Marvel has never been bigger than it is now. Between the wildly successful MCU films, TV spinoffs, and some of their games, Marvel seems to be able to fit into just about any mold. Games have obviously had some rough patches between cheap movie tie-ins and the controversial games-as-a-service attempt with Marvel’s Avengers, but there’s no denying that there is just so much potential within that world for games of all kinds to be made. One rumor that began circulating, though, was somewhat unique, and yet it has now been revealed to be true … mostly.
Firaxis is known for their incredible revival of the XCOM series with last generation’s XCOM: Enemy Unknown and XCOM 2, as well as their expansions. These tactics games set the standard for the genre and paved the way for a small revival that we’re still seeing today with the likes of Gears: Tactics and even Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. Now this team has its sights set on Marvel with Marvel’s Midnight Suns, which will be taking a more tactical approach to gameplay and utilizing some characters not often given the spotlight. If you’re a little confused as to how a tactical superhero game will end up looking, here’s all the information we have so far on Marvel’s Midnight Suns.
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Revealed during 2021’s Gamescom presentation, a release window for Marvel’s Midnight Suns was set for March of 2022. However, it was recently announced that the game had been delayed. The creative director, Jake Solomon, made the announcement via the game’s official Twitter account. In it, he states that they “made the very tough decision to move our launch window to the second half of 2022. We know many fans were looking forward to playing the game originally next spring, and this decision did not come lightly. We decided to push our launch because we need more time to make this the best game possible.”
This delay means we won’t see Marvel’s Midnight Suns until July of 2022 at the earliest, though we anticipate it being more likely to hit in the fall.
Firaxis was also able to tell us all the platforms the game will come to via the ending of the announcement trailer. Basically, if you have a console or PC of any kind, you will be able to play Marvel’s Midnight Suns when it launches for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, and PC. What differences there will be between versions, specifically last- and current-gen consoles, is still unknown, as well as how it will impact any multiplayer or crossplay potential.
As of now, the reveal trailer is all that we have as far as footage for Marvel’s Midnight Suns, and while it has next to nothing in terms of gameplay, we can still learn a lot about what this game will be.
Marvel’s Midnight Suns will be a more supernatural-focused take on the superhero genre, and is something like a more magical-focused version of the Avengers, although we obviously see some of the big names from that team here as well, including Iron Man, Dr. Strange, and Captain America. The plotline will be notably darker than other Marvel media, with the main antagonistic force being the spawn of the underworld. Hydra has awoken the Mother of Demons, Lilith, from her long slumber, and she has begun her own quest to summon an even greater evil known as Chthon.
The Avengers turn to the titular team known as the Midnight Suns, made up of heroes with their own supernatural talents, to combat this occult threat. Their first act is to bring out a secret weapon of their own, Lilith’s own child known as the Hunter, who is the only one to have ever managed to defeat Lilith in the past. It looks, at least from the small bits we’ve seen, to be a fresh perspective for this franchise, and we’re excited to see if it can stick the landing.
Creative director Jake Solomon said in an interview, “From the very beginning, when we started working with Marvel, we knew that was the story we wanted to tell. We wanted to go to a corner of the Marvel Universe where we felt nobody else was at that moment, and it gave us our little space that we could tell our own story.”
We know that the Hunter will be our main character, as well as the fact that there will be 13 total members of the Midnight Suns, but only nine have been revealed so far in addition to the Hunter. These members include:
- Captain Marvel
- Captain America
- Iron Man
- Dr. Strange
- Ghost Rider
- Nico Minoru
The Hunter will be the primary character that you are able to fully customize. The trailer shows her off in what we assume is a default appearance that can be altered; however, it is unclear if you will be able to change her gender as well. This also is who you will take control of when exploring your base, The Abbey, in between missions. Here you will take control of the Hunter in a third-person perspective to interact with the other characters and build your bond.
The announcement had no actual gameplay in it, but did share that the gameplay debut trailer would be coming later. Until then, we do have some more in-depth information from the people at Firaxis, who cleared up some initial assumptions about what this game would be. First, and most importantly, this is not just an XCOM game with a Marvel skin put on top of it. While it is classified as a tactical RPG, the same genre as XCOM, the developers have been quick to clarify that it is not going to play the same.
Jake Solomon, in another interview, stated, “There are zero mechanics shared between XCOM and the Midnight Suns. You’re doing these very large moves, these epic moves, and so the mechanics are just completely different, which results in you still scratching the same itch because it is turn-based tactics combat where you’re controlling the team. But the fantasy is very different. And that means the mechanics are 100% different.”
While we feel that saying the game’s mechanics will be “100% different” is a bit of a stretch considering it will still be a tactical, turn-based, squad-focused game, the differences are important to set player expectations correctly. Teams will be led by the Hunter, who brings along three other heroes on each mission.
One big change to XCOM that we also learned of was the fact that the game will not have any permadeath function, which makes sense on several levels. One, because the cast is so limited that losing anyone would be a major blow mechanically, as well as in terms of story. It wouldn’t really fit well with a superhero game, and making you feel like you were in control of a team of them, if you were worried about Iron Man being killed off forever during a mission. Solomon added that “the bad guys are terrified of you” rather than how XCOM works where, more often than not, you’re the one who should be scared.
Each mission will allow you to pick three different heroes to join your character, and all the characters’ abilities are slotted in or out in the form of cards. The game will focus less on building up a strong team over time, and instead be more about strategizing what combinations of heroes and cards will work best for the mission at hand.
Between missions, players will spend time in a hub area called the Abbey. Here, you as the Hunter can go around and build relationships (not that kind) with all the different heroes through dialogue and even a system where you give them gifts. Apparently, not all the characters in Marvel’s Midnight Suns will initially get along, giving you the chance to build bonds with other heroes as well.
Nothing has been said about whether this game will feature multiplayer, and from the looks of it, we doubt it will. Co-op wouldn’t make much sense in this style of game, and while XCOM was able to implement a competitive mode, we don’t see how it would work with this set cast of characters thematically. There could be some form of asynchronous multiplayer of some kind, maybe, but we don’t expect anything substantial in terms of playing with friends in Marvel’s Midnight Suns.
The XCOM games got some of the best DLC of their generation, so we know Firaxis knows how to expand upon their games. But, depending on the style this game takes, it may not make as much sense for Marvel’s Midnight Suns. If the game is more story-focused, then DLC would have to be a lot more considered from that perspective. Even just adding in new heroes may be a major effort if they are able to impact the story.
If DLC does come for this game, odds are it would be something of a stand-alone type, either completely separate from the main story, or perhaps taking place afterward, but that’s just speculation on our part. Firaxis hasn’t laid out any plans for post-launch content, and likely won’t until the game actually comes out. For now, we just have to wait and see.
The announcement gave us a release window, March of 2022, but no specific date or pre-order details. There are plenty more opportunities, such as the gameplay reveal and any future trailers, for that date to come. Pre-orders usually go live once a specific date is set, so once that happens we will update this article to fill you in on any of the pre-order editions there are, and where you can go to place that pre-order.
However, you can get yourself a special Nightstalker skin when the game launches if you sign up for their newsletters.
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