Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium Goes Single-Player As Layoffs Hit Relic And Vigil

Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium Goes Single-Player As Layoffs Hit Relic And Vigil

The fate of the Warhammer 40,000 MMO has been revealed: It’s no longer a Warhammer 40,000 MMO. THQ has announced Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium has been “refocused” as a single-player action game with multiplayer elements, a change that brings with it substantial layoffs at developers Vigil Games and Relic Entertainment.

Originally thought canceled due to financial troubles at THQ, the publisher assured fans that the massively multiplayer game was still in development, though the exact nature of that development was left up in the air. In any case, it didn’t seem like the company was in any shape to maintain a big budget MMO game.

And they weren’t. In a press release issued today Brian Farrell, president and CEO of THQ, revealed game-changing plans for the project.

“As previously announced, we have been actively looking for a business partner for the game as an MMO. However, based on changing market dynamics and the additional investment required to complete the game as an MMO, we believe the right direction for us is to shift the title from an MMO to a premium experience with single and multiplayer gameplay, robust digital content and community features.”

Disappointing, to say the least.

Even more disappointing is the downsizing at Vigil Games and Relic Entertainment that comes as a result of this decision, the two internal THQ studios losing 79 and 39 full-time employees respectively.

While countless MMO fans just lost faith in THQ, THQ still believes in Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium.

“Because we believe strongly in the high-quality and vast creative work that is in production, this is the right decision for both our portfolio and for gamers devoted to this powerful property.”


  • Damn, Vigil and Relic are two fine developers… Sad to see them caught in the line of fire because of THQ’s financial troubles.

    • It’s sad to see THQ in the line of fire too. Those guys are alright.

      I guess the upshot of this is that since they’ve been working on the resources for a MMO they’ll probably have everything they need to release a single player Warhammer 40k game that covers all the races. Rather than the usual play as Space Marines and fight one or two other races situation. With any luck we’ll see all the races covered.

      • I thought that it had always been as much a effort to balance the races, as much as creating content to implement them. It’s easy to balance 2-3 races (StarCraft, C&C, TA) but when you get over that 3 mark, it just complicates matters. See the issues that people were having with the Eldar in DoW1, when they added the new races in Soulstorm adding two extra races to the other six or so, they busted up the balance for the Eldar so much that single squads could demolish an entire enemy army using bugs that were only possible because they tried to balance the delicate Eldar armor peircing army to other armies like the high HP-low armor Ork army.

        • I get the balance issue and you’re 100% right. Unless you’re just adding different skins on the same units it’s a huge effort to balance it all (ie, Eldar, Tau, Imperial Guard, etc troops have exactly the same functions and stats as Space Marine troops, which really defeats the purpose).
          However it seems like even in the single players games and single player Dawn of War campaigns there’s a lack of variety in the race department that just comes down to it being so much work creating the set dressing and unit models that you’ll never see a proper Necron level. So I’m hopeful that the excess resources from the MMO attempt allows them the extra level of freedom it takes to make a really diverse single player universe that touches on areas normally left alone.

          • Not unless Games Workshop lets them. I’ve read that the only reason the Blood Ravens are used so much is because Games Workshop has basically ‘given’ them to relic as long as they stick with a strict set of canon rules. The same applies for the Ultrasmurfs in the Space Marine game, where they had to stick to a strict set of rules while creating the story.

            If Games Workshop doesn’t give Relic permission to make a story about WH:40K, then it doesn’t get made, and Games Workshop doesn’t like giving permission. We can always hope!

        • I think that kind of balancing is very short sighted and will always wind up with the power swinging back and forth between races, units and tactics. You’ll never be able to get it right and end up spending a huge amount of time on patches…

      • Yeah that’s what I’m hoping for, with vastly improved multiplayer.

        Sad to hear those guys got laid off, they made some bloody awesome games.

        • It wont be a Marin sequle. They will have already had layed down the work for the storys, so my guess is they will just use eather the ?Chaos or Marain storyline, and make it singleplayer.

          • Well I don’t need a sequel in terms of plot, I just mean more in terms of quality. Space Marine was a damn good game that was remarkably true to the franchise.

    • The only conceivable problem with that is an MMO engine would be different to that of Space Marine, the game wouldn’t feel like Space Marine unless they pulled what they’ve done down and restarted.

  • Quite disappointing to hear. Was looking forward to the mmo, not that we need more mmos or anything but I do love the Warhammer universe.

  • Maybe I should start a company, and buy Relic before THQ gose under. Do a kickstarter thing fr the company, and have everyone be a shareholder. lol. Then buy out Relic, and tell them to go nuts. XD

  • I am hopping for one of 2 things

    a. a sequel to space marine


    Either way – i’m bloody happy.

    • Why? At the rate THQ is going, it wont be finshed. Theses layoffs are just the first stage. 3rd stage in the long running THQ ‘We spent to much on Homefront, and now where dieing’ party…..

      • THQ is the publisher yeah? Relic are the Devs. if THQ goes under, some other publisher will buy the rights to whatever THQ was publishing & the game will be out anyway.

        Still, it’s a shame. THQ seemed to have a bit of integrity going fo em as a publisher. Now Relic will probably end up in EA’s pocked making annual 40K games on a subscrition basis.

        @Loops : SP 40K RPG is one of my dream games. I like the way you think.

  • Would have been interesting to see a Warhammer 40k mmo, but I prefer a proper single player campaign anyway, this might be good news in the end.
    Unfortunate that people lost their jobs too.

  • Dissappointed but not unexpected.

    Would be great if they turned it into a 40K Skyrim/Mass Effect type game.

  • Well that’s disappointing. I was looking forward to this forever. The 40k universe is perfect for an MMO, or RPG.
    I don’t think RTS games do the lore any justice.
    Either way we will just have to wait and see what happens. I enjoyed space marine so lets hope it’s at least that good.

    • yeah – same here,
      An MMO would have been brill – but the problem is MMO’s come and go real quick. I’ve always thought 40k would be much better suiting to a massive single-player RPG with some multiplayer options for small groups.

      • Like Horde mode/raiding team-ups? Or Secret of Mana style take control of other peoples units co-op? That’d be cool. Always wished they’d put that into Mass Effect. Have friends just jump in and take over controlling Garrus.

        Personally I’d like to see a squad based RTS/RPG. Like Dawn of War where you control a squad instead of an individual unit only with a bit more detail in the control (maybe like Battalion Wars). Perhaps going as far as to make it so your ‘character’ is an entire army with units in place of traditional gear. Only unlike Dawn of War it plays out like an RPG instead of just being a string of little skirmishes. Heh, the more I describe it the more it sounds like Dawn of War III, but I assure you in my head its a totally different game. =P

  • I like how everyone is saying “HURR ITS WARHAMMER 40K SO IT MUST BE A SEQUEL NOW”.
    Also the one dude saying the game based on war doesn’t suit RTS.
    Stay Classy Kotaku.

    • He actually said RTS does the lore no justice. As in the details of the characters and story doesn’t come across. Which makes sense as you get an overview as opposed to individuals stories.

  • I would gladly buy a single player version of this game, hell I may even prefer it being single player no monthly fees.

  • Too bad about the layoffs, but the change of style is definitely for the best… it’d be “just another MMO” and piss money up against the wall.

  • I hope we start seeing leaked details of what the game would have been. I might have missed some info but it seems like all we really got were a few trailers. I’d love to know how it was actually going to play.

  • feel sorry for the guys getting laid off 🙁

    On the other hand I hate MMO’s and love 40k, so this could be extremely awesome!

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