The week-long Warhammer Skulls event has kicked off with an avalanche of announcements. Leading the pack are three new games: CRPG Warhammer 40,000 Rogue Trader, digital card game Warhammer 40,000: Warpforge, and retro FPS Warhammer 40,000: Boltgun. Warhammer 40,000: Shootas, Blood & Teef, the 2D action platformer, also got a release date. It’ll be out on the 20th of October.
Okay, let’s take these one by one, beginning with Warhammer’s first ever CRPG. Rogue Trader is being made by Owlcat Games, who have a long history making the Pathfinder RPGs.
Players will take on the role of the latest explorer in a dynasty of privateers, heading out into uncharted worlds, looking for treasure in the name of the Emperor, and shooting a bunch of aliens in the process - although there’s some hints you might be able to “consort” with them instead, which is an intriguing verb.
Rogue Trader will feature turn-based combat “in the legendary grim darkness of the far future,” or more specifically the Koronus Expanse, “a dangerous and unexplored region on the far frontiers of the Imperium of Man.” And, of course, you’ll have a team of companions to banter or bicker with on your travels.
Founder’s Packs are available today and will grant Alpha and Beta access as the game develops as well as additional in-game items.
The next big announcement was the digital cardgame, Warpforge. Out next year and free-to-play, it’ll feature all the major Warhammer factions. In the single-player campaign, players will be able to explore the Warhammer lore, and in the draft and constructed multiplayer modes they’ll be able to battle for card-based glory.
Different factions will require different playstyles, and developers Everguild say more factions will be added to the game through regular updates.
Thirdly, the showcase revealed Boltgun, a single player retro FPS, also scheduled to release in 2023. Players will step into the giant boots of the Space Marine and shoot their way through levels full of enemies in the clear ‘90s throwback.
As well as the new announcements, there were plenty of updates revealed for existing Warhammer games. A roadmap for the next six months of Warhammer 40,000: Battlesector includes a new faction, the Sisters of Battle, which should be out by the autumn. There’s also a horde mode called daemonic incursion planned, although no date for that yet. The rest of the year will also see the addition of daemon units and improvements to the planetary supremacy mode, too.
Meanwhile, Warhammer: Vermintide 2 is getting the Be’lakor expansion, which will launch for free on June 14. The update will add a new level, the Temple Of Shadows, and a new enemy type, the Shadow Champions. I’m sensing a theme here. There are also new boons, traits, and curses to come.
As for upcoming games, we got a brief behind the scenes look at Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine 2, mostly some of the mocapping for the titular Space Marines. Saber Interactive’s creative director Oliver Hollis-Leick said that he had noticed a lot of excitement from the community over what they’ve shown so far and promised that there’s more to come, although not a lot of it was actually shown here.
Blood Bowl 3 also made an appearance. The fantasy (as in orcs and such) football (as in American) simulator is currently back in beta from today until June 12 after being delayed last year. They showed off two new playable teams, the Old World Alliance and the Chaos Renegades. The Alliance may be somewhat shakier than their name implies, because apparently they’re not super good at cooperating, something you'll have to contend with during the match. On the other hand, the Renegades can access mutations in order to give themselves maximum flexibility on the pitch.
Speaking of the pitch, we got a look at three of them, each with specific obstacles like lava, wakeable sea monsters, or a meddling god that you’ll have to take into consideration while scoring those touchdowns.
There was also another trailer for Total War: Warhammer III’s 2.0 update, Immortal Empires, which is still slated to launch into an open beta in Q3, and a new trailer for Warhammer 40,000: Darktide, the co-op action game releasing September 13. It focuses on just how down and out your player characters are. Real scum of the earth types, apparently.
Phew. That’s everything. Warhammer is celebrating 30 years of its video games and the event is ongoing until June 8. For a recap of any of this or to see the other Warhammer stuff happening this week, visit the event’s website.
Disclosure: Alec Meer (RPS in peace) did writing for Total War: Warhammer 3.