During the X-COM postmortem at GDC, series creator Julian Gollop revealed that the original game was briefly cancelled during it’s development.
In 1993, Spectrum Holobyte, who has just acquired publisher Microprose, began to look over Microprose’s development portfolio, and was left unimpressed by the development being done on X-Com: UFO Defense. This lead to the game being “officially” cancelled.
However, unbeknownst to Spectrum Holobyte, Microprose allowed the secret continued development of the game. Eventually “what happened was, that in Christmas 1993 Spectrum Holobyte wanted a product from Microprose UK for the end of their financial quarter, which was in March 1994,” said Gollop. “And [Microprose head] Pete Moreland said, ‘Well, you know this project you told us to cancel? Well, we still got it.”