Marvel's Midnight Suns is an excellent strategy game from the XCOM team at Firaxis, but I was fixated on the superhero social media platform more than anything
I didn’t expect Marvel’s Midnight Suns to totally engross me with its characters, but after spending way too much time with Firaxis’ new strategy game and take on the superhero universe, I’ve fallen in love with the multi-dimensional heroes and their personalities. That’s due in no small part to SuperLink, a sort of superhero social media that you can periodically check between missions that has characters reacting to news, posting about whatever they like, and being loveable goofballs.
There’ll be some very light spoilers about the characters of Marvel’s Midnight Suns in this article, you’ve been warned.
SuperLink gives you all the humour of social media sites like Twitter, but cuts out the absolute drivel and constant posting about that guy in favour of curated bitesize character stories that let them cut loose, even if they’re all living under the same roof they, like the rest of us, feel invincible behind a screen. Tony Stark hasn’t offered to buy the platform for $44 billion and nosedived it into oblivion while posting the most brain dead memes imaginable in my copy yet though, so there must be something wrong with it.
There’s so much character baked into Marvel’s Midnight Suns, and the SuperLink lets it shine. There’s plenty of social media brain dumbs, sincere discussion, and some of the best jokes in the entire game, all of which is easily missable if you don’t periodically check the timeline. You can’t mute any words of block accounts like on Twitter, but you won’t want to.
The reason SuperLink excels in Marvel’s Midnight Suns is because it makes everything feel… normal. Character’s will arrange movie nights, argue about the news, and talk about what’s happened in the story alongside the game’s hub, The Abbey. Finding out Blade has an affection for young adult vampire novels, or that Magik is a bit overly competitive at water volleyball. In fact, Blade is actually a standout in the social media portion of Midnight Suns, as the Firaxis writing team clearly had fun peeling back the vampire hunters layers, with one in-joke seeing everyone call his nuggets of vampire-killing wisdom #bladefacts.
There also come multiple points in Midnight Suns where the SuperLink is used in a really affirming and positive way, as characters become more understanding of each other’s trauma and triggers. There’s no outright mocking or cheap jokes at this point, with characters instead just listening and understanding, and it really helps build up the feeling that every superhero is part of one, cohesive team.
This feeling of cohesiveness is also helped by the playing ribbing of course, but Marvel’s Midnight Suns uses the SuperLink – which updates in real-time, to remind you that these characters aren’t one-dimensional, even if they sometimes act like it.
The real reason I’m writing this though is because the SuperLink is filled with the best and funniest writing in the whole of Midnight Suns. The fact it’s quite easily skippable is honestly a crime, I’d pay for a superhero social media game (not sure what the goal would be, but I play games not make them) that pokes fun at each hero and gets into their psyche.
It’s quite hard to explain without just spelling out every joke in paragraph form and swiftly ruining it, but the SuperLink is basically Twitter without the doomscrolling and opinionated billionaires (well there’s a bit of that), combined with tweets from people you actually like instead of an algorithm that puts the absolute worst takes of all time in your face.
Of course Marvel’s Midnight Suns benefits from the fact it isn’t real, but this is why it works. Getting snapshots of great writing in between other activities, and not having to scroll through dogshit SuperLink memes for hours makes it effective. The idea is used sparingly, which creates a sense of urgency whenever a notification pops up telling you that someone’s posted.
Marvel’s Midnight Suns is this year’s sleeper hit, and the SuperLink is no small part of that. If you want to hear more about the Firaxis strategy game, our Marvel’s Midnight Suns review dives into how it isn’t just XCOM with supes, but something new entirely. There also isn’t currently any plans to bring Marvel’s Midnight Suns to Steam Deck right now, with potential for that to change in the future.