Space Hulk: Ascension Edition dev diary reveals a dramatically changed game

Released in August 2013, Space Hulk wasn't what you'd call a runaway hit. It holds an unenviable Metacritic rating of 58, not a place that most studios want to see their game end up, nor the sort of game that typically gets a sequel. Yet in August developer Full Control revealed that it's working on a follow-up, Space Hulk: Ascension Edition, an overhaul of the original game with new mechanics, content, and Ultramarines. Today, the studio released the first of two planned development diaries, providing a look at how things are unfolding.

It is, admittedly, not the most exciting video ever turned loose on YouTube. The first 11 minutes are nothing but the Full Control CEO sitting on a couch talking about the game, followed by a quick look at a few of the improved visual effects. But if you have any interest in Space Hulk, and especially if you were disappointed by last year's release, it's well worth following along.

An awful lot is being changed, to the extent that even though the title suggests it's an expanded version of Space Hulk, it sounds almost completely different. The Ascension Edition will introduce some basic RPG elements, including the ability to choose and outfit your squad as you see fit, and the dice mechanics of the original game, meant to make it more closely emulate the board game, have been removed entirely; in this version, everything is either deterministic or percentage-based.

The idea, according to the CEO, is to make the game a more fully-realized single-player experience. The Ascension Edition will feature more than 100 missions on a branching tree, enemies will have scaling AI, and surviving squad members will carry over between missions, earning experience as they go. To counter the increased flexibility and number of options available to the player, it will also feature a more diverse range of enemies, including different strains of Genestealers with armor plating, flesh hooks, and other abilities.

I don't expect that Space Hulk: Ascension Edition is going to be a major, mainstream hit, but it does sound like it will be a dramatic improvement over the original. It's currently slated to come out near the end of this year.

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