Warhammer 40,000 MOBA Alert

Dark Nexus Arena

You know how the world needs more MOBAs as well as more Warhammer games? Here’s the teaser trailer for Warhammer 40,000: Dark Nexus Arena.

It’s being developed by new Vancouver-based studio, Whitebox Interactive who say:

“Warhammer 40,000: Dark Nexus Arena presents fast-paced and competitive gameplay in a never-before-seen look into the dark city of Commorragh and the gore-filled arenas of the Wych Cults.”

I feel like Commorragh and Wych Cults are words you could use to construct a Kieron trap.

Meanwhile, their CEO, Jonathan Falkowski states, “We are hard-core MOBA players with a shared passion for the Warhammer 40,000 intellectual property here at Whitebox. Our aim is to deliver a highly-polished experience that a player of any skill level can step into and find success and enjoyment.”

It’s not an enlightening statement by any means, but if you’re playing a press release drinking game you should probably down a fair bit for “shared passion”, “intellectual property” and “highly-polished”.

Said press release and a dev blog offer a touch more detail. The setting is the Wych arenas of Commorragh and they’re seeking to combine elements of twin stick shooters with MOBAs. “In teams of four, Veteran warriors hailing from the Space Marine, Ork, and Tau armies battle in bloody conflict to the death.” That’s the vanilla version and future updates would bring other races such as the Sisters of Battle, Dark Eldar, Eldar and Chaos Space Marines.

Your mum's looking well

In terms of how the game is intended to play out, “Teams are challenged to collect enemy souls and kills within the vicious Dark Eldar arena setting. Players ultimately claim victory through bloody executions which feed the soul-thirst of the evil Dark Eldar race.” It sounds like a birthday party I went to when I was six.

From reading the details currently available there is also intended to be a hat economy.

The game is being billed for launch in 2016, although early access will likely begin late spring or early summer 2015.


  1. Auru says:

    Another fine use of this IP.


    • Gorillion says:

      I second this bit of sarcasm.

      Another low budget Warhammer game from an unproven studio. And a MOBA at that, to drown in the sea of MOBAs. When, exactly, did GW decide to give their license to any two-bit studio who asks for it?

      • EhexT says:

        Right after THQ went bust. THQ had the exclusive license and confidence of GW – when they went under it reverted back to GW and instead of looking for a new studio/publisher to trust in to treat the property with reverence and quality they simply opened it up for anyone with an idea and a lawyer.

        Cue a dozen shitty mobile games that have done more to damage their brand than their insane physical shop policies ever could. All the amazing reputation Relic built for them destroyed in just a few short years.

        • Liandri_Angel says:

          Mobile games won’t really hurt an IP – a shitton of console/PC gamers won’t be affected by some bad line defense game on a tablet.

      • Lorc says:

        They seem to have come to the sudden realisation that their deathgrip on the warhammer licenses, refusing to allow anything that looks or feels like the source material, might not have been such a great idea.

        And now they’re trying to make up for twenty lost years.

  2. Bull0 says:

    Setting is a good fit at first glance, although in practise it’d need to be the first MOBA with permadeath to really capture it.

    …I’d definitely play that.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      Yeah, the 40k setting meshes pretty well with MOBAs, if it had been one of the first MOBAs out there it could’ve been really cool. Far too late now though of course.

      • Bull0 says:

        Yeah, it’s doomed to fail unless it innovates in some sort of meaningful way, which given the genre is sort of anti-innovation by definition I don’t see happening

        • Neutrino says:

          Perhaps it will be the first MOBA with non-cartoon graphics.

          • Turin Turambar says:

            Wh40K is kind of cartoonish, if you think about it…

          • gmillar says:

            Maybe today it is, but the Warhammer/40k I grew up on was pretty dark. The whole chaos thing is maybe the best “evil force” in fantasy today. Particularly if you get into the fiction, there is a ton of death, corruption and bleakness.

    • Sacarathe says:

      Wouldnt be the first though.

    • nearly says:

      Now there’s an idea. I’d be really interested to see a MOBA that lets you create and customize your own character. Kind of marrying it more strongly to MMO systems but playing out in the lane push we all know already

      • Bull0 says:

        Yes, I agree completely. It’s whats missing from those games for me, probably because I did MMOs first and MOBAs second.

  3. DwarfJuggler says:

    The problem with a MOBA of Warhammer is that alliances were hardly consistent so even if you did have even the human factions aligned it wouldn’t make a lot of sense.

    Essentially this has no lore value other than “Look people from this franchise you like and you can play as them in.”

    Also there are distinct imbalances in the races because of their cultural style, tech, or ability to produce hordes of people to win with never ending numbers. The idea of having an imperial guard fight toe to toe with a space marine, or Ork would be silly.

    The only way I could see it working is if rather than heroes that revive you do have a permadeath system where in you’re but one unit pushing into the war and each match is 1 race vs another race each with their unique characteristics. Every time you die you lose a ticket and spawn as the next unit. Item purchases could be unit upgrades instead, like armor, vehicles, probes.. etc.

    There is potential for a game like that… But the trailer seemed to be going in the LOL style MOBA :(.

    • Bull0 says:

      The Dark Eldar throw captives into arenas to fight all the time, it’s actually pretty solid from a lore perspective (of course the marines will likely have their armour and weapons etc, which would make them very hard to keep captive, so it’s going to bend the premise quite a lot I suspect)

    • Askis says:

      Races mentioned are “Space Marine, Ork, Tau, Sisters of Battle, Dark Eldar, Eldar and Chaos Space Marines”, no Imperials, so having only one “hero” of each race is somewhat feasible.
      And the Space Marine shown is actually a Terminator.

  4. misterT0AST says:

    Say what you will, but I played pretty much every moba in existence and I will definitely give this one a go.
    I just know I won’t stay for long because of the inevitably grindy business model.
    Dota spoiled me with its 110 free heroes right off the bat.

    I bet this will have fewer characters and they won’t even all be free.

    If they don’t bring something new to the table, (and it looks like your average farm-push-gank fest from the video) and their business model is “traditional” Free To Play a la League I will just play a few matches and drop it once I see I can’t get for free something I want.

    That business model is fine if you’d play the game a lot anyway, but this will be the third or fourth game I play in order of priority/importance, so if it ever tries to tell me “you need to play more of me” with some point system I’m going to dump it and never look back.

  5. CaptainVolcanoes says:

    In my ideal 40k games-filled future, we’d have games names like: “Warhammer 40,000: A Telltale games series” and news headlines that read like “Mass WAAAGH!: Bioware announces 40k RPG”

    But alas,

    • jerf says:

      CD Projekt would be better suited to make a 40k RPG than Bioware, imo.

    • Sakai says:

      Bioware? God no. Obsidian or CDPR.

      • Lars Westergren says:

        Large portion of Obsidian studios has been working on a secret (presumably AAA) RPG for a year or two now. Maybe Warhammer the CRPG, or Fallout 4?

        And the answer is no. But one can dream.

      • Liandri_Angel says:

        Man, what’s with RPG Nexus fanboys and their hatred of Bioware?

        • Sakai says:

          What’s an “RPG Nexus”? And i don’t hate Bioware. They just make shit RPG’s. Simple as that.

    • Rindan says:

      I’m with you. Mass Effect style game where my Inquisitor leads a motley band of criminals, aliens, psykers, soldiers, and Marines hunting down heretics is the stuff of my dreams. I would settle for a World War 2 style FPS where that opening scene from Enemy at the Gates looks compassionate, or a Crysis style openish game where I play a space marine behind enemy lines wrecking shit. A Caiphas Cain game.

      Reskinned games on the other hand hold no interest at all. This game holds not even a shred of interest to me.

      • Sakai says:

        40k is far too good to waste it on another Mass Effect. It deserves an Eisenhorn-like RPG.

        • strangeloup says:

          As long as every dialogue choice has “Exterminatus” as an option.

    • DarkFenix says:

      As far as I’m concerned 40k needs an XCOM-alike. Chaos Gate was damn good back in the day (and frankly is still good now). It could be practically a reskin of the recent XCOM game and it’d be fantastic, why oh why haven’t they done this already, it’s not as though Firaxis have done anything worthwhile since Enemy Within.

      • Darkheart says:

        I played the hell out of Chaos Gate. It was buggy as hell and i had to restart missions because of that more times than I care to count, but man it sure was glorious to defend your fortresses and trenches against an onslaught of Khorne Berserkers.
        Give me something like that and we can talk.

    • Kollega says:

      Now, I’m as far as one can get from being a fan of Warhammer 40k, but I rather like it when it plays its over-the-top grimdark for laughs. So in my eyes, what the world needs is a 40k game where all the memes about the setting would come to life. Angry Marines, Classy Marines, Commissar Fuklaw, Failbaddon the Armless, DRIVE ME CLOSER, TACTICAL GENIUS, the works. I’d buy that in a heartbeat. Too bad that not treating 40k with utter seriousness is apparently HERESY these days.

  6. Easy says:

    Lots of s’plosions. Must be good.

  7. Rizlar says:

    So this must be the grim darkness of the far future we were promised.

  8. Moraven says:

    Just give us an expanded Last Stand game.

  9. Pich says:

    of course a game set in the Dark Eldar main city only has them as possible future DLC :/

  10. Carlos Danger says:

    I sort of feel like Forrest Gump trying to get Jenny to stop playing her guitar naked on stage. I want to take her back to Greenbow Alabama but she doesn’t want to go.

    Jenny, I know what love is…Please come back.

  11. Loyal_Viggo says:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again now:

    All we need are Necromunda (not horrific X-COM remake style), a decent Battlefleet Gothic game (not convinced by the one in dev), Dawn of Fucking War 3 and a WH40K RPG where you can be any race and try to rise to the top or die trying.

    The end.

    • Eviljimmy says:

      A good Dawn of War 3 with all the base building back….Hell, use a sup com style engine and call it Dawn of War 3: Epic (maybe not)

  12. Premium User Badge

    gritz says:

    So here’s a silly question from someone who’s not intimately familiar with GW:

    Why don’t they make a Warhammer 40k video game? Not a game based on Warhammer 40k, not a MOBA or an RTS, but an honest-to-goodness turn based adaptation of the tabletop game?

    I know GW has a reputation for profit-whoring and wouldn’t want to hurt its core business of selling plastic to suckers, but it seems like selling virtual figurines would be way more profitable.

    • Loyal_Viggo says:

      Short answer is money.

      GW don’t want people playing virtual games of their boardgames because they make money hand over fist with the models etc.

      You need a second mortgage to finance the physical hobby and GW are not prepared to risk it.

      • Asurmen says:

        DLC. Enough said. What they would lose out on is paints and brushes.

        I can dream of 100 years from now, having holographical 40k on some special table, with animations etc.

    • JM says:

      Because the 40k ruleset is an absolute mess, and it’s neither balanced nor well-written. Turn it into a PC game and watch people go “Eh… this is actually pretty shitty”.

    • Bull0 says:

      The heart and soul of warhammer is in the collecting, modelling, painting, converting, etc. When you take all of that away, you’re left with a not particularly exciting or balanced game. Besides which, why would they want to compete with established, well-known strategy game studios when they’re dominating (for the moment) their tabletop market?

      • gmillar says:

        That might be the heart and soul for you and I, but the GW stores are packed with 13 year olds and their sad grey plastic armies, arguing about what the cheesiest combos are.

        • Bull0 says:

          Yeah, and that side of it is lacking in the heart and soul department.

  13. ZIGS says:

    So many Warhammer games and still no Space Marine 2…

  14. Gurrah says:

    Good grief people, if done right Warhammer is an excellent choice for a MOBA – in a way DoW2 and it’s add-ons played a lot like a MOBA, hero units, fixed bases, temporary level ups and equipment and then there was the coop wave-mode which was excellent. Even though it’s from a big studio I’m not writing it off, it could be fantastic. And honestly, who needs lore in a MOBA? What the fuck do I care if I’m setting up my heavy bolter alongside a Farseer or Lictor if it’s fun. Please be good is all I’m saying.

    • tormos says:

      I think that most of the negativity around the announcement has been because GW has done an awful job doling out their IP recently. With the exception of DoW2, most of their games have been shoddily made (Blood Bowl, Space Hulk) or simply not transitioned well (Space Hulk, that awful F2P phone thing). So I think that hearing that this game in an oversaturated genre is being given out to a completely unknown studio is being met with an appropriate amount of cynicism.

      • Bull0 says:

        Also because MOBA is the me-too genre of the day, so it’s quite hard to feel enthusiastic about.

  15. Aetylus says:

    A MOBA… sooo obvious. Give me 40K the City Builder :)

    • Napalm Sushi says:

      Chart and colonise an unsettled planet of the Ultima Segmentum as a rogue trader. Develop it from a cluster of habs into a civilised world or something more specialised like an agri world, forge world, hive world, shrine world or fortress world. Export its resources and products to the Adeptus Terra and defend it against threats ranging from rebellions and genestealer cults to Waaaghs and Black Crusades. Aim to eventually make it the seat of a Space Marine chapter, a Cardinal of the Ministorum or something similarly prestigious.

      I find the 40k setting gets more compelling the more it rejects that eye-roll inducing “there is only war” tagline.

      • Hex says:

        This sounds fantastic.

        Put the player in the role of the Imperial Governor with command of an IG garrison for your standard Ork incursions or whatever. And then have options to request assistance from spehss mehreens and the Inquisition (or whatever they’re called) if a full-blown invasion begins or a heretic crops up, respectively.

        Of course, now that you have Inquisitors in your back yard, things start getting a lot more complicated. Etc etc.

  16. gmillar says:

    The fact that Warhammer 40k and the thriving FPS market have existed side-by-side for years, but nothing good has ever come of it, is a travesty of the highest order. Managed correctly, 40k should be the biggest franchise in shooters. The content is there, it’s just up to someone to make the damn game.