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Jake Solomon on the XCOM-like Mario + Rabbids: “My jaw dropped a little bit”

Mario Rabbids Kingdom Battle

We don’t usually talk about Nintendo Switch games here, though Ubisoft’s E3 conference made it very difficult. There, Shigeru Miyamoto stormed onstage with a replica laser weapon and announced Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, a crossover that looked a lot like XCOM. It’s made by the Ghost Recon studio.

Read more: the best strategy games on PC.

If attendees were flabbergasted, we can only imagine how XCOM lead designer Jake Solomon felt – seeing so many of turn-based tactical conventions his team had defined folded into the Mushroom Kingdom.

“There are few times in my career that I’ve been as surprised as when I was watching that presentation,” Solomon told VentureBeat. “Just like everyone else, my jaw dropped a little bit when I heard the phrase, ‘As you see, Luigi has taken half-cover.’ What world am I in right now? I couldn’t believe it.

“But I realised that this is finally how I can introduce XCOM to my daughters. I can finally play something like XCOM with them, introduce the basic concepts. Then, when they’re old enough, maybe we can move on to XCOM together. That was really cool to see.”

Solomon particularly liked the look of the jumping mechanic, which saw the likes of Mario and Peach chaining movement boosts together.

“I never thought I’d see Mario taking cover with a gun,” he finished. Neither did we, Jake, but XCOM is an international project – Italian plumbers welcome.

Of course, the XCOM 2 team announced their War of the Chosen expansion at E3. It’s coming out around the same time as Mario + Rabbids, on August 29th. Which to play first?