Marvel’s Midnight Suns reunites disparate members of the Marvel Universe on a supernatural adventure. This quest to save the world features Iron Man, Captain America, Captain Marvel, Wolverine, Blade, Doctor Strange, and Ghost Rider, plus some lesser-known heroes like Magik and Nico Minoru. However, players view this iconic adventure through the eyes of The Hunter, an all-new hero designed by Firaxis in collaboration with Marvel.
Working with Marvel to create a new hero was a dream come true for the team at Firaxis Games, but they needed to make sure The Hunter could stand alongside the other iconic characters from the Marvel Universe. “There is a specific way that Marvel heroes become heroes, and there is a specific way that Marvel villains become villains,” says creative director Jake Solomon. “You can’t just wave a wand and say, ‘Oh great. The Hunter exists now.’ We had to think about what the backstory is, why do they have meaning in this setting, why are all these characters with all these powers? [recruit] to potentially lead them in this fight? If we make them central, it has to be authentic to this story and why the other heroes would look at The Hunter as an equal. “
From Marvel’s perspective, there had to be a good narrative reason to introduce this new hero. “Everything in this experience revolves around The Hunter and you playing as The Hunter and the choices you make – that’s crucial to authentic Marvel stories,” says Marvel VP of Creativity Bill Rosemann. “Every Marvel story has to connect with the main protagonist. You can’t take out a hero and put another hero in the story. It shouldn’t work. Every story should be very personal to the hero … In this story, The Hunter is in the center. Everything is connected, all these characters, the whole story is connected to you, The Hunter. “
The Hunter (who can be male or female) is the son of Lilith, the main antagonist that Hydra awakens at the beginning of the game. The mystical members of the Midnight Suns team up with Iron Man, Captain Marvel, and Captain America, but realize they still need help if they hope to stand a chance against Lilith and her forces. They learn about The Hunter, who defeated Lilith centuries ago before resting. Due to The Hunter’s lineage as Lilith’s son, they are the only ones powerful enough to stop the Mother of Demons.
The team of heroes travel to the Abbey, an ancient monastery that exists in a pocket dimension. It is the final refuge within the reach of Lilith. There, they use their combined magic to awaken The Hunter and recruit them for their team. If you watched the trailer for Marvel’s Midnight Suns ad (above), you saw a scene from the awakening ritual. With The Hunter back and aware of what is happening, the team sets out to stop the dark prophecy once again.
Unfortunately, The Hunter’s memory hasn’t survived centuries of hibernation, so they don’t remember exactly how Lilith was once stopped. All they know is that they must balance the energy of Light and Dark within them and that their connection to Lilith presents the danger of putting The Hunter at odds with the rest of the team of heroes. Despite this innate caution displayed by the rest of the heroes, the team trusts The Hunter and sets out to give Lilith and her forces everything they have.
The Hunter is the first customizable hero in the Marvel Universe. Players choose gender and skin tone, then equip different outfits to complete the desired look. Not only that, but players can also customize their Hunter’s move set and relationships. While in the Abbey, players can roam the corridors and interact with the other heroes who crash into the mansion. “On any given day at the Abbey, you will meet heroes who want to have a conversation, maybe about something serious, maybe not,” says Soloman. “You will have the ability to hang out with these heroes. You will have the ability to perform missions for these heroes. Hopefully, the Abbey feels like a living space, like your dream of what a superhero headquarters can be.”
Just as they must balance their energies of Light and Dark, The Hunter can harness these opposing powers in combat. The dialogue and actions surrounding the Abbey contribute to The Hunter’s lineup. You can change your balance to be a Light Hunter, Dark Hunter, or somewhere in between. The Hunter is always a force for good, but a Dark Hunter is more of an antihero, while a Light Hunter is a more virtuous traditional hero. These changes are more than cosmetic, as their alignment helps determine what abilities the Hunter has access to. Dark abilities are generally for dealing damage (at the cost of something like your health or the speed of your allies). Rather, Light abilities are generally more about enhancing and healing your party, allowing you to choose whether you want your party leader to focus more on offense or defense.
Using the unique battle system developed by Firaxis, players control The Hunter and a group of other heroes to battle Lilith’s forces, including corrupted versions of iconic heroes and villains. In my practice time, The Hunter displayed powerful abilities like grabbing enemies with a whip and hitting them against environmental objects or healing nearby allies. Iron Man and Captain Marvel may be more familiar to the masses, but based on my time with the game, The Hunter is a formidable combatant and a more than valuable asset to the Midnight Suns.
Marvel’s Midnight Suns launches on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X / S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC in March. For more information on this upcoming strategy RPG from Firaxis Games, click the banner below to access our exclusive content hub, or check out the current edition of Game informer to read our cover story in depth!