Oh, Games Workshop. What will you do next? Which one of your vast collection of IP’s will you decide to throw on the developer-roulette table next? Sometimes I imagine GW gathering as many potential developers into the same room as possible, all of them screaming, cheering and jockeying for position like a gaggle of over eager teen girls awaiting the bouquet toss at a wedding. Then, GW loads a pneumatic t-shirt cannon full of paper slips, each with a handwritten IP on it, and irresponsibly launches their beloved riches into the crowd. Whichever slip of paper a studio manages to grab out of the intellectual property confetti cloud is what they must develop on behalf of their carelessly benevolent gaming overlords. Although ridiculous, this would explain why Warhammer 40,000 (and the recently rebranded Warhammer: Age of Sigmar) fans get stuck with so many games that turn out to be disastrous abominations of the universe they so dearly love. However, an upcoming release from their annual intellectual yard sale might just prove to be a win for everyone.
Battlefleet Gothic: Armada is an upcoming space RTS from Tindalos Interactive and publisher Focus Home Interactive. So far, it looks very promising. It will feature a large story campaign set during the 12th Black Crusade, led by none other than Abaddon the Despoiler, where the player must battle for dominion over the Gothic sector. Players will get to pick their poison, choosing from one of four factions: the stalwart Imperium, the plundering Orks, the mysterious Eldar or the maniacal Chaos. “An extensive multiplayer mode with persistent fleets where up to 4 players can battle simultaneously…” will also be available, according to the game’s website.
Each faction’s ships will feature a different set of strengths, weaknesses and abilities, something that a player would be wise to heed. Not much has been revealed about the Chaos, Orks or Eldar yet, but the Imperium looks to have an advantage in heavy armor and adaptability. Many options for customization will help to give an admiral the ability to tailor his fleet for different battles, foes or a preferred play style. Some minor RPG elements will be present as well, in that officers and crew members of veteran ships will gain experience and promotions, making them more prepared for engagements than their rookie counterparts.
Not much else is known about Battlefleet Gothic: Armada at this point, unfortunately. The visuals are certainly very impressive, the gameplay looks smooth and fluid. Perhaps just as important, Tindalos looks to have truly nailed the wholly unique design aesthetic of each faction, but also the Warhammer 40,000 universe itself.
I know I’m not alone in wanting this game to be enjoyable, but I’m also not alone in feeling like I ought to expect another disappointment. Sometime in 2016, PC gamers will get to find out which is the case. Here’s to hoping I’m wrong.