To developer Relic, Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine represented a good first attempt at third-person action on console.
Eurogamer's Space Marine review awarded 6/10.
"Was it our best work?" mulled producer Andy Lang when quizzed by Eurogamer. "It was our best console work."
"I'm pretty humble; I don't look at [criticism] and get all upset. I thought most of the reviews were fairly on the mark with what they had to say; the character design does get a bit repetitive and certain parts of it, just how the game plays - we didn't have time to really polish that stuff to where we wanted to get to. There wasn't anything that was oh-my-god shocking in the game.
"We're not super surprised by [the scores]," he added. "Of course we'd always like to have higher scores, but with our feature-set and coming out late in the console cycle - it's really hard to have that feature-rich game. We did our best to deliver that blockbuster experience. And the scores landed where they landed."
Andy Land revealed how Relic - renowned for PC RTS games - would persistently ask itself, "Are we crazy trying to bring this game to consoles this late in the cycle?" What's so special about this late in the cycle? "Because it's so competitive," said Lang, implying other high-profile games on second, third iterations.
"It was a new experience for many of us on the team," he recalled, "but we did bring in a lot of new talent that have worked on these games before to flesh it out. And Relic's pedigree of pushing for quality that we've done in RTS titles - we really tried to bring that level of polish to a third-person game.
"With regards to the strategy genre, we're on our fifth, sixth iterations; with this genre we're just starting out."Andy Lang, producer, Space Marine
"With regards to the strategy genre, we're on our fifth, sixth iterations; with this genre we're just starting out."
Lang thinks it would have been "really cool" to have co-op at Space Marine launch, a month ago. That feature will soon be added via the Exterminatus DLC, due 25th October.
"If I look at when I play a Space Marine," he added, "I look at adding more puzzles, more variety to the gameplay experience, so the player has to think a little harder when they're entering an encounter when they're entering a space.
"Challenge the player a little more," he said. "Just more refinement - more polish in that area is something that I would really have loved to gotten in."
"We had realistic goals for the title, of course, being the first title in a franchise," the Relic/THQ PR interjected, refusing sales numbers, explaining that they were still being processed.
Direct enquiries about a sequel were denied. But referrals to Space Marine as (above) "the first title in a franchise" and (above even further) "with this genre we're just starting out", were two examples (of a few) hints at the future.
In July, Relic said discussions about Space Marine 2 were "literally, just starting". Marketing manager James McDermott teased "some of the more popular fiction within the 40K universe" as a likely source base. Space Hulk? Horus Heresy?
Andy Lang told us that Relic, as a whole, housed around 170 staff across three teams. All enquiries about projects other than Space Marine 1 were blocked, but to assume a Company of Heroes 2/Dawn of War 3/Space Marine 2 split doesn't require too great a leap of faith.
Dawn of War 3 hasn't been formerly announced but clearly is happening. Company of Heroes 2 is also heavily rumoured to be in development.
Either one of those games, or both, were expected to be announced at Gamescom. THQ had promised a "big" announcement at the German games show but it didn't happen; THQ was barely present at all.
THQ has never revealed why. Perhaps it was because, days before, THQ announced 200 lay-offs.
The Relic/THQ PR, however, told Eurogamer it was because some projects weren't ready to show yet.
"That one was just a case of sometimes with development cycles what you think you'll have ready to show isn't, and plans change, so we just changed our plans on that one and we look forward to making announcements in the future," he said.
"But at this moment in time there's no time-frame we can put on it."
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