Whether you enjoy roleplaying video games or not, the one thing you can’t deny is that these titles owe a huge debt to the pen and paper roleplaying games that preceded them. Obviously all Dungeons & Dragons-branded games were spawned by the pen and paper game of the same name, but the list of titles that feature less obvious inspiration reads like a comprehensive listing of every game ever created. To wit: World of Warcraft has spent the past decade as the most successful subscription-based massively multiplayer online game in existence, yet a quick glance at twenty-year-old books from the Warhammer pen and paper game makes it pretty apparent that Blizzard lifted almost the entirety of the game’s aesthetics from that long-running series.
Given how easily these pen and paper ideas translate to the world of games, it should come as no surprise that a number of these games have officially made the leap to video games. The aforementioned Dungeons & Dragons is the most obvious example of this, but other pen and paper titles like Warhammer (as well as its Warhammer 40,000 variant) and Shadowrun have also made the leap. One series that has been unexpectedly underrepresented in the realm of video games however is Games Workshop’s Space Hulk franchise, a line of pen and paper games that tasks players with commanding a group of heavily-armed, futuristic space marines as they battle against an obscenely hostile universe full of ravenous aliens, dangerous weaponry and a wealth of bizarre people (both human and otherwise).
Instead of leaving Space Hulk to slowly fade into arguable obscurity among those who prefer virtual settings to using their imaginations and complicated multi-sided die however, Games Workshop announced this morning that a new video game based on Space Hulk is currently in development for the PC, Mac and iOS platforms. Though rendered in full 3D, developer Full Control is crafting a turn-based tactical shooter. Not only does this mimic the gameplay seen in Space Hulk’s original pen and paper iteration, it also means that the end result should be something akin to the recent, phenomenal XCOM: Enemy Unknown — and, assuming Space Hulk is successful, may also indicate a true renaissance for the turn-based, tactical shooter subgenre (and the possibility that the game may also appear on modern gaming consoles).
Below this text you can find a 30-second long teaser clip for the upcoming Space Hulk. As a teaser it does little to demonstrate Space Hulk’s gameplay, and it doesn’t really establish any sort of plot for the title, but it does show off rather attractive CGI models for the game’s space marine protagonists. Likewise, the aesthetic and tone of the teaser suggest that developer Full Control has a solid grasp of the gritty, overly-worn feel that has made the Space Hulk universe so engaging to millions of pen and paper gamers. The ships and space stations you explore in Space Hulk won’t be the shiny, sterile environments you’ve seen in so many futuristic Hollywood films, but will instead more closely resemble the decrepit dungeons and ramshackle castles found in the majority of roleplaying videogames. That said, this is still a game set in deep space, so expect your foes to range from Giger-esque extraterrestrials to conniving bipedal species that would rather swindle you out of your hard-earned cash than melt your skin with acidic blood.
As of now there is very little information available on Space Hulk, though we expect Games Workshop and Full Control to amend that shortly. Once useful information comes available, we’ll bring it to you. Hopefully that vague “2013” release window skews toward the first half of the year, rather than the latter.