There are possibly too many Warhammer 40,000 games. The quantity/quality mix seems quite wonky for these licensed spinoffs, but I still crave more. You'd think that with physical games of Warhammer 40,000 Monopoly coming soon, and digital fare like Warhammer 40,000 chess, we'd be reaching the Space Marine saturation point, but no.
The truth is there is no saturation point. A studio somewhere will always be making a Warhammer 40,000 game that will probably get a score of 60-something on PCGamer.com. We could accept our fate with weary resignation, like an Imperial Guardsman about to get run over by one of his own tanks. Or, like the aspiring Imperial Guardsman praying to father Nurgle for an extra arm, we can dream. Here are eight 40K games that should definitely happen.
Alien: Isolation with an unkillable Necron warrior
You could apply the Isolation template to any of the spookier threats in the Warhammer 40K universe: the Tyranids, for example. But The Necrons' whole thing is coming back from the dead. They could be like the alien and the Working Joes from Isolation combined: every battle could be a struggle where you're deprived of weapons, finding different ways to kill the damn thing. Temporarily, anyway, until it's raised from the dead and pursues you once again. Basically, I'm pitching Terminator: Isolation, but wouldn't that be cooler with 40K iconography?—Samuel Roberts
Dynasty Warriors but you’re a Space Marine Captain
After a few entries the Dynasty Warriors series became stuck in time. Technology improved and open worlds became more detailed, but Dynasty Warriors was having none of it. It will forever look like a PS2 game running through an emulator.
The promise of Dynasty Warriors is still there, though. No-one is making huge third-person battlefield combat games with big weapons and hundreds of enemies to splat. Warhammer, fantasy or 40K, would be a great fit for such a game. Nobody wants to see a Terminator juggling 20 Orks while a combo count ticks up, but I love the idea of thrashing through hordes with a lightning hammer to take out an enemy captain. At the battlefield scale you can indulge in some serious background spectacle. Give me crashing battleships, warring titans, and daemon hordes pouring out of rifts in the warp.—Tom Senior
Battletech but with Imperial Knights
Mechwarrior is the king of mech combat on PC, with good reason. This year the mechwarriors of Battletech gave us crunchy, simmy tactical mech combat with an engrossing merc-life metagame. Games Workshop are working on a tabletop game that’s not too dissimilar, called Adeptus Titanicus, but I’d just as soon play a lavish version on my PC, complete with beautifully modeled knights and the odd titan. The strategic metagame would have to change a lot, but there’s room in the fiction to let you manage a household of knights honourably assisting the Adeptus Astartes.—Tom Senior
Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments but with an Ordo Malleus Inquisitor
Travel to different planets and root out heresy in this adventure game starring an Inquisitor and his helpful remembrancer pal. Is this planetary governor lying to your face? Are they secretly tentacles? It’s up to you to interpret the signs and mete out justice in service of the Emperor of Mankind. One word from an Inquisitor can turn a planet to dust, but reach if you reach for the exterminatus button too often your colleagues in the Inquisition will start to question your techniques, and even the venerated members of the Ordo Malleus can fall to the temptations of Chaos. If you’re successfully tricked by daemonkind your very humanity will start to suffer.—Tom Senior
Splinter Cell but you’re an Eversor Assassin
Let’s step sideways from the Inquisition and slip into the terrifying skull mask of an Eversor Assassin. These brutal warriors are often brought in to rip the heretical core out of a corrupt planetary government. They may look a bit silly, but they would be a lot of fun to play as because they can be both stealthy and extremely violent. They are also messed up on the bad drugs all the time. Manage the makeup of your bloodstream on the fly as you slip into planetary strongholds to eradicate genestealer cults and Chaos incursions.—Tom Senior
Spore but you’re a Tyranid hive
Spore let us take a new lifeform from the microbial scale up to the galactic scale. It was a pleasant and relatively peaceful game, for the most part, but what if it wasn’t? Imagine instead that you’re a Tyranid hivemind consuming biomass to evolve, spread, and consume. On the planetary level it might be tough initially to knock over an imperial fortress, but the more people you eat, the more warriors you produce. Once you’re spaceborne you start facing more serious opposition in the form of the other major 40K factions, but as a hungry Tyranid hivemind, there’s nothing you can’t eat if you have enough mouths.—Tom Senior
SimCity but you're a planetary governor on a forsaken hell world
In SimCity when you plant a happiness buildings a shockwave of smiley faces ripples across your town. In the grim darkness of the 41st millennium there are no happiness buildings. Instead you manage the brutalist edifices of a beurocratic nightmare state. Corralling officials without being murdered or purged will be challenge enough, but you must also contain the carnage of your city's hive vaults. In those seemingly endless depths gangs fight for survival as corruption, alien or chaos, takes root. Think Frostpunk, but way, way worse.—Tom Senior
Space Marine but with more Space Marines
I have a theory that if I keep banging on about Space Marine 2 enough the God-Emperor of Mankind will grant me my wish. The first game was a solid brawler that came close to capturing the heft of a Space Marine warrior. It also had good Orks that exploded in satisfying ways. The best bits had you fighting alongside ordinary astra militarum soldiers, and there’s real room for expansion there. A squad combat game like Republic Commando modelled on Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team skirmish scenarios could be extremely good.—Tom Senior