Pavonis Interactive started by making XCOM mods, but now, they’re making their own vision come to life with Terra Invicta—a 4X strategy title where aliens invade the Earth.
Turn-based strategy with squad-based combat hit its peak when XCOM decided to change up its formula from prior iterations to create a global survival title where the Earth bands together to stop a massive alien invasion. But what would happen if different factions on our planet decided they each had ideas for how to handle said invasion?
Terra Invicta is a 4X strategy title, which refers to the sub-genre of strategy title that would include Sid Meier’s Civilization, for example, where building an empire takes place with an emphasis placed upon economic and technological development. Mixing turn-based and real-time elements, 4X titles are known for being grand in size and ideas.
With Terra Invicta, you’ll see those principles set in place, while having a similar story to one of the inspirations—XCOM. An alien ship crashlands on Earth, but when investigators arrive, the pilot has disappeared. This sets everything in motion, with invasion forces entering the edge of our galaxy and beginning to take hold of the region.
Where Pavonis Interactive has taken things to the next level is with Earth’s response to the invasion, where rather than having a global initiative that’s all on the same page, rival factions have decided to vie for control over the countries on Earth in order to place their agenda at the forefront. Much like Civilization or Total War, the world is divided, but rather than focusing on empire, the focus is on ideology.
The various factions that can be joined each are planning on different ways to deal with the alien invasion, with some thinking the best route would be to leave the planet altogether and flee to a new home, with others wanting to fight, surrender, etc.
With an X-Files-esque, behind-the-scenes approach, you’re tasked with infiltrating countries—swaying them to your ideology. Through these gained influences you can utilise the militaries and resources from said countries to get larger missions completed. Feeling much like a network of spies who work underground while ignoring their country affiliations, Terra Invicta pushes past the norms of what you’d expect from expanding “borders”.
In what feels a lot like Risk meets Total War, without the ground combat, Terra Invicta is deep and complex. But once you leave our atmosphere, things get even more out of this world, with space combat and colonisation taking place once you seem past the confines of Earth.
Accurate propulsion and astronomical models have been created to make space travel as accurately as possible, with the rotations of the planets in orbit even matching up with what’s happening in real life. For example, when showing off this incredible system, the developer said that they had moved the model to the recent conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn and that those properties were displayed in-game. Incredible!
Finally, combat while in space uses a lot of research and theories on space travel to create a set of mechanics that match as closely as possible to what would be possible in real life, with boosters necessary at all times to keep ships positioned, rather than these aircraft being able to “stop” in place.
All in all, Terra Invicta is extremely impressive from top to bottom. The amount of research and planning that has gone into this title to make it as lifelike as possible, regardless of the story, is mindboggling. The team at Pavonis Interactive said their time working with famed studio Firaxis Games, helped them get to this point. “Firaxis helped us learn to make a great game. They were eager and supportive and now we’re doing our own thing.”
Terra Invicta is currently set to release on PC later this year.