Director Jake Solomon is leaving Firaxis after two decades of work on Marvel’s Midnight Suns, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, and XCOM 2. This comes amid a studio shakeup with multiple senior roles sliding around the corporate conveyor belt. Firaxis also revealed that they’re in early development on the next Civilization game.
Jake Solomon worked as a creative director at Firaxis, and in a statement the studio say he was “instrumental in revitalizing the tactical turn-based genre.” In a statement on Twitter, Solomon extended his gratitude to Firaxis’s founder Sid Meier, the rest of the team, and the fans of his games. Although he’s best known for his work on those influential strategy games, he says his future might be in another genre, saying, “I loved designing tactical turn-based games, but it’s time for other, smarter people to push that space forward.” He continued, “my brain is on fire with a new dream. Time to go chase it.” Solomon hasn’t said where he’s going next, but whatever he does is sure to make headlines.
Other key roles at the studio slipped around, too. Studio head Steve Martin is leaving after 25 years and being replaced by former Firaxis COO Heather Hazen, who has experience as an executive producer on games Plants Vs. Zombies. Plants vs Zombies RTS, anyone? In a statement she said, “I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to carry on the studio’s storied legacy” – which is beginning with the next installation of Civilization series.
Ed Beach will take over as creative director on the next iteration of Sid Meier’s classic strategy sim, after being lead designer on Civ 6. The studio is continuing to support Marvel’s Midnight Suns alongside that, and are exploring other “new creative projects,” probably in the strategy genre.
Solomon’s departure will probably worry some fans, since he’s been very publicly leading Firaxis’s major projects for years. At least his last game at the studio, the Marvel deckbuilder, was good. According to Katharine’s review, Midnight Suns – AKA superhero summer camp – is the best Marvel game yet. And for fans that want to hold onto Solomon’s work for a little more, that post-launch support for Midnight Suns is ongoing and includes next week’s Venom DLC.