Here's a decent amount of Warhammer: 40,000 Battlesector gameplay footage

Slitherine announced it's publishing another 40K strategy game, and this one is being developed by Black Lab, creators of Battlestar Galactica Deadlock. It's a tactics/strategy game called Warhammer: 40,000 Battlesector, and we saw a reveal trailer with Blood Angels dramatically fighting Tyranids in diorama with the bold claim it will be both turn-based and have "fierce, fast-paced combat".

As is the nature of reveal trailers it didn't show much of ye olde gameplay footage. If that's what you want to see, Slitherine uploaded a livestream in which executive producer David Sharrock breaks down a solid amount of footage.

It shows Battlesector as a game about mid-sized skirmishes. "In general it's 40K tabletop scope," Sharrock says, "so somewhere between 500 and 2,000 points of tabletop worth of units on a battlefield at any one time." If that doesn't mean anything to you, expect encounters larger than you'd get in XCOM, but smaller than Warhammer 40,000: Armageddon. It's the kind of scale where individual heroes make a difference (having more action points than regular troops), but mostly you'll control squads of three-to-five marines and some vehicles.

Movement is based on square tiles rather than hexes, and it looks like cover reduces accuracy based on line of sight, represented by a shield icon that fills up the more cover there is between units, rather than being something you hunker down behind. There's familiar stuff like overwatch, which you set the direction of as well as how far it extends, and engagement penalties for units trying to shoot past each other while in base-to-base contact.

As you'll notice in the video, every attack gives the marines momentum points, which rewards you for playing to your faction's ethos. The points can be spent on surges (bonus action points) or upgrades. "You get more momentum for getting up close and personal," Sharrock says, explaining why the Blood Angels, who suffer from a thing called the Black Rage in case you forgot for a second this was the heavy metal 40K universe, get more points for kills in hand-to-hand than with, say, a grenade.

(Image credit: Black Lab Games)

Though the final version will apparently let us zoom in closer than this demo can handle, the models do look like the recent tabletop miniatures, and when they open fire there's "lots and lots of blood," as Sharrock says. "They've not skimped on the grimdark-y bit."

As for how it's going to be turn-based but have "fierce, fast-paced combat", Sharrock has an explanation for that. "It's a strategy game but it should flow," he says. "You shouldn't be held up on 'one move, next move, next move'. If you've ordered a unit to go and run over somewhere else, you can order another unit to run somewhere else, you can order another unit to shoot someone else. As long as they're not clashing, you just do it as quick as you want to. And the enemy, you'll notice, move in groups towards you."

There you have it. Battlesector looks more like a straight-up tactical wargame than Slitherine's las 40K game, Gladius—Relics of War, which involved drawn-out fights against random animals for the opening turns of every game. Warhammer 40,000: Battlesector is due in May, 2021 and it's already got a Steam page

Here's every Warhammer 40,000 game, ranked.

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.