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Midnight Suns lead Jake Solomon is working on a Stephen King-inspired Sims rival

Firaxis veteran Jake Solomon has announced his next steps, in the formation of Midsummer Studios.
marvel's midnight suns december 2022 game releases

Firaxis veteran Jake Solomon, who led development on Marvel’s Midnight Suns and XCOM, has announced the formation of Midsummer Studios, and confirmed its first title will be a “life sim” that revolves around player-driven stories.

Solomon left Firaxis in early 2023, after more than two decades of service working across a variety of franchises. He now brings that expertise to Midsummer, which recently gained USD $6 million of funding to launch its debut project.

In a new interview with Game Developer, Solomon has confirmed that since leaving Firaxis, he’s been hard at work on realising a new vision for life sim games.

“Life sims have been very underserved,” he said. He pointed to the genre dominance of The Sims as being part of the reason, as competitors face a tough battle against player loyalty. Per Solomon, many investors were “waiting” for someone to come around with a good life sim pitch to rival this series, and the skills to realise their most ambitious ideas.

Read: Marvel’s Midnight Suns Review – Friendship triumphs over evil

With funding now secured, Solomon is working to develop his vision of pairing life sim gameplay with a compelling, player-driven story. As he told Game Developer, he aims to make a game where the whole point is to make a story, just by playing the game. This project will reportedly be “something of a soap opera generator” set in a modern small town.

Influences range from Stephen King’s Needful Things, which revolves around a mysterious pawn shop in Castle Rock, and Touched by an Angel, a classic drama about angels on Earth. Both will inform the character interactions and drama in the game, in some fashion.

For those who enjoyed the quieter moments of Midnight Suns, and particularly the team bonding segments of the game, there may also be elements of these systems in Solomon’s new project.

At this stage, Solomon hasn’t revealed more about what’s next, but it does appear Midsummer is rapidly developing its new game, with a view to make the most of provided funding. Solomon told Game Developer that he and his team are well aware of the short runway that funding provides, and are planning to make significant progress well before the runway ends.

For now, Midsummer’s plans remain well under wraps, but those enticed by the idea of a Solomon-led life sim with shades of Stephen King already have plenty to look forward to. Keep an eye out for Midsummer’s next steps, as work continues.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.