By Alice O'Connor on May 29th, 2014 at 12:00 pm.
In the future of Warhammer 40,000, humanity cling desperately to faltering technology they no longer understands, knowing once crucial systems break they can’t repair them and everyone will be doomed. Learning a lesson from all this, Relic is stripping out wonky old multiplayer tech from its WH40K: Dawn of War games, replacing GameSpy and Games for Windows – Live with warming Steam. And now I’m suffering frightful visions of a steampunk 40K spin-off. Brr. Chilling.
The first Dawn of War and its expansions use GameSpy’s services for multiplayer matchmaking, so without intervention that’d become unplayable online when Glu Mobile turns off the GameSpy servers on May 31. Last week Relic patched DoW to swap out GameSpy for Steamworks, going over to the same multiplayer backend as Company of Heroes 2, though it may be a bit wonky for now. Dawn of War design lead Philippe Boulle explains:
In the short term, there are likely to be some technical issues with the new setup. Recreating the multiplayer infrastructure for seven titles is no small feat, and there will be bugs. Ultimately, we felt that it would be better to get the update out in a slightly imperfect state in time to prevent an outright interruption in multiplayer play. So, bugs.
Relic are also cutting Games for Windows – Live out from Dawn of War II and its first expansion, Chaos Rising. They have always used Steamworks but mostly for DRM, relying on GFWL for matchmaking and achievements and all that. Now Relic are working on replacing that with Steam. (The expandalone DoW 2 – Retribution and its multiplayer spin-off The Last Standalone were always Steam through and through.)
Boulle’s story is that Relic simply “intend to take this opportunity to migrate them over to Steam in order for a consistent multiplayer experience across the entire portfolio.” GFWL is horrible, granted, but honestly, what is going on with it?
Relic join an ever-growing lineup of developers who just happen to casually be removing GFWL from their games, no real reason, they just felt like it. Reports did say that GFWL was shutting down in July, but Microsoft pulled that statement and have since avoided giving proper answers about what is happening to it. Something’s afoot. Oh well. Whatever’s going on, DoW 2 will soon be free from GFWL, which is great.