Game developers Firaxis discussed the different processes of creating the creepily abandoned cities in “Xcom 2” and its expansion. Art Director Chirs Sulzbach and Lead Concept Artist Aaron Yamada-Hanff were the ones who divulged some of the information about it through a report posted on the game website.

The development team also discussed what the differences of the cities were in the first game, “XCOM: Enemy Unknown.” They also wanted to explain what they changed when the sequel was in development and the different inspirations they used in creating these areas.

No specific cities were used as inspiration

The art director revealed that the development team did not use any specific city from “Enemy Unknown” as the basis for the new ones. Instead, they used real pictures of cities that looked abandoned, streets that were paved over, graffiti on walls, and others that could be used as the basis. The team wanted the players to feel like this was a city that they would visit.

The team also made a Pinterest board that was shared with their concept team and they would look at other pictures of different dilapidated cities. There were also abandoned rooms and warehouses that just became a part of ancient history. They could not use the pictures that showed buildings reclaimed by nature because of a game fact that the aliens released a gas that suffocated organic matter.

Some abandoned cities were actually used from first game

Sulzbach revealed that the team actually used some of the building models instead from "XCOM: Enemy Unknown" and painted them over to give it a look of an abandoned building. They wanted the players to feel like they were returning from some of the places in the first game.

For the victims of the Fog Pod gasses and the non-Lost humans, they actually used some pictures from the Pompeii eruption to make it look like they were running away from an attack.

The team wanted “XCOM 2players to understand what it felt like when the victims were overtaken by the poisonous gasses. Their bodies in that area had unique faces that would be different from the Lost.

These victims would look like they were suffering when they perished.

Concept artists need to be visual problem solvers and more

Yamada-Hanff gave his idea of what a concept artist should have in order to land this kind of job. He said that they should be visual problem solvers and also they need to be consistently inquisitive about the project. For them to be qualified as “XCOM” concept artists, they would also need to be versatile in this job since the development team is actually rather small.

Check out the "XCOM 2: War of the Chosen" Inside Look: The Lost video here: