Adeptus Auctores: Pre Alpha Twitching

Greetings Crusaders and welcome again to the Adeptus Auctores.

This week we were treated to the first in what is to be a weekly series of Twitch streams. Mark your calendar, clear out Friday afternoons at 1.30pm Eastern/6.30pm GMT and set your sights on 40kCrusade.

The stream, should you not be ready or willing to sit down to an hour of Eternal Crusade goodness was run by:

  • Brent Ellison, Lead Game Designer. (Twitter: @pulsemeat)
  • Patrick Balthazar, Lead Programmer. (Twitter: @lordpada)
  • Steven Lumpkin, Lead Level Designer. (Twitter: @Silent0siris)
  • With a guest appearance from their very own David Ghozland, the Eternal Crusade Creative Director. (Twitter: @dghozland)

As an important disclaimer, everything shown during the stream and anything here in screenshots is PRE ALPHA. It’s not textured, it’s not final and it’s not nearly done yet. Expect models to get prettier (especially if they’re Pretty Marines). Expect improvements. As an additional note, screenshots shown below come from Pre-Alpha footage as then run through Twitch. So if you personally have any issues with what you see, let’s all blame me rather than Behaviour Interactive.

Most of all, if you plan tuning in next week, expect them to be sorting the little issue with microphone in an office versus the righteous grinding treads of a Predator tank as it shows off its heretic smiting might.

Gameplay

It goes without saying that Eternal Crusade is going to make you think of two games in particular. The first barely needs introduction, but just in case you missed the Xenos smiting glory of it, Space Marine as given to us by the now SEGA owned Relic Entertainment. The other, given the scale of things and certain mechanics is obvious, SOE’s Planetside.

Spiritual Parent

Let’s get the obvious out of the way. You run and you shoot. Sometimes you drive and you shoot, other times…. you get the idea. We will have some Commisars lined up to deliver the Emperors Justice to anyone who complains about the idea of a MMOFPS including massive fights where you shoot the other guy. This is the grim darkness of the far future, shooting the other guy prior to stabbing him with your chainsword (or foul xenos equivalent) is the bread and butter of your existence.

Execution

That little PSA aside, I have to say I really enjoyed the stream, apart from the Predator tread squeal drowning out the lads. If this is Pre-Alpha? I know I’m not a games designer so I only have the armchair designer view of things but I am excited by where they have put their marker. Jump Packs? Present. Launching yourself off of a wall (Yes Titanfall, we see you sitting there. Call us when you are bioengineered post human Super Soldiers) to get places you might not be expected? Present. TANKS! Present.

Rhino 

This is our starting point. The eventual aim? Full up 500 versus 500 fights over massive strongholds. Don’t just expect to run and gun, tactical thinking is going to be required. Strategy, planning, passion. You know, the basic tool set of a Warhammer fan.

Highlights

While there was no sign of the Eldar or Orks yet, there still were plenty of things to see in the stream. Loadouts were shown in a very early and as ever not yet final form. Hero characters were discussed with some of systems around being able to get points given to you by your faction to deploy them getting mentioned. As with anything, these could all change before we play but even in this early embryonic state they sound exciting.

Classes that we actually did get to see played were the Assault Marine, Devastator and Tactical Marine. Each have their own initial weapons load and quirks. One question that I saw repeated on Twitch by an industrious viewer was, will units follow a flavour or are we going to see rainbow units of all the classes? While he didn’t get answered, I imagine the answer is simple. Anyone out there currently cajoling their friends to get in on the Founders Program and create a unit with them almost certainly will end up all playing the same class for a given interaction.

After all what use is a Heavy Bolter wielding Devastator if he can’t jump?

Loadout 2

Studio Spotlight

It helps to know who is working on your game. It gives you a greater sense of being connected to the property when you know more about the people behind it. In that spirit, we’re going to shine two particular studio spotlights this week.

Once you’re done watching the Twitch and basking in the glory that is shoving a chainsword deep into a thrice damned heretic, consider casting your eye over the other dangers. We’ll eventually get to the xenos, for now you should consider watching what happens when you have a designer like Steven Lumpkin play through a game that would appeal to His Majestys Holy Inquistion.
A Designers Plays …. The Witcher 2!.

Execution 2

Our second spotlight focuses on a writer. The writer. Graham McNeill.

Two line bio? Born in Glasgow, Scotland. Studied architecture prior to joining Games Workshop, which is ever so fitting.
There are a few writers who I can point to and rightfully call the architects of my Warhammer experience. Graham fits that bill better than most.

For those of you unaware, Mr McNeill is writing the lore that we will be facing on Arkhona. Whatever else Behaviour Interactive and Games Workshop do for Eternal Crusade, it will be shaped and seen through this lens. We’l be back in two weeks with more Adeptus Auctores, so until then you have a little bit of homework. After all if it’s good enough for our Miguel it’s good enough for us. Our fleet is going to set out into the Empyrean on its way to Arkhona? Your assigned duty is to review a different journey penned by Graham McNeil. The Adeptus Mechanicus set a course outside of the Imperium, the first book is the Priests of Mars.

Enjoy Crusaders. Revel in the adventures and remember, Fridays at 1.30pm EST. Who knows what we’ll see next?

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About Jonathan Doyle

Once long ago Westwood made a space game. Earth And Beyond was the start of the journey. From there, through Paragon City and to the fields of Altdorf, there were battles. Westwood brought me to MMOs. City of Heroes refined my love for them. Warhammer brought me to writing about them. He loves all things space, sci fi, Warhammer or heroic.