Would You Play A Life Sim From The Designer Of XCOM?

Would You Play A Life Sim From The Designer Of XCOM?

Jake Solomon is a big name in turn-based strategy. The lead designer on Firaxis’ XCOM series departed the company after shipping last year’s excellent and woefully underplayed Marvel’s Midnight Suns. Now, he says in an interview on the My Perfect Console podcast, that he’s interested in opening a new studio to work on games that spark his imagination.

As Midnight Suns wound down, Solomon found himself thinking about the future. It wasn’t that he was sick and tired of making turn-based strategy titles, he says. It was that he found himself without much else to say about the genre. This makes sense — after an expansion as definitive and universally beloved as XCOM 2: War of the Chosen, it must have been difficult to think of new ground to cover. It isn’t a stretch to call War of the Chosen one of the greatest turn-based strategy campaigns ever made. How do you follow up on a masterpiece?

“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.”

This train of thought led Solomon to think about his design mentor and Firaxis founder Sid Meier. “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 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.”

So, what would Solomon like to work on? “More of a life simulator or simulation-style game,” he says.

For Solomon, with his extensive background in systems design, games of that seem like a perfect logical leap for him. A life sim by Jake Solomon? Say no more. Imagine The Sims, but Solomon was given free-reign over its systems. I would play the absolute hell out of that. Honestly, anything Solomon wants to work on will be placed into my Steam wishlist by default. He’s earned that right, as far as I’m concerned.

You can listen to the full interview over at the My Perfect Console podcast, and I’d strongly recommend it if you’re interested in game design. Solomon is (and has always been) an open book about his work, and there’s a lot of useful and impactful advice in the discussion for those looking to learn more about how the video game sausage gets made.

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