Marvel’s Midnight Suns Creative Director, Jake Solomon, has revealed that while developers did try adding XCOM mechanics to the game, such a gameplay system failed to work out.
XCOM developer Firaxis Games unveiled its partnership with Marvel Entertainment for Midnight Suns during Gamescom 2021, teasing an experience based in the darker corners of the Marvel Universe.
Onlookers assumed the title would be an XCOM game with a superhero makeover. To the chagrin of many, however, Midnight Suns instead boasts a card battle system that bears more in common with Mega Crit’s Slay the Spire.
According to developers, the team at Firaxis did at first approach the Marvel project with its beloved alien-infested franchise in mind.
Midnight Suns is the opposite of XCOM
In an interview with GamesRadar, Creative Director Jake Solomon admitted that upon first inking the deal with Marvel, he thought, “…we’re gonna make XCOM, and we’re gonna put some Marvel superheroes in, and it’s gonna be awesome.”
The team created a roster of 13 characters based on the Midnight Sons’ “supernatural pillars” and set to work on incorporating tactics from its popular turn-based strategy series.
It didn’t work as planned, given that the power fantasy associated with superhero stories disrupted the basis of XCOM-like gameplay.
XCOM elements such as taking cover and jammed abilities made little to no sense when taking the likes of Captain Marvel into consideration. In fact, one early warning sign bubbled to the surface during a brainstorming session about Carol Danvers.
“We want Captain Marvel’s punch to be like boom… And then when a number floated up – and this sounds crazy, but this is how design works – it was like two, and you’re like, ‘what the f–k?'”
Because the Midnight Suns theme felt so at odds with XCOM mechanics, Firaxis returned to the drawing board. Solomon’s love for Slay the Spire ultimately inspired the Marvel game’s contentious card system.
Soon enough, Marvel and Firaxis fans can judge for themselves whether or not the gamble worked in the project’s favor. Following a lengthy delay, Marvel’s Midnight Suns will hit stores on October 7.