Marvel's Midnight Suns Is Developed By Firaxis, But It's Not Marvel XCOM
The team behind the acclaimed XCOM titles is turning its attention to the supernatural side of Marvel's universe.
Firaxis Games, the developer behind the XCOM and Civilization series, is working on a turn-based tactics game called Marvel's Midnight Suns, which will be released in March 2022. As the name indicates, and as shown during the Gamescom Opening Night Live trailer, Midnight Suns explores the supernatural corner of the Marvel comics universe and features a mixture of well-known heroes and deeper pulls.
In the trailer, a voiceover notes that, while the heroes have successfully conquered great evils and vanquished threats from beyond the stars, a new nightmare has awoken. Although the game is heavily influenced by the '90s Marvel Comics event Rise of the Midnight Sons, the story isn't a retelling and, in fact, pulls in a variety of characters not seen in the original event.
The villain of the story is Lilith, who has awoken and commands an army of demons. "Through a twisted marriage of magic and science, the nefarious force known as Hydra has revived Lilith, Mother of Demons, after centuries of slumber," reads a press release. "Lilith will stop at nothing to complete an ancient prophecy and summon her evil master, Chthon. Pushed to the brink, the Avengers desperately look to fight fire with Hellfire by enlisting the help of the Midnight Suns … Young heroes with powers deeply rooted in the supernatural, formed to prevent the very prophecy Lilith aims to fulfill."
The player assumes the role of an original character known as The Hunter who is an ancient warrior, Lilith's forsaken child, and the only hero known to have ever defeated her. They are tasked with joining a cast of 12 existing heroes to put a stop to Lilith. Thus far Firaxis has revealed that the Midnight Suns cast includes Captain America, Iron Man, Ghost Rider (Robbie Reyes), Magick, Doctor Strange, Blade, Captain Marvel, and Nico Minoru. The Hunter, meanwhile, was created to be wholly original and fully customizable. This means that players will be able to define how they look and play.
According to Firaxis' Jake Solomon, Midnight Sons has been in development since the team finished XCOM 2, and although it is a turn-based tactics game, it will be distinct from the XCOM titles the studio is known for. In fact, Solomon said there are no mechanics carried over to Midnight Suns from the XCOM series as the team realized it needed to be a very different experience.
Whereas the XCOM games are about soldiers fighting a superior enemy, Marvel's Midnight Suns presents the fantasy of being superheroes, which are powerful beings, and players need to feel empowered. This presented the team with an interesting challenge when it came to character progression and development, Solomon told GameSpot in an interview. While we're yet to see how the team overcame the challenge, Solomon noted that most heroes are awesome from the outset; there's no need to "build into a cool Iron Man," so it becomes more a case of abilities defining styles of play.
The other major component of the game is the social dynamics between the members of the team. Between missions, the heroes live in The Abbey, which is described as the last safe haven from Lilith's demonic influence and your secret mystical base. As The Hunter, the player moves through this area in a third-person, over-the-shoulder perspective. Players are encouraged to spend time with their teammates and, by doing so, deepen their relationships. This in-turn unlocks their full capabilities in combat. Solomon mentioned that you can even give heroes gifts to foster friendships.
Although the trailer didn't show off any gameplay from Marvel's Midnight Suns, Firaxis and publisher 2K have confirmed that this will make its debut on September 1 at 11:30 AM on the Midnight Suns website. The game is set to launch on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S|X, Nintendo Switch, and PC via Steam and Epic Games Store.