XCOM 2â€™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. Youâ€™d think that Solomon would be a bit peeved seeing his teamâ€™s hard work being applied to a competing product, but he tells our colleagues at Game Informer that instead heâ€™s absolutely thrilled.
â€œIt was really cool to see,â€ Solomon said during an interview at E3 in Los Angeles. â€œI started getting all these tweets, and so I went and watched the gameplay video of it. At one point they say something like, â€˜And at this point Luigi has entered half cover,â€™ and I was like, â€˜What world am I in?â€™â€
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 yearâ€™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.
â€œI feel honored to be curating [these mechanics] for the audience,â€ Solomon said. â€œI just went to lunch with Julian and I think that to me itâ€™s cool. And if they do something great, Iâ€™ll steal it … anything good you do. … Itâ€™s not a zero sum game. Especially not in the genre that I design in. The rising tide and all that. I think that thereâ€™s an underserved audience. Itâ€™s going to generate more fans and itâ€™s going to come up with new ideas.â€
The biggest surprise, he said, was the fact that Nintendo was willing to put a rocket launcher in Princess Peachâ€™s hands in the first place
â€œIf I had know we could have done that, I would have pitched that to Nintendo a long time ago,â€ Solomon said with a laugh.
You can watch the entire segment below.