Marvel's Midnight Suns - Card-Based Combat

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Game Developer talked with Jake Solomon about the combat system of Marvel's Midnight Suns:

Marvel's Midnight Suns director worries the card-based combat kept players away

Did a complex card system keep Marvel's Midnight Suns from being a hit?

At a Glance


  • Firaxis' tactical role-playing game Marvel's Midnight Suns won praise from critics, but stumbled in sales.
  • Midsummer Studios co-founder Jake Solomon admits the card-based combat system may have deterred players from trying the game.
Firaxis Games' 2022 game Marvel's Midnight Suns won praise from critics and dedicated players for its crunchy in-depth strategy (and surprisingly robust narrative design), but the quality of its gameplay wasn't enough to drive sales. Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick told Bloomberg in 2023 that the game wasn't living up to expectations, saying at the time that the game's December release window may not have been "perfect."

But if there's anyone who has reason to do a postmortem on Midnight Suns, it's Midsummer Studios cofounder Jake Solomon. Solomon, who departed Firaxis in 2023 after the game released, was the brain behind the game's card-based combat system.

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Well he's correct as based on reviews players wanted something like XCom 2.

It even cost him his job and he now hates making strategy games.

He's now developing a life sim at another studio.
 
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Well, I only played it briefly during a demo or free weekend (can't remember which) and I'd say the combat was not the problem from my perspective. I actually thought the combat was pretty fun... what I found off-putting was the smarmy writing and dating-sim like quality to the rest of the gameplay.
 
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After reading and watching reviews I purchased the game and enjoyed it for around 40-50 hours. Even though I am not a fan of comic books or movies and had no idea who most of the characters were (other than Spider-Man from the good PC game a few years ago), I mostly enjoyed the writing and non-combat discussions which received negative comments from reviewers.

I somewhat or mostly enjoyed the card-based combat but I guess I got tired of it because after 40-50 hours I stopped playing the game. Overall the game was decent and I'm glad I played it but I got tired of it. I almost always finish games like this.
 
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Yes and no.

Many Marvel fans are kids and teenagers who dont like TB combat. Some of them were immediatelly annoyed that the game doesnt have fast-paced action. So its not so much about card-based combat but any TB combat.
 
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It was decent, I just wish they'd not gone with card combat. The most fun I had with the game was exploring every inch of the Abbey grounds.
 
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I struggled with the card combat, I put hundreds of hours into XCOM Enemy Within and then XCOM WotC and absolutly love those games but the card play in this game didn't draw me in...I will try again as I have the game and all the DLC.
 
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I loved Midnight Suns. The card based combat was fantastic, as was pootering around the manor. It's a unique game that feels like nothing else.

I can definitely see it how it was a hard sell for a lot of people. Some people don't like the cards, others would be put off by the large amounts of chat and many people are just sick of Marvel. It deserved to do better though.
 
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To me, this is a good thing because it ensures that they'll probably go back to XCOM rather than try to make a sequel to Midnight Suns. I feel bad for the people who liked it, but I think I probably speak for a majority when I say I'd rather have more XCOM.
 
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