Dawn of War II: Tyranids At Play, and IRL Rhino

DOW2 was already looking like the RTS to get our collective knickers in a twist about, but the recent revelation of hot Tyranid action really sets our nerdish hearts a-flutter. Here they are in living technicolour, together with the game’s (slightly nervous, bless his socks) Lead Designer Jonny Ebbert talking about the thinking behind them, and how Relic kept the ‘nids’ inclusion a secret all this time. They’re “the most special race in the universe”, apparently. I know I wouldn’t call a Carnifex ‘special’ to his face. Oh, and their behaviour’s inspired by Jurassic Park, oddly.

Video beneath the cut, plus photos of a real-life Rhino transport.

The Tyranids will be this: awesome.

And more 40K geeking out: this time, a custom-made, life-size Rhino Space Marine transport, currently in construction to promote DOW2. Ooo!

It’s a work in progress for now, but it’s an ambitious modification of a 15 ton British FV432 tank, which will eventually be dolled up to contain a LAN setup and be painted in the tones of the Blood Raven chapter introduced in the first DOW. There are two construction diaries here and here, and a Flickr gallery here. I know I want a ride in it.


  1. Paul S says:

    That’s going to be at Games Day. So shall I.

    Even in this hallowed company, I am Most Geek. I bought a 40K comic the other day, too. It was crap. Kieron’s Warhammer one had better be better.

  2. Gerfervonbob says:

    I cannot contain how excited I am for this game!

  3. Mister Yuck says:

    I hope they let you play as Tyranids in single player. I always enjoy playing as horrible bug monsters because getting my troops killed doesn’t worry me so much. I develop a terrible attachment to my human companions in games, even shooters, and I tend to load up old saves as soon as I even one of my little men dies. Having horrible bug things as companions is always great fun because I tend to enjoy getting them killed with reckless abandon. The antlion ally bit in Half Life 2 was my favorite part of the game, especially detonating wall mines with the bugs even when I could easily shoot them.

  4. SwiftRanger says:

    Only the Space Marines have a real singleplayer/co-op campaign, rest of the races will probably be playable in skirmish too though. Jonny Ebert also speaks out on the IGN Command Prompt about a lot of other DoWII stuff.

    At least he confirms basebuilding isn’t out at all, only mostly in the singleplayer campaign.

  5. zanbowser says:

  6. zanbowser says:

    <chittering of thousands of tiny chitinous creatures milling around the hiveship>

    Heh heh… serves me right for trying to be clever… Sorry for the double post. Borked the other one.

  7. Gurrah says:

    I wonder what they’ll use as Heavy Bolters on that Rhino… two sawn off M2s welded together and a bit of casing around? They probably won’t but how cool would that be?!

  8. danarchist says:

    DoW got me into rts games, which left many of my friends in slack jawed amazement. I think I will schedule release day off hehe.

  9. Tom says:

    Looking good. One to watch out for…. !…. Clear Sky’s pants waaaaaaaaaaaaaa, uhummm… sorry.

  10. Mitch Small says:

    “The way that games workshop described [the tyranids] to us, was that they were like a giant ring of eyes all the way across the rim of the galaxy.”


  11. Jochen Scheisse says:

    I’d really like to be able to like this game. But Relic has still not even been able to put out a hotfix for DOW 1 fixing the game breaking bugs they introduced with their latest expandalone Soulstorm. I’ve given up hope on a patch long ago, really.

    With RTS, whose primary playability is online (especially with a single player consisting of skirmish matches like DOWs campaign), I have to be able to depend on support. Relic is not able or willing to deliver that, so I won’t buy Relic products. I bet Starcraft 2 will be awesome, and I KNOW Starcraft 2 will be reasonably balanced and bug free, and it will take 3-4 patches and half a year at most. So yeah, who needs DOW 2, when production of DOW 1 isn’t even finished yet?

  12. Zyrusticae says:

    DoW 1 wasn’t getting much support because they were working on patching Company of Heroes, and when you look at the support they have for Company of Heroes as opposed to DoW 1 it’s easy to get enthused for this game.

    Seriously, Company of Heroes has seen some absolutely massive support from Relic, with a patch that even allows players of the original Company of Heroes to play against those using the factions from Opposing Forces. While it’s sad that DoW 1 was essentially allowed to languish for so long, I see good things to come in the future.

  13. Jochen Scheisse says:

    While I don’t want to be too pessimistic, I expect DOW 2 to get reasonable support for the game and maybe the first addon, and then Relic’s attention will shift to their new A grade title, support will become very bad, but there will still be 2 other addons, rather half baked and badly supported.

    I admit, I’m being quite the pessimist here, but just watch what will happen with the next COH addon, I bet the cycle will continue there.

  14. grumpy says:

    I’d really like to be able to like this game. But Relic has still not even been able to put out a hotfix for DOW 1 fixing the game breaking bugs they introduced with their latest expandalone Soulstorm. I’ve given up hope on a patch long ago, really.

    To be fair though, they’re probably not in an easy situation. They didn’t write Soulstorm. Iron Lore did, and then went bust. So Relic have to patch code they don’t know and didn’t write, and they can’t even ask those who wrote it for assistance, because they’ve gone out of business. And I think it’s pretty plain to see that Soulstorm *was* a pretty shoddy product. Perhaps it was just rushed, but in any case taking over a half-finished game from someone else is not a simple task.

    I do think Relic have handled the situation badly, but to be fair, it’s not *just* a patch.
    And if you need something better balanced, you could just play Dark Crusade instead. I mean, Relic have so far supported 2 expansions + the base game pretty well. The third expansion, which Relic didn’t make, has been the only problem. And as I said, I can see why that would be a pain to support.

  15. Jochen Scheisse says:

    True, I’m just somewhat angry that I wasted the money on Soulstorm. And by now, the community have fixed most problems with Soulstorm themselves, so it’s of course a question why Relic can’t even manage to make that fix the official update-on-connection-patch instead of promising a patch next month for a year now, and by now not even bothering anymore to explain why it isn’t coming (last comment from Relic was it would be available in March, it had been delayed 3 times by then). Behaviour like that did its part to convince me that I don’t want to depend on Relic’s customer support.

  16. iwo/mffaiv says:

    Zyrusticae – that patch is about 1.5 gigabytes, mandatory for any online play, and adds extra DRM. I was not impressed by that one bit. Although, it is probably the only bad thing in the entire game.

  17. danarchist says:

    Funny, the only way I can’t stand to play rts’s is online. I play multiplayer sometimes when friends come over etc, but I will never be a ‘turbo clicker’. I have a friend that has set patterns for every single army, and watching him play online makes me woozy with the screen jumping around so much. I am fully dependent on the company putting out new maps, new solo missions, expansions etc. Soulstorm itself was fun solo for me when I went through as the sisters, then I tried the dark elf guys…..ick. BUT the player made maps and expansions (tyranids, templar executar etc) keep the game constantly installed on my pc. DOW2 will likely have the same awesome player made content so no matter how I look at it, its going to be beautiful!

  18. Shawn says:

    I hope people go back and pick up Dawn of War Platinum if they haven’t already, it’s such a great game+expansions, it’s probably my favorite RTS series of all time. I don’t think it sold that well though, in fact, I heard CoH sold very poorly as well. These games just deserve to be on the top. Relic rocks.

  19. grumpy says:

    last comment from Relic was it would be available in March

    Not quite, they have made two updates since then. Just not in the original patch thread on the forum. But they did post some *very* brief updates in June and earlier August, I think it was. (Mostly just saying “patch is basically done but some testing with gamespy/steam/whatever are delaying things a bit”). Not very informative or helpful, but at least it’s not complete radio silence since March.

    But yeah, Soulstorm was a dud. The worst part about it is that me and my friends have just stopped playing dow at all. SS sucks, and not playing the latest expansion would be a bit silly too, so we just haven’t played at all… :(

    if nothing else, I think they’ll think twice before outsourcing an expansion again. ;)

  20. Shawn says:

    grumpy, I’m still playing Dark Crusade, but I’ve never played SS, I guess I should skip it? I’m gonna play through Winter Assault again too in the near future…SP I’m talking.

  21. NuZZ says:

    Anyone else think Tyranids are a rip off of the Zerg?
    Or, were the Tyranids conceived before the Zerg were, like in books and such?

  22. Nakki says:

    NuZZ, Zerg are a ripoff of Tyranids. Starcraft is from ’98 and tyranids were introduced as a playable faction for WH40k in second edition which is from ’93. And tyranids were existant in WH40k lore from earlier.

    EDIT: (apparently tyranids in some form were in the first edition already.)

  23. Crash says:

    And Tyranids are a ripoff of Aliens. But it’s not that they are less awesome, or something.

  24. spd from Russia says:

    whole Starcraft is a ripoff of WH40 k :)
    protos=eldar zerg=tyranids

  25. Rosti says:

    More recent commentators like to call Protos an Eldar-Tau hybrid. These people may safely be laughed at.

  26. Sucram says:

    Sadly, no shots of 10 large guys in power armour trying to fit inside that rhino.

  27. Radiant says:

    Me and a mate used to love playing Command and Conquer 3 together over a lan.

    We both used to build VAST bases spanning most of the map that we used to probe and try and break down as if it was a single player campaign.
    With games lasting entire sunday afternoons.

    After six months of this we decided to play online.
    So we got set up, got connected, downloaded the patches [“we have to download what?!”], got matched up and settled down to start what we thought was going to be an epic 4 hour struggle.
    I walked into the kitchen to put the kettle on and came back to find that the guy had just flown in two Devastators over my defences and had completely obliterated my construction yard.
    Nothing left but torn shirts and broken dreams.
    Took him less then 2 minutes.

    I hate playing rts games on line.

  28. itsallcrap says:

    The Tyranids will be this: awesome

    Long live Digi

  29. jigglybean says:


    DoW was incredible and I will sell my soul for this!

  30. Not-A-Bot says:

    Zerg are a ripoff of Tyranids who are a ripoff of Aliens which themselves are a ripoff of the bugs from Starship Troopers.

  31. Zyrusticae says:

    I don’t think Soulstorm is that bad. It’s actually better-balanced than Dark Crusade, it’s just those particular bugs that you have to watch out for (and for the most part, those won’t affect you unless you’re an Eldar player). The game’s perfectly playable, it was just released a little too early (and given some rather sub-par post-release support). Even given all that, however, the balancing is still pretty well-done.

    …Well, minus the Dark Eldar Beam of Insta-Gib, I suppose. That’s one thing that’s needed patching since release…

  32. Zeitgeist says:

    I love that THQ is so smug and proud of the fact that Tyranids are among the races in the game, when it is clear that they didnt have a choice.
    The excuse for not having them in the first game never really made any sense, and if they had tried to make some extra money by saving the tyranids for a further expansion it wouldnt exactly be a popular move

  33. Noc says:

    Zeitgeist, are you trying to tell me that THQ was trying to cheat us by going “Har, har, we got them to buy the game and we didn’t even have to put ‘Nids in?”

    I honestly don’t understand where people come from with positions like this. People! Game Designers want to make awesome games. That’s why they’re in the business. It’s certainly not the iffy job security, ungodly hours, brutal competition, and the prospect of having the baby you worked for a year or two to produce fall flat as a commercial slump when the entire games community greets it with a resounding “Meh!” because it doesn’t have enough revolutionary features.

    I’m not saying there isn’t hackwork out there. But I can’t see any game designer deliberately not wanting to do something awesome.

  34. ultrasound composer says:

    Noc – getting tyranids into the game would certainly involve more work than another human-type race. I can see them not wanting to do something awesome if the choice is between awesome and easy and both options will pay the bills.
    Avoiding the awesome option isn’t unique to game developers of course – I’m sat here posting on the internet instead of curing AIDS or jetskiing off a waterfall.

  35. Zeitgeist says:

    Noc : My point was that THQ (or whoever made the decision) released DoW1 and 3 expansions without the Tyranids because apparantly the engine couldnt handle all those creatures, this argument didnt really work when you consider the Orks could pump out tons of units.

    I guess i am just slightly annoyed at the sorta smug/proud attitude for including the bare minimum in DoW2, when apart from the Tyranids the game soundsa like it is taking a step in the wrong direction.

  36. monkeymonster says:

    LOL at sucrum – it would be an aliens dropship APC moment. Outside they are taller than the vehicle but inside cam has them coming in without having to watch their heads….

    Also CANT WAIT! Finished 40K on the weekend and half way through winter assault – jiminy, weak ass humans are so useless compared to marines – but hellhounds *ding* :D

    I feel your pain Mister Yuck, playing WI I often lose vast majority of the lads to take certain points and then have to wait a few mins to move up their replacements – no real attachment but marines, I do sniff a little when I lose an entire squad.

    @ Zeitgeist afai can remember it was a combination of units (they should/could have many many more littler units than Orks) but more importantly they couldn’t handle how their base+resources would work given The Ty’s don’t have any sort of commonality with the the other races. Reading about how they will handle their “base” is DOW2 you can see they have made a massive change in that whole system.

  37. vermentto says:

    — Just a word for tyranids origins :
    Tyranids are inspired from Aliens (for the design , but we can see that GW didn’t just copy , it enhanced a lot )and from the roberts heinlein ‘s NOVEL “Starship troopers” (for the concept of hive mind ,and such , but there also , GW worked a lot ).
    The zergs , i am sorry for BLIZZARD’s fans , are just a bunch of low quality copies of the tyranids ; just as the marines from starcraft are a mix of aliens colonial marines (the concept) and space marines (the designs ) ; the protoss are a mix of the eldar (concept AND designs) and the classical UFOLOGY (tall and smalls greys ) .Tau appeared much later.
    BLIZZARD is certainly one of the best games editor , but they NEVER created any of their designs/concepts except for ONE : diablo , but it is a creation of NORTH BLIZZARD : not the same team, it is a other company that blizzard bought (LOL)
    May The Emperor Bless us all And Bring destruction upon His enemies —

  38. Someone says:


    Starship Troopers was released in 1997. ALIEN was released in 1979.

  39. Xyzri says:

    “Starship Troopers was released in 1997. ALIEN was released in 1979”
    Completely wrong. Starship Troopers came to existance in 1959.

  40. Muzman says:

    Worth stressing that it’s only in Aliens that the aliens are a rip off the bug aliens. In Alien the alien is just the alien, and not the alien space termites of Aliens.