Warhammer 40,000: Gladius - Relics of War promises grimdark 4X strategy

In the grim dark future, there are only Warhammer 40,000 games. And today the world took one step closer to bringing that digital dystopia to life with the announcement of WH40K: Gladius – Relics of War, a planetary 4X strategy game with real-time multiplayer. 

Gladius will take place on the world of Gladius Prime, a planet of "archaeological interest" to Imperial scholars. "During its colonization ancient relics were found, revealing hints of a shrouded past. But it was more than relics. Something awakened, an unspeakable horror from an ancient past, and the citizens of Gladius found themselves trapped in a terrible war for survival," developer Slitherine said.

"Gladius Prime was once a planet of peace. Now there is only war." Funny how it always seems to work out that way. 

Gladius will "combine elements of 4X gameplay with a combat-focused system," with four playable factions: Orks and Space Marines, obviously, but also the less-commonly-seen Astra Militarum and Necrons. Each of them will develop, expand, and interact with one other in "dramatically different" ways, and there will also be major differences between the solo and multiplayer modes. 

"The deep storyline was created from scratch to allow players to explore an entire world and lead the expansion of an empire from the ground up. The discovery of ancient artifacts and the custom-crafted quests will reveal the secrets of the planet and its mysterious history as the story progresses," Slitherine said. "The real-time multiplayer system lets players build their own path to victory while fighting against live opponents, time and the natural perils that Gladius hides." 

Warhammer 40,000: Gladius – Relics of War is listed on Steam if you'd like to poke around a bit, although there's currently no pricing or option to pre-purchase. An "exclusive first look" at the game will take place at 11 am PT/2 pm ET on December 1, on Slitherine's Twitch channel

Andy Chalk

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.