I’m pretty sure I’ve told the story about how Isabella Lombardi got her name. I am an avid computer game fan dating back to my Commodore 64 in the 80s. When the computer game XCOM was released in the early 90s, I spent a lot of my free time playing it.
For those of you who have a more satisfying social life than I did, XCOM is a turn-based strategy/tactical game where you defend Earth from an alien invasion. The turn-based tactical combat was simply fantastic along with its utter cruelty. I remember a mission where I sent my elite team of troopers to a UFO site. My Skyranger landed, I opened the loading ramp to get my troops out of the ship and there was an alien with the equivalent of a grenade launcher three tiles from the ramp. As soon as my first trooper moved, it reacted and fired a grenade into my Skyranger, killing everyone. Next mission, please.
So, when Firaxis created a game called XCOM: Enemy Unknown (and later, an expansion called Enemy Within), I was “all in.” They did a GREAT job bringing the game into the next century. Anyway, one of the things about the game (and especially the newer one) was how much you can customize your troopers and since death is permanent in this game, you tend to develop a stronger attachment to them because you know every shot fired at them could be their last moment. In one of the campaigns I played, one of the troopers I randomly received was named Isabella Lombardi and she ended up being a powerhouse in the campaign. Literally, she saved the lives of her squad several times with amazing shots or with her medkit (she was a Support-class character, for those of you who have played). I remember thinking that I really liked the name and would add it to my list of names to use, and Isabella Lombardi would be born with No Way To Start A War.
Well, Firaxis has done it again, this time with XCOM 2. The character customization is even more incredible and now you can create characters and add them to a “character pool” that the game will draw upon to use for your troopers, for engineers and scientists, VIPs and even as bad guy VIPs.
Here’s my list so far. And yes, there are a few obscure names from the original series along with some new names from Hero of the Republic. Oh, if anyone can think of good (or better) nicknames, send me a tweet, e-mail of facebook post!
Here is my first squad in action. (Characters were randomly chosen by the game). Go get’em Madam Minister!
Lt.Truesworth missed his calling. Sniper fire from Jack saves Lucy Holt from certain death. Note the “Happy Face” sweatshirt he is wearing.
Adira Fane and Sebastian Brewer having a chat at the base’s bar. It’s unnerving how often these two are in the same room.
UPDATE: 24 hours later, the team has grown up quickly: