Developing the distinctive look of the original X-COM: UFO Defense

Monsters in the Dark: The Making of X-COM: UFO Defense tells the story of the early years of legendary strategy game designer Julian Gollop and the making of the original X-COM and is funding now on Kickstarter. In this excerpt from the book, Julian and his brother Nick coordinate with X-COM publisher MicroProse UK on the design of alien enemies and the game’s cinematic intro.

Julian and Nick Gollop signed a contract with MicroProse UK in 1991. The agreement granted them approximately £3,000 per month (roughly $2,224 in 1991 US dollars) to tide them over while they developed UFO: Enemy Unknown, which the publisher estimated should take 18 months.

“They didn’t really have any sophistication about planning a development release schedule for a game,” says Julian. “It was 18 months: That’s how long these games take, so that’s how long it will be. Of course, it took a lot longer, almost twice as long as that, which got us quite worried, actually.”

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