Barking Up The Right Tree? Space Wolf

By Ben Barrett on August 21st, 2013 at 11:00 am.

Choo-choo! All aboard the possible disappointment train, it’s another Warhammer 40,000 video game! Alright, so Space Hulk didn’t go the way it should have despite having everything going for it. Let’s pack it up in its own little space and it can gestate, get a patch or two. The new boy riding into town with shining pale blue armour is Space Wolf, a collectible card game focused on the feral Space Marine legion. Most interestingly, developers Herocraft are promising a “tactical combat and CCG fusion” where cards will be played and then visualised in “glorious, interactive 3D environments.”

Hmmmmmmm. Desperate attempts not to set myself up for another wasted purchase after the jump.

There’s every reason not to be excited for Space Wolf. These kind of ‘tactical card battlers’ have been tried before and “not good” would be the political way of putting how they turned out. Further, a quick glance at Herocraft’s website doesn’t fill me with confidence that the mobile-only developer designs the sorts of games I want to play. Top it off with that buzzphrase of horror “free to play” and those reaching for the drop pod can’t really be blamed.

But there’s potential! The 40k universe is just cool looking so it’s difficult to lampoon them for wanting to exploit that with a pretty engine. And while I’m a broken record on this, card games are awesome and exactly the sort of thing that the modular tabletop nature of Warhammer can be adapted to easily. In addition, SolForge has shown the genre can work with a League of Legends style two currency system earned through play or purchase so the business model may not be a reason to worry if implemented intelligently. Herocraft, as long term mobile developers, will be experts in crafting games that operate with and without additional cash flow from the player.

I’m willing to give it the benefit of the doubt and see how Space Wolf develops. Look for more glimpses of greatness (or failure) as we approach a release date some time next year.

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55 Comments »

  1. Bull0 says:

    Oh good, more Dawn of War 2 asset re-use. We haven’t had enough of that with Kill Team and Space Hulk

    • ceriphim says:

      Which would be at least acceptable if they weren’t almost pathologically incapable of making games people actually WANT made from 40k IP.

      Seriously with a goddamn CCG game? After the massively wasted opportunity that is Space Hulk? Apparently NOBODY at GW was paying attention to the Warmachine Kickstarter, WTF is wrong with these people???

      Oblig. postscript – I actually like playing Space Hulk, I just think it’s a massive waste of the IP and resources, in its current state.

      • Bull0 says:

        Yeah, couldn’t agree more. Even Space Marine, which is probably my favourite of the flailing abortive attempts to make a 40k game, felt like a bit of a wasted opportunity.

      • Magneto says:

        Yeah except from the fact that GW don’t make these games, they just license out the IP to companies. So it’s the fault of developers that no one is making a decent 40k game atm. Since the THQ collapse they’ve taken the view that licensing out the IP to anyone who wants to create something will be better for them in terms of royalties and enable them to get 40k on more mobile devices and tablets (sorely lacking during the THQ days).

        The problem with this is that under an exclusive license from to a big company like THQ at least a certain level of quality was produced. Under this new licensing system (designed to pump out £££ for shareholders) the quality of games will vary wildly and tarnish the 40k brand in gaming, which was fairly strong after THQ’s time in charge. Space Hulk was already pretty meh, this doesn’t look much better.

        It’s a shame because as you say the 40k license has such potential. A shooter like COD/BF, a proper RPG following an Inquisitor, a return of DOW (which I suspect will happen sooner rather than later) etc. Instead we’re getting poor short development period games like this, Space Hulk and whatever Slitherine are up to. In many ways I would have preferred for the 40k license to end up with someone like EA or Ubi, at least decent games would have been produced despite the problems at those companies.

        Oh well at least Warhammer Fantasy has found a good home with Sega and Creative Assembly. I can keep hoping that Sega will license 40k as well and allow Relic to build on the early DOWIII work they did.

        P.S, to the OP, these games aren’t using DOW assets, SEGA and Relic own them in the aftermath of the THQ collapse.

        • Borsook says:

          Slitherine are up to an Epic game, and it’s going to be great, provided that you like WH40KEpic, which not many people do, with space marine being just tiny dots there :)

  2. Shiri says:

    Ok, yeah, so tactical battlers don’t have a good record, but on the other hand, Cardhunter is amazing and that’s pretty similar, right? Maybe they can learn from that.

  3. KikiJiki says:

    TRUST IN THE HEART OF THE GOLDEN THRONE YUGI

    Pun for the day: I hope it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle of great releases.

  4. crowleyhammer says:

    The Space Wolves betrayed the Thousand Suns and for that reason I am OUT.

    • big boy barry says:

      Did they?. I thought Horus lied to Russ about the Emporers orders regarding the arrest of Magnus resulting in the attack on Prospero.
      Not that im into 40k or anything.

    • Svant says:

      The Thousand Sons ignored the decree of Nikea, DIE CHAOS FILTH! (Also Magnus is a #%”#€” crybaby :p)

  5. Radiant says:

    I have spent way too much money on that ridiculously addictive tekken card browser game for me to be interested in one more.

  6. MrThingy says:

    I seem to be in a minority of people who are actually enjoying Space Hulk…

    (despite the disproportionately loud bolter sound blowing my speakers apart)

    • XhomeB says:

      Tha game’s great! I don’t understand why it got criticised so much, it’s everything I wanted it to be. The lack of option to skip Terminators’ animations is its only flaw if you ask me – I don’t mind them, but I understand why some people might find them annoying.

    • nbringer says:

      Yeah, SH has some minuses, but overall I am enjoying it a lot too. The Space Hulk RPS review is one of the few I don’t agree with. Acoording to it one would think the game is junk. Which is plain wrong. It’s quite good.

    • jonahcutter says:

      No, you’re not. Space Hulk is pretty damn good.

      RPS is generally pretty good, often very much so. But their SH review was easily one of their worst. It was clear after reading it they made a mistake in having a boardgame aficionado give the site’s official review of the video game.

    • Bull0 says:

      Sometimes – just sometimes – people like things you don’t like, and vice versa

      • Nenjin says:

        I was pretty annoyed with the SH review too. It’s one of the first RPS articles I’ve read that I pretty much rejected entirely. Written and motivated completely from the reviewer’s personal likes and dislikes, he trashed the game without giving it an iota of credit where it was due. That’s what I want to read RPS for: so I can enjoy the same absence of critical observation and reflection I get from your average former goer!

        What’s more irritating is that any time RPS mentions the game now, they parrot that same review as though it’s the gospel handed down from on high by the Golden Throne.

        • Bull0 says:

          You can always read/watch Alec’s previews instead, they’re a bit more positive. I think there’s a difference between writing something you disagree with, and writing something which is objectively invalid. People’s insistence in putting the SH review in the latter category gets my back up.

          • Machinations says:

            No, ijt was basically totally invalid. Opinions are fine and all, that was an unprofessional, fact devoid rant. I owned the original Space Hulk as a child, and I am very happy with my purchase. Its certainly overpriced, and there are some definite improvements to be made, but after Shadowrun returns got a glowing review with nary a mention of the broken save system, I take these impressions with a much larger grain of salt than previously.

          • Bull0 says:

            Well, as is a recurring theme here, I strongly disagree with the notion that Rab’s review and attached criticisms weren’t valid. I found it to be a valuable piece of commentary which highlighted a lot of the kind of issues that I would’ve taken serious issue with and informed my decision to not purchase the game accordingly. The fact that the tone was “rant-like” is a point of style.

    • Machinations says:

      Youre not alone. The WiT was one of the most off-base things. I have read at RPS. It had the tone of being written by a twelve year old after an extended night playing COD hopped up on caffeinated beverages. The hyperbole and..lack of actual logic were..interesting.

  7. Jonfon says:

    God I’m sick of space marines.

    BRING BACK STUNTIES!!!

    • Premium User Badge JamesTheNumberless says:

      Hang on, why is there not a game like Dwarf Fortress but with Squats mining asteroid belts? SPACE DWARVES!

  8. Jams O'Donnell says:

    My expectations are in the gutter so, er, the only way is up!

  9. Christo4 says:

    Why don’t they make a tbs game with imperial guard…

    • Sian says:

      Because publishers think every faction besides the Space Marines, the Orks and Chaos is boring to the general public and thus won’t sell well. Even in the Dawn of War games, the first parts of either series revolved around the SMs. It’s just so stupid that they have all these factions available to them and they still settle for the same thing almost every single time.

      • KikiJiki says:

        Whether you love them or hate them, Space Marines are the face of Warhammer 40k. There’s a reason that every base game edition has Space Marines as one of the two factions in the box and you’re not going to get away from them any time soon.

      • XhomeB says:

        Necrons are awesome, I’d love to see them more… Maybe in Dawn of War 3.

        • Svant says:

          Problem with having a story with necrons or tyranids as the main protagonist is that well… there is no story there is just mindless killing.

          • bleeters says:

            I’d venture that several past Warhammer 40k games could’ve been improved by virtue of not having a story.

            Space Marine, I’m looking at you.

          • Premium User Badge bills6693 says:

            I dunno, back in the day when I actually played the tabletop as a teenager, necrons were my race. I loved them to bits. Their backstory is so sad.

            However dispite a cool backstory and premise, I feel that trying to force a personality and story onto them would not work just because it would feel ridiculous. However, I’d still like to see them at least featured.

            Also the Tau really, really need a game. And you can make a story with them as easily as you can with the Space Marines. And their tech is so cool, and allows so many possibilities.

          • XhomeB says:

            If their campaign was similar to that in Dark Crusade – or something like Total War (capturing regions, building infrastracture, add turn-based battles and we have a recipe for success) – it could work. C’tan would be the ones guiding you and giving you orders.

          • bvdemier says:

            Nids are still completely unintresting and mostly used as Big Bad.(they can’t ally with anybody)
            I know this may be considered heretical by some, but the new Necron Codex changed a lot of the Necron fluff for the better even if it was written by our “Spiritual Liege”.
            You could make a pretty good single player campaign with the Newcrons, especially Trazyn The Infinite.

            My hope as part of the Eternal Vigil is a good campaign for our beloved Bolter B*tches, cos they need more attention.

          • Panda Powered says:

            @bills6693
            Tau got a FPS in 2003. ‘Warhammer 40,000: Fire Warrior’ for PS2 and PC. You shot the faces off Imperials, Space Marines and Chaos Space Marines in dull corridors for a few hours.
            The Space Marine VS Chaos multiplayer mode sold me the game. I still regret it.

        • Premium User Badge JamesTheNumberless says:

          Necrons are cool because they’re very easy to paint ;)

      • Christo4 says:

        Yeah i agree it’s kinda annoying.
        Do you imagine how cool a TBS game with eldars would be, trying to cloak and use superior tech and psionic abilities to defeat your foes?
        Or having a unit of 3 Imperial Guardsmen per tile (interchangeable soldiers) and playing in different forge worlds with those huge environments like in the game Space Marine?
        I think it would have been so cool…

    • Bull0 says:

      Find and play Final Liberation if you want a turned based guard-focused game, it’s awesome.

    • TWChristine says:

      I’d love one with Sororitas! As it is, that’s pretty much how I’ve played X-com..just imagining that I’m purging some form of xenos.

  10. voorsk says:

    Card game? If it’s 40K does Metal Gear Ac!d, I’ll be all over this like a rash! :D

    However, I doubt it will be.. it’ll prolly be a thinly veiled excuse to charge people money for cards. Don’t Games Workshop have any kind of quality control regarding who gets rights to their stuff? :|

  11. nbringer says:

    Actually Space Hulk is a pretty good game!

    EDIT:

    P.S. I hope it comes to GOG.com soon.

    • XhomeB says:

      Definitely buying it again if it comes to GOG, I want my DRM-free copy.
      Didn’t they promise it would be released there eventually or am I imagining things?

  12. fco says:

    The real Space Wolf: http://youtu.be/EC1C0lH1SqM

    Am I the only one who immediately thought of this?

  13. Premium User Badge bills6693 says:

    I’m not gonna lie, I just want more 40k focuesed on other races/factions. Imperial Guard and Tau jump to mind as the two ‘best’ to do. I don’t know why there aren’t more games with the Tau other than them not being the ‘figurehead’ of 40k – you have infantry with awesome weapons and armour, floating vehicles, mechs (basically), jetpacks on everything. They are high tech, the interface could be awesome, the possibilities are huge!

    • bleeters says:

      Part of me suspects it comes down to the Tau not being generic white dudes.

      • Premium User Badge JamesTheNumberless says:

        And the Tyranids are? ;)

        With the space marines, it’s the whole overt Roman Empire thing, it’s very resonant with westerners, even those of us who aren’t white.

    • Premium User Badge JamesTheNumberless says:

      What about that new game they made? You know, the one where the Imperial Guard go back in time and fight the Nazis….

  14. ezeekiel says:

    I like Space Hulk and don’t understand the negative comments. Its not perfect and maybe a little too expensive but that’s the license cost no-doubt.

  15. 2helix4u says:

    Hey idiots.

    Just make the fucking tabletop into a f2p digital version you utter morons.

    or make planetside 2 with like a dozen sides, you can start with 4 then release more for money.

    Like whatever, jesus, this isn’t that hard.

    I’m looking at you too, D&D!

  16. SilentWinter says:

    Card Hunter is quite a good mix of tactics and CG tbh, so there is hope… maybe.

  17. Premium User Badge JamesTheNumberless says:

    Maybe GW just don’t want a perfect videogame reproduction of their tabletop games, because they see the videogames as alternatives and not replacements/competition for their core tabletop games?

    I’m positive a 40k game could be made that had every rule, every unit, a map editor and an excellent multiplayer setup with leagues/etc. But I don’t think that’s at all what the GW people want. They want the videogames to appeal to the people who aren’t interested in the tabletop gaming, as well as to their traditional fans. But they don’t want to turn people away from buying the paints, books and miniatures.

    • Premium User Badge bills6693 says:

      My thoughts exactly. They don’t want people abandoning the stores. The models alone must make so much profit, they are so expensive! Plus people buying their paint, brushes, rulebooks, scenery, die, tape measures etc. All overpriced, so much money :P

      • Premium User Badge JamesTheNumberless says:

        I stopped playing the tabletop and painting the miniatures years ago. Although the urge to start collecting again comes and goes. The last time I found myself in need of a tape measure (moving house) I couldn’t resist the urge to go and buy one from GW just as an excuse to see what the current range of stuff is like.

    • JohnnyPanzer says:

      I can agree that they are likely to want to reach the people who would never be interested in a board game, but I very much doubt their actual board game sales would drop no matter how perfect an adaptation the’d release for the PC.

      No one, absolutely no one, plays the board game simply because they can’t find an electronic version. No one spends several years, hundreds (if not thousands) of buckaroos and billions of hours on their chosen hobby just to go “Wait, there’s a PC-version out? Well screw this!”. They will, however, gladly buy a good PC-game based on the franchise to play alongside their board game.

      This is why it’s so weird that (almost) all the developers entrusted with the licence have such a hard time nailing it: As long as you don’t release a steaming pile of dung you’ll get the board game fans for free.

      • Premium User Badge JamesTheNumberless says:

        I used to play the tabletop game and collect the miniatures. I easily spent several hundred pounds on it when I was younger. Nowadays I wouldn’t have time for it :( However I would absolutely love a perfect computer version of Warhammer precisely so that I could play that instead of the tabletop. If such a game was available when I was a teenager, you can bet that I would just play that instead of the tabletop game. It would be so much easier and cheaper to get started, and I would not need to rely on there being a strong GW community in my town in order to find people to play with.

        I have never been into a GW without noting that the majority of people in there are kids who are new to the games, often showing their parents what they’d like them to buy – most of them will only be into miniatures for a couple of years before losing interest. Of course there are a lot of adult players who spend a lot of money but I think they are not the core GW demographic. I don’t think it’s silly to suggest that if the videogame was exactly like an electronic version of the tabletop, a lot of these kids would see the tabletop the way a player of Transport Tycoon sees a model trainset – an older and more limited way to play with space marines/etc.

        Currently you collect and paint the armies and learn the lore and the rules because the guys and girls who work in GW present the game in such an awe inspiring and immediate way – and it’s the only way you can get involved. But videogames (especially multiplayer ones) are that much more immediate and no less awe-inspiring – and you don’t have to visit a specific store in order to get exposed to them. The tabletop game would still exist but GW stores would start to feel like little more than museums to tabletop gaming, the way that many more traditional hobby and toy stores did in the 90s (before most of them disappeared).

  18. Geen says:

    I want a comedic game starring the orks. Perhaps a flight-simulator style adaptation of Deff Skwadron?
    (Link for the uneducated, quite funny: http://www.cold-moon.com/40k/Deff%20Skwadron/deff_skwadron.htm)