Waaagh! WH40k: Eternal Crusade On Steam Early Access

Dead games cast long shadows. Any Warhammer 40,000 MMO is competing with how I imagined Vigil’s doomed Dark Millenium would be before it was gutted then scrapped in publisher THQ’s collapse. So yeah, Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade [official site] does look a bit bum compared to my beautiful dead gamewife, but it actually exists and is a game you could play this very day. After a stretch selling alpha access directly themselves, developers Behaviour Interactive (them lot behind Naughty Bear and Wet, yep) have launched the MMO shooter on Steam Early Access.

As is, Eternal Crusade is a class-based shooter with Space Marines and Chaos Space Marines throwing down in 16v16 battles, riding vehicles and swinging chainswords and blasting zapguns and casting magic spells and all that. The plan for the full game is to have far, far larger battles and PlanetSide-ish persistent warfare to control territory. The Eldar and Orks will join the fray later too, and a co-operative mode is planned as well. There’s no firm word on when it’ll get those things, though.

Eternal Crusade is £31.99 on Steam right now. As ever with early access, be aware that many things may–or may not–change and at a pace you might not like. The game does now have the backing of publishers Bandai Namco, mind.

Here’s a new “in-engine cinematic” making Eternal Crusade look far more exciting (and prettier) than anything I’ve seen of the actual game:

For example, this recent dev livestream has some live gameplay which looks like a so-so shooter:

36 Comments

  1. SupahSpankeh says:

    This game shows a little promise.

    It’s hard tonjudge how true to 40k this game will be. They’re starting to introduce much needed asymmetry to the two currently playable factions, but it remains to be seen how well it will work overall.

    Mechanically it’s a pretty average third person shooter; I suspect it will live or die on it’s ability to handle 100+ players and how well it leverages the 40k fluff.

    If they keep each faction unique, avoid p2w and use the fluff to add some much needed flavour, the decidedly average shooter mechanics won’t be a problem.

    • cpt_freakout says:

      Asymmetrical factions? That sounds quite cool! I really hope they can pull it off.

      • Boozebeard says:

        You sound surprised like you expected orkz, eldar and marines to play the same? lol

        • cpt_freakout says:

          haha I know, it’s just that I always have low expectations when it comes to Warhammer games.

    • The Dark One says:

      The more Warhammer stuff is released, the more I become convinced that Games Workshop was lucky to land Relic while flinging licensing deals out the window of a moving car. Let’s hope they’ve accidentally signed a competent studio again.

  2. cpt_freakout says:

    IMO Planetside is also a so-so shooter, but it’s made great by the scale, the goals structure, and the group dynamics. This might be something like that eventually, I guess.

    • Boozebeard says:

      PS2 doesn’t do anything exciting with it’s shooting but it’s pretty good. What I’ve seen of this looks notably more basic and flat. But it also has melee combat and stuff to jazz it up a bit so who knows.

  3. Ethaor says:

    I had great fun and played a good amount of the exterminatus mode in Warhammer 40 000 Space marine. If only it had more content and dedicated servers.

    Eternal Crusade doesn’t look like its gameplay feels as good nor is as solid. Anyone played both?

    • Ethaor says:

      Edit: I played a good amount of the MP too and it was really fun, but the lack of dedicated servers meant huge lag issues that prevented me from playing it extensively.

  4. Premium User Badge

    Oakreef says:

    needs more Tau

  5. Bull0 says:

    If this game ever delivers on any of those big MMOFPS ambitions I will eat my hat MK IV ceramite helm.

  6. klops says:

    Surprisingly ugly and lame. I thought all new games are shining beauties. Also that AA-fire in the video at 0:15 – 0:20 is the most pathetic I’ve ever seen anywhere (not that I remember any video game scenes where a plane is shot down).

    • Viral Frog says:

      Well, it is early access. I’d be especially concerned if the devs were adding polish before systems and gameplay improvements within the first few days of EA.

      • klops says:

        Good point. I missed the alpha status at first.

        But still, that “in engine” -cinematic looks, sounds and feels pathetic. It is supposed to attract people, not the opposite.

      • darkmorgado says:

        It’s been in development for over two years though. It was being developed for about a year prior to the crowdfunding thing that was launched in Summer 2014.

        I’d say that if they haven’t got most of the core mechanics and features in place after that length of time, or managed to make the gameplay sufficiently interesting and solid, they likely never will.

  7. balinor says:

    If they would bring Naughty Bear to PC then I would be all over that. This, not so much.

  8. bit.bat says:

    It looks like it takes a lot of cues for the Relic Space Marine game, from the view angle and general movement to smaller details, the jetpack stuff looks almost identical (down to the yellow aiming reticule). Is this in any way related to Relic?

  9. Chiron says:

    So this is basically Battlefield 40k?

    Sounds alright.

    Ideally I’d have it so that the Imperial faction was less. Mariney. It’d have Guardsmen and maybe 2-3 Marines for every 10 humans and allow for a roaming timer to swap players into the Marine class every 5 minutes or so. Could then introduce Sisters or Conscripts into the mix and get a really asymmetrical couple of sides going/

    Tricky to balance though so no surprise its just gone with Marines vs Spikey Marines for the main factions.

    • TormDK says:

      It’ll be Marines, vs chaos vs eldar vs orkz vs Tyranids (PvE only)

      We’re just missing Eldar and Orkz, so it does not bode well for a release this summer.

  10. Keasar says:

    It’s worth noting that this game is almost identical in gameplay mechanics to Relics Warhammer 40K Space Marine, from the third persons shoulder camera, the crosshair, the melee and to how the Assault pack works. It still needs a lot of work though as weapon balance, optimization and just general feel of the game needs to be nailed down.

    So having that gameplay as a base for a larger planetwide combat game is not too bad in my book.

  11. Sirastartes says:

    Let me start by saying this game has supplied me with hours of fun. As a huge Warhammer fan this game is going to be something amazing. I’ve been following the development from day one and what they have in store for us once the game is fully released is going to be fantastic, a dream come true for me: a 40k MMO.

    Please be aware that this game is still in an Alpha build as I’m writing this, which means you will come across bugs with the sound and visual aspects. The developers themselves do weekly patches to address these issues, they supply us with a weekly production updates via Twitch where we can see all the new features that will be coming, and they listen to people’s concerns and make sure they answer the questions people put towards them about game features and the game’s future. For us who have been following this game, we know that once the game is released it will receive FREE expansions periodically (every three months) that will give players new content and abilities. The first expansion planned will add Terminators into the game!

    At this early stage, the MMO aspect is slowly being put into the game. At this current stage we only have 16v16 player matches, but that is soon to change, and tests have already begun of upping the numbers and creating more massive epic battles, I was lucky enough to take part in one of these tests and the increased player count made the game an absolute pleasure, it turned it into what 40k truly is, an epic battlefield. The next map to be added is going to be a huge fortress that will feature 60 players (30vs30).

    The character progression system has started to be put into the game, the first stage of this has already been added with the character loadout menu where you can customize your classes by selecting what guns and perks to give them. They’ve also introduced the first stages of character progressive XP, at the moment it’s capped at only to level 10 but it’s laid the foundation to be built on.

    I could go on about certain classes and give you feedback but I think it would be best to give you visual references so you can see what you’re getting at this stage of development. I have put together a small collection on some of the Space Marine classes here.

    link to youtube.com

    Here you will find videos from me just messing around in the game from my Twitch Streams. It shows the basic gameplay and some teamwork.

    link to youtube.com

    Also keep you can keep track of all the posts from the Developers:

    link to battle-brothers.net

    If you think I’ve helped you and you’ve decided to buy the game from my review, you can use my referral code (4000 free extra Rogue Trader points for both you and me): EC-3VMHIXL6DLZ8J

    For the Emperor!

    • Bull0 says:

      …You copy pasted your review from the store page as a comment? Why?

      • TormDK says:

        For the free rogue trader points if people uses his link. If he gets 50 people to use it, he basically just saved 150USD on points.

  12. BB Shockwave says:

    You should rather look forward to the Hungarian-developed Inquisitor WH40K game, it’ll be a diabloid ARPG. Better than a shooter…

    • Keasar says:

      Dunno what you are exactly implying with “better than a shooter”.

      One is about where you aim and click to kill things. The other is about where you aim and click to kill things. You decide which is which. :P

      • BB Shockwave says:

        In that game intro…. Did… did that chaos marine dude who could cast spells with his cool purple sword… turn into shiny magic sparkles when the sniper shot him?!? Are chaos marines made out of the Elements of Friendship? :D Y’know, that’d make this game so much more interesting.

        • Keasar says:

          He got shot with a Lascannon, basically a man-wielded anti-tank laser, meant to shoot tanks with. :P

          Dude got disintegrated.

    • Viral Frog says:

      You’re comparing tomatoes and oranges, man. I’m sure some people will feel the exact opposite of you. But I do agree that a Warhammer ARPG sounds fantastic. Thanks for letting me know about that one! I’ll have to track down more info.

      • Viral Frog says:

        link to pcgamer.com

        It’s by the Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing studio. Sign me up!

      • BB Shockwave says:

        I am saying it because WH40K is an strategy-RPG. I see as little reason for turning it to a third-person shooter as well, turning X-COM into a shooter (remember Enforcer)?

        As for Inquisitor: Martyr, here is their website, surprised RPS did not yet report its existence. There is a neat intro and gameplay video, but it’s very early in development. But given how well Van Helsing turned out by the third game, I trust them to make a good game.
        link to neocoregames.com

  13. Jack_Empty says:

    I dream of a 40k mmowhatsit that could simulate the experience of a table top unit in a large scale battle senario populated by loads of human controlled units having to act a specialist squads, vehicles etc. All directed by two AI commanders that are effectivly playing a table top game, who gave squads orders dynamically based on the ebb and flow of the battle and us doing the fighting rather than dice rolls. This looks like 20 or more players doing there own thing in an arena. Do we need another game like this? GW seems to have drifted off from the original pitch black satire of war towards cool guys with cool guns.

    • TheAngriestHobo says:

      As awesome as this sounds, I think it falls apart at the “humans taking orders from AI” part. As with any strategy game, the AI would quickly settle into predictable patterns of behaviour that players would then adapt to and learn to exploit. Since dogmatically obeying the commander would expose players to this vulnerability, they would start to ignore the AI, which would get retroactively removed from the game and replaced by human volunteers once the devs clued in.

      At which point, you’d basically be playing Battlefield 40k.

      • gunny1993 says:

        “As with any strategy game, the AI would quickly settle into predictable patterns of behaviour that players would then adapt to and learn to exploit.”

        soooo …. Hardcore Ultramarines then?

  14. Morcane says:

    40 euros for an early access game? Yeah sod off.

  15. Stevostin says:

    I read the whole thing not realizing it wasn’t first person shooting but third person. What a waste of my time.
    Remember, here is the full list of great third person shooting game:
    Now here is the list of advantage of TPV over FPV for a shooting game:
    … and that’s all. How there are still some people that those non existing list makes it up for lesser aiming, way lesser shooting sensation, way lesser immersion, way lesser publishing potential, and last but not least risking blocking your view with your own body is passed me. But those guys clearly exist and for some even more extraordinary reasons I can’t figure at all don’t work in a bakery but in the actual game industry, mind you. Can you believe that?