Sometimes tense, sometimes exciting – what would Firaxis’ XCOM have been without its soundtrack? With the release of XCOM 2 imminent, I thought I’d highlight Michael McCann’s superb music for the original:
(Note that the versions above, from the composer’s Soundcloud page, appear slightly different from what plays in-game.)
Several tracks stand out. First off is the menu theme, “Enemy Unknown”; its low, ominous beat echoes the ambient music in the Gollop Brothers’ original game, before swelling into something more rousing.
“Ready for Battle”, the squad select theme, is one of the few “heroic” pieces on the soundtrack. I’ve heard it dozens of times and it still hasn’t grown old.
The intense “Combat 8” is my favourite battle theme. I love how it compresses the emotional beats of XCOM combat into less than a minute, from the warble at 0:15, through a harsher blare, to a few hopeful seconds around 0:40.
Finally, “Our Last Hope” is the other notable heroic theme. Enjoy!