The next game from the studio behind the Pathfinder RPGs is Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader

When Owlcat Games, known for developing games based on the tabletop RPG system Pathfinder, started dropping hints its next project would be sci-fi I expected either a game based on Pathfinder's spin-off Starfinder, or maybe one of the Pathfinder campaigns with a bit of planet-hopping. I did not expect a full-on cRPG set in the 40K universe, but that's what Owlcat just announced during the Warhammer Skulls showcase.

Owlcat's game will be a "classic cRPG" with turn-based combat and a party of recruitable companions. Possible party members include, "A mighty Space Marine, a mercurial Aeldari Ranger, or even a courageous Sister of Battle armed with bolter and ardent prayers". It looks like there's a tech-priest and a psyker in some of the screenshots too.

Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader will cast you as one of the voidship captains who explores the fringes of the Imperium. Somewhere between Star Trek captains and 18th century privateers, Rogue Traders have Warrants of Trade that let them bend the otherwise strict rules of the Imperium to trade with aliens, travel freely, and reclaim lost technology. They can act as sanctioned pirates, conquistadors, or colonists, and their ships are baroque monstrosities with thousands of crew.

The first edition of the Warhammer 40,000 tabletop wargame back in 1987 was subtitled Rogue Trader, but it seems like Owlcat's game will be drawing from a tabletop RPG, also called Rogue Trader, published by Fantasy Flight Games in 2009. Owlcat's press release says, "The action will unfold in the Koronus Expanse, a dangerous and unexplored region on the far frontiers of the Imperium of Man", which is the same corner of the galaxy detailed in Fantasy Flight's RPG.

"The grim darkness of the 41st millennium is a harsh place of unbound evil, untold sacrifices and large-scale threats and challenges that perfectly transitions into an exciting roleplaying narrative that allows an exceptional freedom of in-game choice for the player," said Oleg Shpilchevsky, head of Owlcat Games. "We endeavor to bring to the game everything that fans of the cRPG genre love and expect: fateful decisions, non-linear stories, strong and diverse companion cast together with addictive and complex gaming systems to master."

Where Owlcat's previous games relied on Kickstarter for funding, promotion, and player feedback, Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader is offering a founder's pack pre-order that includes access to the beta. No release date has been announced. 

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.