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Eisenhorn: Xenos GDC 2015 Preview

Som Pourfarzaneh Posted:
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What does the inside of a Warhammer 40K hotel look like?  That’s the kind of question that the folks at Pixel Hero Games are asking in the development of their new 3D action adventure game, Eisenhorn: Xenos.  Eisenhorn follows the adventures of the titular character from the 40K trilogy by Dan Abnett, and explores a side of Games Workshop’s universe that has heretofore taken a backseat to more popular aspects like Space Marines: that of the Imperium.

Gregor Eisenhorn, voiced by Mark Strong (Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine), is your best candidate for the most no-nonsense, doesn’t-play-by-the-rules, eat-your-heart-out-John-McClane Inquisitor of the year, and he’s backed up by a cast of characters and set design that pay close attention to the source fiction.  The game is in line with Tomb Raider and Uncharted in its narrative-driven gameplay and interactive world that is still as gritty, dark, and industrial as you’d expect from a 40K title.  It’s built on the Unreal Engine 3 and will feature a nine- to eleven-hour story mode that takes its inspiration from the first Eisenorn book, Xenos.

Eisenhorn’s combat is being designed with action in mind, and although our GDC 2015 preview was hands-off, it was easy to see how button mashing will not get you very far in Pixel Hero’s game.  The game features melee and ranged combat, where each of your attacks will drain a resource called Action Points.  While engaging in combat, you’ll see prompts on screen that encourage you to time your attacks to create combos, which will drain fewer Action Points and result in more awesome combat animations.  Different weapons will have varied Action Points costs and timing requirement for combos, with the intention to keep combat fresh and exciting throughout the game.

Eisenhorn features a party system, in which you can recruit a Bodyguard, who can be helpful in combat, and a Supporter, who will affect the adventure as a whole.  You can also customize Eisenhorn himself, who is more of a Jack-of-all-trades, and utilize the game’s slow-motion mode called “Pause for Breath,” which is based on the mechanic of the same name in the original Inquisitor board game.  Pixel Hero’s game also features environmental traps and puzzles, context-sensitive stealth, psychic powers, and a parry system.

Eisenhorn is currently being developed for PC and iOS platforms, with a September release projected for the latter and a launch shortly thereafter for the former (we got to look at both versions in our brief demo, and the iOS version looks stunningly on par with PC).  The Pixel Hero team is considering a $15-20 price point for the PC version of the game, which will support both mouse and keyboard and gamepad controls.

Keep your eye on the site for more about Eisenhorn!


Som Pourfarzaneh

Som has been hanging out with the MMORPG.com crew since 2011, and is an Associate Director & Lecturer in Media, Anthropology, and Religious Studies. He’s a former Community Manager for Neverwinter, the free-to-play Dungeons & Dragons MMORPG from Cryptic Studios and Perfect World Entertainment, and is unreasonably good at Maze Craze for the Atari 2600. You can exchange puns and chat (European) football with him on Twitter @sominator.