XCOM designer Jake Solomon looking to fund new studio, move away from turn-based strategy games

Jake Solomon, best known for his work on the XCOM series and Marvel’s Midnight Suns, is looking to fund a fresh studio in order to “make a new kind of game”.

Earlier this year, Solomon announced he was leaving Firaxis after more than two decades to “[embark] on a new chapter”.

At this point, the XCOM designer did not go into specifics about what this new chapter would look like, only saying that his brain was “on fire with a new dream” and this was the “time to go chase it”.

“Redemption” – Venom DLC trailer for Marvel’s Midnight Suns.

Now, Solomon has revealed he is hoping to find some funds for a new studio. Speaking on Simon Parkin’s My Perfect Console podcast, Solomon reflected on his time at Firaxis, saying following the release of Midnight Suns he found himself unexcited “about doing another turn-based strategy game”.

“[It’s] not because the genre isn’t amazing – it’s where I’ve spent my life – but I felt like I didn’t have anything more to say in that area,” Solomon explained.

“So I started thinking, what would I do if I wasn’t making this? If I wasn’t making another turn-based strategy game at Firaxis? And I started to get excited about… Well, there are other things that excite me as a designer, and the idea of starting something new was really exciting to me.”

He continued: “And I kind of I realised, as the company was changing, this was my opportunity to think about maybe I should make a change. If I’m ever going to do my own thing, which again Sid [Meier] had started multiple companies and I thought to myself, if I’m ever going to start my own company, which isn’t in my nature but… I felt like I can do this, do a whole new thing and be completely in charge of it, and that was just too exciting for me.”

Spider-Man and Dr. Strange in Marvel’s Midnight Suns.

When asked further about the sort of game that would excite him, Solomon said he would probably make “more of a life simulator or a simulation-style game”.

“My intention… if anybody gives me the funding for it, is to open my own studio locally. I’m going make a new kind of game,” the Midnight Suns director shared, saying he wanted to stay in Baltimore.

“I can’t move too far away from what my experience is, and so… I’m a creative director, but the truth is I’m actually a very in-the-weeds system designer. I make games as a creative director but I actually end up designing a lot of the systems for the games. So every game that I’ve made, I end up designing – even on Midnight Suns, I had some amazing designers but I ended up designing individual heroes, enemies and their abilities. I’m just a very in-the-weeds designer.

“So, system design is important to me, I want to make a sort-of systems-based game. But I think it won’t be turn-based strategy. I kind of want to make something that’s a bit more of a life simulator, like a life simulation game.”

At the moment, nothing is officially in place, however, Solomon did state he is actively looking for funding and is in the process of registering an official name for the company.

As for Solomon’s previous games, Eurogamer gave Marvel’s Midnight Suns a Recommended badge on its release, with Donlan calling it “great tactical fun nestled in a sweet-natured superhero dollhouse”.

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