Update #1 – Public Builds Available!

T he development team here at Goldhawk Interactive has been quietly working on Xenonauts-2 for over a year now, and we’re proud to announce (on our new revamped website) that you can now download and play it for free. We’re only going to be doing this for a few months and it won’t net you a copy of the finished game, but you can follow our progress through the early stages of development for free!

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X enonauts-2 is not a chronological sequel to the first game, nor is it a direct spiritual successor to UFO: Enemy Unknown (1994) in the same way that Xenonauts was. We can be a bit more original and innovative in our designs this time around, as we are not constrained by the obligations of remaking the classic X-Com formula!

The sequel will cover similar events taking place in an alternate timeline – an alien invasion occurring in a Cold War-era Earth. This means humanity does not start with the advanced alien technology unlocked in the first game, and we also have the freedom to subtly alter the story and setting in order to make a more interesting game. We will also be updating the game mechanics in order to address the issues with the original game. These are our broad areas of focus:


  • Setting: We would like to improve the storyline this time around, adding additional characters and a deeper plot and attempting to make better use of the Cold War / clandestine organisation setting than we did in the first game.
  • Stability & Performance: Moving to Unity3D will give us a much more capable platform for development than our previous engine did, so expect fewer bugs and improved performance, but also the quality of life improvements enabled by a 3D engine (e.g. a rotateable battlefield camera).
  • Improved Graphics: We will be increasing the art budget and using more modern technology for the sequel, so expect the overall visual fidelity to be significantly improved. We will also be updating the visual designs of the Xenonauts and the aliens so they look a bit more interesting and distinctive!
  • Ground Combat: We are retaining Time Units and the other core mechanics from the first game, but we will attempt to address some of the weaknesses too: indestructible UFOs, poor use of vertical terrain, human psionics, etc.
  • Geoscape: We want to add a lot more strategic choice for the player on the Geoscape, giving the player more choice with regards to the research tree and how they choose to expand their organisation. We would also like to make the aliens more reactive to your actions and tactics.
  • Air Combat: This needs to use the same skills as the rest of the game (i.e. tactical thinking) so is likely to receive an overhaul.


If you’re interested in reading about the specific changes we have planned, you can check out the dedicated area in our forum: Xenonauts-2 Features. This sub-forum contains individual posts on many of the intended changes in Xenonauts-2, explaining our reasons for wanting to make that change and when it might occur.

1 October, 1979: Unidentified forces presumed of extraterrestrial origin arrive in Earth orbit. Panic spreads across the globe as attempts at communication fail and attempts to engage the invaders are met with heavy losses and little success. The only successful interception is conducted by unmarked interceptors that prove at least partially resistant to extraterrestrial weapons. The victory is claimed by a clandestine organisation known as the Xenonauts, who establish communication with the nations of the world to offer protection in exchange for funding and the freedom to operate in their territory.

For humanity, a glimmer of hope remains – if they can withstand the attacks long enough to unravel the secrets of the alien aggressors, the Xenonauts may yet find a way to defeat the alien invasion. Should they fail, millions of years of human history will be brought to an abrupt end.

X enonauts-2 and Xenonauts are strategy games in which you control a multi-national military organisation attempting to defend a Cold War-era Earth from alien invasion. They are split across a tactical level where your team of (persistent) soldiers battles the alien ground forces and recovers their technology, and a strategic management level where you co-ordinate your interceptor squadrons to shoot down incoming UFOs and research the captured alien artefacts to learn about your foes and unlock new upgrades and equipment for your combat units.

The franchise has been heavily inspired by the classic X-Com strategy games. The first Xenonauts is a direct spiritual success to UFO: Enemy Unknown (1994), but Xenonauts-2 takes the franchise down its own path and offers a new twist on an old formula!


  • Ground Combat: Experience tense turn-based combat across varied and fully-destructible battlefields against a multitude of different alien species. Missions include everything from capturing crashed UFOs and alien bases to defending cities (or even Xenonaut facilities) against alien attack!
  • Strategic Management: Manage the defence of the planet on the strategy layer, balancing the needs of your funding nations with your own. Your funds are limited – are you going to spend them on new combat equipment, more scientists for the research effort, or expanding your interceptor squadrons?
  • Research Tree: Harness the alien technology and turn it against them! Explore an extensive research tree that unlocks upgrades and equipment for your soldiers and interceptors, whilst also slowly revealing the intentions and origins of the invaders.
  • Persistent Soldiers: Your soldiers gain rank and improve their abilities from mission to mission – assuming you can keep them alive!
  • Emergent Simulation: Missions are not pre-scripted but are based on your actions; e.g. shoot down a Scout UFO over the Arctic and you will get a mission to capture a crashed Scout UFO in the polar tileset. Launch a mission at night-time and you will be fighting with reduced sight range in the darkness. The game never plays out the same way twice!
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