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Sign-ups open for Warhammer 40,000: Darktide beta test, coming in October

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The four-player co-op shooter Warhammer 40,000: Darktide (opens in new tab) is coming to PC in November, but before it gets here there will be a beta test, and you can sign up for a shot at access right now.

Warhammer 40,000: Darktide is essentially a WH40K version of Vermintide, the four-player Warhammer Fantasy co-op action games originally released by Fatshark in 2015 (opens in new tab) and 2018 (opens in new tab). They were excellent, and our June hands-on preview (opens in new tab) of Darktide strongly suggests even better things ahead: It's more gun-focused, as you'd expect from the 40K setting, but still awash in lore, weirdness, and "frankly enormous hordes of enemies."

"It's a game I would've happily played all day even in that [pre-release] state," Wes wrote. "I don't know yet how well the changes to loot and leveling will play out here, but the action is everything I wanted from a 40K version of Vermintide."

The Darktide closed beta test will run from October 14-16, and will be available exclusively on PC through either Steam or the Windows Store. (The full game is also coming to Xbox Series X-S consoles.) There will be more content and features in this beta than were offered in the previous technical test, and more players will be supported, but only a limited selection of weapons, enemies, maps, missions, and other systems will be available—less than the full game—and progress will not carry over.

To get into the Darktide beta, you'll need to pop 'round to the signup page (opens in new tab) and give them your email address. At some point after that, you'll receive an email with a link to a survey asking for more detailed information, ranging from basic system specs and internet connection speed to your location and your past experience with co-op shooters. Once that's done, you move into the waiting phase: If you're selected to take part, you'll receive a follow-up email with a Steam key that you can redeem for access to the game.

Fatshark didn't indicate how many people will be admitted to this test, but it did state in an FAQ (opens in new tab) that preordering the game is not necessary for access. At the same time, it hinted pretty strongly that it's got something in store for people who do: "We recognize the players that pre-order as some of our most committed players and while we don’t have anything to share today, it is safe to assume that we will have a few things to share in the future," the studio wrote.

One other point of note: While the beta is closed, you can stream it, if you're into that sort of thing. Fatshark also invited streamers to sign up to receive upcoming information regarding its creator program (opens in new tab).

I recently played Necromunda: Hired Gun, another WH40K shooter, and it was fantastic: probably the most wildly over-the-top ultraviolent grimdark nonsense (in a good way) I've ever seen. (It's also in far better shape now than when we reviewed it.) The two games are completely unrelated but in a very general "all metal all the time" sense I really hope Darktide can pick up the setting where Necromunda left off and run with it.

Warhammer 40,000: Darktide is set to come out on November 30. The full game is available for pre-purchase now on Steam (opens in new tab).

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.