'Marvel's Midnight Suns' is a card-based tactical RPG

Think: "Slay the Spire" rather than "XCOM."

Firaxis Games / 2K Games

When Firaxis announced Marvel’s Midnight Suns last week, the studio’s Jake Solomon promised the game would share “zero mechanics” with XCOM, but said little else about how its gameplay systems would work. Now we have a better idea following a trailer the developer shared on Thursday.

In short, Midnight Suns has more in common with deck-building games like Slay the Spire and Griftlands than XCOM. Battles still unfold over the course of multiple turns, but instead of each hero bringing the same set of abilities to every battle, you’ll have to draw for cards every turn.

Some grant straightforward attacks, while others allow you to reposition enemies. According to Solomon, battlefield terrain and the positioning of adversaries play a critical role in Midnight Suns since you force your opponents to collide with obstacles and each other to damage them. As you progress through the game, you’ll have the chance to upgrade your cards to make them more powerful and create new synergies between different heroes.

Following the reveal, Firaxis clarified on Twitter you won’t have to buy loot boxes or pay for any other microtransactions to unlock additional cards. However, Midnight Suns will include character skins you can buy, though those don’t affect the balance of the game.

Outside of combat, there’s a hub called the Abbey where your custom-made character, the Hunter, can interact with the other members of the Midnight Suns, including Blade, Doctor Strange and Iron Man. And much like in Nintendo’s Fire Emblem series, that’s something you’ll want to do since it will make them a more effective team on the battlefield.

Midnight Suns Publisher 2K plans to release the game to Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PS5, Windows PC, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S in March 2022.