A post on the official Firaxis developer blog details one of XCOM: Enemy Within‘s new alien enemies: the Seeker.
According to lead designer Ananda Gupta, who penned the post, the Seeker was originally designed for Enemy Unknown, but never made it past the early concept stage. But because the team wanted an enemy with a bit of a horror element to it in Enemy Within—something that could “attack suddenly and without warning when the player least expects it”—the Seeker (to Firaxis) seemed a perfect choice.
Seekers are flying assassin units with a great deal of mobility who appear in pairs and won’t immediately attack, but rather wait for players to engage another alien group. This forces players to choose between seeking out the Seekers themselves or waiting to deal with them when they turn aggressive. To this end, using a gene mod unlocked from the Chryssalid autopsy—Bioelectric Skin—along with the Snipers’ Battle Scanners can help tremendously when flushing Seekers out. Conversely, the Respirator Implant is better for dealing with Seekers head-on.
“The Seeker was a great challenge for the whole team,” Gupta wrote. “It’s the only unit in XCOM that’s capable of occupying the same tile as its target, which required fancy code. It’s shape—elongated and squidlike—posed a lot of problems for the character artists and animators. And it required a custom AI routine to support its tactical behavior. We think the Seeker will make a great addition to the alien invasion; good luck facing it!”
XCOM: Enemy Within launches on PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 November 15.