Warhammer 40K Eternal Crusade at Gamescom
For our second day of GamesCom we met up with Miguel Caron, the Studio Head for Online Games at Behaviour Interactive, the development team behind the new Warhammer 40,000 Eternal Crusade MMO. Hugging a cup of coffee and recovering from some heavy jetlag Caron was still in the middle of setting up as we were the first appointment of the morning and the doors to GamesCom had only just opened up for the day. In all honesty we expected a sleepy little interview, a glance over what they were currently up to and then we’d be wrapped up in twenty minutes. Boy were we wrong.
The game is still very early Alpha and there hasn’t been that much content passing around, what Caron and the guys are Behaviour Interactive really seem to be selling right now is the idea of Eternal Crusade. There was a clip or two for us to check out, some latest gameplay footage and a couple of screenshots, but the rest was Miguel talking about the game… and he talked at length… he talked for an hour and a half. What surprised me was how quickly the time flew as he was talking about the game giving little anecdotes about out of town fans visiting their offices to play the game and another fan going up to his hotel room (not as shady as it sounds!) to play the game on a laptop, as well as a lot of thoughts about the industry.
What Miguel talked about most was what the game was going to be like, describing with vivid details the technological capacity of game handling huge amounts of players in one location, a dreamy eyed scene of five hundred space marines defending a base as one by one green Ork heads pop up over the ridgeline as five hundred enemy appear. He talked about the auto squad grouping system for players when they jump in the game they are put under a Squad Leader who can monitor them and give them voice commands using the built in Razer Comms technology (the first game to do so).
In the scenario he built in our heads a new soldier had logged in for the first time, spawned a bike and was heading over to an unknown facility, they suddenly hear a message over their mic informing them that they are “heading into an Eldar controlled area and our scouts have identified a number of threats which will result in certain death. We’re currently readying an attack on a base not too far to the south from your position and could do with the backup.” From here the commander spawns a tank that is brought in by dropship for the player who then joins the battle. Once it is over and they are victorious the squad commander speaks “You did well soldier, you fought bravely. If you’d be interested we’d like to put you in contact with our leader and maybe join our squad on a more permanent basis.”
He sold the idea to us, he sold it to us very well. You can tell he’s a fan of the game, whatever state it is currently in, and he’s extremely exciting along with the rest of the team for the game they are trying to make and the IP that they are working with. When asking about the IP itself Miguel told us that they had the experts helping them work out where their game could fit in the 40k universe as well as fans very quick to point out where they were going wrong showing that they are constantly listening to the fans for feedback and continued to push the companies absolute transparency. An example of the feedback process was when the team collected a whole host of problems, issues, questions and opinions that the community had been given. They systematically went through the list and flagged up the areas where they held their hands up and agreed that the community were right about something, highlighted the points where it was simply a different direction or opinion and then explained some topics where the community had been wrong in their presumptions; it sounded like an extremely productive and open channel of communication to the dev team which you rarely see these days.
Some PvP Alpha gameplay footage:
The team clearly have huge plans with the game and will constantly add to it, right now there are 4 playable factions and on the topic of adding other it was clear that in the future that would be the intention. The main issue is that for them there’s lots of different chapters and types of space marines, and whilst they could just let players change the colour of the armour to represent them as close as possible the style of armor is different, the weapons that they use are different as determined by the lore itself and so they would sooner do a new faction properly than half hearted.
With a brief look at some gameplay footage we saw a shootout where a long range attacker was firing at the player, white lines from the heavy bolter showed that this was causing suppression fire, which would make that suppressed players targeting reticule bigger and harder to hit their enemy. Players running around with huge chainswords were ramming them through the enemies guts in bloody M-rated coup de grace’s or kicking them to the floor and throwing an extra bolter round to their fallen victims head to finish them off. It was the type of bloody that we expect, no, demand of any Warhammer 40k mmo.
The graphical quality of the game wasn’t the worst, but most definitely early alpha quality, though the actual models looked pretty impressive as far as we were concerned. Is the game going to be cutting edge graphics? Too early to tell, we most definitely hope that they can bring them up to meet their impressive list of promised features. Early development is always a minefield of issues, games come and go all the time and as it stands Behaviour Interactive is definitely working up the hype with Eternal Crusade, we just hope that it lives up to it when we start to see some more concrete developments underway.
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