There Will Be Space Marines In 40k MMO!

By Kieron Gillen on December 1st, 2009 at 1:26 pm.

Now this is a surprise. Everyone was expecting the forthcoming Vigil 40K MMO to focus on the ever-commercial Zoat vs Jokero battles. But it seems that, at least in some small way, the game will feature the obscure “Space Marine” characters, as shown in the new gallery at Kotaku. As you’ll probably be unaware of, these are heavily-armoured genetically-modified space-fascists. It’s certainly a surprise that they’ll feature so prominently in an MMO – with the enormous development costs, you’d have suspected they’d have played it safer. Let’s hope the risk pays off.

Some less sarcastic commentary follows…

Okay. Details of the 40k MMO have been sparse. This basically is all of them. But even in these in-game models, there’s clues to its focus. Forget about the Space Marines and bolters and similar. Forget about the various Rhino-derived tanks. Have a look at this bad boy.

That’s a Warhound Titan. Without a sense of scale, you don’t really get what that means. Here’s some models from the game showing the size difference between a soldier and a this smallest of Titans.

Warhound Titans are, in the properly approved Imperial Language, fucking enormous.

Now, there’s lots of reasons one could be in the game. They could be hefty old scenery. They could be the equivalent of raid-bosses. They could be anything. What most interests me is that they’re in these group of images. In fact, there’s more sorts of vehicles modeled than there are actual individuals in these bunch of images. That implies – at least to me – that it’s a game which will operate on this larger scale more often than we would expect from the worst-case-scenario space-marine-hunting-5-squigs-to-level theories. The three-40k-heads at RPS all really hoped for something more Planetside than WoW out of Vigil’s game, with armies of marines stomping across vast plains in the shadows of Titans. While the game is certainly going to be more RPG-esque than we were hoping for, with these renders, the possibility of that grand vision actually coming into being seems a fraction more likely.

Expect the teasing to continue for another twelve months, of course. See you next year, Vigil.

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105 Comments »

  1. EaterOfCheese says:

    No space skaven ? boYCOTT

  2. Choca says:

    THQ if you mess this up I will curse at you real bad

  3. Martin Coxall says:

    It’s CHRISTMAS. The Baby Jesus has no need of Gillenesque sardony.

  4. Jacques says:

    Ultrasmurfs to the boring rescue. I’m still hoping Marines aren’t playable.

  5. Seniath says:

    This game is nothing compared to World of Starcraft. 2. Online.

    Craft.

  6. jRides says:

    Some of us like the boring SM tho, I would only go near it if I Could play an SM.

    • Choca says:

      Plus some SM aren’t that boring, I mean Space Wolves are pretty much Vikings in space.

    • Jacques says:

      True, but how do you balance genetically modified superhumans who’s basic weapon is a high explosive depleted uranium machine gun? That’s assuming other races are playable of course.

    • Choca says:

      BALANCE ? We don’t need no stinking balance !

      But seriously I’m guessing either the only SM will be playable or they’re gonna pull a Warhammer Online on us and make goblins as strong as aa Black Orc.

    • Choca says:

      Ooh that didn’t make any sense, I need to stop typing with my elbows.

    • Jacques says:

      Both scenarios would suck, although there are a few characters that are supposed to be equals to SM’s. Aspect Warriors, some Ork’s, Tau in battlesuits, etc.

      I do want to play a heavy flamer equipped Salamander chapter terminator though, that’d be fun.

    • Zerotime says:

      I suppose, Jacques, that you could have a race that’s naturally resistant to gunfire and has an amazing regenerative ability.

    • Trithemius says:

      Why are vikings-in-space not-boring? (Other than Lost Vikings).

      (Best vikings-in-space are the Vuldrok from Fading Suns and they are sort of viking-amerindian-maori-gypsies in space)

  7. darkripper says:

    I’m not gonna play it unless it features Squats as a playable race.

    • Hermit says:

      In before some sort of event forces all the W40K races to group into two convenient armies (Marines, IG, Eldar, Tau versus Orks, Dark Eldar, Necron, Tyranids). Squats will run the universe’s Auction Houses and Banks.

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      The Squats were eaten by the Tyranids, try again.

    • darkripper says:

      I’m so nerd I actually knew that, but I bring forth the forces of the Warp to conjure a powerful Retcon enchant on the whole fabric of the universe.

    • darkripper says:

      Anyway, really hoping for a RTS-RPG mix. Controlling a squad instead of a single character would fit a lot better with the lore and make for interesting pvp design.

    • Bursar says:

      You can’t side with Tyranids, in the same way that a chief Abattoir bloke can’t side with cows.

  8. The Great Wayne says:

    I wonder how will they balance the crowd in the different species, as the game focus on some races being more numerous than others, with unit cost allowing to make things coherent.

    If you’re free to choose, you could for example have more space marines than orcs on the battlefield, which will either force devs to make orcs more powerful than they really are, or limit your choice to the more powerful of the archetypes (like the Nobz).

    Same for the Tyranids, Taus, etc…

    This is gonna be tough, the easy way being to only play space marines, be it’d be a killer for many players.

  9. markec says:

    I want to play with this:

    http://i47.tinypic.com/2r3hufk.jpg

  10. Shaker says:

    Given that the chimera in the concept art is in ultramarine colours, it’s probable that the game is set on macragge or in the ultramar segmentum.

    This makes the likely races space marines, guard (planetary defence forces, and probably not playable), tyranids and orks (fighta bomba concept). I’d suspect tyranids would be ai only, serving as the PVE component.

    Possible expansions could include eldar (thanks to the mobility of the craftworlds) and chaos (better than average control over warp travel). Necrons, tau, dark eldar and other races are comparatively rare and remote.

    I’ll only be playing if it’s not a typical hotbar and macro grind. Still, I like the art so far.

  11. Jacques says:

    Also, Mr Gillen, that’s an old Armorcast titan, here’s the newer Forgeworld titan with crew for scale comparisons.
    http://www.forgeworld.co.uk/matitan.htm

    And a Chaos one too.
    http://www.forgeworld.co.uk/chaostitan.htm

  12. TotalBiscuit says:

    Assymetric balancing can work.

    It probably won’t though and they’ll either have to murder the fluff in order to nerf the SPESSMERINES into the ground, or there’ll just be an overpopulated of them which will ruin the game anyway.

    Still hoping that they’re either not playable, or some kind of ridiculously hard to get prestige class.

    • Jacques says:

      Making them a prestige class would still be doing violent things to the fluff.

    • Choca says:

      The problem is that if they make all the overpowered troops from the W40K fluff unplayable then you’re gonna have Imperial Guard grunts, Ork Boyz and…. that’s pretty much it.

    • Jacques says:

      Eldar Guardians, Tau Firewarriors, Kroot warriors, etc…

    • Taillefer says:

      Maybe you have AI squad mates to make up the numbers/power difference.
      But, you know, not likely.

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      @Jacques – Not really, you’re assuming that I mean you can get your Guardsman to Level 100 and then get inducted into the SPESSMERIENS.

      I was referring to the possibility of unlocking it, a’la WoW’s Deathknights, only a lot fucking harder, something akin to the old Jedi system in SWG (but not as stupid or broken).

    • archonsod says:

      Or they could just do as GW did and make plasma weapons the standard sidearm for everyone but the space marines.

    • dreadLock says:

      Make space marines good, but instead of your avatar being 1 man make it a squad.
      Two players of the same level could have five space marines to play as (in a pseudo rts fashion) or 20 IG.
      Think of the customisation options avalible outfitting more than one person, you could do away with talent trees and the like i’m sure and still retain complexity to keep people playing.

    • Jacques says:

      Except your standard Marine can easily wipe out a squad of Guard by himself.

    • Bhazor says:

      I like the idea of starting as a Guardsmen with some special huge mission once a month where the best players are shanghaied into a chapter. Or else you could do the chaos version and go on a once a month massacre with the chance of becoming a Khorne Beserker or Chaos Marine.

      But it won’t. It’ll be World of Warcraft in SPACE!!!

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      Couldn’t they just make you start out as an initiate? Or better yet, someone who has been chosen to undergo the proving (or whatever it’s called), after that becomes an initiate and a scout and later, later, has a chance to become a Space Marine?

  13. Wolfman says:

    Gretchin playable class for the win!

    • wyrmsine says:

      I would totally play as a wee Grot. All I’d have to do to be properly feared would be find about a thousand other Gretchin willing to join me in our ferocious wall of little green fungus-meat. Time to call Goonswarm, I think.

  14. Senethro says:

    Someone should make an Imperial Guard simulator mod for Red Orchestra. None of this MMO crap.

  15. diebroken says:

    I’d rather have a new Space Hulk game – co-op a must (really I just can’t wait for NS2…. :)

  16. Hulk Hogan says:

    I want to play the sisters of battle

    space nuns with totally kewl religious themed weaponry

  17. Tei says:

    Theres lots of things you can do with War40K.
    I mean.. anything like L4D, replace zombies by genestealers.
    Or something like Borderlands, more serius.. but giving good coop quality.
    Or something more like Planetside.

    But I doubt anything like that will be release, maybe something like WoW.

  18. dsmart says:

    Don’t worry guys cuz either way, they’re going to fuck it up. Guaranteed.

  19. Goa says:

    Or it’ll be awesome.

  20. bill says:

    Zoat vs Jokero would be awesome. Old Style 40k was much more fun than the stuff they have now… more inventive and imaginative, and more varied.

    Still, if a game has full size titans… that’s enough to get me interested. I hope it’s more of a Epic 40k MMORTS than an RPG though…

    But that warhound is still smaller than i expected, though looking at http://wh40k.lexicanum.com/wiki/Warhound_Scout_Titan it seems that they’ve revamped the designs of all the titans… and the newer versions all look Officially Crap. Bring back the original cool Warhound and Warlord titans!!!

    • jsutcliffe says:

      There’s a Warhound variant (Mars pattern, apparently) that is less blocky, which I think is better than the original, but the new Warlord needs to bugger off — the old plastic ones with Adeptus Titanicus were excellent, though the Banelord was best.

  21. Chiablo says:

    So essentially, they are making the game that Warhammer Online should have been.

  22. David says:

    Gimme Dark Angels!! They’re so unrelentingly self-loathing and seriously emo that it becomes awesome! I tell you!

  23. dreadLock says:

    In similarly shocking news, the pics indicate imperial guard and orcs as well!
    IG were always my favorite flavor of space facists anyway.

  24. Heliocentric says:

    Its an mmo, so there are fees, so there is grinding and leveling and I’m guessing no permanent character death so they have screwed it up already.

  25. lumberjack_wannabe says:

    I demand that there be a lot of these http://www.dakkadakka.com/dakkaforum/posts/list/244651.page

  26. mujadaddy says:

    the ever-commercial Zoat vs Jokero battles

    Kudos, RPS. Kudos.

  27. 1stGear says:

    I suspect that if Space Marines are playable, the other races will be equal in lore. The tougher varieties of Orcs, Tau Fire Warriors, and Necrons.

    Hoo boy, Necrons.

  28. Weylund says:

    Meh. If you think about it, being a Space Marine really is the ultimate MMO grind. Start as a Scout. Two hundred years later, you’re a grizzled Captain who’s killed kabillions of everything the galaxy has to offer.

    But, yes, no way the fluff will survive. And they’ll just screw it up anyhow.

  29. Alexander Norris says:

    Unless there are only two factions, and the other one is CSM, I’m not sure how this is going to work.

    If there are only two factions and the other one is CSM, this will be glorious. So much cannon fodder.

  30. Railick says:

    What they should do is let people play as space marines only if they subscribe, then allow everyone else to play it for free but they have to be a scout if they’re playing on the space marine side or play as a fanatic if they’re chaos space marines. Then allow high level space marines and chaos space marines to become force commanders,sorcs,librarians,tech marines, so on and so forth. But alas we all know it isn’t going to work this way.

  31. Bret says:

    Me, I’d stick with the guard.

    Drowning the enemies in your own blood is always a viable tactic!

  32. Dain says:

    Hah! I’ve seen these pictures before! A random 3d artist posted them as an example of his work on a mod forum.. he said he was working on a new 40k project, it’s gratifying to see he was telling the truth!

  33. manveruppd says:

    I hope Kierons right…. PHEAR MY JOKAERO KNUCKLE-LASERS!!!

    But I’m afraid they’ll just shuffle everything into two broad factions the same way WAR did, completely murdering the flavour and background in the process. I’m guessing each race will become a class, eg. Marines will be “tanks”, Eldar Howling Banshees will be melee dps, etc. Titans and things will probably only figure in large missions and be AI-controlled.

  34. Sunjammer says:

    I for one would like to see an MMO that focused on a squad, not a character. You could play an SM sarge and have a squad of marines to manage. That’d be neat. And more in character, considering, in 40K, individuality is as lost as lost can be.

  35. Vindicore says:

    They MUST do this is a MMOFPS like Planetside, it would quite simply be the most awesome thing ever.

    Take the space marines; you start off as a recruit, go through the whole transformation to become a space marine then start as a scout, prove yourself become a marine and then specialise in close combat, heavy weapons, terminator armour, vehicles, whatever.

    You guild mates fight by your side, forming specialised squads working to capture or defend objectives across a world or system…

    Translate this for any other race and turn it into a large scale war across a planet say, with the battle lines being drawn every day; once the planet is won, move onto the next…

    • Dain says:

      Too risky. WoW clone = Profits.

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      Are you kidding? Have you seen how many WoW clones have utterly bombed lately? Fact is WoW players burn out in a month or so on WoW-clones, because they’ve seen all that before.

    • Dain says:

      Yes but the minds of the execs still want a slice of that WoW shaped pie. And yes some have bombed, but it’s far far easier to copy an existing succesful formula than to risk all to do something new.

      Whatever is produced will be grindtastic. I’d love to eat my words o’ course..

    • Choca says:

      THQ already stated in PC Gamer UK that the game wouldn’t be a MMOFPS

  36. Ian says:

    Hey man, check out these sweet renders I made. Gameplay, you say? Oh, well, that’s in the works. Isn’t this a cool looking gun render?

  37. We Fly Spitfires says:

    Yay, I’m so excited!! Looking forward to the Eldar… so much cooler than those pesky fantasty Elves!!

  38. DMJ says:

    My excitement and my cynicism rise in tandem.

  39. Kakrafoon says:

    The problem with making a 40K MMO is that in this grimdark universe, NO ONE, especially on the human side, is allowed to just go “adventuring” and doing classical MMO stuff. In the Guard, you get your gear, which is more valuable than you are and consists of a battered 200-years-old lasgun with 17 previous owners (of which 16 died a gruesome death), and then you follow orders. If not, some commissar will plant a laspistol shot in your brain very quickly. As a marine, you basically live the life of a medieval monk, complete with prayers, fasting and the works, except that things like “tending the fields” or “chanting chorals” are replaced by ritual boltgun-cleaning and armour polishing and endless tactical drills. Having everybody running around playing at being the hero just wouldn’t work in a 40K setting. Well, maybe for the orks, at least they can choose which warband to join and trade in their teef for bigger guns.

  40. TheMuffinMan says:

    Am I the only one who sees this as a Gears of War action/graphics game with the character building and racial variety of an MMO?

    Also, I really hope they have Imperial Guard. There is something so satisfying about motivating your squad by killing one of them with your sword and then swarm killing your enemy with a weapon often refered to as a “flashlight” because of its weak power. IG were definately the most fun race for me in DOW I and 40k tabletop.

  41. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Ah, yes, not just Space Marines, but Ultramarines? There are so many other (popular) chapters that it would be a shame if there’s only Ultramarines (and war).

    Then again, the game will probably not live up to any hopes of what it could be.

  42. The Great Wayne says:

    Well, in fact, Inquisition and Imperium as a whole could use agents which would perfectly fit in a table top roleplaying game. Same, there are many other sub factions of the human empire that can provide interesting characters (see Necromunda lore for example).

    Appart from that you’re right, no space marine or imperial trooper could provide a correct archetype for an adventuring mmo, not only because they are engaged for life, but also because of heavy endoctrinment and/or genetic modifications in the case of space marines. And I’m not even speaking of the psychics, which would obviously attract gameplay options but are either food for the emperor or extremely controled elite troops.

    They’ve been through one Horus Heresy, pretty sure they won’t let troops mind wander too far from their only goal: serving the emperor to the death.

    That’s why, even more than Warhammer fantasy version, any kind of WH40k wow clone would be completely butchering the lore and drive back the main playerbase that any franchise-based game could hope for: the background fans.

    To me, a Planetside type MMO would be the best option. I like the squad idea, and you can even play on the squad numbers from one race to another to reflect the crowd discrepancies. Provide several planets with different climates and challenges to fight on, add some Planetside-like rankings so you can vary archetypes and weaponry and you’re pretty much set: massive nerdgasm for at least half the actual mmo gaming population.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Uh, I don’t think so about the “no wandering off for the Horus heresy” thing. That’s a feature in the DoW2 upcoming expansion pack.

      They might go a little lenient on the lore, but there’s plenty of room for this to be a fantastic game.

  43. Sian says:

    Well, stronger races could be one character per player, weaker races could be a squad per player. That would be great, but somehow, I don’t think that’s going to happen.

  44. Railick says:

    I dunno if a PVP based MMOFPS would work for 40K I don’t think anyone would be able to beat the space marines when you take into account their vastly superior weapons and armor.

    In the wargame ect it is easier to balance this out by giving other races their own advantages. For example Space Marines are more expensive to buy so other races like orks can easily out number them a great deal (Nids can out number them by HUGE amounts) This isn’t something you could easily do in an FPS since you can force players to pick sides they don’t want to play on, the sides will probably be close to even. An even force of space marines versus orks , the orks wouldn’t stand a chance in hell (unless every single one of them is a warboss or something which is probably going to happen if they allow player warbosses, which they probably won’t ;P)

    So in other words races with better weapons and armor are going to WTF pwn the other races unless huge balance changes are made that make the two sides technology equals which would ruin the flavor of the game. If a random gun made out of scrap metal for an ork is as good as a blessed bolter what is the point of the whole thing ? :( Same goes for guard they don’t have very advanced or powerful weaponry but their guard infantry is extremely cheep so you can field them in large numbers and cover large areas.

    One way to deal with this would be, like I said above, allow free players to play as guard or random weak orks to fill in the ranks while paying players are allowed to play space marines and larger orks or chaos space marines ect. It works well with WW2 online where free players can play privates with basic weapons while the paying players get to earn ranks and get more advanced soliders and tanks/planes/ect

  45. Shalrath says:

    Keep in mind they could just have the more ‘populous’ races simply have hordes of AI helpers.

    I don’t have high hopes either, but I think doing things like making it an instant respawn if you die as an orc, or that you get bonuses to any numreous race, could help.

    Plus a planet-side style game could be awesome.

  46. mpk says:

    I’m with everyone else who mentioned controlling a squad of marines/guard/orkses over being RANDOMNAME75 the Space Marine who must collect 15 of these HIGHLY IMPORTANT things to go in tomorrows porridge. If, in the future, TEHRE IS ONLIE WA!R then give me war – give me a squad and let me loose on the frontlines. Let me gain experience from shooting things and dodging bullets and gain honour by being shot in the face. Let me heal myself on the field and have to go back to HQ to pick up a FNG should I lose a marine/guard/ork.

    In a future where there is only war, it should be the war that defines the progression of your character(s), not the EXP or gold or rep grind, and any battlefields should not be for optional PvP – PvP should be the core of the game. Have players gain experience through playing the game, and have their avatars skills increase through using the ingame tools – your squad medic levels up faster by healing, your HWG levels ups more quickly using his heavy bolter, your squad sargeant levels up by smoking cigars and looking surly etc etc

    Please, please, please don’t turn it into WAR or, even worse, WoW. Constant, never ending, battle is my dream.

    • Taillefer says:

      That’s exactly what they need to do. Just embrace the war; populate the servers with huge numbers of AI battling each other and go nuts with it. And then the player just joins in. Balance isn’t even that important because you’re not fighting to win. Nobody ever wins. There is only war.

  47. Railick says:

    Agreed with MPK. The game should be like World War 2 online if you ask me (Btw if you have not played that please do it is awesome) But a little easier, some where in between WW2 online and planet side.

    It’d be neat if you could command a squad of npcs but I’d want it to be in first person like Republic Commando with intelligent commands to have them take cover and use certain formations to attack ect which are diffrent for each race.

    Who else things you shouldn’t be able to get better weapons as you play longer? It doesn’t make any freaking sense in an Warhammer 40K game. The only thing that would be cool is if you could earn unique weapons where only 1 exists per server by doing something heroic and you lose it if you die (And the person that killed you gets it) Say a certain banner or a certain sword that gives you a huge advantage hence making you a hero.

    • DMJ says:

      Actually, the idea of progressing through equipment isn’t out of character. There are all qualities of equipment available, from stamped-out-by-the-million Adeptus Arbites bolters to master-crafted, elegantly chased bolt guns which were hand-made during the Dark Age of Technology, to blessed relic bolters forged from the armour of fallen heroes and consecrated to kick ass in the name of the Emperor…

      DoW2 shows that upgrading weapons is not only possible, but a damned good idea.

  48. Damian says:

    If you think warhounds are ‘fucking enormous’ you should try playing some GW games and then get back to us. They are < all other titans.

  49. Anthony says:

    Always with the Ultramarines.

  50. M.P. says:

    And you know what the amazing part is? All titans are powered entirely by some dude pedalling on a stationary bike!

    • mpk says:

      Those Space Marines, eh? They may exterminate your entire planet in the name of the Emperor, but at least they’re keeping their carbon footprint down.