Warhammer fantasy RTS hits next year

PC gamers to receive Mark of Chaos, Namco's first use of the tabletop gaming license, in late 2006.

According to the Warhammer mythos, receiving the Mark of Chaos brings with it hideous physical mutations, slavish devotion to one of four eternal gods of chaos, and nightmarish visions that rob one of all sanity. Consult a physician to see if Mark of Chaos is right for you.

Namco today announced that it is bringing Mark of Chaos to PC gamers in late 2006, without the nasty side effects, in the form of its first real-time strategy game based on the fantasy tabletop gaming license.

Developed by Armies of Exigo creator Black Hole Entertainment, Mark of Chaos will take a different approach to real-time strategy that's more in keeping with its source material. Instead of forcing gamers to worry about the tedious aspects of the genre, such as base management, it puts the focus on the fray, with the champions and chumps of the Empire, the Skaven, the High Elves, and Chaos, throwing down. Each of these armies can be accompanied into battle by allied "dogs of war," which include orcs, dwarfs, vampires, and goblins.

Namco is promising detailed graphics that can provide a bird's-eye view of the battlefield or let players spot warriors by the insignias on their armor. That level of detail may prove useful, as the game is also expected to include fully customizable units, a familiar feature for players of the tabletop game.

Mark of Chaos is set one year after the Great War, which saw Chaos armies sweep the lands of the Empire before being pushed back to the Northern Wastes. At the outset, the united High Elf and Empire forces sweep their territory to exterminate the remaining Chaos hordes, but warbands continue to pick at the border lands and new Chaos Champions are regularly rising up in attempts to unify what's left of the Chaos armies.

It has been seven years since the Warhammer fantasy world last appeared in games, although the on-again, off-again Warhammer Online massively multiplayer online role-playing game is once again on. Currently under development at Mythic Entertainment but without an announced publisher, Warhammer Online is expected in 2007.

For more on Mark of Chaos, check out GameSpot's exclusive interview with Namco senior producer Chris Wren.

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