Warhammer 40k: Dark Millennium no longer an MMO

Earlier this year we reported that, in spite of funding setbacks, THQ was committed to releasing its Warhammer 40k MMORPG in fiscal 2014 and beyond. At the time, CEO Brian Farrel noted that they only needed a publishing partner in order to move forward with their game.

Unfortunately, it looks like finding that partner was more difficult than they thought, as THQ has now confirmed in a press release that they have "refocused Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millenium from a Massively Multiplayer Online game to an immersive single player and online multiplayer experience with robust digital content, and engaging community features." While deciphering this hyperbole might be a little difficult, the fact remains that Warhammer 40k has effectively been cancelled as an MMORPG.

Our condolences go out to the two THQ internal studios that have been affected by these redundancies, including the 79 full-time employees at Vigil Games in Austin, Texas, and the 39 employees at Relic Entertainment in Vancouver, B.C.

New Warhammer 40K Teaser Trailer Released

THQ and Vigil Games have released a new Warhammer 40K: Dark Millennium Online teaser trailer! The E3 video has been posted on the game's official site. It's quite short and simply states that the MMO is "coming soon," but we'll take what we can get when it comes to information on this game. Watch it below!

The Warhammer 40K MMO was actually unveiled a year ago at E3 2010. Since that time, news has been sparse. The last announcement we heard was made back in February when THQ stated during a conference call that the game's launch window spans from April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013. Only time will tell what "coming soon" truly means for Dark Millennium Online.

THQ: Warhammer 40K MMO to Launch by March 2013

If you've been waiting patiently for the release of the Warhammer 40K: Dark Millennium Online MMO, it looks like you're going to have to wait quite a bit longer. According to Big Download, THQ announced during a conference call yesterday that the game is scheduled to launch in the company's 2013 fiscal year. That window spans from April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013.

The bulk of Warhammer 40K news came out of E3 in June 2010, which is when THQ announced the game's official title and released the debut trailer. ZAM's Mike B. aka Fony also caught up with Vigil Games General Manager David Adams on the expo floor to talk with him about what was shown in the video.

In August, Vigil Games released another trailer announcing the Imperium of Man, the MMO's first playable race. We haven't heard too much since, but it looks like Vigil and THQ have ample time to release more details leading up to the game's launch.

Factions confirmed in Warhammer 40k Online

A few days ago Vigil Games confirmed that there will be a faction system in their latest project, Warhammer 40k: Dark Millennium Online. Although details are still sketchy, Vigil Games has stated that they are working close with Games Workshop, the studio behind the tabletop version of Warhammer 40k, to ensure that storyline is not butchered. Although some fans may be concerned as to which armies will be aligned with each other, Vigil Games has reassured us that they are working very closely to keep the lore and storyline intact for the avid Warhammer 40k fans.

Warhammer 40K "The Imperium of Man" Trailer

After a brief lull since Warhammer 40K: Dark Millennium Online was officially unveiled at E3 earlier this summer, developer Vigil Games brings us a new video trailer showcasing the MMO's first playable race, The Imperium of Man. This news shouldn't come as a surprise to the hardcore War40K fan community; the Imperium is a defining faction of the original Warhammer 40K tabletop game. In the new trailer, Vigil Games introduces the Imperium as the first "playable race," however, indicating that it will be one of several races included in the MMO's two factions (in a recent interview, Vigil Games executive producer Tim Campbell confirmed there will be "two overall factions in the game, and all of the playable races are going to fit into one or the other").

The video reveals that the Imperium of Man have returned to the Sargos Sector; the narrative and in-game footage highlight the Imperial Guard, Tech Priests of Adeptus Mechanicus and Space Marines (Angels of Death), which appear to be at least three confirmed character classes. Some of the video is recycled from the original announcement trailer from E3, although we do see a substantial amount of new material and gameplay footage. Titans and Dreadnoughts make another appearance, as well as several vehicles like Thunderhawks and Predators. The video includes a few quick-cuts of unconfirmed classes, which some speculate to be Inquisitors or Psykers, for example. In addition to the new trailer, Vigil Games released four new screenshots at GamesCom. Check out the full video and screenshots after the jump, and visit ZAM's Warhammer 40K: DMO portal site for more news and information.

E3 War40K Video Chat: Vigil Games' David Adams

The new Warhammer 40K: Dark Millennium Online video trailer generated some serious heat at E3 in Los Angeles this week, leaving fan communities around the world pumped for more details about the upcoming MMO. Earlier today, ZAM's Mike B. (a.k.a. "Fony") caught up with Vigil Games general manager David Adams on the expo floor to ask him about what we saw in the recent trailer.

Mike B. asks Adams what kind of gameplay we can expect in the upcoming MMO (something that's been on everyone's mind since watching the trailer, which appears to feature an action-oriented combat sequence mixed with "traditional" MMORPG gameplay). He also asks how the developers at Virgil Games plan to satisfy the legions of Games Workshop fans out there, who expect a faithful representation of the original Warhammer 40K tabletop game. Check out the video interview after the jump, and keep an eye out for more of ZAM's E3 coverage throughout the day.

E3: Warhammer 40K "Dark Millennium Online" Video

Fresh from E3 in Los Angeles today, the Warhammmer 40K MMO video trailer is finally here! Announced by THQ and Vigil Games with the official title, "Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium Online," the debut trailer only has a running time of one minute, but those 60 seconds are filled with exactly the type of in-game footage and action that fans were hoping to see. We see several different races showcased in the trailer; Imperium (of Man), Chaos and Orks, including an array of different "Chapters" (i.e., the Space Marines and Imperial Guard for the Imperium, and Chaos Space Marines and Cultists for Chaos).

One one hand, we're not sure what to make of THQ's earlier promise that all the Warhammer 40K factions will be playable (we didn't see the Eldar, among other races, in the video), but on the flip-side, the trailer gives us the impression that the upcoming MMO will kick some serious ass. We see both land and air vehicles (possibly indicating the vehicular combat players are hoping for), titans and dreadnoughts stomping across the battlefield, a third-person character view (with what appears to be an ability-based interface) and more. The combat scenes don't confirm or deny the existence of a "cover system" (based on terrain and line-of-sight factors), so we'll have to wait for ZAM's upcoming interview with THQ/Vigil Games at E3 this week to get more answers. In the mean time, check out the video trailer for Warhammer 40K: Dark Millennium Online after the jump!

THQ Says Warhammer 40k MMO Can Easily Break Even

Gamasutra just reported the results of a THQ financial earnings conference call in which CEO Brian Farrell expressed his confidence in the upcoming Warhammer 40k MMO, currently under-development by Virgil Games. According to Gamasutra, Farrell said that the "relatively low initial investment" of Warhammer 40k means that it will be easier for the publisher to break even, similar to its recent success with the low-investment Metro 2033 first-person shooter. The last time Farrell mentioned Warhammer 40k was in March, when we reported his claim that the MMO wouldn't be directly competing with the likes of World of Warcraft. According to Gamasutra, Farrell reiterated his confidence in the upcoming Warhammer 40k MMO in the conference call earlier today:

"One of the reasons that we think our costs are under control here is because we think we're building this game right," Farrell explained. The exec said that the game will initially cost on the high-end of a non-MMO triple-A retail game. We started with a very small and experienced MMO team who gave us the very wise advice to prove out all the technology and world-building tools before you start adding to the team and really ramping up all of the content that an MMO requires. That's why we think our budget is going to be very competitive."

Farrell didn't cite a specific number of subscribers that will allow THQ to break even with Warhammer 40k, although he did admit it won't be near the 1 million mark. "You can imagine that given the fact that we have a lower initial investment than some of our competitors talk about," he said, according to Gamasutra. "We don't need the kind of subscriber levels that people throw around, like a million subscribers, to make a lot of money on this title. If we get anywhere near that level, we'll be making a lot of money."

As we reported in February, THQ is expected to unveil the upcoming Warhammer 40k MMO in more detail at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) at the Los Angeles Convention Center, which takes place from June 15 to 17. So far, we've heard a lot of hype about Warhammer 40k from THQ, but we won't get our first glimpse of the MMO until next month at E3. And we're hoping the game lives up to the hype, because the Warhammer 40k universe has a ton of potential to make a great MMO, as we noted in last year's 2009 ZAM Awards when the MMO won an honorable mention for our "Most Anticipated Established IP" award category. Check back with ZAM's Warhammer 40k portal site for more information and upcoming news as it's available!

Warhammer 40K MMO vs. Warhammer 40K RTS

In the realm of tabletop gaming, few companies and IPs are as heralded as the Warhammer 40K franchise. Recently, THQ released the expansion to Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War, which was dubbed Chaos Rising. That said, THQ wasn't ignoring their other 40K franchise either, and at GDC Vigil Studios, the company behind Darksiders and the upcoming Warhammer 40K MMO, was actively recruiting for a number of open positions. And, for those folks that couldn't attend GDC, the company is still looking to fill positions in several key areas.

So with all of this Warhammer 40K buzz going around the industry these days, it brings up an interesting question: which would you rather be playing, the 40K MMO or the continuing RTS series? It's a tough question, but one that certainly exists. So which camp would you fall into? Or are you a big enough 40K fan that you'll play both? Let us know in the comments below!

THQ: Warhammer 40k Target Audience, Revenue Models

As we reported last month, THQ President and CEO Brian Farrell said fans of the upcoming Warhammer 40k MMO can expect an official unveiling at this year's E3 on June 15. In a recent interview with IGN, Farrell offered a bit of insight about the upcoming MMO's target audience, in addition to an interesting statement regarding its potential revenue model.

When asked about Warhammer 40k's chance for success in a market dominated by MMOs like World of Warcraft, Farrell said that THQ is confident Warhammer 40k will stand on its own, noting the IP's established fan base. "On the PC alone, the Warhammer 40K series has sold over five million units, so there's an audience there that likes that universe," he told IGN. "We think there's always competition in every market, but you got to have an x-factor, a point of differentiation, and we think we've got that."

Farrell also pointed out the stark differences between the sword-and-sorcery genre of WoW and the gothic sci-fi themes in Warhammer 40k. "World of Warcraft is a great game, but as you know in entertainment, there's always the juggernaut and that means there's opportunities out there for the right MMO," Farrell said in the interview. "What we love about the Warhammer 40K MMO is that it's different in that it's a sci-fi, futuristic-based world. We're not competing directly in the orcs and elves fantasy environment that World of Warcraft is in. We can differentiate ourselves."

Finally, Farrell hinted at a unique, region-dependent revenue model that THQ might be adopting for Warhammer 40k. He told IGN that THQ is developing the MMO with a "flexible business model in mind." Farrell said the traditional, subscription-based revenue model "still works" throughout North America and Europe, although it's a harder sell in the Asian markets. He told IGN that THQ is developing Warhammer 40k in a way that lends itself to several pricing models, including "time-based sessions or microtransactions" for the Asian market.

The upcoming Warhammer 40k MMO is based on the Games Workshop tabletop miniature game of the same name. THQ published a real-time strategy PC video game version, Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War, in 2004. Virgil Games is developing the Warhammer 40k MMO, which takes place thousands of years after the events of the Warhammer Fantasy series. In January, we awarded Warhammer 40k an honorable mention in the 2009 ZAM Awards for "Most Anticipated Established IP."