The Bureau : XCOM Declassified is a tactical, third person shooter set as a prequel to the events of XCOM : Enemy Unknown. I worked on this project as the Lead UI Artist overseeing a team of artists and programmers as the project evolved over several years. My role saw me collaborating with the various team leads including the Art and Design Directors. Ultimately I was responsible for setting the aesthetic tone of the interface, working with the Design team on the functionality and flow, and coordinating with the programming team to get it all implemented.

The Bureau went through a number of reboots and redesigns and as such, several different interface treatments. Included here are several designs, some which shipped, and others which were exciting but ultimately failed to match the overall tone of the game.


The HUD design for The Bureau needed to incorporate quite a bit of information. In addition to the standard shooter elements of health, weapon and ammo, the player also needed information about the AI controlled Agents. To encourage the player to use the different available abilities, cool down icons and animations were added to each Agent's UI element. We also need to display things like the current mission objective, radio portraits for NPC's, a mini-map and various other pop-ups and tutorial systems.


The HUD went through a number of iterations over the course of the three years I worked on the project. As the game became more tactical, it became necessary to include more and more information about the Squad Leader and his teammates. A change from first to third person perspective also had a significant impact on the design of the HUD.


The Battle Focus interface developed as a way for players to issue specific commands to individual agents and create complex battle plans during combat. Ultimately we created an expanding and contracting radial menu that showed the player all of the available commands at once, without cluttering the screen with 18 full sized icons all the time. Video of the Battle Focus interface in motion can be seen here.


Alongside the HUD, Battle Focus went through a long development process. Early on it was constrained by the first person camera and required the player to aim at targets in realtime. The switch to a third person camera allowed us to show the world from each agent's individual perspective, greatly increasing the tactical options available to the player. Ultimately the single radial menu proved to be the quickest, most intuitive method of giving players full control over the squad.


The Agent Management flow was designed to give players all the information needed to select and upgrade a squad of agents. Players could recruit new agents, customize each one, equip weapons and gear, and upgrade them through a class specific Perk Tree.



For much of the development of The Bureau, the UI featured an aesthetic based on the graphic design style of 1960's advertising. It was decided later that this style, while visually interesting, did not match with the darker tone of the game. However I am still proud of the design work that I was able to create during this time.


A few interface designs dissapeared completely over the course of development. The weapon radial was created and then later removed after weapon capacity was reduced to two weapons. Similarly the research mode was determined to be too complex to support, so that content was also left out of the final product.