April 23, 2012

Space Marines… Why Are You So Captivating?

I know I will endure all sorts of flack for this but before playing Warhammer: Dawn of War I had never been exposed to the Warhammer universe.  Yes I’d see the game sitting on Best Buys ever dwindling PC selections but I never decided to pick it because I thought it would be stupid.  The truth is I was the stupid one.  I managed to get the games as part of the THQ Complete Pack that was on sale for $50 on steam and man had I been missing out.  Ever since I’ve picked up every Warhammer 40k game and now book that I can get my hands on.  Currently I am reading “The Ultramarines Omnibus” by Graham McNeil and I can’t get enough.  In fact I spend half my day dreaming about the Warhammer Universe lately which is what prompted me to write this article.


While Warhammer does bear similarities to other franchises there really isn’t anything else like it.  The only franchises that come close it in my opinion are Gears of War and Starship Troopers.  All 3 universes utilize the powersuit soldier.


So what is it about Space Marines that makes them so capitvating.  They don’t live comfortable lives, they spend centuries fighting for the emperor, they aren’t empathetic and they find the sight of regular humans to be… annoying.  I’ve always been mesmerized by soldiers, even as a child, there is something larger than life about them even though it may not necessarily be true.  Then you add in powersuited armor and have them stand 7 – 10 feet tall, give them guns the size of a cake eating 12 year old child,  and drop them into a war torn universe fighting Orcs, Elves and demons and suddenly someone is in nerd heaven.


The Space Marines powersuit is what gives them their persona.  They treat their suits much as we would treat their home.  They adorne them with decorations, keep them immaculately clean unless in combat.  They attach ribbons of honor and power to them.   The suit is what separates them from a normal soldier.


Space Marines fight against all odds to ensure humanities survival and for the glory of the dying emperor.  They are fanatically loyal and spend their entire lives training to fight and possibley die.  They live a life of apparent grand adventure and constant action.  They dive into situations where their doom is certain, the chances of winning are slim to non-existent but yet they persevere.  Perhaps that is why they are so capitivating… tall, larger than life, full of adventure, or perhaps they are just bad ass and I think their suit looks cool because it’s shiney.  What do you guys think?  Are Space Marines as captivating to you as they are to me?


Check out some of these pics and videos:




March 29, 2012

Warhammer, back to basics…. no more MMO hopes

THQ execs have been taking another look at the next addition to the franchise, Dark Millennium, that was said to possibly be an MMO. They have decided that investment requirements may be far exceeding what they expected for a lack of return at the time and are shifting the focus away from the MMO world and back to the basics of Warhammer. This probably came as some what of a surprise for employees at Relic and Vigil studios as 118 people have been laid off.

THQ has taken the idea of Warhammer 40,000 and thrown it around hitting every genre possible so they thought about taking it a step further and producing an MMO based on the world of marines and orcs… However, the cost to return on investment scale seems to show that it may not be the wisest decision to make in todays market. They have taken the focus off of the massively multiplayer online aspect and decided that a single player campaign with multiplayer features is a better route. This begs the question, “What happened to ‘Space Marine’ multiplayer?”. Did they just let this design fall off the edge of the earth? Should we trust their ideals on multiplayer functionality in a single player game anymore?

So what did THQ CEO Brian Farrell have to say about this? “As previously announced, we have been actively looking for a business partner for the game as an MMO, However, based on changing market dynamics and the additional investment required to complete the game as an MMO, we believe the right direction for us is to shift the title from an MMO to a premium experience with single and multiplayer gameplay, robust digital content and community features.”

This change in genre and platform is actually costing the employees of THQ. The publishing giant is downsizing 79 people from the Austin, Texas Vigil Games and 39 more from Vancouver’s Relic Entertainment. THQ said that a release window would be announced later on this project.

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