Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is likely to remain a Switch exclusive forever, but if it wasn’t for the Nintendo characters, it wouldn’t look all that out of place on PC, especially with its many similarities to X-COM/XCOM. And it turns out that this connection could have been stronger, as X-COM creator Julian Gollop almost worked on it.
“The creative director Davide Soliani [the lovely crying man from E3] is a friend of mine from Ubisoft,” Gollop told PCGamesN. “When I was at Ubisoft Sofia he was, and still is, working for Ubisoft Milan and I visited him a couple of times. We had conversations about project ideas… he was a fan of my previous games, like Laser Squad [Nemesis] and stuff like that, and he was really into his strategy and turn-based ideas from the beginning.”
Their friendship lead to a phone call, three years ago, where Soliani asked Gollop if he’d like to join him on a new, secret project. “I didn’t know at the time that the project he was talking about was Mario + Rabbids, he couldn’t say what it was,” said Gollop. Unfortunately, he had just left Ubisoft to work on Chaos Reborn. “Nevertheless, had I been at Ubisoft I may have worked on it.”
Gollop is now working on another tactics game, Phoenix Point, which was successfully crowdfunded earlier this year and looks very promising.