Warhammer 40K and Duke Nukem 3D-style boomer shooters. Two great tastes that taste great together.
Warhammer 40K: Boltgun was announced yesterday during the Warhammer Skulls video game showcase. I did not know this was happening, which surprises me because I’ve been cataloguing all the Not E3 Livestreams airing this month and it never came up once.
Warhammer 40K: Boltgun is a game that hearkens back to the glory days of the Build Engine shooter. Duke 3D, Blood, Shadow Warrior. It’s bloody, overtly masculine, and has about three brain cells rattling around in its muscular noggin. You know the vibe. Apply that to a rowdy detachment of Space Marines and baby, you’ve got a stew goin’. Actually, now that I think about it, they’d probably consider stew to be Heresy.
Anyway, there’s a trailer! Observe:
Is it straight-up, manipulative, nostalgia? Yes. Is it working? Also yes.
I’m a sucker for the boomer shooter genre. They’re the PC games I grew up with: straightforward, run-and-gun shooters made by guys who went deaf listening to Motorhead and King Diamond in the office. That’s the same crowd that was making and playing Warhammer in the 80s and 90s. The overlap has always been there.
Honestly, this collision of genre and IP is such a neat and natural fit that I can’t believe nobody’s thought to do it before. The video game arm of the Warhammer franchise, which has historically sat in the realm of weird, misshapen AA title with not quite enough budget to realise its ambitions, has been on a bit of a tear lately. Internal restructurings at parent company Games Workshop have placed a higher priority on higher quality games. For every Dawn of War, there was an Eternal Crusade. GW adopted a ‘take all comers, pitch us your idea’ approach as a way to shake up its video game library. The strategy seems to have paid off, with a litany of interesting games now arriving every other month.
If you haven’t played Warhammer 40K: Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters yet, absolutely give it a go. It’s low-key one of the year’s best games, and I can’t tell you how odd it feels to say that about something with the Warhammer license attached to it.
Warhammer 40K: Boltgun will launch on PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo and PC platforms in 2023.