Last year, there was a brief glimpse of Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine II at the Video Game Awards. The original installment was a spin-off that takes place within the universe of Warhammer 40,000 which was released in 2011 by developer Relic Entertainment. Prodomently being a tabletop series of games that started way back in 1987, the Warhammer series has expanded far and beyond across different mediums. With the mythos spanning decades, this series is rich with history that’s begging to be mined for future video game installments. With Space Marine II, a new developer Saber Interactive is taking the reigns to continue the story of Captain Titus and the Ultramarines. In the first game, Titus was voiced by actor Mark Strong. However, he won’t be reprising his role in the sequel. Instead, Clive Standen will be lending his vocals for the new Primaris Space Marine.
The Space Marine games have been stapled to being a third-person shooter. With gameplay mechanics somewhat similar to Gears of War, players take control of Captain Titus as he blasts his way through a myriad of enemies that range from Orks to “The Scourge.” The story unfolds throughout the gnarled terrain of the Forge World of Graia. This place is best known for building military hardware on a massive scale. Without warning, an invasion erupted by extraterrestrial variations of Orks and the Ultramarines must fend off the attack while unraveling a treacherous controversy within. During this adventure, Captain Titus wasn’t alone. He was joined with Sidonus and Leandros throughout the missions who were voiced by Richard Hawley and Noah Huntley, respectively. The story for the follow-up is a little mysterious, but there were some nuggets of information spotlighted during the Games Awards trailer.
Considering that the original Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine game dropped ten years ago, the gameplay definitely looks aged in comparison to today’s standards. This is only fair since video game culture moves fast and the first installment was well over a decade ago. The trailer gives a good look at what the next enemy is going to be, which is the Tyranids. For fans of the Warhammer universe, it’s well-known these creatures have been playable on the tabletop variation of this IP for a long time. They tend to be quick and powerful foes, but they have low HP and can go down in only a few hits. What makes them extra dangerous is the fact that they are telepathic and they communicate with each other on the battlefield as a hivemind. They excel in swarming the opposition and devouring them into a nub. These aliens were bio-engineered to consume all biological matter and they also come in a variety of forms and sizes.
The design of the Tyranids was obviously inspired by H.R. Giger, who is the best-known inspiration for the look of the Xenomorphs of the Alien movies. The developers of Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine II are taking the behaviors and stats of this playable race and utilizing it for the video game. There were some snippets of gameplay shown in the trailer and it’s a clear visualization of how battles would look like for players who imagined it while having rounds on the tabletop. It seems that players will be dealing with these enemies who will be flooding the screen at a, hopefully, silky smooth framerate. The technology is now available to make these chaotic battles roll out effortlessly and Saber Interactive seems to be taking advantage of it. This is no surprise since these developers did make World War Z, after all.
Titus and Titans
The battles in Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine II appears to be vaster and wider in scope. Titus is seen charging the trenches with an entire platoon of Ultramarines while a firefight ensues above. Evidently, there will be NPCs fighting alongside players during the course of the game. Whether or not Titus will be able to give them commands, or they will be controlled strictly through A.I. remains to be seen. Even though combat will primarily be through firearms, it looks like the melee will be more enhanced. Titus swings his toothed machete around, chopping down the Tryanids like they are banana trees. Based on what the cutscene showed, it is possible that Titus will have intimate finishing moves with his blades. Not to mention, locking swords with Tryanids during the heat of battle, only to tear its head off. Even though this is just a guess, it’s not too much of a stretch considering how dynamic gameplay has become.
From the looks of things, Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine II will have some kind of “Ultimate Ability” that can clear out areas. This would be fitting since players will be dealing with hordes of enemies. It’s unknown whether or not the “Fury Meter” will return. In the previous game, this allowed players to slow down time to line up more efficient shots. On top of that, this also enabled Titus to unleash bone-crushing melee moves. The trailer did show him slamming into the ground from a vantage point, causing a shockwave to eradicate the Tryanids. Perhaps, this is a hint that maybe the Fury Meter will be coming back. Thusly, it would be nice to have a cover-based system to help avoid projectiles, but nothing is concrete as of yet.
Impact of the Imperium
Unbeknownst to many people, there are actually a handful of Warhammer games that come out annually. With the release of Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine ten years ago, more people are catching wind of what this universe is about. It’s now reached into the spectrum of the video game medium and it’s slowly growing in popularity. Right now, the release date for Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine II isn’t locked down, yet. It’s entirely possible that it could be released this year, but there hasn’t been an official announcement by the developers. Until something more solid is announced, fans of the Ultramarines will need to hold on for a little bit longer. With that said, this title is slated to be released for next-gen consoles and PC in the near future.