It's starting to look like Nokia's got a plan for putting the N-Gage on the map: It's going to identify entertainment franchises with small but extremely dedicated fan bases, and then it will turn them into N-Gage games. Lately, the company has been concentrating on tabletop role-playing games. For instance, Nokia somehow snagged the Rifts license from Palladium Books last year, after creator Kevin Siembieda had already snubbed loads of other video game suitors. Now, GameSpot has learned that Nokia is cooperating with Games Workshop to bring its classic Warhammer 40,000 tabletop tactics game to the N-Gage. Warhammer 40,000: Glory in Death, which will be a turn-based strategy game, is currently under development by UK developer Razorback Developments. THQ is supervising the publishing process, and the game is expected to be released sometime during the first quarter of 2006. Recently, we were able to ask Nokia producer Timo Toivanen some questions about the game's progress in an e-mail interview, and we came away with some interesting facts.
GameSpot: How similar will the N-Gage version of Warhammer 40,000 be to the tabletop game? How are you planning to translate the game's competitive nature to the N-Gage?
Timo Toivanen: We'll make the game as true as possible to the tabletop version. We wanted to do a pseudo-tabletop conversion, since (Warhammer creator) Games Workshop has done this for a very long time, and we'd be foolish to tamper with such a well-designed system. Games Workshop really has Warhammer down to a science. They have statistics galore concerning the movement ratios of specific units. Hence, we have tried to preserve the same ratios in our game so that the overall balancing is consistent. Of course, N-Gage Arena will fuel international online competitions and global multiplayer.
GS: What's the scenario in Warhammer 40,000: Glory in Death's single-player game?
TT: There will be two different single-player game modes in Warhammer 40K: Glory in Death. First, there's the campaign mode. There are four single-player campaigns with around 60 missions between them. The Warhammer story was something we definitely wanted to have in this game, and Games Workshop is very keen on it, naturally. The idea is that there are four different playable races, and each race gets a different storyline, which moves connects with the others at different points. For instance, players will be able to pick the space marines and play them all the way through, getting the marines' point of view on certain events. Then you'll be able to switch to the Eldar, and suddenly you'll learn more about the underlying events that influenced the space marine story. You'll only understand what has truly happened after you play through all four campaigns.
More specifically, a player may be performing an ambush mission as one race and forming a rear guard against the same ambush as another. Other operations in Warhammer 40K will include rescues, assassinations, and "cleansing." We expect to keep all the variety we can, because it's essential to the Warhammer 40,000 universe.
The second single-player mode is the skirmish mode, which is designed for short games. Basically, this will be a random battle mode for solo gamers to pitch themselves against the game's artificial intelligence on 20 unique skirmish maps. In skirmish mode, players will be able hone their skills to near-perfect levels, so they'll be able to confront all the challenges in the other game modes.
GS: Will Warhammer 40,000: Glory in Death take place in a setting familiar to Warhammer veterans?
TT: Yes, the game will have five unique, themed landscapes: arctic, jungle, industrial, desert, and volcanic. Each of these will have its own unique environmental effects. All of these environments will be very familiar to Warhammer 40,000 fans.
GS: Why select the Warhammer license for use on the N-Gage?
TT: Well, we knew we wanted to work with Games Workshop, since its Warhammer 40,000 universe gives us a wealth of ready-made detail, as well as a finely honed and balanced gaming system from which we could take inspiration. It's a wonderfully graphical and imaginative universe to base our title on.
GS: How will Warhammer 40,000 take advantage of the N-Gage's special capabilities?
TT: The game will feature two-player play over both Bluetooth and N-Gage Arena connections, as well as a pass-and-play multiplayer mode. Over Bluetooth, players will be able to choose a free-for-all battle, where they fight one another, or play against the CPU in a team battle. Only the free-for-all battle will be available over N-Gage Arena. This game will also feature an online high-scores table and many unlockable units to collect.
GS: Is there anything else you'd like to reveal about the game?
TT: Again, our aim for this title is to create a wonderful one-player experience using an exciting, interwoven storyline. We think that the variation created by the game's massive collection of unique units--there will be 60 in all--will keep players entertained long after the campaign mode is finished.
GS: Thank you, Timo.