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Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus is turning Steam achievements into combat abilities

Dealing as it does with Warhammer 40K’s weird, technology-obsessed cult, it’s appropriate that Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus is tapping into Steam’s achievement system in a new way. Steam achievements in Mechanicus will unlock in-game combat abilities that are intimately tied to 40K lore.

In the tactical XCOM-like battles of Mechanicus, you’ll earn achievements in the usual way – kill a certain number of a particular enemy, and you’ll earn the associated Steam achievement. But that feeds back into the game, producer Andrew McKerrow explained at Gamescom last week.

“Steam achievements don’t really hold much value these days,” McKerrow said. He’s right, of course – there’s very little guidance on what can count as an achievement on Steam, and as a result they usually seem superfluous or pointless.

“What I decided to do was to add a game mechanic to it, which also ties into the Warhammer IP,” he said.

Earning the Steam achievement for killing 100 necrons, say, will unlock one of Mechanicus special character abilities, called Canticles. In this case, it’s Shroudpsalm – a Canticle drawn from the Warhammer 40,000 ruleset for the Adeptus Mechanicus that, on the tabletop at least, grants a cover bonus to your whole army.

Canticles certainly would work without the Steam achievement tie-in, but it’s a fun and thematic way to knit the whole experience together, pulling in the XCOM-style customization of Mechanicus’ Tech-priests, Steam’s interface, and the rules of lore of the tabletop source material.

Plus, it provides a tangible reason to go achievement hunting again, something that Steam games have generally lacked.

Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus is scheduled for a November 15 release date, and you can pre-order the game or add it to your Steam wishlist right now.