'Mario+Rabbids' Made Jake Solomon Reevaluate The Genre
Jake Solomon is lead designer on Firaxis Games' XCOM: Enemy Unknown and XCOM 2. The guy's pretty darn familiar with turn-based strategy games. But, Ubisoft's Mario+Rabbids Kingdom Battle made him reevaluate the genre, he says in a guest post on Polygon.
"Playing Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, I had many moments where I laughed out loud, or felt a twinge of jealousy at a particularly clever mechanic, or felt that most coveted gaming moment: the exhilaration of a worthy challenge finally overcome. All of this happened in a game in a genre I supposedly know as intimately as anyone can," he writes.
Solomon says Mario+Rabbids showed him there's always room to improve on old concepts, and it reminded him of how much he still has to learn as a designer. The game's movement, specifically, with its use of warp pipes and teammates as springboards, made him reevaluate his own design decisions. "Movement in Kingdom Battle adds a whole new layer of tactical interest to every turn," he says. "It jolted me into reconsidering one of XCOM’s design principles."
Solomon's article is part of Polygon's 2017 year in review, where it asked game developers to reflect on what they played last year. You can check out the rest of the essays here.