Studios, named for the popular Long War mod of XCOM: Enemy Unknown that inspired XCOM 2, continue expanding on the series.
Now available are the Long War Perk Pack and Long War Laser Pack. The Perk Pack recasts the original 4 soldier classes into 7, along with 70+ new and improved abilities, more items, more rewards upon leveling up, and increased capacity to use abilities. The Laser Pack adds the laser weapon class, along with laser variants of other weapons, and new modeling/sound design. These come on the heels of the Long War Toolbox, which allows for a greater number of (and more randomized) soldier squads, damage to affect stats, and greater damage ranges, to vastly increase in-game unpredictability.
The Long War total conversion mod of XCOM: Enemy Unknown was popular for adjusting the game’s system to allow for drawn out, strained victories or failures, by extending the campaign, adding a multitude of features, allowing enemies to develop their own technology, etc. This meant that a player could potentially pull through a losing war to an eventual victory, but more often than not, it meant that sustained successes, keen strategy, and a thorough understanding of the game’s systems were necessary to win the war. It’s an extensive reworking of an already brutally difficult game.
Firaxis, the developers of XCOM: Enemy Unknown, were so smitten with the Long War mod, going so far as to call their own game “a 20-hour tutorial for The Long War“, that their sequel is largely based off of the mod’s expanded and unforgiving gameplay. (Fittingly, XCOM 2 begins under the presumption that the war in XCOM: Enemy Unknown resulted in Humanity losing to the aliens.) They even worked with Long War Studios to create 3 day-one mods, a virtually unheard of act in modern gaming, which added a soldier class, an alien class, and 3 new weapons. In addition, Firaxis opened up modding to the community immediately with a full suite of modding tools.
Still to come are the “Long War Alien Pack”, which will add 10 aliens to the game, and an as-yet unknown final mod.