Warhammer: Vermintide 2 succeeds by taking the Left 4 Dead formula - a group of online players fight their way through a deadly horde to get from A to B - and applying it to Warhammer Fantasy, while adding a few twists of its own. But why stop there? This approach to making a digital adaptation of one of Games Workshop’s tabletop worlds can be replicated to suit others. Let’s see how that could pan out.
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Warhammer End Times: Chaos In the New World
Screenshot from Total War: Warhammer 2
Chaos is the reason humans cannot live peacefully in the Old World. But rather than go for the obvious route and have you play as the good guys, chopping down the savage barbarians, in this adaptation you become one of the Chaos Followers. To mix it up further, you will be fighting Lizardmen in the jungles of Lustria.
Skinks can serve as an endless flood of weak enemies while also having a number of specialist units that provide challenges beyond basic crowd control. Saurus warriors can be the beefier opponents that require a whole team to focus their fire to take down effectively. Meanwhile, the likes of Kroxigors (big dumb brutes) and Old Bloods (Saurus officers and heroes) are ideal boss-level lizardfolk. Oh, and let’s add dinosaurs, since Lizardmen are not above riding less intelligent lizards.
Meanwhile, Chaos alignments provide perfect player classes. Khornate Champion is your mass combat dude, Nurgle Worshiper is your slow tank, Slaaneshi Follower replaces your glass-cannon elf, Tzeentch Acolyte is your wizard, and Chaos Undivided is the solo DPS alternative to the Witch Hunter in Vermintide.
Age of Sigmar: Hordes under Hammerhal
Warhammer Quest: Shadows Over Hammerhal provided a closer look at life in one of Age of Sigmar's cities. It is a game about an unlikely band of plucky heroes fighting hordes of Chaos mooks. You have your premise for a videogame right there.
With Slaanesh replaced by the easier-to-market Horned Rat in the Chaos pantheon, Skaven and cultists will work as the rank-and-file fodder even better than they did before. You can even add Darkoath Barbarians and lower-ranking demons as hordes for the heroes to slay.
The Vermintide approach would lend itself well to showcasing heroes from the new factions of the setting. Stormcast Eternals can be anything save for wizards, Fyreslayers are your mass combat berserkers, while Kharadron Overlords can provide the mage role via the use of alchemy. A Sister of Slaughter would put the ‘elf’ back in ‘glass-cannon elf’, while a Seraphon would do well in any role.
Cicatrix Maledictum: Demontide
Screenshot from Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War - Dark Crusade
Warhammer Fantasy got axed because it was not selling as well as Warhammer 40,000. We have to give the new rulers of Warhammer popularity their due, then. The eighth edition of 40K split the universe in two and introduced new varieties of Space Marines in the form of Primaris Space Marines. It makes sense for the new bruisers to get their own game.
You would have to get creative with the classes for this adaptation to work. Reavers - the spooky death bringers that look like they belong in Call of Duty: Ghosts - would be viable as a mix of range and melee class types. Intercessors and Hellblasters are identical save for weapon choices and they are only suitable for ranged combat. For other classes, you would have to dip into the officer pool and rework Lieutenants as one-on-one melee fighters, Librarians as wizards, and Chaplains acting in the tank and buff roles.
You are spoiled for choice when it comes to enemies, though: orks are a classic pick along with heretical humans. Tyranids are the designated predator race, so throw them in the mix, too!
There you have it: one good game concept, three different ideas for its implementation. Do you have any other ideas for how this formula could work in the Warhammer universe? Let us know in the comments below.