As part of Gamescom 2010 yesterday, THQ took the lid off of Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II - Retribution, the second full expansion to Relic's well-regarded sci-fi real-time strategy series. It now appears as if it will also be the last, as THQ core games vice president Danny Bilson told Eurogamer today that once Relic ships Retribution in February, the team will transition into working on Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III.
"Retribution's going to ship in February, and then we start laying out Dawn of War III," Bilson said. "You can probably expect it between 18 months and two years after that." Following Bilson's timeline, Dawn of War III's release date would fall into the August 2012 to February 2013 window.
What's more, THQ may consider adopting the same business model it is using for Relic's Company of Heroes Online with Dawn of War III. Having successfully launched a free-to-play, microtransaction-supported version of Company of Heroes in Asia in 2007, THQ said in June that it would be bringing the same free-to-play game to Western audiences this fall.
"It may be a more digital free-to-play experience with all the depth and quality of a Relic RTS," Bilson stated, before going on to note that Dawn of War III's free-to-play status hinges upon the success of Company of Heroes Online.
"It all depends on how COHO does, and how it works and how people respond to it," he continued. "If they do, that would definitely drive us to…Now Dawn of War III, either way, is going to have a much larger strategic component to it, more of a global battle going on with little tactical things, sort of MMO-like…We haven't announced anything about it, and it's still in its early formative stage, but I'm just talking to you about the brainstorming going on around it."
For more on the series, check out GameSpot's review of Dawn of War II's first expansion, Chaos Rising.