Soulstorm, the latest ‘expandalone’ (Relic’s word, not mine, and one I feel I should loathe, yet somehow don’t. Possibly because it’s simply too ridiculous to be offended by) for Dawn of War is now on Steam (Edit – not until tomorrow in Europe. Pah. Edit-edit – and now tomorrow is today. Jinkies!). It’s also available from the primitive constructs of brick, plaster and listless teenage clerks our ancestors referred to as ‘shops’.
My earliest tinkerings suggest that, as I had worried, the two new races lack the riotous excess and charm of their more iconic forerunners, but I’ll look closer and establish whether I’m just being snobbish and too hung up on Dreadnoughts. This does have war nuns, after all.
Even aside from that, I have oddly mixed feelings about Soulstorm. Clearly, I would love for it to be ten kinds of awesome – but then I’ll just feel doubly bad that developers Iron Lore have had to close their doors, with the folks involved unlikely to ever leave their mark on Dawn of War again. If it’s mediocre, then I perhaps won’t feel the loss of Iron Lore quite so much, but I’ll be irked that DoW is soured.
There’s also the odd issue of where Soulstorm’s profits go to now. Embarrassingly, I know practically zero about the money side of games development, especially in an odd situation like this. A developer normally goes bust after a game’s been released and failed to sell, not mere weeks before the thing comes out. So, will Iron Lore’s former employees see any further cash from Soulstorm, a game I’d imagine will be a moderate success? Or does it all go straight to THQ’s coffers? Cruel, cruel if so – given their long-standing association with Iron Lore, I’d guess they were one of the publishers who turned down the late studio’s next project, and thus arguably helped sealed their fate.