Freedom And The 40K Licence
GB: Both 40K ventures from Complex Games have been RTS focused and that’s the passion the studio has for projects right now as you’ve previously stated. Are there any thoughts about exploring different genres within the 40K licence?
NDJ: “I can only say so much with post-launch content for Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters and beyond. But our nuts and bolts and what we want to focus on as a company is this RTS RPG mould. That might vary a little bit depending on the project but that’s where our focus lies as a studio.
We want to build on that experience that we’ve been building for the last ten years and really push the envelope in that genre.”
GB: I can imagine after doing work for hire for so long it’s nice to have that control over the studios’ direction in terms of projects?
NDJ: “Yeah, Warhammer 40K is a great fit for what we want to do. Obviously, we’re super passionate about it, and who knows if we’ll launch another 40K title in the future? I’ll leave that TBD (to be determined)”
The Player Experience
Decter-Jackson then goes on to explain how Complex wanted to make sure a player’s experience with Chaos Gate: Daemonhunters is unpredictable sets itself apart from other games in the RTS genre. From dealing with reinforcements in a short space of time and buffs to landscape changes, Complex wanted to make sure that Daemonhunters was challenging but not completely unpredictable at the same time.
With this being an RTS, Decter-Jackson wants players to adapt their strategies and that’s why they wanted to apply this game-changing mechanic. From a story standpoint, there’s always a glimmer of hope although the Nurgle and Choas threat is very overwhelming as the game progresses.
The conversation then moved to Arron Dembski-Bowden handling the narrative in Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters. Known for his beloved novels such as “The First Heretic” (2010), “Black Legion” (2017) and “The Talon of Horus” (2014), Aaron is a great addition to the team. Decter-Jackson expanded on Arron’s involvement:
NDJ: “We’re not trying to translate the feeling of a novel, but trying to re-create this narrative feeling of being immersed in the 40K universe in the context of what we can deliver within it. Aaron has more writing experience outside of the Black Library scope and the books we’re all big fans of.
He came into the project with experience of working on games previously. He understood the constraints we were under, and we wanted to make sure we captured great dialogue and what tells the beats of the story as players advance through the game.
From the early introduction of the Inquisitor to facing the reapers which are these massive bosses, the focus has been on making sure our cutscenes and broader aspects of the story really capture that feeling of being in the 40K universe. Commanding a faction of Grey Knights and seeing the different Space Marine factions interact whilst on the Baleful Edict shows builds on this too.”
Does He Play 40K Though?
GB: We’ve already touched on this, but there’s a big focus on smaller skirmishes in Daemonhunters which also rings true with the 40K tabletop experiences. You’ve touched on your experience with Epic 40K which shines through in Daemonhunters, but do you play Warhammer 40K at the moment? Also, if so, what army do you play?
NDJ: “Oh man! Well, I don’t play much right now with managing the company and this project takes up a lot of my time. When I do get time I still have my Tyranids and a bunch of unpainted Grey Knights that I started painting at the beginning of this project.
I didn’t really have any ambition to assemble an army with them, but you know I love painting so it’s a relaxing process for me. Going back to what we were talking about earlier, I’m an old school Orks player.
But these days it’s mostly the rest of the team playing 40K.
GB: I completely get that, which is the reason why I asked. Diehard fans of 40K will want a 40K game from 40K fans. So it’s great that a studio has the licence alongside the product knowledge to do with it.
NDJ: “For sure! But what I will say, and this goes without saying, but we’re not trying to recreate the tabletop either. It’s at least true to a lot of Codexes and rules in the tabletop game.”
The story Decter-Jackson and Complex is trying to tell is very much character-driven. They are really trying to drive the narrative through character interaction and dialogue. In terms of what the story is about, it’s about the politics of the Imperium whilst trying to come together to fight a common enemy, an intergalactic pandemic.
Decter-Jackson’s final bold words: “I don’t think that anyone will be disappointed”
We would like to thank Noah Decter-Jackson for his time during this interview. What did you think of it? Let us know on Twitter!
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Featured Image Credit: Complex Games / Interactive Indies