We spoke with Behaviour Interactive's Richardsson about EC's Early Access and more.
Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade has seen various changes over the past year, and the team at Behaviour Interactive is focused on delivering a quality experience with open feedback flowing from its players. We spoke to Senior Producer Nathan Richardsson at E3 last month about game engine changes, console versions, and the upcoming Early Access.
Early (Founder's) Access, which Nathan likened to "the equivalent of Closed Alpha", is coming this summer and will have one 32+ player map, two game modes (siege and assault), destructible objects, and more. For the Space Marines faction with its Dark Angel sub-faction three vehicles will be available: the Rhino, Predator, and the Vindicator, and four classes will be playable: Tactical, Assault, Devastator, and the Apothecary. The Chaos Space Marine faction with its Word Bearers sub-faction will have the Chaos Predator, Chaos Rhino, and Vindicator vehicles, as well as the Havoc, Raptor, Sorcerer, and Tactical classes.
The team has decided to stick with one map in Early Access because they feel it will serve enough to test the core combat experience properly at the start. As more updates through the Founder's Beta are released, players can expect to see additional factions, maps, classes, weapons, and more.
"It's important for us to have feedback as soon as possible from people playing the game. Us trying it out every day is a thing that creates a certain blindness, so getting people in as soon as possible is important for us, important to our development philosophy."
Access will be given in waves, with the Captain and above packages getting priority in a first come, first serve basis. Founders can upgrade their packages to get into an earlier wave of testing.
Nathan acknowledges that not all of the original goals for the game will be achievable for launch. The team's revised plans are aimed at conquering their objectives over the first two years, instead. "We have a step-by-step, which is what we're also talking about in our newsletters, how we'll take these steps instead of opening it all at the same time. We simply believe over the next two years that technology will mature and be achievable to some extent."
Behaviour Interactive has decided to use Unreal Engine 4 for Eternal Crusade, which Nathan said has worked quite well for them. "We are developing much faster," he told us. "It's a great engine; by using it the game looks fantastic—much, much better than it did in December when we were using another engine." Changing to the new engine was far less work than the team expected, though some in-house game systems still need finalized.
"We're not trying to become the most beautiful game on the planet. We don't have 30 rendering engineers that can spend years making it more beautiful. We're focusing more on the game systems and gameplay, and the unique aspect of this massive warfare in the 40K universe."
Eternal Crusade on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 is confirmed; there is no timeframe for when they'll be landing, but can be expected sometime after the PC launch. Due to using Unreal Engine 4 the team will have an easier time porting the game over to these consoles. "We always wanted to go over to console," Nathan commented, "and now we see a clear path where it's quite feasible for us to do [it]."
Our thanks to Nathan Richardsson for taking the time to talk to us at E3! You can get your Eternal Crusade Founder's Pack now over on the official site.
Ann "Cyliena" Hosler, Managing Editor