Hey guys, I am writing this one from a hotel room in L.A., after having just sat in on the E3 Eternal Crusade roundtable presentation. The biggest piece of news was the announcement that Behaviour is pushing back the release of the Founders Program to the 25th of June. While disappointing, the pushback was necessary in order to allow the implementation of all the neat things that Behaviour wanted to get into the Founders Program.
BUT… I snuck a peek at the in-progress website, and was scribbling down everything I could, when nobody was watching me. We’ll talk about that stuff in a few minutes; first let me tell you about some of the things we saw during the roundtable.
The discussion was hosted by Miguel Caron, Head of Studio Online, David Ghozland, Creative Director, Brent Ellison, Lead Game Designer, and the lovely and talented Stephanie Marchand, Senior Producer. Seriously, the lady can paint! She puts my tabletop army to shame.
Over about 45 minutes we talked about all sorts of topics, many of which we have mentioned in past articles, but there were some choice tidbits to be gleaned from the presentation. For starters, we saw an absolutely gorgeous and dramatic 30-second intro video that I had not seen before. The video featured a group of Dark Angels preparing for deployment and it was inspiring. You guys should be seeing it soon, in the usual places.
Also, we were presented with a small example storyboard of what might be a typical mission in the game. Let me be very clear, this was not gameplay footage, but rather a visual representation of how a typical game mission might play out. First the players were briefed on what lie ahead, and where the local “hotspots” were at that time. The players geared up, hopped into a Predator tank for deployment to the planet’s surface, and were dropped in. Upon arrival the players located a fortress loaded with hundreds of defenders. Recognizing that they didn’t have the numbers for a direct assault, the players scouted around the area, looking for something more their size.
Spotting an entrance to the Underworld, the Predator deployed the Kill Team near the entrance, where they rapidly gained entry into the instance. After probing the cave for a time, the Squad encountered stiff enemy resistance in the form of terrifying and deadly Tyranids. Recognizing the potential to advance their factions cause, the players wade into the Tyranid horde, defeating them and driving them off, after a feverish battle. After the Tyranids flee, the Squad captures a quantity of important resources and battle relics that will help the Marine faction improve their chances in future engagements.
The Squad exits the underground and redeploys back into their Predator, intending to return to base, however, after leaving the Underworld they discover a raging battle going on all around them. Apparently their faction leaders ordered a major battle in an attempt to take the fortress they had spied earlier, and while they were still occupied with the Tyranids, the assault had begun. Now they were faced with a new decision, would they return to base to rearm and repair, or should they throw their battered force back into the fray immediately?
This was all presented in a straightforward, yet dramatic fashion, with the Behaviour team explaining all the variables and risks inherent in such a mission. The creativity and the passion the team took in explaining all of this was very evident, and bodes well for the future of this game.
During a short question-and-answer period, I learned from Brent that there will, indeed, be sub-factional wargear and weapons in the game, like Frost Axes for the Space Wolves and Glaives Encarmine for the Blood Angels, which is particularly exciting for me, as a long-time member of the Vlka Fenryka.
We also spoke a bit about the Founders Program and how it is being used by the team in various ways. Behaviour has been fortunate enough to snag Graham McNeill, author of fifteen-plus Warhammer 40K novels, to help them with the lore and story of the planet Arkhona, and they have quite an interesting plan. The eighteen-ish months between Founder Program release and Game release will represent the eighteen-month long trip that the players are making to the planest Arkhona, onboard the ships of their factional strikeforce. During this time, as game modules are developed, the Founders will be used to test the modules, which will be presented as various parts of the spacecraft. As a Founder, you will see practice cages and firing ranges, Sensoriums and personal quarters, Planning rooms and vocational shrines, all using the various modules of the game, and presented as a sort of back-story that will explain exactly what is happening on Arkhona, and why everyone wants to get there and fight for planetary control. I am very excited about the potential for getting players invested in the game right from the get-go.
OK, I teased you a little in the beginning of this article, and now it’s time to pay off. Let me first repeat a few things that we already know. We know the cost of the three tiers of the program, the lowest level is $40, and for that you get access to all four factions, four character slots, and 40000 Founders Points to spend in the Founders Shop. The next tier is $80, which includes everything in the lower tier, plus 44000 more points to spend, for a total of 84000 points, which is a tidy five percent bonus. The highest tier is $120, and that includes everything from the lower tiers, plus even more Founders points, a total of 132000, which is a very tempting ten percent bonus from the basic package. You can also buy extra points, for those who feel they must have everything, for $1 per 1000 points.
What can we spend those points on? All sorts of items, from alternate and exclusive aesthetic changes, like weapon and armor patterns, to cosmetic tidbits like wolf pelts, hooded robes, purity seals, terminator honors, blood drops, extra spikes, chaos symbols, servo skulls, kill trophies, alternate executions, more dakka, two-man attack bikes, alternate “hero”-classes, …whew. So many options.
There’s so much more to talk about, but we’re about out of time for now, and we want to talk to the Behaviour team about just how many beans we can spill before the new official release date, so we’ll ask you to check back in with us in the near future for more on the Eternal Crusade Founders Program. See you in a few.
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