The expansion helped give Firaxis the narrative push it needed
XCOM director Jake Solomon says developer Firaxis would’ve been more hesitant to take on Marvel’s Midnight Suns were it not for XCOM 2: War of the Chosen, to the point that the game may not have happened at all.
“War of the Chosen was the first game where I’d say we actually had an intermediate amount of narrative in the game,” Solomon explained in a recent interview, discussing some similarities between the villains in Midnight Suns and the central council of War of the Chosen. “So it definitely helped us. If we had not done War of the Chosen, I don’t know that Midnight Suns would have happened because it would have been too much of a reach where we’re like, I don’t know that we can do that. I don’t know that you can put this much narrative structure into the kind of game that we make. And so I think it’s an unintentional consequence. But yes, now that you’ve said that, I definitely see that parallel.”
As Solomon told us, Marvel first approached Firaxis about making a game in its universe toward the end of development on War of the Chosen, with the gist being that “a lot of people at Marvel games are really big fans of XCOM.” Solomon says he was immediately excited about the opportunity, but he and the rest of the studio had to pause to consider the implications of working with a license like this. Of course, we know how the deal turned out.
Relatedly, Solomon stressed that while the legacy of XCOM played a major role in Midnight Suns, the game itself is very different, and he says those differences won’t bleed into XCOM itself. In particular, he says he would be “extremely hesitant” to make the next XCOM game – the presumed but unannounced XCOM 3 – more like Marvel’s Midnight Suns if he were to return to the series’ helm.
The Marvel’s Midnight Suns release date has been set for October 7 on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and PC, with a Switch version coming “at a later date.”
Check out our full interview with Solomon on how JRPGs and anime made Midnight Suns a better strategy game after the XCOM approach failed, and head to our Marvel’s Midnight Suns hands-on preview for more details on how the game feels in action.