Warhammer 40K: Mechanicus is XCOM with machine-worshipping cyborg nutters


In the grim darkness of the…


…far future, there is only…



Given the number of Warhammer 40K videogames clogging up Steam’s arteries these days, it’s surprising how few of ’em take an XCOMmy, turn-based squad tactics approach. There’s 1998’s Chaos Gate, and 2015’s slightly too straightforward and more RPGy Deathwatch, and that’s about it. Perhaps the newly-announced Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus will fill that hole, seeing as it’s also doing the whole out-of-mission squad management thing and well as having what looks suspiciously like a Geoscape.


Mechanicus eschews the usual Space Marine approach in favour of another aspect of the Imperium Of Man, the Adeptus Mechanicus and their machine-worshipping Tech-Priests. They’re particularly well-suited to this sort of thing as they’re only too happy to lop bits of themselves off and replace them with machinery in the name of heightened abilities.

“Hundreds of possibilities” are promised in terms of squad customisation, in addition to an element of decision making that will affect the nature of missions and the outcome of a story written by Black Library scribe Ben Counter.

There’s no in-game footage yet, but there is this scene-setting cutscene to bionic-eyeball:

A little more info’s over here, and there’s a Steam page for your wishlistin’ needs here. Mechanicus is due for a late 2018 release on Windows, Mac & Linux, with dev duties handled by Crowntakers dev Bulwark Studios.


  1. SirRoderick says:

    *The sound of a million fanboys screaming from the Warp*

    *cough* Sorry about that. Ehm, hoping they nail the mechanics!

  2. Azhrarn says:

    Please be good, please be good…
    An actual XCOM-like game set in the 40k universe would be grand indeed.
    And I quite enjoy Ben Counter’s writing style, so that’s a nice bonus, and I even collect some Mechanicum miniatures.
    This is gonna be hard not to be hyped for. :)

  3. screamingabdab says:

    I’m amazed that they haven’t done an XCom style 40k game yet. so much of it is perfect for that style of game.

    They’ve churned out so many recently it must be the other style not done yet :)

    • Malcolm says:

      I’d always assumed they were deliberately avoiding turn-based strategy so as not to cannibalise their table-top golden goose.

    • glocks4interns says:

      An older game, Chaos Gate is a turn based tactical game of slightly larger scale than X-COM but it certainly shares a lot with that series.

  4. DatonKallandor says:

    I hope they get the Mechanicus right (they absolutely despise robots – if it doesn’t have meat, it’s a crime against everything they stand for). And the gameplay. That being right would be good too.

    • Arcanestomper says:

      That would be wrong. The Mechanicus have an entire branch devoted to robots, and they explucitly think the flesh is weak.

      Machine intelligence is anathema, but every magos worth their salt replaces as much of their brain as possible. Only leaving enough to be technically not a machine.

      • DatonKallandor says:

        They explicitly want “apotheosis through synthesis”. They want to elevate the human race, but excplicitly keep the human part.

        Apart from the whole Cult of the Dragon (which is probably retconned out now) Necrons with their whole machine only-pure-technology shtick are brain-breakingly horrible to them, because they’re the end result of replace everything with metal parts.

        Which is why there’s an entire branch of them that tries to do it through Bio-tech instead of metal-tech. Magos Biologis, which are similarily far removed from humans, but instead of having cut out their eyeballs and replaced them with superior cameras, they’ve cut out their eyeballs and replaced them with vat-grown superior eyeballs.

        • Palindrome says:

          That really depends on the faction :)
          Like everything else in the Imperium the Adeptus Mechanicus is riven with factions. Some want to create ‘perfect flesh’, they tend to be marginalised though, but in the main Tech Priests want to replace as much of their organic matter with cybernetics as possible.
          There are also a who swathe of ‘hereteks’ that want to do everything from recreating true AI (which is by far the biggest sin in the eyes of the rest of the Ad Mech) to reanimating the dead.
          GW has a nasty habit of retconning fluff though so I have no idea what the modern take is.

          The Ad Mech is a giant ball of every mad scientist trope combined with schlocky hammer horror monsters and well seasoned with body horror; it is by far the most interesting single element with the entire 40K canon.

    • zaygr says:

      Yeah, true AI is the ultimate no-no but they are fine with robots, otherwise Kastellans wouldn’t be a thing. Kastellans are fine because they have very limited control programs that require an operator to swap out as needed.

  5. PancakeWizard says:

    Odd choice going with Mechanus stuff for an XCOM-like tactical game when there’s Necromunda sitting right there.

    • Asurmen says:

      Possibly because A) Necromunda doesn’t lend itself to a storyline and B) there’s a Necromunda computer game already happening.

    • DarkFenix says:

      Necromunda, you mean the “let’s take everything awesome about 40k and get rid of it” version of 40k.

      • SirRoderick says:

        I have to agree here, Necromunda has all the bits in 40K nobody wants to play zhile the Mechanicus could really do with some loving.

        • theblazeuk says:

          Get that gakking sneer off uphive scum! Necromunda rules.

      • LexW1 says:

        You’re seriously making that complaint about Necromunda, when we’re sitting here discussing the most boring branches of the Imperium (and yes I am EXTREMELY FAMILIAR WITH THEM, thank you, before the usual “You just haven’t read enough about the Adeptus Mechanicus!!!” nonsense), who are not only conceptually boring, but aesthetically boring too, all being the same dull robe-wearing messes of slight diesel-punk biomechanical nonsense.

        They’ve improved in recent years, but they’re still one of the absolutely most boring bunches of people in 40K. I mean, I guess they’re kind of better than the Arbites? Maybe – though at least you have a sort of Judge Dredd thing going on. Almost every major militarized branch of the Imperium and every Xeno faction has a ton more going on though.

        • sosolidshoe says:

          I’m actually kind of impressed, it’s been years since I’ve read someone be so monumentally wrong about something :P

          Seriously though, both of these opinions are totally wonko. 40K is so much more than just Hurr Durr Sphess Murinz, and Necromunda is one of the most bizarre and entertaining parts of the setting. The Mechanicus, meanwhile, are one of the most interesting factions, combining almost every sci-fi tech-aesthetic from steampunk up through raygun gothic into cyberpunk with a backstory of posthumanism gone wrong that’s a perfect complement to the overall tone of the IP.

          Also, it’s odd that you make that wee preemptive remark about having plenty of knowledge and experience of the Mechanicus, to then accuse them of being universally “dull red-robe wearing messes”, considering how many varied depictions of them are out there. All robes, all the time may be how GW are portraying the faction right now, but that’s more about modern GW’s IP paranoia restricting their artists and writers to depictions of the miniatures they sell – historically there have been plenty of variations, from the glossy-black carapace armour led by a multi-limbed spider-lookin’ dude in the Forge of Mars trilogy to the grotesquely over-muscled feather, pelt, and hazard-striped tech-barbarians of Legio Invicta.

          • theblazeuk says:

            I love the ‘pray to the machine god’ BS that I’m never sure if it helps or is meaningless as long as they do the actual tech stuff right. The horrific biomodification. The use of corpses rather than robots. But not really sure I’d want to play a gang of technozealots more than literally anyone else in 40k but the ultra marines.

  6. cog says:

    Turn based tactics is all I’ve ever wanted from a 40K license. Please, by all the tech priests of Mars, let it be least decent…

    • LexW1 says:

      I thought I wanted that. It turned out I wanted that plus y’know, anyone actually interesting from 40K, not the fucking Imperium’s worst basement nerds and their biomechanical buddies.

    • Captain Narol says:

      Never heard of Santus Reach ?

      link to store.steampowered.com

      Turn-based Tactics in Warhammer 40K by Slitherine, who knows their stuff.

      • pelwl says:

        There’s also Space Wolf, another XCOM like turn based tactics game set in the WH40K universe. It’s a bit rubbish though.

  7. Viral Frog says:

    When I was younger, I always wanted tons of WH40k games so I could play one of the various different factions. Then GW decided to be less stingy with the license and we were inundated with sub par games centered around Space Marines. It’s nice to see a WH40k in a genre I actually enjoy being developed that doesn’t center around the Space Marines.

  8. DarkFenix says:

    I’ve been wanting a 40k XCOM-alike for a very long time, here’s to hoping this delivers. Good faction choice too, by which I mean thank God it’s not bloody space marines again.

  9. Moraven says:

    There is another 40k XCom-like game, it just does not exist on PC.
    Warhammer 40k: Squad Command was released on Nintendo DS and PSP in 2007.

  10. vorador says:

    Hey, a W40k game that does NOT revolve around Space Marines. And it is a XCOM style game.

    Color me highly interested.

  11. Werthead says:

    I still don’t know why they’ve not done a proper, focused Imperial Guard game. The Dawn of War expansions helped a bit, but I want to go full Gaunt’s Ghosts at some point with massive tank battles, air combat, Titans and everything. They could get Eugen in on it (when they’re back from striking).

    • Imperialist says:

      Honestly, the Wargame series is pretty much the perfect fit for 40k in terms of a strategic war game. But any other genre would quickly creak under the monumental pressure of the fact that being a Guardsmen totally sucks, and that they are like blades of grass being tossed into a very eager lawnmower, hoping to clog it. Actually…i take that back…i wouldnt mind seeing that in Eugen’s engine.

  12. haldolium says:

    Given the number of Warhammer 40K videogames clogging up Steam’s arteries these days, it’s surprising how few of ’em are good.


  13. Chiron says:

    Looks good.

    One thing about modern 40k games is they are all deathly serious and dull though.

  14. Shuck says:

    “it’s surprising how few of ’em take an XCOMmy, turn-based squad tactics approach”
    It’s not particularly surprising – they don’t want to undermine the tabletop game sales. I know people who spoke to GDW about making a licensed Warhammer 40k game, and GDW were pretty explicit about it – developers weren’t allowed to do a game that digitally replicated the experience of playing the tabletop game. So turn-based games have to be careful to be distinctly different.