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Midnight Suns gameplay stream gently responds to complaints about cards

Before Firaxis revealed Marvel’s Midnight Suns, creative director Jake Solomon told us that its turn-based combat would be “completely different” from XCOM’s, and the first gameplay trailers revealed what he meant: card-based combat. That decision wasn’t everyone’s favorite. Based on the YouTube comments, some had been expecting ‘XCOM but with Marvel characters’ (exactly what Solomon said Midnight Suns wouldn’t be) and were skeptical that they’d like the inclusion of card game systems. The disappointment was loud enough that Solomon referenced it in a livestream today, embedded above.

“What could be controversial about cards? Nothing, I assume,” Solomon joked. “However, in case it is, I would understand why people would say, ‘Uh, what? That’s very different from anything you’ve done before.’ I want to make sure that people understand: It doesn’t play that different from things we’ve done before.”

Solomon seems to contradict himself here: Is Midnight Suns “completely different” from XCOM, or is it not that different from XCOM? The gameplay demo streamed today wasn’t comprehensive, but I think it’s enough to figure out the answer for ourselves. Midnight Suns obviously isn’t completely different from XCOM, but given that two turn-based Firaxis games are pretty similar by definition, it’s fair to assume that Solomon didn’t mean that literally. It does look like it’s going to feel quite different than XCOM, though, even if today’s comment indicates that it hasn’t leapt into the deckbuilding deep end.

(Image credit: Firaxis)

Although their abilities are dealt as hands of cards, you’re taking turns moving heroes around in a 3D environment and telling them who to attack, which is the same thing you do in XCOM. The cards are a nice way to present several hero abilities to the player at once—big rectangles with unique art and description text seem better than little buttons with tooltips, especially when each hero has unique abilities to keep track of—but at a glance, it appears that decks and dealing aren’t the soul of Midnight Suns. There’s no chin scratching over complex combos like you get in Slay the Spire.

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