So all indications are that Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium has been canned. Or at least canned as a MMORPG. If I’m honest, I’m quite pleased because, quite simply, there was no way on this Earth that THQ were going to recreate the 40k Universe as faithfully or as successfully as the crack team of writers at the Black Library. Even Space Marine, which was pretty good, took artistic license too far in places (lascannon as a sniper rifle anyone?), so to make the 40k Universe accessible to the masses in the form of a massively multiplayer online space, and throw in RPG elements that make sense and provide replay value, there was going to have to be soon serious fucking about with the IP.
The other good thing about its cancellation is that it breathes life into Space Marine 2, or equivalent, which had been thoroughly pissed all over by THQ’s to bod late last year. However, it could be Space Marine but not as we know it as indications are that Dark Millennium will be reborn as a third person shooter with RPG/Narrative elements included and some multiplayer thrown in for good measure. So, basically ME40k. I’ll be honest, the idea really intrigues me. As I say, Space Marine was a good game, but suffered from a story that was a little confused in places, and the fact that you were herded down linear maps inexorably hurtling towards the end of the game confident in the knowledge that you’d get the bad guy in the end. How you fought the game made bugger all difference and with games like Mass Effect kicking around you can’t get away with that any more. Gamers expect more. Especially as games like Mass Effect and Halo offer some incredible IPs that you can get nice and stuck into outside of the games themselves, just like 40k.
ME40kDM (Mass Effect 40,000: Dark Millennium), catchy no?, could mean that players get all the fun of Space Marine’s mental combat mechanics but with the kind of story we’ve come to expect from the likes of Abnett, McNeill, Swallow et al. This could be epic. Game changingly so. With a background as rich as Warhammer 40,000’s it could blow the monopoly that Mass Effect still possesses an iron grip on despite the fans misgivings about the ending of the third installment. With news of 4th, 5th and 6th instalments leaked last year now is the time for the Games Workshop and THQ to get into the game. I think that a 40k equivalent could do extremely well providing that (a) They have a solid and ambitious script, ideally written by a BL author or authors, (b) The voice actors are good and have done their reading before they do their studio session (are you listening cast of the Ultramarines movie!) and (c) that the project lead doesn’t confuse gratuitous violence for action.
A 40k narrative focussed, third person shooter with Mass Effect’s decision-making & paragon/renegade elements thrown in could be awesome. Let’s just hope they do it.
I shall leave you with the trailer for Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium, the game that shall never be. Let’s just hope it turns into something better.
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