THQ forging Warhammer 40K MMOG

Publisher extends deal with Games Workshop to include a massively multiplayer online title from Austin-based developer Vigil Games; Q&A inside.

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Video game publisher THQ and tabletop game publisher Games Workshop have already enjoyed great success since 2004 with Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War, the popular real-time strategy game based on the gritty and brutal Warhammer 40,000 sci-fi universe. The game has given rise to two expansion packs, the most recent of which won GameSpot's award for Best Expansion Pack of 2006 and remains a popular title with strategy enthusiasts.

Heavy is the cyber-crown of the future, apparently.

Today, the two publishers are announcing an extension to their licensing agreement to work together on new projects, including a Warhammer 40,000 massively multiplayer online game. The first hints at such a project came last November, when Relic Entertainment, developer of the Warhammer 40,000 real-time strategy series, posted a want ad for MMOG developers. As it turns out, though, another studio--Austin, Texas-based Vigil Games, will be working on the new project, which should not be confused with the swords-and-sorcery MMORPG, Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning.

To find out more about the Warhammer 40,000 MMOG, GameSpot spoke with THQ executive vice president of worldwide publishing Kelly Flock and Andy Jones, Games Workshop's head of group legal and licensing.

GameSpot: Congratulations on the announcement that THQ and Games Workshop are extending their licensing relationship. What do the terms mean for the immediate future? What kinds of games is THQ now cleared to make and for which platforms?

Kelly Flock: THQ has exclusive, worldwide interactive rights for all systems, including console, handhelds, PC, wireless, and online, including massively multiplayer online titles. As you know, we have had tremendous success with our Dawn of War real-time strategy franchise based on the Warhammer 40,000 universe, with numerous accolades and sales in excess of 2 million units worldwide. We feel that Dawn of War's success is just the beginning for this powerful franchise that resonates so well with gamers.

Andy Jones: We are confident that THQ will continue to develop and deliver great game concepts that really bring to life the Warhammer 40,000 universe. THQ can do so on whatever platform and in whatever genre it wishes--after all, THQ is the proven expert in the field of computer game software.

GS: The two companies have also inked a deal to give THQ clearance to develop massively multiplayer online games in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. What specifics can you give us? Are there any time frames on the agreement to share? In which countries around the world will the game be launched? How true to the violence and grittiness of the 40,000 universe will the game be with respect to the kind of content rating the studios hope to earn for the game from the ESRB or ELSPA?

KF: We are very excited to be working with Games Workshop on the first-ever MMO game based on the Warhammer 40,000 universe. Our agreement calls for worldwide rights, so we definitely plan to launch the game across North America, Europe, and Asia. We are very early in development, so it would be premature to comment on potential ratings, but we plan to build a game that both Warhammer 40,000 fans and MMO gamers will be excited to play--one that is true to the rich universe Games Workshop has built--with scalable depth of characters and worlds that MMO fans have come to expect.

AJ: Perhaps a detail, but we have actually inked one deal that gives THQ the worldwide, exclusive rights to develop interactive entertainment products based on Warhammer 40,000 for all genres on all platforms. In terms of time scale, the agreement is intentionally set up to have a long enough term that THQ can really design and develop a top-quality, innovative MMO based on our long-established and market-leading Warhammer 40,000 property.

GS: Now that the deal has been signed, could you tell us about the status of a 40,000 massively multiplayer game? Is one in development? Has THQ found a development studio to partner with? Or would it produce the game in-house?

KF: Yes, we have the game in development at our Austin-based studio, Vigil Games. The team there is led by David Adams, formerly of NCsoft, and is comprised of several MMO veterans from that community. We look forward to making further announcements with more specifics on the game in the coming months.

GS: Could either THQ or Games Workshop comment on the type of massively multiplayer online game they'd like to create for the Warhammer 40,000 universe? Should we expect to see something perhaps more action-oriented or more strategy-oriented to reflect the tabletop game roots of the property?

AJ: The Warhammer 40,000 universe is a big place, with many exciting stories to unfold. It remains to be seen which themes are explored in the MMO (or indeed in any other up-and-coming games from THQ), but rest assured, they will be big ones! It may be worth pointing out that our goal is to ensure that whatever interactive products are created based on Games Workshop properties, that they, on the one hand, delight and enthrall our existing fan base and, on the other, give a wonderful opportunity for a whole new customer base to experience our worlds.

GS: Obviously, the current massively multiplayer online landscape is very competitive--Brian Farrell stated last June that, at the time, working on a game that would be "something competitive [with World of Warcraft]...would be misguided for anyone, including THQ." Tell us how THQ and Games Workshop intend to tackle the task of bringing a new massively multiplayer online game into this market.

KF: We think World of Warcraft has done a great job of establishing the MMO market. We have seen tremendous growth in the space over the past five or so years. That said, we believe there is plenty of opportunity that lies ahead both in terms of developing innovative new gameplay mechanics and continuing to expand the user base. Combine that with the built-in popularity and richness of the Warhammer 40,000 universe, and we feel very confident in our competitive position.

AJ: Actually, I think Kelly says it all here--we believe very strongly that the Warhammer 40,000 intellectual property delivers opportunities for unique and innovative gameplay in the MMO space, and the fact that WOW has grown the marketplace can only be a good thing for all of us.

GS: Our next question concerns another Games Workshop IP that's already being used to create a massively multiplayer online game, namely Warhammer Fantasy Role Play for EA Mythic's Warhammer Online. Is there any concern at Games Workshop about creating a massively multiplayer online game that can gather a strong following without cutting into Warhammer Online's audience?

KF: I can't speak for Games Workshop, but based on the data we have seen at THQ, each franchise has its own, distinct following. Of course, 40,000 is the stronger of the two properties--I mean what could be better than a Grim Reaper beheading an Orkish Squiggoth?

AJ: Interesting question. Firstly, EA Mythic is developing an MMO based on the distinct Warhammer Fantasy IP rather than any specific game, such as WFRP. Secondly, Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 have coexisted as very separate and successful properties for decades. And our plans certainly see that well-established trend continuing forever. At the very basic level, Warhammer is our high-fantasy IP, while Warhammer 40,000 is science fiction--and our customers certainly cope very well with that concept. I have been at Games Workshop for 20 years, and I have never seen arguments about whether Space Marines or Eldar can take to the field of battle against Orc Boar Boys or Dwarf Trollslayers. It really is that simple.

GS: Aside from the intriguing news about a Warhammer 40,000 massively multiplayer online game, the news also begs the question about other titles, such as the successful Dawn of War strategy games. Can either THQ or Games Workshop share any thoughts on the future of Dawn of War as a continuing franchise or perhaps other projects that the two companies would be collaborating on in the near future?

KF: We are thrilled with the success of the Dawn of War franchise, and while we have nothing specific to announce at this time, we look forward to building on that franchise in the future. You can also look forward to more announcements from THQ and Games Workshop on other projects beyond our RTS and MMO plans.

AJ: To start with, I cannot say too much about how cool it is for all of us here at Games Workshop to hear Dawn of War described as a franchise! We of course defer to THQ in terms of its announcements and plans for games based on Warhammer 40,000. But the fact we have just signed a long-term deal for all platforms, all territories, all genres might just hint at a bright and glorious future for Warhammer 40,000 computer games.

GS: Finally, is there anything else either company would like to add in regard to this news?

KF: We are very excited to be expanding upon our agreement with Games Workshop; it has been a tremendous partner to date, and the Warhammer 40,000 universe is a treasure trove of content on which to build great games.

AJ: We are delighted with the care, attention to detail, and sheer quality that THQ has applied to the creation of Warhammer 40,000 computer games. THQ has been a great partner for Games Workshop, and this deal cements that partnership for many years to come.

Discussion

618 comments
cjtopspin
cjtopspin

Wow....that was a ton of writing and all I have learned from that 1,500 word article is the game is in development, it will be "big" and everybody is excited about it. Super. Let me know when you have something to actually print.

alluman91
alluman91

I'd like to have the Space Marines, Chaos, Eldar and Tau and last but not least: orks, orks, orks, orks! And a good gamelay so that it'd be more like Mount & Blade type combat.

smookert010
smookert010

how about 3 faction's The mighty Imperium Chaos And maybe some allience between eldar and tau The Imperium itself has 4 factions ( space marines, sisters of battle, Imperial guard, and the inquisition) The Imperium does not need allies especially no xeno scum....

PanoramixPl
PanoramixPl

Hmm " The Greater Good" and the Eldar? ;p NOOT happening xD

Inflamed-snake
Inflamed-snake

@bloodth Generally if you want a continued game experience with loads of updates that still keep with the story than it will be monthly pay, which i hope it really is. because if it turns out its not then three will be alot less people working on the games patch's, Expansions and Updates.

BloodTh
BloodTh

Is this gonna be another pay one? It'd be nice if it was one where you only had to buy the initial game, and paying members get more than non-payers, but it would allow those who like MMOs, but can't spring for the money to constantly play, to be able to enjoy.

dashawnthl
dashawnthl

i cant wait for this to come out, im so sick of MMO's based on swords,magic & dragons. Give me a plasma gun, a heavy botler and some tanks in a MMO finally. Plz give me more info and pic to hold me over.

lankeysumo
lankeysumo

this game must come out... i'm punching myself in the face everyday until this game comes out

Eizyark
Eizyark

i agree with farleyxkrr1. there should be more news about this game, it's been well over 2 years, gonna be 3 years now. we need news! well atleast screenshots so that we know that this game is going according to plan. i hope we get to hear more of this real soon. edit : typo.

Bumpkin325
Bumpkin325

Oh jeeze....I think i'll hike into the mountains and let an avalanche fall on top of me, just promise to come get me when this comes out...

dayhutch
dayhutch

ive never been into mmo's but this may convert me. they need to think about the combat aswell so it doent go out of sink from the tabletop game universe and rules. like the ap system and stuff. e.g. bolter doin f all vs termies and even marine power armour

REQUIEMAURA
REQUIEMAURA

This game has immense potential to ruin lives, day jobs, family holidays, normal-human/gay relationships,pet food 0.o*,personal hygiene, get grinding space marines hehe for a more glorious fall when i tear your souls apart! you cant kill what you cant kill...Chaos Undivided we are forever.I was weak like you once then i took the red pill...well what can i say "Let the bodies hit the floor" ,there is no escaping chaos it marks us all,its our nature to destroy ourselves so why not grab yourself a bargain from a selection of dark gods to tailor to your needs before we all meet in the middle for the fashion show to end all fashion shows. Blood for the merchant gods!!! *SPECIAL OFFER* Trade N Save 3 brothers and get (Horns/Wings/wii tail/Big stick/Bad @ss perk lvl99,Exclusive red pill) for only $ouls 89.95 cond apply.On a final note i was on a trampoline last week when i slipped and My third leg managed to slap Calgur on the forehead :) the only reason he gets attention is because i blessed him xD

farleyxkrr1
farleyxkrr1

this was posted two and a half years ago. there must be more news now. right?

Jka333
Jka333

I dunno what I'm going to play, Star Wars The Old Republic, Or Warhammer 40000 Online. Both sound awesome.

Ranger1086
Ranger1086

WaR and this game are made from two different companies

megafitch
megafitch

But what would become of WaR? its wasnt brilliant i know, but they cant just toss it aside surely?

Roarzz
Roarzz

Man... I WILL LOVE THIS FREKIN' GAME!... My hope is though that... it won't replace Warhammer Online in my heart, because it's a good game, I love the 40k universe, so I wouldn't doubt it replacing Warhammer Online for me GOD I HOPE THIS GAME TURNS OUT WELL!!! T_T

sataricon
sataricon

Grimreaper78999 This thing will at least take more than 3 years at least...believe me. that if they don't want to rush it out like they did with the current warhammer online. To me this is like a dream came true but one have to be careful because not only the IP will make the game good...again look at WAR.

Shanks_D_Chop
Shanks_D_Chop

I'd like something 3rd person. Kinda what Grimreaper said, though I haven't played AoC. For close combat... some way of making a combat engine like Assassin's Creed work online would be top. The framework is there, just needs to be made more responsive and intuitive. Add some fairly gory kill moves in and you've got a fairly solid game. Lets be fair, the story of 40k is a rather static, ongoing war. So focus on the bloodshed.

Buzzcrow
Buzzcrow

I absolutely detest the models, but the games are surprisingly accurate and not bad. Who knows, people may forget about the figures one this hits the shelves!

WastedOne111
WastedOne111

Oh and good luck THQ you guys did an awesome job on DOW. I'm sure DOW2 will not disappoint.

WastedOne111
WastedOne111

What I would like to see: You start out as a boss/squad leader of marines orks whatever. Your squad would be npcs that level up with you and follow your orders (shooter mmo but lvl based). Higher lvls would allow requisition of larger hero units, transports, dreadnaughts etc. Your death on the field would cause your squad to lose morale causing them to flee etc. Basically take dawn of war series and change into an mmo.

Grimreaper78999
Grimreaper78999

and forget the conventional level up system where you have to grind countless hours to reach a level that you can start do anything remotely interesting in *cough*wow*cough*. They should make it so that a brand new player with sufficient skills can stand a chance against a guy who has been playing for weeks. Just like an FPS such as CoD 4/5 where weapons dont really matter (but help a lot) but skills are much more necessary and players can have fun straight away. Sure keep the questing system but instead of rewarding exp reward new items or money or some sort of *skill tree* point system. I really hope the devs look at this site XD

Grimreaper78999
Grimreaper78999

Shooter MMORPGs dont really work. What i would like to see is something like AoC with that targetting system, but instead you actually have to aim. This would be hard to implement because you have to consider that people will be playing from all over the world and their will be latency issues. On another note this game should be rated at least 17+ to stick with the dark world of 40K and stopping it being to cartooney (orks should be cartooney tho XD). Dont expect this MMO to release for another year though cos these things take a lot of time to produce and you must always add at least 3 months to their first release date announcement. RTS-wise Dawn of War II is looking epic and i hope it lives up to the hype and to its predecessors. Keep up the good work guys!

Ranger1086
Ranger1086

I think this game will be great, so dark and goth medevil, in a way i hope it kinda comes out soon but i want them to take there time, because i kinda think blizzards "secrect MMO" could maybe be like world of starcraft, since they already own the medevil type mmo's so why wouldn't that want to own the furture type mmo's? That is just my thought though

Sword_brethren
Sword_brethren

i totally agree with jayclark. making this game with the same type og gameplay as most MMORPG´s would totally shatter this game, it should be created as a 3rd person shooter.... with the bloodiest melee ever. and the most tactical ranged combat.... and i dont believe that it should be an mmo unless ofcourse they could maje the controls feel like a 3PS.. also, if they are gonne make it an RPG they should do it like inquisitor....

sanctuary13
sanctuary13

i will quit WoW and FFXI for this when it comes out. like, day one. quit both other games no matter where im at, cancel everything, WH40k all the way.

JayClark
JayClark

Personaly as i have posted a long long time back i'd much rather see this a MMfps than an rpg style, i reckon inspiration for the game play shoudl come from, Planet Side which had great idear btw drop pods, certifications and implants as well as different type of weaponry vehicules and armors, Tribes for the way you can set up base respwaning stations and creat vehicules on demand :P + don't forget my jetpack for my space marrines "To the skies Brothers!!!". and for the finish i tend to agree that the HUD presentation should b a gears of war style which allows smooth transition btw mele and range attacks, i mean serious how ya 1st persone view is just lame for mele and WH 40 k most power full "and fun moves" tends to b mele ones, i mena c'mon who doesn;t wanna pulp someones skull to mash with one hand in a power fist hehe :P, Just to say plz THQ keep the game Gory, dark looking and dirty. Cause it's WAR forever and who gotta time to clean when thee's always more xenos to crush ! + those hummy bits looks good on my killa can !

3597
3597

Its been nice being alive... the sun, the humans, the air... i'll miss it all so very much.. but i see the time of our BloodGod is nigh... oh so nigh.. ^^

Tutahi0
Tutahi0

yer same dis game sounds AWSUM nd i hope it wont be like those other online shooter games were u get WASTED by guys like 50 lv above u........but im still SYKED bout dis game

peeweeshift
peeweeshift

awesome i cant wait for more epic 40k action

iuns
iuns

I will so be picking this up! =D

PrincePwnStar
PrincePwnStar

Hire Paul Barnette, now that WAR online is ready for release he is up for hire, he might know what to do with WAR40k

september_basic
september_basic

THQ does gamers a disservice by repeatedly refusing to use Warhammer rules of any sort, not tabletop tactical rules nor roleplaying game rules. 40k could not really use RPG rules as Inquisitor is really not fully developed yet. Still, one wishes THQ would cease being such poltroons.

_AbBaNdOn
_AbBaNdOn

An MMORPG of Warhammer 40k would be HOT, but I dont see how they could make a game about individual soldiers. Maybe if each person commanded an army. You start out as scouts and work your way up to a large force. Or maybe individuals would have to team up to form sqauds and then go battle against enemy forces.

LEGendaryunION
LEGendaryunION

I would love 2 see this game turn out as a 3rd person shooter. and i think it should be played on planet kronus like in the dark crusade campaign. i personally think that would be sweet... and they should include tanks and stuff aswell it'll kinda be like the RvR system in WAR but completely different at the same time. But then again thats just my opinion.. :)

Shadowfox121
Shadowfox121

I think that this game has amazing potential... however please dont let it be like Tabula Rasa... I think this game should have a playing style like Planetside. That was a great game, just not enough money was put into it. The playing style should be one big universe where people are constantly at battle trying to take over territories... b/c that is what the 40k universe is about. I hope this doesnt end up being, oh hey there is an NPC lets shoot it (click and watch) yay loot! etc... I think it should be mostly pvp with some twists. We shall see how this unfolds.

LynxMan
LynxMan

I personally would love a first person shooter MMOG

damo_dd
damo_dd

cant wait and plz THQ can you give us your fan base a sneak peek at some screen shots if possible !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

MrGoldenBullet
MrGoldenBullet

Man i am excited!!!!! Im excited for this and other warhammer releases like the upcoming warhammer online and dawn of war 2. if THQ makes this a retarded point click watch ur guy kill someone ill be pissed.i think they could try wut age of conan and swg did with the option to attack how u want. maby just make it a huge first person shooter if u use bolter and other stuff and if u go to swords, than 3rd person. oh and it better have the grimness blood and gore that the latest warhammer mmo doesnt have. and someone mentioned no safe zones(id like the races to atleast have a safe on where u start) but id like to train before getting owned by the same alien(or human or sm) over and over again.it would be cool to not be a restricted fps like bf2 or starwars battlefront series but u could explore everywhere and do watever. one thing tho doesnt sm live to serve the emperor how will this work? do they actually do anything on their own then just fight? or do they always spend their whole lives on war? nothing else?

Steinberger
Steinberger

I'd still love to see an mmofps wartime style much more than a boring point and click rpg. Been there for about 30 minutes before i was bored out of my mind. But, yeah with 40k as the back drop, the sky is the limit imo, the key is that they get a good gameplay style set up.

jangofett5565
jangofett5565

I see this as being something like Gears of War but in a very large scale. That way they'll have an easy way for Melee and Shooting. Also they'll have an easy way to cover , see other players ect. If this actually goes through it will be bloody awsome! I really cannot see any other system that would go with a game about Warhammer 40k. The gears of War system would just fit perfectly. Now...Men...Do you want to live forever?

Bigdoh1
Bigdoh1

WOOOOH!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOOOOOOOOOOHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YEEEEEEEEEEESSSS!!!!!!!!!

jordan1985221
jordan1985221

I'm looking forward to being a member of the eldar race as that was the ones i collected as a kid and have always been my favorite, can't wait to see an avatar cutting it's way through the hordes of the chaos plus i hope they bring in the aspect warriors and others like the titans from epic 40k to be fair i can't see this go wrong for THQ with their past success with dawn of war, all in all this is one to look out for.

WoWRulez
WoWRulez

I can see the WAR40k MMO being the best thing since like everquest for mmo's WoW personally is starting to take its toll. i can see the WAR40k mmo being every race vs everyrace aka Imperium vs Nidsvs Necrons vs Eldar vs Chaos etc its a huge Race vs Race game all pvp and no to little safe zones. it should be tranditional mmo style in the start of the game you choose what your guy looks like etc but depending on race ill marines as a example you'd start as a scout and get levels or experince which you can use to get new skills kinda like Old SWG then you can branch off into normal marines then continue to branch off but you shouldnt beable to become a primarch or anything even close to that id say Lib,Chap and Force commander are highest player ranks, maybe Gray Knights and Inquistors but i dunno, another thing i think crafting should be a big part should be a complex system tho not like WoW and you should be restricted to your races stuff aka Marines only get Imperium tanks and can't build or use eldar or tau stuff. well thats my 2 cents peace.

Rancus
Rancus

I play the board game and the computer. This sounds like a REALLY good idea. Its a lot to live up to though but I think this actually is closer to the really spirt of the game, go out and kill some of your friends!! lol I had some similar idea's like iwtrent59. 1: Have the different races to pick from. 2: Pick your home planet(should have lots of different planets) for you base or have NPC bases on planets almost like ports on an ocean to get new troops, upgrades, ect.... 3: Have frontlines on the planet(example: Imps and Orks fighting over a planet has players pick what part to fight at can capture objectives to move frontlines). There are so many different way they could go: Starships, airforce type, groundpounders, navy(maybe, kinda of-path). This should be good... FOR THE GOLDEN THRONE!!!!!