It has been more than a decade since Captain Titus faced hordes of bloodthirsty Orks in Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine, but at long last, the Ultramarine commander is ready to return to the battlefield and face down the enemies that threaten the Imperium. A lot has changed in the 12 years since the first Space Marine game, not only in terms of trends and hardware but also in the power structure of the gaming industry.
The first Space Marine game was published by the now-defunct THQ–which kind of lives on as THQ Nordic under Embracer Group–and this time Saber Interactive is taking over from Relic Entertainment to continue the story of Titus. With the original game being a beloved classic of the action genre, Saber Interactive had some big power-boots to fill, but as Space Marine 2 creative director Oliver Hollis-Leick explained to GameSpot in an interview, the studio wanted to put its own stamp on this sequel while preserving what made the original game so special.
“To be gifted with the opportunity to tell a new story in that world is an incredible privilege, but it comes with an enormous amount of responsibility,” Hollis-Leick explained. “Everybody on the team is a massive Warhammer 40,000 fan. And that is not something I just say for PR, that is before we even did this game. There’s a library at the office, they have tabletop games, and they have loads of books. We know the responsibility and we’re taking it very, very seriously. And then what comes in between that because you can’t just try and service people out of fear. There has to be an element of passion in there as well.”
While Saber Interactive is adding several small details and touches to the worlds of Space Marine 2, the studio is also working on updating the experience of the 2011 game to be a better fit for modern audiences. The result is a game that’s more mature according to Hollis-Leick, with less of a cartoonish vibe and more of a “cold brutality” that fits into the grimdark atmosphere of Warhammer 40,000.
“We all played the first game, we’d all already played the first game when it came out,” Hollis-Leick explained. “So we’re very familiar with it, but going back to it with hindsight was an interesting process because games have changed quite a lot in the 12 years since that one came out. We looked at what made it great then, whether that would translate to a modern audience, a sort of process of maturity. We’ve sort of grown, it matured, it expanded it. So things like the ranged combat, the melee combat, the scale were all great, but we wanted to make it more raw, more violent, and with a kind of cold brutality.”
“The first one with the Cockney Orks had more of a subtle cartoonish element to it, a comic book feel perhaps. This version feels more real, harsher, bolder. I would call it a maturation of the original game.”
Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine 2 is still currently scheduled to release this year for PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X|S. For more details, you can check out GameSpot’s hands-on impressions of Space Marine 2 and you can take a closer look at its co-op campaign trailer.
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