Warhammer 40,000: Darktide is getting a free two-part update that lets you visit the Carnival—to rip and tear into heretics, of course

Warhammer 40,000: Darktide released in a bashed-up state thanks to performance issues, an unfinished crafting system, a not-so-great cash shop, and wonky progression. The game clawed its way back into the good will of its players, though, especially since its recent talent tree overhaul, its recent reviews "Very Positive" on Steam at the time of writing. Fatshark is starting as it means to go on: announcing a two-part free update to celebrate its one year anniversary that'll send you to the Carnival. No, really.

Announced Friday last week, The Traitor Curse will be released in two parts. The first arrives this month, while the second half will drop "before the winter holidays." According to the announcement, here's what's promised for the first slice:

  • New Cinematic: Learn about the motivations of the Moebian 6th and discover The Carnival, a new disreputable zone promising transgressive distractions and entertainment.
  • New Zone & Mission: Strike at the heart of the Moebian 6th operations and fend off hordes of enemies in Mercantile located in The Carnival.
  • Inspect Feature: Inspect player loadouts in The Mourningstar.
  • Update to Veteran Talent Tree: Enjoy many changes and tweaks made to the Veteran tree, including the addition of Keystones (due to these changes, Veterans will see their talent tree reset and players will have to re-assign talent points).

I'm especially excited by the Carnival, even if it's less clowns and ferris wheels and more Victorian cyberpunk Red Light District, according to a follow-up post by lead level designer Fredric Grapensparr: "The Carnival is effectively a massive slum … the disreputable nature of the place means it is a notorious area for entertainment: that’s its appeal. It’s the place you go for brief respite and vice. It’s attractive in a very degenerate way, vivid and dirty, promising transgressive thrills."

While the zone is decidedly gothic, staying true to 40k's grimdark roots, early screenshots inject a little desperately-needed colour to Darktide, which has been one of my major issues with it since launch. The grimey, chunky, oppressive aesthetic of the Imperium is cool, sure, but it does get samey after a while. The dip into the flavours of sandy brown and cathedral grey weren't enough to shake it up for me.

But breweries? Bars? Bunting and neon signs? That sounds like a riot. I've already been enjoying my occasional return visits to Fatshark's redeemed horde shooter, so you bet I'll be touring the Carnival to party (spoiler: the party will involve shooting a lot of heretics in the face).

Harvey Randall
Staff Writer

Harvey's history with games started when he first begged his parents for a World of Warcraft subscription aged 12, though he's since been cursed with Final Fantasy 14-brain and a huge crush on G'raha Tia. He made his start as a freelancer, writing for websites like Techradar, The Escapist, Dicebreaker, The Gamer, Into the Spine—and of course, PC Gamer. He'll sink his teeth into anything that looks interesting, though he has a soft spot for RPGs, soulslikes, roguelikes, deckbuilders, MMOs, and weird indie titles. He also plays a shelf load of TTRPGs in his offline time. Don't ask him what his favourite system is, he has too many.