“An engaging history of not just X-COM, but also of Julian Gollop’s path to creating one of the cornerstones of strategy gaming.” -Soren Johnson, lead designer of Sid Meier’s Civilization IV
Monsters in the Dark: The Making of X-COM: UFO Defense by David L. Craddock is now funding on Kickstarter with a goal of $12,000. The crowdfunding campaign’s launch coincides with the 27th anniversary of X-COM: UFO Defense, legendary designer Julian Gollop’s genre-defining classic released in March 1994. The campaign can be found here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/davidlcraddock/monsters-in-the-dark-the-making-of-x-com-ufo-defense
“I read David Craddock’s book, Stay Awhile and Listen, and I thought it was quite an intricate, deep-dive into the inner workings of Blizzard Entertainment,” said Julian Gollop in conversation with the author. “I would like to see the X-COM book as kind of a historical record of a game that was influential. Hopefully, it can provide some inspiration, and also some fascination for how things were done in the early days of the games industry–and in some cases, how badly things were done as well.”
Featuring a foreword by Ubisoft Milan’s Davide Soliani, director of the X-COM-inspired Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle on Nintendo Switch, Monsters in the Dark traces the career of legendary designer Julian Gollop. Readers will follow Gollop from his formative years creating card and board games for his friends, through his turbulent early years making classics such as Chaos and Laser Squad, the lengthy development of X-COM: UFO Defense, and the circumstances that led to X-COM’s cancellation along with the secret effort to continue the game’s production without alerting the executives who had ordered it scraped.
X-COM: UFO Defense remains one of the highest-rated computer games in history. IGN named it the best PC game of all time in 2000 and 2007, and publications from Computer Gaming World to GameSpot awarded it high placement on best-game lists. In 2012, publisher 2K Games and developer Firaxis Games released XCOM: Enemy Unknown, a reimagining of Julian Gollop’s hit for Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 platforms.
Monsters in the Dark has received early praise from designers such as Total Annihilation and Supreme Commander director Chris Taylor, who extolled the book as “the incredible adventure X-COM’s creators underwent to bring the game to life.” Age of Empires co-creator Rick Goodman agreed, calling the book “an absolutely fascinating story worthy of a Netflix original.” Diablo franchise co-creator Erich Schaefer touted the game’s tense, foreboding atmosphere as a major influence on his work, and Craddock’s work as an “exhaustive and fascinating” deep dive into X-COM’s invention.
Based on interviews with its creators, Monsters in the Dark: The Making of X-COM: UFO Defense is funding now on Kickstarter and will be available in paperback and Kindle formats in 2021.
About David L. Craddock
David L. Craddock lives with his wife and business partner, Amie Kline-Craddock, in Canton, Ohio. He is the author of the bestselling Stay Awhile and Listen series chronicling the history of Blizzard Entertainment and Blizzard North, Break Out: How the Apple II Launched the PC Gaming Revolution, and Heritage, the first book in an epic fantasy series for young adults. Follow him at davidlcraddock.comfacebook.com/davidlcraddock, and @davidlcraddock on Twitter.


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