As with the original 1994 game, your first job in XCOM: Enemy Unknown will be deciding where to plonk down your base. This time, however, there are clear bonuses for each of the five starting locations - so we asked Firaxis associate producer Pete Murray to walk us through the options.

"They're all good," he explains. "It's like Civilization V. You sit down and think, 'All these Civs have cool stuff. Give them all to me!'

"The idea is that you play the game again, try Asia this time, and see how that affects your gameplay."


North America: 'Air and Space'

All aircraft and aircraft weapons cost 50 per cent less to purchase, build and maintain.

Pete Murray says: "Later on in the game, when you've got multiple Interceptor sites, when you're trying to get the latest versions of ships out to places and making sure everyone has the weapons they need, that ends up eating a lot of cash. That Air and Space bonus gives you money you can pour into the base or something else."


Europe: 'Expert Knowledge'

Laboratories and Workshops cost 50 per cent less to build and maintain.

Pete Murray says: "This pays off very quickly. When you reduce the research time on Xenobiology [which lets you understand alien anatomies] or something like that, it's a case of, 'This is great! I can start work on my next project right away!' That's really valuable."


South America: 'We Have Ways'

Autopsies and interrogations are completed instantly.

Pete Murray says: "This is really useful, because you need the information from autopsies. 'Guys, it's a corpse. Two weeks? Seriously? Cut faster!' When you're playing South America, it's more like, 'Done! He works this way!' Which is good."


Africa: 'All In'

Monthly X-Com funding increases by 50 per cent.

Pete Murray says: "Africa is really for players looking for more of a challenge. You get more funding every month, but you start with less money. It's a case of taking a penalty at the beginning in order to get bigger cheques from the funding council. After about the second month that will start to be a big help, but I can still see this as being a challenging position."


Asia: 'Future Combat'

All projects in the Foundry and Officer Training School cost 50 per cent less.

Pete Murray says: "Those are good investments. Any changes you make at the Foundry or OTS level, they're going to pay off swiftly. Having the chance to get those projects done at a cheaper rate, that's fantastic. Very useful.

"The Foundry is used for upgrading weapons and equipment, things like your SHIVs - Super Heavy Infantry Vehicles, which are replacing the tanks from the original game. It upgrades all sorts of stuff, but it's just another option in terms of how you prefer to approach your game. The idea is to give players modules that extend their gameplay in different ways."

XCOM: Enemy Unknown is due for release on PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 in the autumn. Check out our latest preview here.