XCOM creative director Jake Solomon says the next entry in the series, the presumed but unannounced XCOM 3, is unlikely to take a page from Marvel’s Midnight Suns.
Solomon worked on XCOM: Enemy Unknown, XCOM 2, and XCOM 2: War of the Chosen, and is now creative director on Midnight Suns at Firaxis. The studio’s take on Marvel plays noticeably differently from XCOM, incorporating cards and more RPG elements to name a few, but in a recent interview, Solomon stressed that these elements wouldn’t bleed into the next XCOM game.
“Obviously, I’m working on Midnight Suns. But if I was working on XCOM, and I’ve said this to people, I would make XCOM,” he explained. “I think the mechanics and the theme must marry up. And I think the mechanics of Midnight Suns marry up with this theme of your superpowers. It’s kind of cheesy, but the idea is true that the villains are trapped on the battlefield with you. But I think with the mechanics of XCOM, I would be extremely hesitant if somebody was like, well, we’ll do these card mechanics. I’d say, how is that going to match the theme of, you are soldiers who are very frightened?
“The fragility and the actual flaws in your soldiers are kind of what is the story generator in XCOM,” he continued. “And so I wouldn’t recommend that. So no, and I mean, project-wise, we wouldn’t do that. I think if somebody immediately went in a different direction, there’d be a lot of questions like, wait a minute, why? Why would you? Why would you mess with something that has proven success and that people have proven, like, that’s the game that they want? I think that we – I – would be pretty hesitant to do that.
Solomon’s echoing the thoughts of a non-trivial portion of XCOM fans, some of whom were unenthused by Midnight Sun’s deck-building component as well as the more empowering fantasy of Marvel. Fortunately for them, it seems XCOM’s core DNA won’t be affected by the new ideas Firaxis has tried with Midnight Suns.
Funnily enough, Midnight Suns was initially a lot more like XCOM, but the strategy game’s cutthroat variance clashed with the game’s superhero theme. Instead, Firaxis looked to the likes of Persona, Slay the Spire, and even some popular anime for inspiration.
After a small delay, the Marvel’s Midnight Suns release date is now October 7, at least for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and PC. The Switch version will arrive “at a later date.”
Check out our full Marvel’s Midnight Suns hands-on preview for more details on how the card-infused strategy game plays.