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Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade Preview — War and Promises

I’m going to open this article by establishing something: I absolutely love the Warhammer 40,000 setting. There is something so absolutely imaginative about the system which begat something that now sounds as generic as “space marines.”

I mean, let’s look at it: these space marines are actually in service of an emperor who is basically dead, but kept on a bizarre life-support throne which has allowed his consciousness to protect mankind from the forces of Chaos for tens of thousands of years. Except the throne is breaking down, and when it does, his decaying body will finally snuff out. And no one can fix it, because no one understands how technology works any more — in fact technology is treated as religion, not to be understood but to be worshipped.

It’s bonkers. The world of Warhammer 40,000 is bonkers, and very, very dark — after all, if Chaos doesn’t eventually kill mankind, the Tyranids, a countless horde of hive-mind aliens, will. And honestly? If you want to work in that kind of context, that kind of thing has to touch some part of your brain that just thrills you. That’s certainly the case with Miguel Caron and Behavior Interactive, who are working on Warhammer 40K: Eternal Crusade, a massive online shooter.

If you’ve been following the news, you’ll probably be confused: wasn’t there already an MMO based on Warhammer 40,000 coming? Dark Millenium or something? Well, the answer there is a bit... vague. THQ, who owned the rights, went bankrupt. But before that happened, they announced that the MMO “part” of Dark Millenium wasn’t working out so they were canning it. While it’s never been fully announced that the title is now completely cancelled, that only seems to be because THQ aren’t around to make announcement.

In a chat at this year’s E3, Caron explained. “What happened [with THQ] was a big learning experience for Games Workshop. We have the exclusive rights to the IP for our game, but the way they give out the IP now is they slice it up: we are promising a third-person, over the shoulder shooter with massive warfare. No story, only war. We pitched it to Games Workshop and they carved that out of the IP.”

“There may be other Warhammer 40,000 games!” he laughed, “On iPad, or even a story-driven MMO a la Rogue Trader. Before this, THQ got the rights to the entire IP. But for Games Workshop it’s not about how much money they make selling the IP to someone. They don’t want someone to buy the IP but not actually get a game out with it. So they have the same goal as us: to get a game out that makes the fans happy.”

It’s all good to know that Games Workshop are actively involved in this upcoming game, but with little more than a (scant) press release and an announcement website to go on, what is there to get excited about?

“Imagine the massive warfare of Planetside 2, but we are aiming to double the number of concurrent players in a battle,” Caron boasted. If he’s serious, that means battles with potentially as many as four thousand players. “Thousands of Orks slamming their shields, Space Marines on the other side, running towards each other and slamming into each other like it’s 300. An epic, bloody battle until at the end there’s one huge Ork Nob battling against a lone Space Marine hero, with fallen players and more watching it happen via a feed direct to Youtube.”

Caron talks with a real passion and belief, even if you can tell such ideas are still lodged right in his brain rather than reality. After all, he admits the game doesn’t plan to go into an open beta for two years yet. Caron is so incredibly passionate, however, that as a long time player of the tabletop game he actually left his CEO role at Funcom in order to make this game — approaching and somehow managing to convince the team at Games Workshop to sign on for his MMO without having a studio attached.

“This is my project; when I was with Funcom in Montreal I wanted to use this license but they did not; it was one of the reasons I left. I want to make this game. When I started it was not about the company, but the game. Even on my own, I still had seven people with me working on the game, building it, and they are the core team at Behaviour right now. When I joined Behavior, it was predicated on them not just getting me, but my team.”

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So they cancelled one vaporware game to make another vaporware game. I'm really not sure why, or for who, this info is released. Ain't even going into beta for at least two years. And I bet my bottom dollar that it straight up gets cancelled or drastically 'reimagined' (like basically every 40k game since Dawn of War) before that happens. I don't know what it is about GW, but they seem to get off on selling the IP to devs that either grossly misunderstand it or are completely impractical with it. These pipe dream 'promises', two years before we MIGHT see anything resembling a beta, show more interest in bloating you with hype than anything else. I get it. Dev's passionate about games like to talk about their ideas. Anyone passionate about games like to talk about their ideas really. I like it. I like hearing about how devs think and hearing them talk concept and stuff. But 40k in particular has had a horrible history of premature development blunders, and all the devs involved sounded just like these Behavior guys. Guys, show some awareness -- and if you do, be pragmatic about it. You HAVE to know by now how horrible it is to talk about development so far before production. I love 40k so damn much, but in the history of squandered IP's, Warhammer 40k reins as God-Emperor. Though my pessimism is showing a little more than I'd like it to here, I really, really, REALLY hope you guys don't end up being another studio stacked on top of GW's sacrificial alter. I mean, Warhammer Online really ruined some of the lives of the Mythic folks. It's like walking on cursed grounds or something.

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Savij's picture
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i can totally understand your point battlebrother,

but there are reasons to believe in them, first of all its Miguel Caron he is very familiar with the IP, he knows a lot about military strategies (he studied it) and he got passion for this game, for WH40k and for the people who are going to play it!

 

You said that announcing this game so early is just because of hype and such…

But it is not just for hype!

Its because they want us to help them develop the game! I already talked to him via mail and forum and he was totally open to our ideas and suggestions we had.

This will be the next step in game developing history and they are the first to do this step!

Eternal Crusade will be OUR game and no one will be able to crush my fate in us!

If you want to read more about this game, just join our Forum:

http://www.mmorpg.com/gamelist.cfm/game/954/view/forums/forum/1480

Serve the Emperor today, tomorrow you may be dead.

greetings,

Savij

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