One of the most anticipated games this year has to be Warhammer 40k: Darktide. It stole the show at Summer Game Fest with its brutal combat, grimdark aesthetic, and lovable cast of rejects to play as. But this isn’t the first time we had seen Darktide, in fact, it was first revealed back in 2020 and had a release date of Spring 2022. Unfortunately for us, the global pandemic had other plans and the game was delayed until September 13th this year.
With the game launching soon, the developers revealed there will be lots of changes between Vermintide 2 and this new adventure in the 41st Millennium, This is everything we know so far as of the time of this video…so let’s talk about it.
Warhammer 40k Darktide shifts gears from the previous two games in the Fatshark catalog to adopt a brand new setting along with new gear, heroes, maps, and a big improvement to the gameplay loop. All of these changes were things the developers learned from their time with Vermintide.
When it comes to heroes in Darktide, well, you aren’t one. Instead you are a Reject who is sent involuntarily to serve as an agent of the inquisition to purge heresy from Tertium, a hive city that is the current target of Nurgle’s latest plague experiment.
These rejects serve as the classes we get to choose from:
• The Ogryn, which is a supersized human descendant.
• The Zealot, who places her faith above all.
• The Veteran, who is a former Imperial Guardsman.
• And then the Psyker, who draws power from the Warp
As someone who has played their fair share of Inquisitor Martyr, all of these feel pretty familiar and are right on the money for Warhammer 40k. Hopefully we see some great perks and a variety of skills for each Reject to keep them interesting. The developer did mention that they are designing these heroes to be less about killing efficiency and more about what they excel in. For instance, if you take a Rippergun you will be able to mow down low-level enemies with ease, but once you run into an armored opponent, that gun immediately loses effectiveness and you need a team member to take over.
But the largest addition to the classes that we know about so far is the new character creator. One of the restrictions Vermintide 2 had was a lack in player choice for the heroes themselves. With Darktide, Fatshark has added a character creator so players can truly create the Reject of their dreams! You can choose from different faces, details, and even some backstory for each Reject.
Combat in Darktide will feel like quite a departure for longtime Vermintide fans as the game will feature a balance between ranged and melee combat. You won’t have to rely solely on hand to hand battle in order to cleanse the lands, instead you can opt into a Autogun or Lasgun to really get into your element. Granted you aren’t going to be completely deprived from the rush of melee combat, you will still be able to swing a Chainsword, Thunder Hammer, or that large Ogryn knife among many others.
But that also allows enemies to take up more ranged attacks to even the playing field. To help protect against this, each reject will have their own shield that will block a few ranged attacks before you become stunned and take serious damage. While the shields themselves work the same, they are explained differently in lore. For instance, the Zealot’s shield is her faith in the emperor protecting her, while the Veteran’s armor is his shield and the Psyker’s Warp power serves as theirs. It’s a nice little lore nugget to explain how it works.
In terms of enemies, we do have confirmation that the hordes will be larger in Darktide than they were in previous games, and while we don’t get to fight Nurgle, for obvious reasons, we will get to see enemies like Poxwalkers, corrupted imperial guards, chaos ogryn, chaos hounds, and maybe even a Plaguewalker, chaos spawn, or an unclean one. We’ll have to wait and see, but from what we know, we will have quite the variety to crush into the steel floor.
In my recent 2022 review of Vermintide 2, one of the cons that I had for the game was a lack of change or variety in missions and levels. If you play it multiple times, you can get fatigued pretty quickly. Darktide aims to change this up a bit by detaching objectives and missions; instead, your objectives are going to change and evolve as you play through the mission. Each area will have a different thing to do, which requires a different approach. We’ve seen an example of Skulljacking, which is the 40k way of saying, Hack into this computer. We know there are others, but this is the most prominent we’ve seen so far. These objectives have been changed into minigames as well, so no longer will you just hold down a button to do something, instead you need to complete a minigame to proceed.
Overall, their goal with detaching these is to give more variety to players.
Another welcomed change is that maps that you play through will evolve over time too! No longer will you see static maps with the same encounters, you may find that events have cleared the area out or maybe it has been taken over by another faction that you need to eliminate. This helps keep a sense of surprise rather than players knowing what they are fighting against and stacking their party to steamroll.
So that is what you do while on missions, but what about outside of them?
Well, when you are in-between missions, you will return to the starship that serves as the player hub, which includes other random players. Think of the Tower in Destiny where you see random folks that you can choose to party up with or check out their fashion game. But that’s not all, you will also see NPCs, and places to modify your loadout and gear, collect rewards, and purchase things in the cosmetic store. Which yes, there will be a premium currency store where you can buy weapon and character skins.
Progression and Loot
Our last big module we need to chat about is progression and loot. What does it look like to take your Reject from Zero to Hero? Well, we don’t know yet. What we do know is that there will be a leveling system that we can climb from expendable to not-so-expendable in the eyes of the inquisition. Hopefully we’ll see something a little more engaging than a simple experience bar, but we’ll have to wait and see what they have in mind.
That brings us to loot!
In Vermintide 2, loot is earned by finishing a mission and earning chests at the end. The loot you get there is randomized, so that means you might need to grind a little to get the item you’re after. Alternatively, you can also craft some gear to help fill in those glaring chinks in your chainmail.
But with Darktide, this has been overhauled. Loot is still earned at the end of missions and is random, but you also have an in-game shop that you can spend in-game currency on! Don’t worry, you cannot spend real money to buy anything other than cosemetics.
But that’s not the only way to earn gear, you can also take on contracts to earn certain weapons while playing. This helps give a guaranteed approach to getting an upgrade in case you’ve been on the short end of the stick too many times.
While we don’t have any information on crafting yet, we do have a quote that helps give some extra details on the extent that we’ll be able to adjust our loadouts:
“As we’ve seen in Vermintide, players really enjoy tweaking their loadouts,” creative director Anders De Geer told us. “And since we have a lot of great modders, they also want to tweak individual weapons, talents and other stuff. So we are working with a system right now that will allow players to have way more freedom than they had in Vermintide to customize their toolkit when they go into a mission.”
So it sounds like we might have quite a bit more to customize and tinker with than we did in Vermintide, which hopefully means and even deeper gear and talent system than ever before! Like most things, time will tell if this is the truth or not, but for now, this is truly all we know.
So folks, that is everything we know so far about Warhammer 40k Darktide. This game is shaping up to be something really great and I hope that, for once, the hype is worth the wait.
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Thank you all so much for watching, this has been Vulkan and I’ll talk to you guys next time.