Spoilers follow for Midnight Suns' ending, naturally.
Midnight Suns is the first truly great superhero game since, well, Insomniac released several good Spiders-Men this year, so not that long, I guess. But it's been great to see modern Marvel superimposed on a new genre, the so-hot-right-now card game, and create something more Mass Effect-like than we've seen before. Our Midnight Suns review anointed it 88%.
True to its Marvel license, Midnight Suns has two short post-credits scenes waiting for players at the end of its long, 65+ hour campaign (it took me 75).
⚠ [**real, Hulk-sized spoilers follow**] ⚠
After KOing Chthon in Midnight Suns' marathon final mission, the scene shifts back to the Abbey library, where Caretaker, Doctor Strange, and Scarlet Witch are sifting through tomes, trying to find a way to revive you, the noble protagonist who gave their life (again) for the world. "Lilith and the Hunter's bond defied death before … prophecy or not, I know this story is far from over," says Caretaker.
Short of winking at the camera, you'd struggle to get a more explicit line from a character in this context. But what form will "more story" take? 2K Games and Firaxis declined to comment to me about the game's end-of-game teasers, so let's have some fun speculating on three possibilities.
📺 ABOVE: Midnight Suns' ending cutscene and less-than-cryptic after-credits teasers.
Theory 1: Midnight Suns could just be getting some more characters
Thanks to dataminers, we already know that more Midnight Suns characters are on the way: Morbius, Deadpool, Venom, and Storm, apparently. Deadpool was teased in an official video in November, with the character campaigning Ryan Reynolds-style to be added to Midnight Suns.
What we don't know is what the release scheme will be for these characters, but I'd guess that Firaxis would introduce them one at a time across 2023, one every three months. This slower schedule would allow them to be promoted individually, something that most publishers go out of their way to do, and give Midnight Suns a service-game-like scheme to keep players a bit engaged across 2023.
Theory 2: A Midnight Suns expansion or sequel
Then again, don't you think that Midnight Suns ending on a line like "I know this story is far from over" suggests a bigger continuation? New Game+ unlocks after you finish the campaign that allows you to play challenging non-story missions to your heart's content. The four DLC characters could slot into this scheme, but a second post-credits clip sends even stronger signals that there's more in store.
After the Midnight Suns credits roll partway, they're interrupted by a short rendered cutscene. The camera pans down from a purple starscape to zoom toward the Darkhold—the same book that Lilith stabbed with the Chthon knife—resting dormant on the craggy plane where the final battle took place. Into the foreground steps an armor-clad leg shadowed by a green cape.
You don't have to collect comics to recognize that's Doctor Doom.
As if we needed more clues at this point, a metallic hand extends across the screen and dusts off the Darkhold. "Amateurs…" a refined voice mutters between evil laughter.
A continuation of Midnight Suns into a second campaign featuring Doom would be a strong creative starting point for an expansion or sequel. Doom is a better-known villain than the god Chthon, with his own country (Latveria) that could be the basis for a new setting. His army of Doombots would be a natural basic enemy for heroes to fight against, an equivalent to the endless Hydra foot soldiers you stomp in Midnight Suns' campaign.
An expansion is also Firaxis' preferred format. War of the Chosen followed XCOM 2, and Civilization has received many expansions throughout its lifespan. For that reason this theory feels the most likely to me—though both 1 and 2 could come true. But there's one more left-field possibility I can't ignore.
Theory 3: A full-blown Fantastic Four spinoff
I submit to the record, Exhibit A, or should I say, Exhibit 4.
Computer, zoom and enhance.
Folks, that's a Fantastic Four emblem laid into stained glass. It's even blue, the team's traditional uniform color.
Normally I'd just say this is just a cute easter egg, but the prominence of this location is notable—you return to Agatha's Altar throughout the game, as all of the Emo Kids meetings take place there. So Firaxis wants us to take note of this. And although Doctor Doom fights everyone from the X-Men to Spider-Man and the Avengers throughout his decades of Marvel history, he's the archenemy of the Fantastic Four.
What undermines this theory is the fact that, well, the Fantastic Four aren't very popular. Though they just had a terrific graphic novel release from legendary artist Alex Ross, their movies have been dreadful under the Marvel umbrella (The Hollywood Reporter ranked the 2015 film dead last among the Marvel films in the last two decades). And on a technical level, Mister Fantastic seems like a development nightmare.
But, to counter-argue the counter-argument, the Midnight Suns weren't a widely-known superhero group either. The Fantastic Four have been around for 60 years.
Knowing that Marvel approached Firaxis to make a game, not the other way around, says to me that the studio might have seen the opportunity from the start to lock Firaxis into a multi-game franchise (as is the case with seemingly every Marvel film and TV product).