Jake Solomon, the director of Marvel’s Midnight Suns and the XCOM franchise, is leaving Firaxis after more than two decades.
In addition, studio head Steve Martin will also be leaving the company after 25 years, publisher 2K announced on Friday. He will be replaced by former chief operating officer, Heather Hazen.
The departures follow the disappointing launch of Marvel’s Midnight Suns, though it’s not clear if they’re related. VGC has asked 2K for comment.
Marvel’s Midnight Suns – Gameplay reveal
A 2K spokesperson has told VGC it’s on “good terms” with Jake Solomon and is looking forward to seeing what he does next.
“Jake Solomon is leaving Firaxis Games on good terms after more than two decades at the studio,” it said. “Jake was instrumental in building the XCOM franchise and creating a wonderful new adventure in Marvel’s Midnight Suns. We have deep appreciation for his work and can’t wait to see what he does next.
“We are proud of what the team achieved with Marvel’s Midnight Suns, which was well-received by critics, Marvel fans and tactics players alike. We are excited for the future of Firaxis Games under new studio head Heather Hazen’s leadership, which includes confirmation that Firaxis is in development of the next Civilization game.
“We are focused on delivering our post-launch DLC content for Marvel’s Midnight Suns. The next DLC ‘Redemption’ – featuring Venom – is coming out on February 23.”
“I’m embarking on a new chapter; however, I am incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to fulfill my dreams at Firaxis Games,” said Solomon. “I’m thankful to everyone who enjoyed XCOM and Marvel’s Midnight Suns, and to my development and publishing partners who helped bring those games to life.”
In a follow-up statement on Twitter, Solomon said that working on XCOM and Marvel had been two “lifelong dreams.”
“I’m grateful to Sid first and foremost for teaching me. If I’m ever half as good as him, I’ll be twice as good as I am now.”
He went on to say, “I loved designing tactical turn-based games, but it’s time for other, smarter people to push that space forward.”
David Ismailer, President of 2K, said of Solomon: “Jake revolutionized tactical turn-based games and continually raised the bar for storytelling in the strategy genre.”
While Midnight Suns was well-received critically, all versions were heavily discounted within a month of release, suggesting that its publisher had been disappointed with its commercial performance.
According to recently published data, Midnight Suns failed to make a list of the UK’s 100 best-selling games of 2022.
Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick told Bloomberg recently that “it’s possible the release window wasn’t perfect,” but that he believed Midnight Suns could sell well in the long-term, like other titles from developer Firaxis Games.
Speaking to VGC last month, Solomon said that he had no idea about the future of the XCOM franchise, saying: “I personally have no information on that right now and I say that because, truly, yesterday I was working on Morbius’ abbey outfits and recolours, so I am not working on it. I don’t have any secret agenda, I don’t know anything about XCOM at this point.”
Solomon told VGC last year: “As long as I live, as long as Firaxis lives, XCOM is… I won’t even say sleeping. I will say XCOM is definitely not dead.”
The most recent XCOM game, spin-off Chimera Squad, was released for PC in 2020. The last full instalment, XCOM 2, was released back in 2016.
VGC’s 5-star Marvel Midnight Suns review praised the game’s writing, characters, varied play-styles and generous campaign.