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Marvel’s Midnight Suns: Super-heroic turn-based combat and card tactics explained 

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When the team at Firaxis Games was first approached with the chance to create a new game with Marvel Entertainment, we were obviously super excited! We knew we wanted to create a game featuring tactical combat as we had a lot of experience creating those types of games with XCOM.

However, we quickly discovered that designing a Super Hero game is very different from creating a game about soldiers combating an alien invasion. Today, I’m excited to talk to PlayStation players about our journey to design a brand-new heroic combat experience, why we landed on using cards to represent hero abilities, and how that system works in Marvel’s Midnight Suns.

The theory behind cards

To understand why we use cards, it’s important to break down what makes a tactics game fun in the first place. All tactics games are essentially puzzles, and our job as designers is to find the right balance between that puzzle being too easy and obvious, or nearly impossible and insanely complex. Our goal is to find the sweet spot where the answer isn’t immediately obvious, but the player understands the mechanics and tools to manipulate the game and reach the solution. However, over time seasoned players will learn the optimal way to use those tools and quickly overcome any obstacle. That’s where randomness comes in.

Randomization is an important design element in tactics games, as it offers a way to make the game unpredictable even when a player has mastered the core mechanics. It requires players to constantly adapt to new situations and keeps the puzzle fresh and surprising. And it’s how you end up with those amazing moments in XCOM, like hitting a clutch 25% shot… but also how you end up missing those 95% point-blank rounds!

Another critical element of tactics games is fulfilling the player fantasy. In Marvel’s Midnight Suns we have an awesome roster of heroes from across the Marvel Universe, ranging from the cosmic-powered strength of Captain Marvel and brilliant mind of Tony Stark to the mystic arts of Doctor Strange and vampire-hunting prowess of Blade. Our early prototypes put these characters into XCOM-style combat with elements like percentage hit chance and cover – And while the mechanics worked fine, the game didn’t feel right. These are Super Heroes, after all! Iron Man doesn’t miss shots with his Repulsor Blasts, and Captain Marvel isn’t going to take cover for protection when things heat up.

As we removed more of those XCOM elements, particularly the percentage hit chance, the game began to feel more heroic…but the combat puzzle quickly became too simple. It was easy to repeat the same powerful attack with a hero each turn until the mission was over. We needed to reintroduce randomness to keep the combat puzzle engaging while still making you feel like a Super Hero. That’s when we had the idea to represent our hero abilities as cards.

Cards are great because they are commonly used in games and players are familiar with key “mechanics” like a deck, draw, and discard. Drawing a hand of cards each turn gave us the perfect amount of randomness for our combat experience. Our heroes feel super-powered in combat because their abilities never miss and always do exactly what they say, but there is still strategy required to solve the combat puzzle based on which cards are in your hand.

Fight and think like a Super Hero

In Marvel’s Midnight Suns, every her

PlayStation Plus Monthly Games for November: Nioh 2, Lego Harry Potter Collection, Heavenly Bodies 

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Today we’re happy to reveal November’s Monthly Games for PlayStation Plus. Take on savage foes with traditional weapons and supernatural abilities in Nioh 2, cast spells and solve puzzles in Lego Harry Potter Collection and take to the stars for physics sim Heavenly Bodies. 

These titles can be enjoyed by PlayStation Plus Essential, Extra and Premium members from Tuesday November 1.  The PlayStation Plus Extra and Premium Game Catalog lineup for October will be announced later this month. 

Let’s take a closer look at each of the Monthly Games.   

Nioh 2 / Nioh 2 Remastered | PS4, PS5 

Master the lethal arts of the samurai as a mysterious half-human, half-supernatural Yokai warrior, in this challenging single player action RPG sequel. Take down a host of deadly new Yokai, seasoned samurai warriors and gargantuan boss monsters in Team Ninja’s stylized vision of Japan’s early Sengoku period. Unsheathe your deadly weapons and cut down all enemies in your path using a revamped combat system and the ability

Hands-on with The Callisto Protocol reveals combat strategy, upgrades, ruthless enemies, and more

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November Savings promotion comes to PlayStation Store 

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PlayStation Store welcomes the November Savings promotion on Wednesday, October 26. For a limited time* you can enjoy discounts of up to 50% on a variety of titles, including WWE 2K22, Dying Light 2 and Ark: Survival Evolved.