I have been a fan of both XCOM and Fire Emblem since I was but a wee pile of childish hope and bacteria, watching the extra-long Sacred Stones epilogue during a precious family Christmas dinner. I have dreamed of a game that includes elements of both. Thanks to mods, XCOM 2 is now that game.

RealityMachina’s Squad Cohesion mod cribs notes from the relationship system present in games like Fire Emblem Fates. Here’s its description:

“This mod puts a dash of Fire Emblem into your XCOM, leveraging a ‘squadmate score’ system to give small buffs for squads that trust in each other.”

At the highest levels, your soldiers can get fairly substantial buffs to stats like aim, crit chance, hacking, and will, so something something friends with benefits joke something.

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Squad members build up cohesion points by doing things like healing each other and killing aliens who are flanking the beautiful, perfect (and possibly psychic) objects of their affection. There are a bunch of variables, and squad members can even lose trust if Bad Shit Goes Down.

There are also penalties if Really Bad Shit Goes Down. For instance, if a squad member dies, and another squad member knew them well, there’s a chance they’ll gain Shaken status as a result. The closer they were, the higher the chance. Makes sense. I’d be shaken too if I had to watch my best friend get gunned down or squeezed to death by a giant snake or pulped by a Faceless or... well, you get the idea.

It’s a really cool system, especially if you’re the sort of XCOM player who loves telling little stories about your soldiers (aka the RIGHT kind of XCOM player). Now your tales of love and loss can be enhanced with actual, tangible stats. Friendship breeds might and motivation. Death leads to mourning and mental breakdowns. Hate, unfortunately, does not yet lead to the dark side. Maybe that’ll come in an update.

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Now then, the burning-est of all burning questions: when can my XCOM 2 soldiers start smooching and get married?

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