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Warhammer 40k Space Marine 2 gets new Helldivers 2 style co-op mode

Space Marine 2's promising co-op PvE mode sounds similar to Helldivers 2, so I asked the devs what makes it stand out from the competition.

Warhammer 40k Space Marine 2 gets new Helldivers 2 style co-op mode: A black and gold Space Marine raises a huge gun towards the camera

In the grim darkness of the 41st millennium, there is, indeed, only war. There’s blood, there’s guts, there’s a whole lot of gore – and even more Tyranids where all of that came from. As Captain Titus, you’re tasked with cutting a path through waves of Xenos in Warhammer 40k Space Marine 2, but unlike its predecessor, you won’t have to do so alone. That’s right, Space Marine 2 has its own Helldivers 2 style co-op PvE mode, and we caught up with creative director Oliver Hollis-Leick to find out more.

Announced during the Warhammer Skulls 2024 showcase, Warhammer 40k: Space Marine 2’s PvE mode – dubbed ‘Operations’ – drops a three-man squad into the heart of the Tyranid-slaying action. From there, you’ll hack and slash your way through the hordes as one of six different classes, which each bring their own unique playstyle to the alien battlefields. Ahead of Warhammer Skulls, I ask Hollis-Leick what Operations looks like in action, and what makes it stand out from other multiplayer games, especially hit sci-fi rival Helldivers 2.

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“One of the best features of our PvE mode is that it’s deeply tied to the story,” he tells me. “One of the challenges of making a game like Space Marine 2 is that you’re trying to portray a Warhammer war – these aren’t isolated battles, they don’t take place on one city or one planet.

“Our war takes place across three planetary bodies in a solar system, and we want to make sure that we convey this military campaign. We have our Battle Barge where the Space Marines all meet and connect, and you can see ships taking off and going out to battle, then coming back again and getting repaired.

“The PvE system [lets you play] other perspectives from this war,” he continues. “They’re handling objectives that contribute towards Titus’ campaign, and you’ll be able to communicate with them in real-time over Vox. So, you’ll hear one conversation in the campaign with Titus, and then you’ll actually get to play the other side of that radio conversation as those PvE Space Marines and see what hell was breaking loose in the background of that call.

“It’s a really nice way to have a very replayable system of gameplay, but to fill in more of the picture of this ongoing war.”

Warhammer 40k Space Marine 2 gets new Helldivers 2 style co-op mode: Three Space Marines from Warhammer 40k running through a dense marshland in a forest

When I ask if new missions will be added to the game as things progress (think Helldivers 2’s major orders), Hollis-Leik tells me that Operations can “act as an extra ring around the campaign, so it’s still part of the story. You can replay missions, but we can modify those and shake things up quite easily.” He notes that this format is the perfect springboard from which to “introduce lots of stuff later on.”

We’ll likely see a plethora of new PvE content with the Macragge’s Chosen DLC, which is listed as one of the myriad pre-order bonuses that went live today. If you’re looking to pick up the game – and a bunch of cosmetics – ahead of time, you can pre-order here.

With the Warhammer 40k: Space Marine 2 release date firmly set for September, it’s worth checking out our list of all the best Warhammer 40k games to get you in Xeno-slaying spirit. Alternatively, if the grimdark of the 21st millennium is a little too, well, grim and dark, we have a rundown of all the best space games, too. Our friends at Wargamer have also got some handy information on the Warhammer 40k Space Marines faction including chapters, updates, rules, and best deals.

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