Space Marine sequel faces 'creative overlap' with Dark Millennium Online

Interviewing THQ's executive VP of Core Games, last night, I asked whether or not Relic's Space Marine sold well enough to "deserve" a sequel. According to Danny Bilson, there's an "issue" with that happening.


Interviewing Danny Bilson, THQ's executive VP of Core Games, last night at a preview event for an upcoming title, I asked whether or not Relic's Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine sold well enough to "deserve" a sequel.

"Perhaps," Bilson told me. "But there's an issue--a very interesting one around that. I can't speak to it too much without giving away too much about the MMO that we're working on," he said, referring to the long-in-development title Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium Online from Vigil Games.

"Dark Millennium Online has, in some ways, more of an action component. It's not like an action game, but it has more of an action component than traditional--sort of more turn-based--combat systems." Due to similar mechanics, THQ has yet to decide whether or not to create a sequel to Relic's recent action title.

THQ has always billed Dark Millennium Online as an online action-RPG; however, this is the first time we've heard its release could affect other franchises in THQ's catalog.

Bilson continued, expanding on how Dark Millennium Online could affect a Space Marine sequel. He reminds me that THQ already announced the Imperium of Man is featured in Dark Millennium Online, giving players the chance to play as a Space Marine in the upcoming MMO.

"It may be that the next iteration of Space Marine is a much bigger universe, where if you love Space Marines you can play there [in Dark Millennium Online] that way. If you love some of the other factions we'll announce later you can play that way," he explains.

Bilson says that he and THQ are not sure if there is "enough room" in the world for both titles, asking whether or not, maybe, Dark Millennium Online and Relic's Space Marine were "getting too close." He tells me he isn't saying that the two properties possibly sharing gameplay mechanics is the last word on the fate of a Space Marine sequel, but "it has a lot to do with it."

"We're fully committed to the Warhammer 40K brand, and you're going to see more product besides the MMO. Just, at this time, we haven't 'green-lit' another Space Marine."

But, in terms of sales and not the committal to the universe, was Relic's Space Marine a success? Recently, THQ decided to put the Red Faction franchise on the shelf after Red Faction Armageddon failed to meet sales expectations. Like any game, a certain level of success is expected for a company to invest more time and resources into expanding it into a new franchise. When asked, Bilson is quick to point out that he "always" hopes for bigger sales.

"Space Marine has done pretty well, but there was a creative overlap going on with Dark Millennium Online's development that, really sort of, felt like there's not room in the world for that overlap."

For more on Space Marine, check out the Shacknews review for the game. Dark Millennium Online is currently slated for launch sometime in 2013.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    October 13, 2011 12:45 PM

    Xav de Matos posted a new article, Space Marine sequel faces 'creative overlap' with Dark Millennium Online.

    Interviewing THQ's executive VP of Core Games, last night, I asked whether or not Relic's Space Marine sold well enough to "deserve" a sequel. According to Danny Bilson, there's an "issue" with that happening.

    • reply
      October 13, 2011 12:53 PM

      I *love* Space Marine, I really, really hope they approve a sequel. Besides the obvious (the sp cliffhanger), the game seems like the first step of an amazing 40k third-person action franchise like Dawn of War was for the RTS genre.

      Relic's handling of the material has always been great. I'm not a big fan of how they characterize certain things, but I understand why certain elements of the lore needed to be toned down to appeal to a larger audience. Anyone who has read a lot of 40k knows what I'm talking about. Trying to explain Primarchs, the Heresy, or any of the other 10034932 parts of the fiction to a gamer unfamiliar with the universe would be pretty much impossible within the scope of a single game.

      Another note is Relic is great at supporting their products and communicating with the fan-base. On the other hand, the PR machine for the Dark Millenium MMO has been pathetic. A recent example is how they announced that they'd be revealing more info about it at the last E3. E3 came and went with only a super short trailer that showed nothing new. Following E3, they didn't update their website or FB page at all. Last I checked, their FB page had no status updates on it for over a year.

    • reply
      October 13, 2011 12:59 PM

      So does this mean Relic won't be putting out that DLC we were supposed to get at the end of September?

      • reply
        October 13, 2011 1:01 PM

        Exterminatus is coming out October 25th, which is what I'm assuming you are talking about.

      • reply
        October 13, 2011 1:04 PM

        They are talking about green-lighting a sequel, not supporting an existing game. Relic has already made it clear that they have extensive DLC plans for Space Marine, both free and paid

    • reply
      October 13, 2011 1:00 PM

      There won't be an overlap issue with Dark Millennium after it folds 18 months after launch.

      • reply
        October 13, 2011 1:30 PM

        You're giving THQ way too much credit. I'd give it 3-4 months.

    • reply
      October 13, 2011 1:03 PM

      Have platforms for Dark Millennium Online been announced?

      Is it just PC-only? Since Space Marine was released on three platforms and a sequel would presumably hit the same, it'd be really odd to see the sequel affected by "overlap" with a one-platform release. Unless, of course, that overlap is referring to workflow / team bandwidth.

    • reply
      October 13, 2011 1:06 PM

      Seeing as how the SP aspect of Space Marine had very little creativity in the first place (room, fight, room fight, schpace mureen, etc), I think they'll be ok. The MP aspect would be the harder thing to differentiate.

    • reply
      October 13, 2011 1:43 PM

      In hindsight I think they missed their mark with Space Marine. Too linear. Too much of a traditional action, beat em up game. No campaign coop. Story was serviceable but Dawn of War 1 still stands as their best single player work. It sounds like the game didn't bomb but I think THQ had higher sales expectations.

      I think they're going to lose their ass on the WH40K MMO. Only Blizzard has the resources to do a 40K MMO right. THQ should have taken that MMO money and aimed for an RPG.

      Still waiting for WH40K to hit the big time. I thought Space Marine would be the start of it. If only Blizzard had the WH40K license...

      • reply
        October 13, 2011 4:23 PM

        Yeah, I too am hoping WH40K hits the big time. I would kill to see a well done 40K movie (Ultramarine was pretty bad). I'd also like to see the games on the subject expand.

    • reply
      October 13, 2011 1:50 PM

      IMO they need to do a Battlefield take on the Warhammer Universe.

      • reply
        October 13, 2011 1:52 PM

        Ever since Battlefield 2 that idea has been floating about but it needs to be set in a big, persistent, EVE or Dust 514 style universe. Only Blizzard could pull off something like that.

    • reply
      October 13, 2011 4:00 PM

      I played Space Marine and Loved it. But they screwed up my Order for the Collector's Edition (which is another reason the CE's should sell globally, and not exclusively at their online store), so I haven't bought it yet. And at this point, I'll probably wait for a Steam Sale.

      That being said, I'd prefer to buy another Space Marine, before playing another MMO.

    • reply
      October 13, 2011 8:51 PM

      Dark Millennium = 40K Tabula Rasa. And I don't think that's a bad idea.

    • reply
      October 17, 2011 10:51 AM

      Forget about that MMO man, and get to work on that sequel. You need a fan base and for a lot of folks Space Marines was their introduction to this property. If you start down the MMO path the impression will be that you are trying to milk the general gaming public at large without giving the property its due.
      Not even Halo has gone down this path and its been established way longer than Warhammer when it comes to sales and money.
      The universe of Warhammer 40k is richer, but it needs a a few more titles that really stick with gamers minds.
      Space Marines was good, but it needed to be BETTER. No co-op was crime punishable by death. The linearity of the levels was a mistake made in hell. Not explaining what this universe was all about, was a tragic mistake, to the average gamer this was a cool game about a bunch of dudes with heavy armor and some bullets stuck in their heads.
      NOPE, you need more time in the cooker, before you ask gamers to keep dishing out money on an MMO man.

Hello, Meet Lola