Saying we were a little excited when it was announced that, after a decade of waiting, Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine was getting a sequel would be an understatement. Developed by Relic Entertainment and released in 2011, the original Space Marine was an adrenaline-fueled action game and an evocative representation of a 40K Forge World. We were looking forward to lining up Saber Interactive, the studio that develops Space Marine 2, for an interview during this year’s event. PC game program (opens in new tab).
Tim Willits, Creative Director at Saber, is a veteran developer with credits dating back to id Software’s heyday in the 1990s, having designed levels for Ultimate Doom and worked on games like Hexen and Quake. Willits brought the historical perspective, saying, “I bet a lot of people don’t know that the original DoomGuy was actually a space marine inspired by an even older space marine, which is the Warhammer 40,000 space marine.”
Where DoomGuy pretty much exclusively fights demons, Captain Titus spent the previous Space Marine game demolishing orks and the forces of Chaos. It looks like he’ll do the same with swarms of alien tyrants in his sequel. “In this particular game, tyrants are the main focus,” said Saber creative director Oliver Hollis-Leick, “and what makes them attractive is that they are locust-like extragalactic creatures, they came from God knows where , they spread like fire, they devour everything in their path and leave nothing in their wake.”
“One of the great things about tyranids is that they come by the thousands,” Willits said, “and our proprietary Saber Swarm Engine can deliver these epic battles. Just like our previous game World War Z, where we had hundreds of zombies. , now we will have thousands of tyrants, and you will rip and tear them all.”
Tear and tear, huh? I can’t place it, but I think I may have heard it somewhere before.
One of the main reasons Relic’s Space Marine is still fondly remembered is its combat, which counters the popular cover shooter formula of the time with a system that rewarded you for approaching enemies as if you’d just been given one. Alec Baldwin’s motivational speech. Your bloody executions of chain sword, power axe, and hammer were fun to watch, and how you got your health back in the absence of hip-level walls to hide in. What does Space Marine 2 have in store for us there?
“Combat in Space Marine 2 is a mix of direct melee combat, along with some super cool weapons,” said Willits. “We looked at the original Space Marine game, where they had a lot of that ‘quick combat’ that inspired a lot of other video games.” Willits would know, having been studio director at id during the 2016 Doom reboot, that he also rewarded players with finishers that doled out health and ammo.
“That ‘nonstop combat, never hide’ is an integral part of Space Marine 2,” he continued, “along with these really cool and powerful weapons. Either you’re destroying the enemies in front of you or you’re blowing them away. from the back of the battlefield. It’s the best of both worlds.
It all goes back to the tabletop games that inspired all of Warhammer’s video games. During their research for Space Marine 2, Hollis-Leick and Willits looked to Games Workshop’s Warhammer World museum for inspiration, which displays hordes of professionally painted miniatures. If the celebrity visitor Henry Cavill says it’s a cool place to visitthis should be good enough for anyone.
“You find yourself crouching and looking at the ranks of space marines who are fighting tyrants or orks or whatever,” Hollis-Leick said, “and something that Tim and I said at that moment was, ‘We need to do this. this come alive. I don’t want to look at this, I want to be inside this. I want to be killing tyrants by the thousands. And to see it actually happen and come to life has been exciting.”
Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine 2 is coming to PC, as well as PS5 and Xbox Series S and X, soon.