E3 2013: Warhammer 40K: Eternal Crusade Announced [Updated]
Games Workshop is determined to turn their popular franchise into an MMO it seems. The unfortunate collapse of THQ meant the quiet disappearance of Dark Millennium Online but now, Behaviour Interactive is stepping up as developer for a new title called Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade.
There are barely any details at the moment but we do know that the third-person action MMORPG will have players choosing a W40K race and then fighting for faction territory, perhaps in a fashion similar to Planetside 2. The official website states that we’re currently in Phase 1 of 9, where Phase 2 is “Coming Soon” while the rest are all locked. Chances are those other phases are different alpha and beta testing stages.
Behaviour Interactive is Canada’s largest independent game developer, having made a lot of licensed games in the past. Their MMO experience seems to come mostly from ex-Funcom staff, according to a tweet by Craig Morrison, Funcom’s Creative Director.
There are lots of questions like how the melee and ranged combat will be approached, how vehicles come into play, which races are available (there’s a lot, not to mention the factions present in each) and whether this is all one huge PvP death world. We’ll probably find out more in the days to come so stick around.
Warhammer 40K: Eternal Crusade will be out in late 2015 for PC, PS4 and Xbox One.
Update: As information surrounding Eternal Crusade is still lacking, I gathered what I could from different interviews with Behaviour Interactive. There’s a much clearer picture of what we can expect from the game now, although with no screenshots, gameplay videos or hands-on sessions, the verdict is still up in the air.
- A third-person action MMORPG, over-the-shoulder viewpoint.
- Blend of Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine and Gears of War .
- Skills and abilities specific to that race will be accessible on-the-fly.
- There will be cover mechanics.
- Vehicles will be available for use, such as Space Marine Rhinos, Predator tanks and Ork Battlewagons.
Races, Squads, Character Progression
- Four races are available at launch: Space Marines (Dark Angels), Chaos Space Marines (Iron Warriors), Orks and the Eldar.
- Tyranids will be AI-controlled, serving as the common enemy.
- Players start in their personal Orbital Striker ship. These can be cosmetically customised.
- Players and can join a Battle Squad with a maximum capacity of ten.
- Squads are part of a Chapter run by an in-game player electorate.
(The terms are commonly used for Space Marines, so we’re not sure whether the other races will have a similarly organised structure.)
- Characters accumulate experience either to progress through the skill tree or to unlock other classes from that faction.
- Supporting your Chapter’s requests will reward bonus XP and Requisition tokens (the in-game currency).
PvE and PvP Content
- Squad or player will select a continent to land on.
- An overworld map will display friendly and enemy squads, actions available and locations to explore.
- PvE missions will task you with the Tyranid threat.
- PvP will let you go against the other factions.
- Victory in either situation will reward the contested resources and territory to your Chapter.
- Resources are the lifeblood of Eternal Crusade. These will be used to make armour, weapons, ships and even defensive armaments.
- The game supports destructible environments.
- After three months, a winner will be decided by territorial control across the planet.
- Campaign will shift to the next procedurally-generated planet, which may mean different resources, layouts and strategies.
On their approach towards the project:
“Ours is more a system-driven virtual world in the vein of Planetside 2 or EvE Online.”
“We’re taking a lot of inspiration from what Diablo-style ARPGs and co-op games like Left 4 Dead do to create infinite fun.”
- A “premium free-to-pay model”.
- Orks will be a free race to players but they can only progress through the “Ork Boyz” content.
- Paying members will not have any race or class restrictions.
- In an attempt to follow the source material, five Ork Boyz will be needed to fight a single Space Marine. The developers reason that free members will always outnumber paying ones, hence the arrangement.
- No mention if “paying” meant a subscription or a cash shop.
More on Behaviour Interactive
A huge concern for many has been the choice of studio, which doesn’t have a history of great games.
How they got the project started:
“We pitched it to [Games Workshop] last year and they loved the concept. Once they were satisfied that we’d be able to deliver something great for them, we made the decision to move forward together. Like myself, they have a lot of faith in the team […].”
“Now with our new online studio we are making a game for us… no actually for YOU. Naturally, everyone working on the game so far is a huge 40k fan and has at least two armies each!”
In December last year, Behaviour Interactive entered a partnership with Cloud Imperium to help with Star Citizen.
“Behaviour Interactive are the biggest independent developer in Montreal, with a great infrastructure and work process. They have worked on over 130 games with some of the biggest publishers in the industry, have a reputation for being on time and budget and have many people that worked on big AAA titles like Assassins Creed or Far Cry 3 (Ubisoft contracted them to help out the recently shipped Far Cry 3.)”
Still, it’s hard to ignore games like Naughty Bear and Doritos Crash Course. The studio will have to prove they can deliver on the ambitious ideas being presented here. After all, they’re comparing it to Planetside 2 and EvE Online, two games with the largest server populations but also the backing of equally large (and specialised) publishers.
Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade will be on PC, PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One. Open beta is planned to begin in 18 months, with a launch in 24 months (late 2015).
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