Marvel’s Midnight Suns will be dawning before long, with a couple months left before the XCOM devs at Firaxis take us on a Marvel hero demon hunt. While the inexhaustible juggernaut of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is stuck in the throes of cosmic conflicts and maddening multiverses, Midnight Suns is Marvel exploring its occult era. We’ve got accursed tomes. We’ve got a haunted abbey. We’ve got Wolverine with magic runes etched in his tights. And because Blade is there, we’ll have at least one vampire.
Drawing from team-up comics stories dating back to the ’90s, Marvel’s Midnight Suns is the kind of turn-based tactical RPG you’d expect from the XCOM devs. But here, you’ll find hands of cards in place of aliens and hit-chance percentages. Since the game’s unveiling at GamesCom 2021, we’ve been gathering everything we can about its heroes, gameplay, and story to prepare you for your gothic superhero moment in October.
Here’s everything we know about Marvel’s Midnight Suns.
Marvel’s Midnight Suns will release December 2, 2022.
The Midnight Suns release was initially set for March 2022, but delays pushed the launch window back—first to the second half of 2022, then to an unspecified time “later this fiscal year.” According to a statement released on Twitter after the first delay, additional development time was necessary to make it “the best game possible,” with the extra months going towards adding “more story, cinematics, and overall polish.” It was confirmed at the D23 Expo that it would release on December 2.
Midnight Suns trailers
Here’s a Midnight Suns cinematic trailer
This Darkness Falls cinematic, revealed at Summer Games Fest 2022, adds Spider-Man to the roster of confirmed Midnight Suns heroes. Meanwhile, everyone’s favorite goopy antihero Venom gets corrupted by Lilith to stand alongside her collection of demon-possessed Marvel bruisers—a collection that includes Scarlet Witch and the Hulk. Seems bad.
What other Midnight Suns trailers are available?
Marvel’s Midnight Suns was revealed with a cinematic announcement trailer. It sets the deliberately spookier vibe of the game, and introduces its cast of Marvel headliners—we’ve got Doctor Strange, Iron Man, Ghost Rider, and others—as well as the player-controlled and customizable Hunter hero. We’re shown Lilith, Mother of Demons, the game’s primary antagonist (and enemy number one in the comic storyline that serves as one of the game’s inspirational touchpoints).
This gameplay reveal (opens in new tab) trailer was met with mixed feelings. Fans who were hoping for something closer to the XCOM model found instead that Midnight Suns will blend turn-based tactics with card-based mechanics. An official gameplay overview (opens in new tab) shows how the game will play both in and out of combat.
This VOD of a gameplay showcase livestream (opens in new tab) shows a brief mission playthrough against the X-Men villain Sabretooth, giving a more in-depth sense of the card-based tactics and how they reflect the flavor of the Marvel heroes you’ll be assembling. We’re given a look at the Abbey as well—your headquarters where you’ll be hanging out with your growing roster of superheroes between missions.
Midnight Suns heroes and story
(Image credit: Firaxis)
What’s the Midnight Suns story? Who is the Hunter?
In Midnight Suns, humanity is imperiled by Lilith, Mother of Demons, an ancient, powerful, and malevolent being who’s about as pleasant as her name would suggest. Defeated and sealed away centuries ago, she’s been resurrected by Hydra (surprise) and is apparently attempting to summon her Elder God master, Chthon. As with all things involving Elder Gods, that would probably be very, very bad.
Meanwhile, in Midnight Suns, you play as the Hunter, an original hero created for the game. You’ll be able to choose between a male and female Hunter and customize their appearance. And, coincidentally, you’re Lilith’s child. It’s apparently not a warm relationship. It was you who defeated Lilith in the past, sealing her away before entering your own centuries-long slumber. And since Mom’s back to try another apocalypse, you’ve been thawed out for a rematch.
Which other heroes are confirmed for Midnight Suns?
(Image credit: Firaxis Games)
As the Hunter, you’ll be fighting alongside 12 established heroes from Marvel canon. In the comics, the Midnight Sons roster (the original set was more dude-heavy) trends towards more obscure occult-themed heroes, with a few recognizable names like Doctor Strange, Ghost Rider, and Blade. For Midnight Suns, Firaxis is bringing Avengers and X-Men aplenty. These heroes have been confirmed so far:
Wolverine (voiced, as always, by Steve Blum)
Ghost Rider (the Robbie Reyes incarnation—he has a car)
What will Marvel’s Midnight Suns gameplay be like?
While creative director Jake Solomon claimed that Midnight Suns would be “completely different” from XCOM, it’s still a Firaxis tactics RPG. But there are some big departures from the XCOM model—namely, that Midnight Suns is a card game. Instead of having an action bar with your characters’ actions laid out to use on cooldown, each turn you’ll have a hand of cards randomly drawn from a deck you’ll be assembling for each hero. These are how your heroes will attack or use their powers for utility options, like defense boosts and stealth buffs. Cover and sightlines aren’t really a factor.
The cards use keyword mechanics like you’d find in Slay the Spire, Hearthstone, or Magic: The Gathering. Wolverine’s ability cards, for example, feature a lot of Taunt keywords, which draw enemy attention when played. It’s hard to pay attention to anything else when you’re suffering a small whirlwind of clawed, Canadian violence.
A Heroism counter builds as you play abilities, letting some cards cash in specified amounts of Heroism to gain additional effects. One Wolverine card gained a Lifesteal keyword when above a certain Heroism threshold, healing him for whatever damage he dealt with it.
Unlike XCOM’s grid-based gameplay, characters in Midnight Suns can freely move and target any point within a radius on their turn. There are no hit percentages to worry about. As the devs said in the livestream above, these are literal superheroes—they’re not going to give Captain America the opportunity to miss on a 95% attack roll. You won’t be dealing with permadeath, either. For better or worse, Marvel isn’t letting a basic enemy kill off Iron Man for good because you fumbled a turn.
(Image credit: 2K Games/Firaxis)
What can you do between Midnight Suns missions?
Between missions, you’ll retire to the Abbey, the Midnight Suns headquarters. You’ll be able to interact with your teammates, building friendships with them in dialogue tree conversations and hangout sequences. It’s also where you’ll manage and upgrade your selection of ability cards for your heroes. There’s mention of crafting, too, and some discoverable lore. It’s somewhere between the base management layer from XCOM and hanging out with your Normandy companions in Mass Effect, with some light exploration thrown in.
Because it’s a superhero game, there’ll be different costumes to choose from for both the Hunter and the existing Heroes. It’s unclear whether these are just unlockable cosmetics or if they’ll be tied to crafted upgrades. I’m hoping it’s the latter. I’d love for the arcane embellishments on the trailer costumes to be the product of whatever enchanted alloy I’ve fortified Iron Man’s armor with. No news on whether more will be available for purchase. Hopefully, there’ll be enough aesthetic options without having to spend more cash.
Other Midnight Suns info
What else do we know?
According to the devs, the game will be pretty long. To give an idea, in the gameplay showcase livestream it was mentioned that you’ll still be recruiting heroes to the cause—Wolverine, in this case—even after a dozen or so hours.
In addition to customizing the Hunter’s appearance, you’ll be able to customize their living space in the Abbey.
You have a pet hellhound named Charlie. She can help you find treasure. Yes, you can pet her.
The comic crossover storyline Rise of the Midnight Sons (opens in new tab) is a major inspiration for the game. Running in the early 90s, it gathered together a bunch of Marvels’ goths to save the world from Lilith and her demonic children. The original team lineup included—no joke—three discrete Ghost Riders. The Midnight Sons (opens in new tab) have gone through a few iterations in the years since. It’s safe to assume any Marvel hero who’s some kind of night creature or occult practitioner has been involved at one point or another.
There’s also a new five-part Midnight Suns comic miniseries (opens in new tab) starting up in September, which rebrands the team name to bring it in line with the game and pulls some of the same roster additions, like Wolverine and Magik.
You can secure an “Exclusive Nightstalker skin” for Blade by signing up for the Midnight Suns newsletter on the game’s website (opens in new tab). There’s a Doctor Strange skin available as a pre-order bonus, too.