Space Hulk: Tactics promises a fresh spin on a classic

Space Hulk: Tactics

Cyanide are a strange little studio. The French outfit was originally brought on by Focus to develop Blood Bowl after their own imitation, Chaos League, caught on to some small success across Europe. Ever since, they’ve carved out a niche developing both Games Workshop properties and a few of their own, such as the Styx series.

Their next project is something near and dear to my heart. After a few ropey adaptations from other studios, Cyanide are trying their hand at adapting board game classic Space Hulk to the PC, plus an extra little twist of their own.

As with the past few digital adaptations of Space Hulk, Tactics is primarily based on the drum-tight (if a little unpredictable, but that’s great for 1v1 play) rules of the original board game, albeit with a little wrinkle. In Tactics, both players have access to decks of game-affecting cards, some of which allow you to customize units before a match begins, while others trigger events on the board once the game is in action.

It’ll be interesting to see how these cards will be earned and unlocked, if at all. The cynic in me says that it may be yet another random booster/loot crate scenario, but this is entirely conjecture, and I hope that my gut feeling is wrong on that point. Beyond that, Space Hulk: Tactics will offer both Marine and Genestealer single-player campaigns to cut your teeth on, plus a map editor allowing you to create and share new scenarios, both for online or solo play. That alone is a definite improvement over selling map packs for a grid-based virtual board game.

Right now we’ve not got much more than a handful of teaser screenshots and the basic feature list, all of which you can see on the official site for the game. Cyanide and Focus Interactive plan on revealing more details later this month. We’ll keep you posted as and when we find out more.

20 Comments

  1. Riaktion says:

    This is good news, I’ll be keeping an eye on this one for sure.

  2. Captain Narol says:

    If they can put some more XCOM-like Tactics in this already tactical boardgame adaptation, they may have a big hit.

  3. Imperialist says:

    While i like the most recent Space Hulk tactical game (Space Hulk: Ascension), it was kinda abandoned and never realized its true potential. SH: Deathwing i think ended up being a pretty good game after a while, but it bares no resemblance to the board game itself.
    Cyanide has a long history of flawed gems so, im ok with them trying their hand. Both Blood Bowl games have been great so, i have faith.

    • ashleys_ears says:

      On the other hand, Cyanide was in on the making of Deathwing, which was forgettable at best. Granted, it isn’t just a garden-variety FPS with the Warhammer IP slapped on this time, so perhaps there’s cause to hope, but… eh. I’m not holding my breath.

  4. rustybroomhandle says:

    Saaaay… this is not the customary RPS method of reporting about SPACE HULK…

    • Dominic Tarason says:

      Oops.

      SPACE HULK SPACE HULK SPACE HULK SPACE HULK SPACE HULK

      I blame it being nearly 11pm when I finished this piece for forgetting that important detail. I shall sacrifice a psyker to the emperor for my heresy.

      • Vacuity729 says:

        Transmission begins
        ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
        Non-adherence to correct protocol and possible heresy detected at highest administrative levels.
        Request immediate dispatch of Ordo Malleus.
        ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

        Final transmission received from Adeptus Arbites headquarters on planet RPS before all contact ceased.

  5. Someoldguy says:

    Interesting, but can i just say… 25 RPS articles released in just over 12 hours. 25! Good grief.

    • Dominic Tarason says:

      And we’re STILL trying to catch up on all the news.

      There was a brief lull over the holidays, but we’re back to pre-Christmas levels of Everything Happening All At Once madness.

  6. bill says:

    The quest to make the perfect Space Hulk game continues…

    The age old problem is that if you stick too close to the original rules, it’s just not that exciting as a video game – but if you change things too much then it’s not really Space Hulk.

    The first recent Space Hulk game was a pretty decent attempt at making a straight up translation, but what is exciting in board game friend with your mate in the room, isn’t so exciting in a solo singleplayer campaign, or even remote multiplayer.

    Ascension tries to fix that, but seemed only half successful.

    Does Deathwing have any tactics, or is it purely Left4Dead with genestealers?

    For my money, the best adaption was Vengeance of the Blood Angels… although it suffered with dodgy graphics and fiddly controls.
    It was basically a straight up adaption of the board game mixed with an FPS. You could control the squad from a (fiddly) overhead map, or just shoot stuff.

    Given that they already have the Deathwing engine and assets (do they?), imho they should merge that with a board game adaption. With today’s tech and controls it’d work much better and could be really cool.

    • Vacuity729 says:

      Ascension is a lot of fun, but was so unsuccessful that the studio went bust. Then, the dev still working on it in his free time managed to release a large patch which… broke the game. So the game had large *DO NOT BUY* (but mostly much less politely worded) warning signs all over its reviews and discussion pages for a long time.
      It’s fixed now, but the bad reviews and word of mouth remains, unfortunately.

      I remember seeing adverts for the Vengeance of the Blood Angels adaptation of Space Hulk in White Dwarf magazine back… too long ago. Never played it.

    • Tehgriefer says:

      I Found Ascension a very nice and decent game, cheap, costed me no more than 10$ and I spent like 300 hours playing it, It’s true that it had several bugs and errors, but they were fixed. I hope Cyanide will make a good work, one of my favorite/most played games are from them (Pro Cycling manager Saga and Blood Bowl).

    • vahnn says:

      I had Vengeance of the Blood Angels on Sega Saturn and it was my favorite game as a teenager. It was my first introduction into the world of Warhammer 40k, though I didn’t know that’s what it was at the time. My brother and I still quote lines from that game all the time.

  7. AshkEl says:

    I’m constantly surprised that no-one seems to remember that the ‘how to make a good videogame of Space Hulk’ problem has already been solved, waaaaaayy back in 1993, with the Amiga version.

    It stuck close enough to the board game to be instantly familiar to anyone who’d played before, but also took advantage of the possibilities offered by the digital format.

    It was one of the first examples I can recall of the ‘freeze time’ mechanic, where a real-time game can be paused to issue orders, but on a limited basis where the only way to earn back more pause time was to let it run in real time.

    It also took advantage of the in-lore idea of the sensorium to add Aliens-style headcam windows across the top of the display, letting the player keep an eye on their entire sqaud at once.

    I’m not sure why developers keep struggling to find the sweet spot with Space Hulk, when it was so clearly demonstrated 25 years ago.

  8. Sunjammer says:

    For such a simple ruleset I’m amazed at how hard it seems to make a satisfying game around it. I miss the simplicity of Space Hulk, a game that is screaming for an XComlike. All they need to add to the original rules is progression and verticality, but they keep adding all this VIDEO GAME on top of it

    • Vacuity729 says:

      I’m curious what you mean by verticality. Are you meaning having multiple planes on the z-axis as opposed to the current system with a single flat plane.
      The idea’s nice, but the increase in complexity would be considerable; each board is a topological problem which the marine player has to approach in terms of clearing and controlling areas (which the ‘stealer player is trying to break into). Assuming additional layers are connected (if they weren’t, what would be the point?), the topology of the problem would increase significantly for every additional connection, which would likely require the marine player to need a lot more marines, secondly, make the clearing and control aspects of the game enormously more complex, as well as increase the difficulty of responding correctly when the inevitable breach occurs or simply require a number of rules to be changed to mitigate these problems.

  9. xvre says:

    Wish someone would make a digital version of Space Hulk: Death Angel (the card game).

  10. JoeD2nd says:

    I don’t know how many times I can be burned by buying Space Hulk games.