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Annette Durand was a character in XCOM: Enemy Within. She was a powerful psionic soldier, with her own pre-set appearance and voice. I’d like to introduce her to XCOM 2 as a playable soldier, similar to what I did for Denmother.
The mod will include Annette’s voice and custom appearance: her hair is included into Kexx’ Female Hair Pack, I’d likely have to cut some corners when it comes to her face, though. Like Denmother, her appearance will be configurable once you get her.
The plan is to either inject her into an existing mission, after which she joins your crew, or add some sort of mission where you recruit her. I would rather not make another rescue mission.
Annette herself is intended to be a powerful psionic, but I don’t want to create a unique soldier class with lots of custom abilities just for her, as it would take a lot of effort, so I would rather fill her ability tree with existing perks ordered in such a way to promote a specific gameplay pattern, similar to Denmother, whose ability tree is designed around Overwatch.
I don’t mind throwing in one-two unique abilities to spice things up, though, for example, if she were to be specialized for Stasis, her unique perks could be:
Shield Break -> Contract the shield bubble around an enemy in Stasis, removing the Stasis, but dealing high psionic damage in an area.
Extend Shields -> Expand the shield bubble around an ally in Stasis, making it affect all nearby units as well.
Annette’s unique feature in Enemy Within was abnormally high Will stat, which should probably be carried over to XCOM 2 as well. Perhaps a custom ability can be created around that feature that is more interesting than a plain Will boost.
XCOM 2 timeline happens 20 years after the Enemy Within, so quite a lot would have to had happened in that time to Annette. Being a naturally gifted psionic, it’s not unreasonable that she would be initiated into Templars, so perhaps her ability set can be a mix between Psi Operative and Templar. A blurb of lore by Deadput to that effect:
“Geist has asked us for a favor, he sent one of his most efficient followers to track a lead in regards to a powerful psionic weapon that the Aliens were rumored to have, but the operative Jeriah has not reported back for quite some time and Geist is now concerned, the last report from Jeriah had him notifying the Templars that he found and was now in pursuit of the weapon, he dropped out of contact for 2 weeks but now a powerful psionic signal has been detected nearby his last known whereabouts”
“The mission objectives are as follows: Find the weapon, secure or destroy and if Jeriah is still alive then extract him, Geist has promised that if we succeed he will lend Jeriah to us for the war effort.”
This would fill the necessary hole in the XCOM 2 hero character roster, as there is no “canon” hero character for Templars, like there’s Elena for Reapers and Mox for Skirmishers.
As an additional idea, perhaps Annette can have the unique weapon, a Psionic Bow of sorts; a variant of the Shard Gauntlets that can be used at range. That could be the weapon she recovers during the mission described above. Perhaps we could reuse the Blacksite Vial animation to show Annette recovering that weapon.