Square Enix invited us to meet with the guys from Behaviour Interactive to talk about Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade last week at E3. Based on the tabletop miniature war game of the same name, Eternal Crusade seeks to bring a “massive PvP warfare” experience to PC, Playstation 4, and Xbox One in 2014.
“The game is 40% of the way through production,” David Ghozland, creative director at Behaviour Interactive told us, “and it’s expected to be 60% complete by the end of the summer.”
The game will feature four factions—the Savage Orks, Foul Chaos Space Marines, Mysterious Eldar, and Proud Space Marines. “The game will feature player-driven battles between these factions on the same scale as Lord of the Rings,” lead game designer Brent Ellison told us.
“You’ll be able to seize and capture fortresses in battles involving over 1,000 players. Continents will be seamless locations–there will be thousands of players on there at once. Conflicts will be scaled, so that depots on the outposts of major fortresses are just as important to control as the fortresses themselves.”
Ghozland then walked us through what a day in Eternal Crusade might look like.
“You’ll start by boarding your Thunderhawk dropship from your orbiting strike cruiser. You can fly over the surface of the planet and pinpoint areas of interest or places you want to explore,” he explained. “In this case, our players chose to explore an entrance to a place called the ‘underworld,’ where they fight enemies called Tyranids to retrieve relics they can bring back to High-Command for rewards.”
What he said next struck me as particularly ambitious.
“There will be elections within factions, and those elected to command armies will be responsible for allocating resources all over the planet and organizing their own military.”
Smaller guilds can join larger ones, and they can be divvied up in several different ways (strike force, relic retrievers, etc.). Members of the faction council help create bonus-rewards in the in-game world. They’re also granted a requisition point budget to expand their army. The details are a bit fuzzy, but there seems to be some sort of political structure to the game.
Moving along, the gameplay in Eternal Crusade, we were told, is not comparable to your typical MMORPG.
“There is no ability bar or anything like that. We’ve been working on the MMO tech for a year, playtesting it every week. It covers bolt guns, psychic powers, jump packs, tanks, everything. There’s also some interaction with the environment—parkour jumping [like Titanfall in this case], slamming into the ground, hiding behind cover. There’s a guard system and a counter guard system, making it more like an action game than anything else.”
Miguel Caron, the head of studio-online, then told us a little bit about the price point.
“We’re aiming for $40 for 40K,” he shared. “You can download and play for free, with immediate access to a the ‘Ork Boyz,’ a melee-centric Ork class. Of course, to gain access to other factions and classes, you’ll need to buy them. We’re hoping that this taste of playing the Ork Boyz will encourage players to buy into the game as a whole. What we really want is for cross-play between all of the platforms its released on. Sony is the most supportive of that, Microsoft is almost there. We’re actively negotiating to make this a thing.”
Those are some heavy ambitions! You can pick up a Founders Pack, which will give you 40,000 credits to spend in the game’s Rogue Trader store. “The most expensive item on the Rogue Trader Store is 25,000 credits—so we’re giving you the ability to buy that and more right away.”
Founders will leave on an in–game ship on June 25th months leading up to launch, with the ship itself and all of the other modules coming to founders in the months leading up to launch (much like Star Citizen founders have access to the Hangar, and then the Arena Commander module while they wait for the full Star Citizen game).
Update: We’ve made changes to a couple of quotes for greater accuracy as per a request from Behaviour. The art assets in the post have also been updated—the previous lot weren’t representative of the game.