I think I spaek for all the X-COM fans when I say: we do not want an Upgrade System in place of Research. What do I mean by that? I'll explain:
In Bioshock, you had a camera for 'Research'. but I never felt like I was "Researching" anything. It felt like I was just sucking out items and upgrades from all the Splicers. It never fit organically into the game; the camera is an enigma; It doesn't even feel like a Megaman power-taking tool, it just feels like you're getting random upgrades from whatever Splicers you use it on.
I don't want that for XCOM. I do not want to take photos to your scientist and he goes "Okay, come back from your next mission and I'll have something new for you to play with." That's not research, that's a MMO Upgrade System, in which you get something for an NPC, and he gives you something in return. I want to take all my alien artifacts and corpses from a mission, and tell all my scientists which artifacts they can research first, and even tell them to work together on a single project.
I also want the research to take some time. None of this 'come back after 2 missions'. I want it to take up to hours, days, and even weeks to research. I want to feel they are *doing* something in the lab.
What I'm not liking here is how you are forcing the player to take only one mission, while up to 4 missions can go away. In X-COM, You can take on all the missions, as long as you knew what you were doing. It would be nice if there was a 'second unit' to help you with all the missions.
And I really don't know what you guys are getting at with the 'Funding' missions. Isn't the Government doing the funding? It would be nice if this was some kind of Under-The-Table missions, in which you were made to sneak into somewhere, and deal with a guy with a briefcase full of cash. Like so:
(Ooh, scary men in the background)
But I'm sure your not going to do something that fun. Its probably going to be something boring, and play just like the other two mission types.
Oh, and finally: please don't take any ideas from xcom Interceptor! It has *nothing* to do with the X-COM name, and was made as a fanfic joke! It was garbage, and I'm being nice here.
This is X-COM:Apocalypse, which came out in 1997:
See how serious it was? The intro was like that of the first Trailer for District 9, or those live Halo ads. And it loved the 1950s, just like you guys!
And this.... thing.... was xcom Interceptor. Which came out in 1998:
See how it starts the intro by declaring the 50s to be sh*t? Everyone who worked on Interceptor thought X-COM was a giant joke. And did you see how cheap they were with the animation?
To add more insult to injury, here is the Credits: