XCOM Creative Director Speaks Out On Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle

Last week, Ubisoft finally unveiled its long-rumored collaboration with Nintendo, Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle for the Nintendo Switch. It turned out to be a very endearing title, taking the hardcore elements we've come to expect from strategy games and combining them with beautiful visuals and fun ingredients to make it a game all ages can enjoy.

And yet, a lot of people compared it to Firaxis' hardcore XCOM games, which prompted VentureBeat to speak with someone that actually worked on the games to see what they thought about the forthcoming project.

Jake Solomon, the creative director behind the recent XCOM games, as well as its forthcoming XCOM 2: War of the Chosen expansion, actually found the demo to be pretty delightful, based on what he's seen thus far. "There are few times in my career that I've been as surprised as when I was watching that presentation," he explained. "Just like everyone else, my jaw dropped a little bit when I heard the phrase, 'As you see, Luigi has taken half-cover.' What world am I in right now? I couldn't believe it."

The gameplay does borrow a few strategic elements from the series, but implies them into something that, again, younger players can enjoy. "It's neat to see these things become standards of gameplay," Solomon added. "Hopefully, they'll come up with something awesome. I liked the jumping mechanic. They'll come up with some cool twists, and I'll definitely steal them. I never thought I'd see Mario taking cover with a gun."

And he's pleased that younger players will get into this style of game. "I can finally play something like XCOM with my daughters, introduce the basic concepts," he said. "Then, when they're old enough, maybe we can move on to XCOM together. That was really cool to see."

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The reception for Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle overall has been quite warm, and it should no doubt make for a key title in the Switch's library this fall season, alongside the likes of Splatoon 2 and Super Mario Odyssey.

Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle will release on August 29th for Nintendo Switch.