Expectations were high for Relic's latest iteration to the Dawn of War franchise. But due to a muted public reception and a stagnant player base, Relic has confirmed that their time with the Warhammer 40,000 RTS has all but come to a close.
In a statement provided to Eurogamer, the studio - which is working on the first new Age of Empires game in over a decade - confirmed that Dawn of War 3 missed expectations at launch. The game also failed to gain the traction Relic and SEGA expected after release, and as a result Relic can't financially justify producing "major content" for the RTS going forward.
When a game underperforms, plans need to change. With Dawn of War 3, we simply don't have the foundation we need to produce major content. We're working in close partnership with Sega and Games Workshop to determine the best course of action, while shifting focus to other projects within our portfolio.
It's a heartbreaking announcement considering the extensive love among Warhammer and RTS fans for the first two Dawn of War games. It's not a complete surprise, however. A lot of Relic's adjustments to the traditional RTS formula, like the focus on the Elite units and the MOBA-esque default multiplayer mode, weren't popular at launch.
Relic responded to feedback by releasing the Annihilation mode and modding tools post-launch, but it proved too little, too late. Dawn of War 3 has had a smaller player base than Soulstorm, one of the expansions for the original Dawn of War.
It's not all doom and gloom for Relic, however. Along with Age of Empires 4, which has no release date, the company is also working on another, unannounced project. Their statement to Eurogamer also doesn't say work on DOW3 will cease outright, only that they won't produce major content. That means the game's future will likely be left in the hands of modders, and the Dawn of War community has a long and proud track record there.