Know Your Invaders: 'XCOM: Enemy Unknown' Enemy Types Detailed

XCOM: Enemy Unknown is on the way next month and 2K Games and developer Firaxis figured you might want to know a little more about the strategy-shooter's Unknown enemies. With that in mind, Enemy Unknown producer Garth DeAngelis has provided MTV Multiplayer with some details about the invaders along with screens and concept art so that you can better plan your attack with the game hits consoles and the PC on October 9th.

First up, we have some returning aliens from the previous incarnation of the series:


The little gray Sectoid is a psionically capable but frail alien, and the first enemy the player will encounter during the invasion. They have the capability to perform a Mind Merge, which boosts the toughness of the target and improves that creature’s accuracy. Although the Sectoid is the weakest unit in the game, Mind Merge can make them a significant threat, particularly for a commander who underestimates the pack of Sectoids.


The Muton is the foil for the player’s squad – powerful, hulking aliens who represent the cutting edge of the alien invasion. Much like the player’s soldiers, they’ll work together to find an unprotected flank to approach, suppress your troops, and throw grenades. Their Blood Call ability will buff the entire group of Mutons, and if you wound, but don’t kill, a Muton, it’ll Intimidate your troops, lowering your soldiers’ Will and potentially making rookie troops panic. But all this brawn comes at the cost of brains - Mutons are very vulnerable to psionics.


The Chryssalid is perhaps the most iconic alien in XCOM. This lightning-fast predator lives to feed and reproduce by planting an egg inside a human host. The host becomes a shuffling, hard-to-kill zombie for a short time, after which the Chryssalid bursts spectacularly out of the zombie. Civilians have to be rescued quickly during terror missions, or the player’s troops will succumb to wave after wave of freshly-hatched Chryssalids. If the Chryssalids have a weakness, it’s their lack of ranged attack. Kill Chryssalids quickly, before they kill your troops and make your soldiers turn their guns on a former squadmate.


A twisted amalgamation of technology and machine, driven by pain and rage, the floater is a fast, mobile alien that aggressively probes your battle line, looking for isolated troops to pick off. Their Launch ability lets them boost to any point on the battlefield, which means that you might suddenly face an unanticipated threat in your backfield. But for all their mobility and flight, the Floater is not particularly strong. Vulnerable even to basic weapons fire, the Floater’s rash attacks also make it prone to overextending itself in combat.

...and the new aliens in the game's roster of enemies:

Thin Man

This alien is the infiltration specialist of the invasion – a creature that looks human from a brief glance, but upon closer examination betrays eerie fluidity of movement and unmistakable alien physiology. The Thin Man’s spit creates a toxic cloud that is poisonous to your soldiers and whose effects persist long after the Thin Man is killed, making the Thin Man a perfidious enemy. In addition, the Thin Man is mobile, capable of inhuman leaps. Although it is possible to kill a Thin Man, watch out for the after-effects!


Massively armored, brutally powerful, this alien is capable of pummeling soldiers or destroying cover with its Bull Rush ability. A Berserker will rush in to kill your soldiers, forcing you to concentrate firepower to kill it first. Like the Chryssalid, this lack of ranged attack is its one weakness.

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