A storm of swords (and guns and orks): 'Warhammer 40K: Storm of Vengeance' marches to tablets

by Paul Semel

April 8 2014

Tablet Games 101: We speak with Eutechnyx’s Kenton Fletcher about how Storm of Vengeance is helping the Warhammer 40,000 march straight onto tablets.

Originally created as a table top game in 1987, Warhammer 40,000 has since expanded into the realms of video games, novels, comics, and even cinema. Now it’s marching single-file onto tablets with Warhammer 40,000: Storm Of Vengeance, a lane strategy game for iPad and Android.

We spoke with Fletcher, who works on the game’s design team, about how Eutechnyx balanced the tenets of mobile games with the fiction of the long-running sci-fi fantasy series.

TabTimes Games: For people unfamiliar with the Warhammer series, what kind of game is Storm of Vengeance and how do you play it?

Fletcher: Storm of Vengeance is a lane strategy game. There are five lanes of combat, each with building slots at the ends. So you fight your opponent across the five lanes, while also unlocking skills, constructing buildings and units, and using special abilities to defeat your enemies. The complexity and strategy starts to come in as you explore the deep skill tree and discover the endless different tactics and combinations you can employ on the battlefield.

Why did you decide to go with the lane approach, as opposed to making this a real-time strategy game with the traditional box or hexagon battlefield?

We wanted to make the equivalent of a real-time strategy game that you can play in small bursts of time, or on a mobile device. So you’ll recognize lots of the elements of an RTSes in here, from unit customization to resource gathering. 

But you still fight it out in real-time. Did you ever experiment with a turn-based combat system?

There’s some great turn based games out there, but we wanted something faster and more immediate. When you play single player games of Storm of Vengeance, you’ll notice that the game will pause when the player opens a menu. But in multiplayer, there’s no such respite. It’s fast, action-packed, and can be played at a furious rate.

"We’re trying to tell a story, so we don’t want to keep stopping players with pay walls"

What other lane strategy games on tablets do you think Storm is most similar to?

Total War Battles: Shogun is kind of similar, and we have a title called Ninja Cats vs. Samurai Dogs where we tested out some of the systems that we later developed into Storm of Vengeance.

How about the story of the game, where does it fit in with the Warhammer 40,000 story?

The storyline is based on a novel by Gav Thorpe called The Purging of Kadillus, though much of the Ork narrative is new since the novel is largely told from the Dark Angel perspective. Andy Hall, a great writer from Games Workshop [Warhammer 40,000’s parent company], did much of the adaptation.

You’ve said that there’s a “comprehensive DLC plan” for the game. Can you tell us what that will be?

We have a range of DLC accompanying the launch. For starters, on the Dark Angels side, there are the Dreadnought and Terminator units; on the Ork side, the crazy Stormboyz and new clan skins that allow the player to change from the Goff clan to either Bad Moons or Death Skulls. The Dreadnought and Stormboyz will be free to Steam users.

Speaking of free and paid stuff, how will your pay structure work for this game?

Warhammer 40,000: Storm of Vengeance is a premium title with a low price point. There are no microtransactions or pay-to-win mechanics. We felt the free-to-play microtransaction model wouldn’t really suit the game we were trying to make. We’re trying to tell a story, and encourage people to really immerse themselves into the universe, so we don’t want to keep stopping them with pay walls.

The game is coming to both iPad and Android tablets, as well as PCs via steam. Are there any differences between them? 

Only in interface and controls, which are designed to fit each platform.

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My understanding is that you’ll be able to play people on different systems: iPad vs. Android, Android vs. PC, and so on. Do these matches work any differently than if you’re playing on the same system? iPad vs. iPad, for instance.

They work exactly the same. It’s the first time we’ve built a cross platform multiplayer system in one of our titles, and we’re really excited about it. We think it’s something that is going to become an industry standard in the near future.

Finally, humor has always been a part of the Warhammer series. Given that, and the lane approach, are there any plans to add a bowling mode? Cuz that would be cool.

Ha! I must admit you’re the first person to suggest it. Probably not this game. You’ll just have to make do with throwing grenades at Gretchins instead.

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