Warhammer 40K goes 4X in Gladius – Relics of War


The lack of a 4X romp set in the grimdark future of the 41st millennium is an unusual omission, especially given the number of Warhammer 40K games that have been released over the last few years. Proxy Studios and publisher Slitherine are on the case, however, as the pair have just announced Warhammer 40,000: Gladius – Relics of War.

Along with being a bit of a mouthful, it pits four factions — Space Marines, Orks, Imperial Guard and Necrons — against each other in a 4X fight for domination over the world of Gladius Prime. It’s “coming soon”. Take a gander at the first trailer below.

Each faction comes with its own storylines, tech trees, units and heroes, and they’ll all expand, conquer and interact with enemies and allies differently. However, Proxy Studios is still keeping schtum about what, exactly, those differences are. There’s a hint of an RPG in there, too, with quests and hero units who possess special abilities that become stronger as they rank up. These already powerful units can also be augmented with new gear, from fancy grenades to strange relics.

While Slitherine’s previous outing Warhammer 40k: Sanctus Reach, used a play-by-email system for multiplayer, Gladius – Relics of War will use a more typical live system, with players working together or against each other in live, turn-based wars. Just like in single-player, however, they’ll need to worry about the hostile world itself, along with its dangerous wildlife. Nothing is just nice in Warhammer 40K, is it? There aren’t any Risa-type worlds. The focus here is very much on war and conflict. Don’t expect to win any games through the strength of your faction’s culture.

You’ll be able to get a closer look at the game in action when the developers stream it on Twitch on December 1, 7pm GMT. In the meantime, devour some screenshots.






  1. Asurmen says:

    This, I didn’t ask for.

  2. Eraysor says:

    Why couldn’t they just give the licence to Paradox and let them reskin Stellaris? It would have been perfect.

  3. Haplo says:

    Sure 40k has Risa-style worlds. They’re called Paradise Worlds. There’s a few examples: you have Eurydice, which was plague-bombed; Prandium, which was eaten; and Rophanon, which was turned into a giant bureaucratic office, then wiped out when the people revolted.

    Perfectly nice places!

    • Megatron says:

      I like to think that somewhere in the W40K universe there is an advanced culture secretly smuggling peaceable races into a more peaceful universe, away from the chaos, war and eternal death, saddened by the deaths of the lovely worlds mentioned and the slaughter of trillions.

    • gentlehosen says:

      There are some actually decent worlds in the universe, to be fair, the problem is that, being a universe where the main focus is on war, peaceful places generally don’t get a lot of focus unless they are soon to become less peaceful.

      Some of the novels touch on those planets more, the Eisenhorn and Ravenor trilogies come to mind, and the Ciaphas Cain books deal with them a bit.

  4. Whelp says:

    I see GW are still handing out their license via random lottery. This might be fun, or it might be a second Rites of War…

    • Chaotic Entropy says:

      If Rites of War is the worst Warhammer game that comes to mind then I envy you. :(

  5. -Spooky- says:

    “Warhammer 40,000 you will lead one of four unique factions.” .. i stopped reading after four unique ..

  6. KDR_11k says:

    I suspect the previous lack of 4X was because most of the factions in 40k don’t expand or research.

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      Earl-Grey says:

      Hah, your comment made me feel like a proper knob.
      My first thought was “oooh, neat, grand interstellar 40k warfare”.
      But you made me see the obvious problem of a 4X 40K.
      Duh me, indeed.

    • Okami says:

      The 40K version of 4X would be: Xterminate, Xterminate, Xterminate, Xterminate.

    • fuzzyfuzzyfungus says:

      “Try to collapse into the ruins of a past you barely understand more slowly than the other guy” is totally the same thing, right?

  7. Crackerjacker says:

    My dream 40k game is still a kind of cross between FTL and CKII in terms of the structure, with a player controlling an Astartes Chapter Master as they face off against challenges, accept/refuse missions/requests and deal with the consequences.

    Did you choose to be one of the 1st Founding? That is easy mode(Unless your name is Mr. Blood Angel or Dr. Iron Hands, in which case there is no easy mode).

    Did you make your own chapter? Did you accept the will of Sol and go shoot some guys? While you were gone, did your home planet disappear? What will you do next – fight as a fleet-based chapter to gain favour enough to be granted new lands? Continue permanently like that(Yes Black Templars, ICU)? Wither and die out? Did your mission fail, leaving the Chapter vulnerable at home? How will you respond?

    I mean, I know how unlikely such a thing is because GW would see such a thing – a Space Marine sandbox game – as a direct competitor to their own existing revenue.

    • Haplo says:

      It might not be 100% what you’re looking for, but there was a homebrewed ‘Space Marine Management Sim’ game out there called Chapter Master, which might be worth taking a look at. It’s a bit grognardy in the manner of Dwarf Fortress, though.

      • Crackerjacker says:

        link to youtube.com

        I’d not seen that before – it’s a bit dry but yeah, that’s the kind of overlay I think would work well at the strategic level(Esp. with rolls based on how likely something in the local area is to affect you, so it becomes risk/reward). Beyond simply plugging in DoW:DC(TW) for ground combat and Armada for space combat, I haven’t concocted any ideas for a tactical game to pair with it though.

        Ta for that.

        • h78 says:

          Armada x Dawn of War? An impossible idea, but quite irresistible. If only…

          That game link looks interesting.

          I’m beginning to think that, with dawn of war, armada, and [insert good 40k game here, chaos gate? final liberation?], Games Workshop may be having its “Lucas Arts/Tie Fighter moment”, where it somehow puts out some genuinely innovative interesting stuff. Lot’s of dross of course, but some good stuff.

    • Dirksolomon says:

      Yeah, there is also the option to stray away from the usual space marines with that sort of ideas. Like look at Rogue Traders who have variety from one ship crew to huge trading empires with armies in their disposal. Or even Dark Heresy rpg’s for somesort of tactical Jagged Alliance/Xcom/Silent Storm game! It just feels like they never explore these lesser known aspects of the universe.

  8. Xelos says:

    Whimpy visual effects and stiff character portraits in the trailer don’t help in building any hype for this title. Those things are not hard to do well, so if they didn’t even manage that… This and the fact that Sanctus Reach was a game about 15 years late in terms of visual and design fidelity.

  9. TotallyUseless says:

    Dark Crusade was very 4x-ish similar to Total War. That would make for a superior 4x experience married with rts. If only Relic had its act together…..

  10. emotionengine says:

    Who are Proxy and what else did they make before this? As soon as I read “One Planet” my heart sank. Does this mean there will be no interplanetary action/space battles of any sort? That suddenly seems so small-scaled for a 4X title set in the WH40K universe. I guess it will take a fair bit before this sees release but not sure if it’s a good sign when units just clip through each other so egregiously in the first reveal trailer. Also when almost more time is spent animating the logo than showing off the actual game. Hmm.

  11. Captain Narol says:

    I appreciate a lot Slitherine as editor (Qvadriga, Field of Glory II, etc…), I’m curious to see what they will do with the Warhammer license in the field of 4X.

  12. LagTheKiller says:

    Yo aybe it will be stage game. First Armada like battle for space domination with additional option to board action with TPP Space Hulk like. Then Air superiority and armies planetfall managment. At the end u got RTS with option to drop ur character and have fun Space Marine/Brutal Legend style