Things to read and watch after playing Darktide

Hammer and Bolter, 'Cadia Stands'
(Image credit: Games Workshop)

Warhammer 40,000: Darktide has the oppressive atmosphere of 40K dead to rights, with its dark city overwhelmed by a baleful sense of coming doom. We've spent hours and hours being tormented in the tunnels of Tertium Hive and yet for some reason still want more of that particular gloomy vibe in all its forms, so we've been on even more of a 40K kick than normal. We've been plowing through the 40K books (in text and audio form) and watching the shows, as well as branching out into other works of science fiction that give us the same sense that everything is very wrong with the universe.

That means Astartes (opens in new tab), movies like Aliens and Event Horizon, and also that one episode of Cowboy Bebop with the thing on board their ship (episode 11, Toys in the Attic). It also means some things you might not have watched or read yet. Join us in a descent into unhealthily baroque cityscapes and battlefields with these suggestions for things to read and watch after playing Darktide.

Read: Gaunt's Ghosts – Necropolis

Where to get: Amazon (opens in new tab), Black Library (opens in new tab), Audible (opens in new tab)

Sean Martin, Guides Writer: If spending time in Hive Tertium has piqued your interest in 40K's planet-sized mega cities, why not read some of the best hive-related fiction from the man who created Tertium itself? Necropolis is one of my favorite Dan Abnett novels, and feels like the point where the Gaunt's Ghosts series hit its stride. 

Colonel-Commissar Gaunt is tasked with defending the city of Vervunhive against a cultist invasion (sounds familiar), but what Necropolis does best is to explore characters at every strata of the city, from factory workers to the planetary defense force to the ruling class itself. As the conflict rages, you get to see how their lives are changed, and it helps establish this idea of hives as living entities that are nothing without their people 

Read: Titanicus

Titanicus, by Dan Abnett

(Image credit: Black Library)

Where to get: Amazon (opens in new tab), Black Library (opens in new tab), Audible (opens in new tab)

Sean: If you'd prefer your hive novel with a dash of big robots shooting each other, then Titanicus is another solid pick. In a similar vein to Necropolis, it follows a number of hive-dwellers on the forge world of Orestes and shows how the arrival of a titan war quite literally shakes their lives. 

It's also a fun exploration of the ideological fractures between the Imperium and the Adeptus Mechanicus, and the political scheming that goes on behind the scenes. All told, just a very good book about how cool titan warfare is. 

Read: Ravenor

Where to get: Amazon (opens in new tab), Black Library (opens in new tab), Audible (opens in new tab)

Jody Macgregor, Weekend/AU Editor: Inquisitors get so much leeway in how they pursue their goals it's hard to make generalizations about them, but it seems pretty rare for one to solve a problem the way Inquisitor Grendyl does in Darkide: by assembling an army you could probably invade Belgium with. Usually they work with a smaller warband of trusted acolytes. Abnett's written several series of interconnected novels about Inquisitors and acolytes, beginning with the Eisenhorn series (opens in new tab), but for a look at how an Inquisitor's retinue functions I recommend the Ravenor books, which follow on from them but work well enough as a starting point. 

Harlon, Patience, and Ravenor

(Image credit: Black Library)

Inquisitor Ravenor does his inquiring through agents like the knife-throwing psyker Patience and bounty hunter Harlon. Ravenor's a psyker himself, and coordinates his team from the 40K equivalent of a wheelchair like he's Professor X. His team spends a lot of time in grubby cyberpunk cities, investigating daemonic drugs and getting in the kind of fights that result in arterial spray because this is 40K after all. Wolverine would fit right in, honestly. In Ravenor's agents you can see the archetypes of Grendyl's warband. Inquisitors need pilots, medicaes, and people who look good in a bodyglove.

If you're an audiobook listener then the audio versions of both the Ravenor and Eisenhorn series are read by Toby Longworth, who does an excellent job. All the Warhammer audiobooks I've listened to are quality recordings, but Longworth in particular gives every voice a personality, and sometimes a fun accent.

Read: Fifteen Hours

Where to get: Amazon (opens in new tab), Black Library (opens in new tab)

Jody: If I can sneak in one last 40K book while you're here, Fifteen Hours follows an ordinary soldier of the Imperial Guard as he tries not to die on a war-torn world where the average lifespan for a guard is, yep, 15 hours. Half the actual danger comes from bureaucratic stuff-ups and officers who have no idea what they're doing. It's basically Catch-22 in the 41st millennium.

Watch: Dredd

Where to watch: 4K HDR Blu-ray (opens in new tab) or streaming (opens in new tab)

Wes Fenlon, Senior Editor: Outside of other Warhammer business, this is probably the most obvious recommendation I could make, but I don't care. This grungy, grimy masterpiece set in a single apartment block in Mega-City One is a perfect chaser to a weekend spent exploring the bowels of Tertium. There seems to constantly be news stories about a sequel potentially arriving, and I'm holding out hope for it—Karl Urban was born for this role. 

If you've seen Dredd five times already, watch it again anyway. And if you've never seen it in 4K HDR, trust me, it's worth the Blu-ray purchase or the high-quality rental from Apple or Amazon. The slo-mo drug scenes are dazzling, and you've never seen chin acting this good in such high definition. 

Watch: Interrogator and Cadia Stands

(Image credit: Games Workshop)

Where to watch: Warhammer TV (opens in new tab)

Jody: One of the best animations made by Warhammer TV is Interrogator (opens in new tab), a story about what happens to an Inquisitor's warband when that Inquisitor falls. Cut loose on a squalid hiveworld and turning to drink, their search for absolution or revenge is told entirely in black-and-white, full of film noir touches and a lot of people dying in the rain.

While we're on Warhammer TV, the anthology series Hammer and Bolter has an episode that players of Veteran Sharpshooters will appreciate. Hammer and Bolter 8: Cadia Stands (opens in new tab) follows a messenger and a soldier as they race through the trenches to deliver a communique while alien tyranids hurl themselves against the defenses. It's real "war is hell" stuff. 

Watch: Hardware

Where to watch: DVD (opens in new tab), Blu-ray (opens in new tab)

Wes: This cult sci-fi horror B-movie is some mighty fine cyberpunk. Born for the fuzziness of a VHS tape, Hardware is about a post-apocalyptic scavenger (played by prettyboy Dylan McDermott before his TV run on The Practice) who brings home a busted-up robot head as a Christmas present. The robot turns out to be a high-end military murder machine, and naturally it's out to kill whoever it sees. This is a messier, nastier take on The Terminator but set almost entirely in a single apartment—a cat-and-mouse game if Itchy & Scratchy was "oh fuck" violent instead of "ha ha" violent. 

Hardware is a pulpy B-movie—it's shallow and not particularly original, clearly made on a tiny budget. Despite that, it can really get under your skin; there's a rawness to it that you just don't get in more polished movies. Aesthetically I can't think of a better companion to Darktide, where every character is scarred, mean, and surrounded by dark and imposing machinery. 

Read more: The best Warhammer 40,000 novels

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 (opens in new tab). He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun (opens in new tab), The Big Issue, GamesRadar (opens in new tab), Zam (opens in new tab), Glixel (opens in new tab), Five Out of Ten Magazine (opens in new tab), and Playboy.com (opens in new tab), 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.

With contributions from