XCOM: Enemy Unknown Research Guide – Xenobiology, Engineering and Weapon Manufacturing


When you’re dealing with an alien invasion, you’re bound to find some weird technology that would water the mouths of those researchers and scientists.

Of course, it doesn’t necessary have to end well, and we’ve seen plenty of movies (District 9, Transformers, and many more) that suggest that.

Thus, it’s important in XCOM to do your research with whatever alien related stuff you find. This essentiality is actually a large part of the development system of the game.

The Research and Engineering of XCOM allows you to develop new weapons, create badass defense armors, attain credits, and much more. But because of the risks, you’re best doing so with a guide to get aid from, and we have exactly that.

For more help on XCOM: Enemy Unknown, read our Class and Builds & Progression.

Story Related and Utility Research

There a few researches in the game that are story related and/or prerequisites for some of the more rewarding researches.

Experimental Warfare
Requirements:
Unlocks: Foundry facility, Phoenix Cannon, Alien Grenades project

Weapon Fragments
Requirements: 5 weapon fragments
Unlocks: S.C.O.P.E. item (+10 aim), S.C.O.P.E. upgrade project (Foundry)

Alien Materials
Requirements: 5 weapon fragments
Unlocks: Nano-Fiber Vest item (+3 HP)

UFO Powered Source
Requirements: 1 salvaged UFO Power Source
Unlocks: Elerium Generator facility

Xeno-Biology
Requirements: 4 Sectoid corpses
Unlocks: Alien Containment facility

Arc Thrower
Requirements: Xeno-Biology research, 10 weapon fragments
Unlocks: Arc Thrower item (stuns enemy for interrogation)

Outsider Shard
Requirements: Xeno-Biology research
Unlocks: Skeleton Key (story-related item)

Elerium
Requirements: 1 salvaged UFO Power Source, 10 Elerium
Unlocks: Improved Arc Thrower project

Alien Nav Computer
Requirements: 2 salvaged UFO flight computer
Unlocks: Satellite Nexus Facility, Stealth Satellites project

Hyperwave Communication
Requirements: Alien Nav Computer research, 1 salvaged Hyperwave Beacon, 30 alloys, 30 Elerium
Unlocks: Hyperwave Relay facility

Ethereal Device
Requirements: 1 salvaged Psi-Link from Ethereal UFO
Unlocks: Gollop Chamber facility

Weapons

Weapons in XCOM are researched by finding alien weapon fragments during fights. It’s thus essential not to sell them on the Grey Market, and opt to fight all the battles available to attain as many fragments as you can.

In addition to simple fragments, you may need specific materials, such as alloys or other weapons. Some researches have to be carried out before the next ones can as well.

The following are the researches and their rewards.

Note that stats for the unlocked weapons are displayed as: (Base Damage, Critical Chance [%], Critical Damage)

Beam Weapons
Requirements: 10 weapon fragments, 5 alien alloys
Unlocks: Laser Pistol (2,30%,3), Laser Rifle (5,10%,7), Improved Pistol II

Heavy Lasers:
Requirements: Beam Weapons, 5 Weapon Fragments, 5 Alien Alloys
Unlocks: Heavy Laser LMG (6,CC0%,9), Laser Cannon (Interceptor), S.H.I.V. Laser Project

Precision Lasers:
Requirements: Beam Weapons, 5 fragments, 5 alloys
Unlocks: Scatter Laser Shotgun (6,20%,9), Laser Sniper (6,30%,9)

Light Plasma Rifle:
Requirements: Salvaged Light Plasma Rifle, 40 fragments, 10 alloys, 5 Elerium
Unlocks: Light Plasma Rifle (5,10%,CD7)

Plasma Pistol
Requirements: Salvaged Plasma Pistol, 40 fragments, 5 Elerium
Unlocks: Plasma Pistol (3,20%,4), Improved Pistol III Project

Plasma Rifle
Requirements: Salvaged Plasma Rifle, 40 fragments, 10 alloys, 5 Elerium
Unlocks: Plasma Rifle (7,10%,10)

Heavy Plasma
Requirements: Salvaged Heavy Plasma, 40 fragments, 10 alloys, 10 Elerium
Unlocks: Heavy Plasma LMG (9,0%,13), S.H.I.V. Plasma Project

Plasma Sniper
Requirements: Plasma Rifle or Heavy Plasma, 50 fragments, 10 alloys, 10 Elerium
Unlocks: Plasma Sniper Rifle (9,35%,13)

Alloy Cannon
Requirements: Plasma Rifle or Heavy Plasma, 40 fragments, 25 alloys, 5 Elerium
Unlocks: Alloy Cannon Shotgun (9,20%,13)

Guided Fusion Launcher
Requirements: Salvaged Battleship Class UFO Fusion Core, 75 fragments, 20 alloys, 10 Elerium
Unlocks: Blaster Rocket Launcher

Armor

Armor researches work in a similar manner to the weapons one. However, instead of weapon fragments, your focus is mainly on general material and lower-grade armors for advanced researches.

Carapace Armor
Requirement: Salvaged Alien Materials, 10 alien alloys
Unlocks: Carapace Armor (HEALTH +4), Alloy S.H.I.V.

Skeleton Suit
Requirement: Carapace Armor, 15 alloys
Unlocks: Skeleton Suit (HEALTH +3, grapple hook, increased movement)

Titan Armor
Requirements: Carapace Armor, 15 alloys, 5 Elerium
Unlocks: Titan Armor (HEALTH +10, poison immunity, flame immunity)

Ghost Armor
Requirements: Titan Armor, Hyperwave Communication (see “other”), 15 alloys, 15 Elerium
Unlocks: Ghost Armor (HEALTH +6, Ghost Mode ability, grapple hook)

Archangel Armor
Requirements:  Titan Armor, New Fighter Craft (see “other”), 15 alloys, 15 Elerium
Unlocks: Archangel Armor (HEALTH +8, flight mode)

Psi Armor
Requirements: Ethereal or Sectoid Commander interrogation, 10 alloys, 10 Elerium
Unlocks: Psi Armor (HEALTH +6, Will increase of 30 for psi attacks and defense)

Interceptors

Interceptors are basically your anti-UFO fighters to keep your satellites safe. As you progress onwards, you’ll fight against tougher UFOs. Thus, it is extremely essential to research and upgrade your Interceptors as soon as you can.

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By Haider Khan

One of the long time staff at SegmentNext, Haider is an integral part of the team with a love for writing, playing guitar, and aviation. Apart from writing for us, Haider is also a competitive FPS player and also enjoys exotic RPG games like Diablo and Xenogears (his favorite game of all time) on the side.

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    • Nossa

      You need to reseach elerium. Got it without any kind of muton research

    • kiel

      Pretty sure you need to capture a live Elite Muton or Beserker Muton not sure which one it was

    • Rick Bergen

      What other research is required to unlock researching Titan Armor other than Carapace Armor, 15 alloys, 5 Elerium? Apparently, it is something I don’t prioritize or a late game corpse because I didn’t get it til late in the game my first play.

      • cowbert

        You needed some other stuff before Titan armor, either researching power source and Elerium or similar.

      • mike

        You need to research elerium aswell as titan armor is power armor