Marvel's Midnight Suns is one of the more unique games associated with the comic book company that has come about in recent years. Compared to the likes of Marvel's Spider-Man, Marvel's Avengers, and Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, Midnight Suns centers around a vastly different genre and features numerous characters that many fans might not be too familiar with. And while this might have made the project that much more refreshing for those at Firaxis Games, it also led to a number of unique challenges.
Unlike many aforementioned Marvel games, Midnight Suns is based pretty directly on the 1990s comic book series Rise of the Midnight Sons which featured a team comprised of characters like Ghost Rider, Morbius, and Blade. While the group has been rebooted many different times with various incarnations, Midnight Suns art director Dennis Moellers explained to us in a recent conversation that giving the team a distinct look that called back to these 90s comics was one of the first major objectives that Firaxis had when making the game. To that end, Moellers and creative director Jake Solomon tried to draw inspiration from what Marvel has done in the past with its major crossover event comics.
"In comic books, I love events. We were inspired by multiple comic book events when we did this. Obviously, there's Rise of the Midnight Sons but Fear Itself was [also] a big event for us," Solomon explained. "One of the fun things about comic book events is the team look. The coolest events, in my opinion, either culminate in some team look for either the villains or the heroes. Both villains and heroes we focused on getting a team look for all of them [in Midnight Suns]."
When it comes to making the distinct, team-wide attire for the heroes, Moellers explained that Firaxis really tried to lean into the idea of combining the new with the old. Not only was this approach made from an art style perspective, but also from the point of view of the characters within Marvel's Midnight Suns. The black and gold armor that the hero characters don in Midnight Suns was explained by Moellers to be a crossover between the modernity of Iron Man's technology and the old-school mysticism of Doctor Strange. This look was one that was hard to nail for every character, but it also accomplished the goal that Firaxis had of paying homage to comics of yesteryear while also making something completely different.
Despite looking back on so much of what Marvel has done in the past, Moellers and Solomon also explained that it was important for Firaxis to leave an imprint on this world in ways outside of simply art. Not only did the studio's unique take on Midnight Suns include an original story, but it also presents some different versions of its biggest characters. While this was a difficult task to balance given how protective Marvel is of some of those like Spider-Man, Captain America, and Iron Man, Firaxis found excitement when it came to folding in some lesser-known members of the Midnight Suns.
Two of the most prominent characters that are seen in Marvel's Midnight Suns are Nico Minoru and Magik. Despite having been around for quite some time, Nico and Magik haven't really appeared in many other Marvel movies or video games, which makes them a bit more unknown to a broader audience. Even though this might make them harder for players to latch onto at first, Solomon said that Firaxis found this opportunity as a challenge to show Marvel fans why they should fall in love with some of the cast's more unfamiliar faces.
"The Runaways is one of my favorite books but [Nico] has such a lower profile than someone like Iron Man," Solomon said. "Marvel was way more open to our interpretation of Nico and Magik. They have far less representation in games. Narratively and looks-wise, we had way more fun playing with those characters because we're the people introducing Nico and Magik to a lot of players. [...] We talked about how players that don't know Magik and know Captain America will end the game being like, 'Oh my God, Magik rules.'"
Above all, Solomon and Moellers stressed that those within Marvel gave Firaxis a ton of creative freedom when it came to Midnight Suns. Extensive discussions were had between Marvel and Firaxis involving the story, characters, and design of Midnight Suns, and in that regard, the studio had to reference plenty of Marvel's work from the past to justify its own creative pursuits. As long as this was done, though, Firaxis found that it was able to tackle just about any idea that it had with Midnight Suns and create a game that those within the studio are proud of. It remains to be seen if players will think of the final product, but Solomon and Moellers seem confident that they've helped create a game that Marvel fans will thoroughly enjoy.
Marvel's Midnight Suns is finally due out next week on December 2nd for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and PC. Additional versions of the game for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch are also slated to arrive at a later date.
Be sure to stay tuned to our coverage here on ComicBook.com as we'll have a full review of Marvel's Midnight Suns to share in the near future. In the interim, you can also read our hands-on preview right now.