XCOM 2’s creative director Jake Solomon was just as surprised as everyone to learn about Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle.
The turn-based Nintendo Switch game, which is being developed by Ubisoft, appears to borrow heavily from the mechanics laid down by the X-COM series reboot launched in 2012. You’d think that Solomon would be a bit peeved seeing his team’s hard work being applied to a competing product, but he tells our colleagues at Game Informer that instead he’s absolutely thrilled.
“It was really cool to see,” Solomon said during an interview at E3 in Los Angeles. “I started getting all these tweets, and so I went and watched the gameplay video of it. At one point they say something like, ‘And at this point Luigi has entered half cover,’ and I was like, ‘What world am I in?’”
Solomon was quick to point out that he owes much of his own success to Julian Gollop, the co-creator of the X-COM franchise. Solomon told Polygon that he made an appointment to meet with Gollop in person at this year’s E3, and spent much of the time picking his brain about his next game, a spiritual successor to X-COM: Apocalypse called Phoenix Point.
“I feel honored to be curating [these mechanics] for the audience,” Solomon said. “I just went to lunch with Julian and I think that to me it’s cool. And if they do something great, I’ll steal it ... anything good you do. ... It’s not a zero sum game. Especially not in the genre that I design in. The rising tide and all that. I think that there’s an underserved audience. It’s going to generate more fans and it’s going to come up with new ideas.”
The biggest surprise, he said, was the fact that Nintendo was willing to put a rocket launcher in Princess Peach’s hands in the first place
“If I had know we could have done that, I would have pitched that to Nintendo a long time ago,” Solomon said with a laugh.
You can watch the entire segment below.