Warhammer 40k Space Marine Developer Interview
Why a warhammer FPS?
We’ve done Dawn Of War games for a number of years, RTS games based on the Warhammer 40K universe. We’ve probably had the most success of anyone who has built Warhammer 40K games, most people struggle with the IP. We wanted to take that experience and expand it into a new area and we have resolved to become more involved in console, to build more games in that realm.
Building an up close and personal experience of a Space Marine was something that, for the 40K fans, they always wanted. We looked at the shooter market and though that Space Marine could sit there really well.
When you look at Gears and Marcus Fenix – he’s inspired by Space Marine, so why not bring a Space Marine into that environment. It would be a good fit for consumers, people want that kind of game.
What was it like, going from a strategy game to a third-person shooter as a studio?
We’ve made RTSs for a number of years and we have a really good talent pool who work on those titles who are either really intimate with the IP and are great at doing sound design for it, casting or the visuals. We’ve had guys who’ve come from EA and from sports games who do animation really well, we have people who come from Gears Of War who are very good at combat and controls.
Also we’ve got people who have done Hollywood cinema, action set-piece and storytelling for games and movies. Probably about 40 percent of the team is people who worked at Relic and the rest is new bloods. Actually there are some guys who were at Relic ten years ago and have come on board just to work on Space Marine.
Tell us about the Space Marine universe and its factions.
We’d probably be Imperial Guard soldiers, Space Marines are the superhuman warriors within that. They’re like medieval knights, they’re referred to as lords and there’s a hierarchy system there.
They’re kinda Spartan Warriors mixed with crusaders mixed with warrior monks, it’s an interesting blend. Then Chaos is the mirror image of the Imperium Of Man, they’re tainted and all of those people in Chaos were once part of humanity. It goes way back to when one particular, very powerful and godlike person was corrupted by Chaos…
A fallen angel, like Azrael?
Yes, and that seeded the whole Chaos Empire. The Orks have invaded to get their hands on the Titans, which are manufactured on the planet. The Titans are these big machines bristling with war-class weapons. They’re basically Ed-209 from Robocop: imagine one of those the size of a small skyscraper.
That thing goes onto planets and just obliterates them. So the Orks are trying to get their hands on one of those because they feel they could be a real threat to the Imperium Of Man. Space Marines are sent to purge the planet and get control of the situation, then an Imperial fleet will come and bring everything under control.
The reality is that when the Space Marines arrive they’re finding Orks initially, but what they discover is that there’s a darker and more malevolent threat on the planet and that’s Chaos. Chaos is pulling the strings and trying to manipulate the situation so that they can open a portal to the Warp, bring in Chaos forces and begin to taint and pollute to their own needs. Titus plays a big part in this story.
You want to make the brutality look beautiful. If you kill a guy by simply cutting him in half, you wanna do more. It’s very Zack Snyder in that sense. Pacing is very important – Orks are less intelligent, they’ll just swarm you. Chaos will be more devious, use flanking maneuvers and stay at distance for ranged combat.