Space Hulk: Deathwing Preview - In Space, No One Hears You Bleed

by Marcus Jones on July 5, 2016

There's a lot of Warhammer on the horizon, but none look quite as bloody as the upcoming Space Hulk: Deathwing. Developer Streum On Studio is taking lead on the game's development, but long-term Warhammer developer Cyanide Studio is providing assistance. Streum on Studio aims to take everything to a new level with Deathwing's focus on first-person shooter combat.

Set in a derelict space hulk, a massive conglomerate of smashed ships and space debris, you take on the role of a Librarian Space Marine. Librarians are powerful figures, even amongst Space Marines, as they are power psychics capable of unleashing deadly abilities to destroy their enemies. Stepping into their large, armored shoes, you take a squad of marines through the desolate ship in an attempt to discover its secrets for yourself.

The game itself is based off of Games Workshop's Space Hulk tabletop game, originally released in the 1980's. It has also seen a few video game releases, including the most recent Space Hulk: Ascension, a top-down strategy RPG in the vein of XCOM and others. What makes Deathwing stand out as a new game entirely in the ability to both play cooperatively, either with up to four players total or two AI teammates, and the fact it's a FPS game rather than strategy. For the first time, players will wade in face first to face off against Genestealer hordes and whatever else might inhabit these large space hulks. Genestealers themselves, the iconic enemy from the tabletop game, are members of a vicious alien race bent on consuming all organic life in the universe. They come in a variety of sizes, ranging from your standard man-sized beast up to large behemoths capable of ripping massive steel doors from their frames.

You're going to need those teammates.

From the gameplay I saw, it's possible to issue commands to the AI teammates, such as move forward or protecting a certain area. It'll also be possible to instruct them to close out hatchways and more, preventing a possible genestealer incursion while you're busy hulking around in your massive Terminator armor. While the two AI teammates may be enough to help stop the bulk of enemies creatures, the real gem of the game will no doubt be in its four player cooperative efforts. While I did not see any co-op gameplay during my time with the game, the gameplay itself reminded me of Left 4 Dead, only with big aliens and even bigger guns.

The game will be divided into a series of missions, where between each of them, you'll be given time to rearm and change weapon loadouts. Scores of iconic weapons will be available from the Warhammer 40k universe, so expect to see things like lightning claws, meltaguns, and more. The combat itself will mix ranged weapons, melee, and special psychic abilities you'll be able to employ throughout the mission. Another key piece to your arsenal is you Terminator armor, large hulking armor that turns everyone wearing it into a mobile battle tank. No doubt it will receive some attention between missions as any damage it sustains may make pieces stop functioning mid-mission. Take too many hits to the arm and your weapon swings or accuracy may be off; too much damage to the leg and you're already slow gait may slow even more. It adds a tension element to the game; you're not some invincible war machine, so make sure to try and be at least a little tactical in how you approach some intersections. Your enemies work in large groups to take the few of you down, so sticking together and using your weapons efficiently will be the only way to survive.

While the developers didn't even many specifics, they did mention a late 2016 time frame, but didn't mention any platform specifics. They also hinted at some things they couldn't announce quite yet, so keep that in the back of your mind.

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