Q: Hi guys! When is the game coming out??
A: While we have not announced an exact date yet we can say its coming Q2 2018 :)
Q: Where in the galaxy is Gladius Prime? Is the Astra Militarum faction a PDF regiment? Can you confirm which space marine chapter/ork tribe/necron dynasty the other factions will be?
A: Our loremaster says: "It's the main planet of the Gladius System, Segmentum Obscurus, Ixaniad Sector. It was first colonised late in 997.M41." The factions are not of a specifically named regiment/chapter/tribe/dynasty. That allows us to have freer hands in coloring them and including both more generic and more chapter-specific units. Essentially we had to make a compromise in how far out to abstract a faction -- Imperium of Man / Space Marines / Ultramarines -- and we went with the middle ground.
Q: What are your plans regarding DLC? Will there be day 1 DLC sold at a separate price or will we get the full game at launch and maybe DLC down the road?
A: There are no plans for Day 1 DLC. Everything we have built will be in the released game and we wont hold anything back. However we will have started work on DLC by the time of release. It takes so long to put a faction together you have to be building it long before you release it.
Q: What has been the most challenging aspect of adapting the 40K universe to a Civilization-style game format?
A: Instead of there being one really major aspect it was more about many smaller ones that made it a real challenge. Warhammer 40K is an extremely rich world and Games Workshop cares very much about the lore and feel (e.g. we couldn't use Food as a resource for Space Marines), but that in turn resulted in us getting out of our comfort zone and really push the faction diversity and different game mechanics.
Q: Can I make my own Space Marine chapter?
A: Not out of the box, but you can mod the game, potentially make a new faction after your favourite chapter. You can also of course rename your units as you produce them in-game.
Q: Will a dynamic similar to Leadership/Morale in the tabletop game be a part of this game?
A: Yes morale plays an important factor. Kills and casualties along with buffs and debuffs increase or decrease morale, which in turn causes your units to become shaken or even broken (significantly reducing their combat capabilities).
Q: On the subject of armies, what inspired you to make the Space Marines and Astra Militarum separate factions? Playing devil's advocate for a moment, it is true that the two can fight one another but would it not have been easier to have have them as one army and add another?
A: The Space Marines and Astra Militarum, while it's true that they're both part of The Imperium of Man, have extensively different roles and attributes in their army compositions. They have their own codices, fans and ways of play. We didn't think we would be able to give them enough justice if we had just made one faction out of it -- it would have been too many compromises we weren't prepared to make.
On top of the differences in units, in Gladius, Space Marines are restricted to one city, don't care for the distinction of food and ore and expand their empire and enforce their military prowess through outposts deployed from orbit, chapter tactics and other shock maneuvers, while Astra Militarum play much more conventionally as seen in 4X, relying on multiple cities, slower expansion, city-wide edicts, defenses and ranged firepower.
Q: Do the different races play in significantly different ways, i.e. orcs more horde-like, necrons can be resurrected etc.? And if so could you give us some details on how each one is different and describe the playstyle for each one??
Also in response to your answer to another question earlier, Tyranids would offer a great change in playstyle from the already included races (they could have similar mechanics to creep from StarCraft with their psychic fields, or perhaps all the smaller units have to stay close to elite units or they'll become feral like in the table top, or tunneling could be a big part of their gameplay, as some ideas), and it's definitely not because I'm biased towards them from having miniature army ;)
A: Yes they do! For example, apart from each faction having totally different units, the Necrons can only construct cities on tiles with a tomb, repair their units via necrodermis repair, teleport infantry through dimensional corridors, accelerate production with their rapid rise ability and use energy as a primary resource. Orks are furious melee warriors, become stronger by fighting, can gather resources from killing enemies, regenerate faster and can plant orkoid fungus. Space Marines excel at swift and devastating strikes with special tactics and operations, have a single fortress city and increase their influence radius / gather requisitions by constructing smaller fortresses next to special features. Astra Militarum are very versatile with powerful war machines, imperial bastions, long range weaponry and city edicts that boost resource output.
And yes, Tyranids would be very different indeed hehe.
Q: Hullo there! My first question to kick things off would be to to ask is, "do you have any plans for future armies to be added, either as patches or DLC"? Your choice of having Necrons (when they've only appeared in the video games 3 times before - DoW: Dark Crusade, Legacy of Dorn: Herald of Oblivion and Dark Nexus Arena) was quite interesting; any chance of seeing lesser loved armies in the games such as Dark Eldar?
A: Hello, we do have planned to add additional factions, though they are not decided yet. Whatever factions we decide to go with in the end, we want to make sure that they provide a different and unique playstyle meshing nicely with the Gladius story.
Q: Why no Tau? They always seem to get left out in these new 40k games.
A: I think what you meant to say was "No Tau yet" ;)
Q: Do you plan to address the other traditional pillars of games like these? Diplomacy, Technology... whatever "Culture" would look like in this setting? etc... I appreciate in the grimdark there is only war, but I would be concerned that "only war" would struggle in something like Civ, never-mind this game.
A: Technology is fully-featured, each faction containing 60 unique technologies. There is a resource called "influence" that is largely used differently for each faction. Space Marines use it for Battle Barge operations and Chapter Tactics, Astra Militarum use it for City Edicts, Necrons use it for self-repair, teleportation and rushing production while Orks just want more so they become stronger. You could see that as a spin on culture, but really, in the grim darkness of the far future there is only war.
Q: Looks like this game uses hex tiles on the map? Looks very graphical, but might be difficult to plan future movement. Is there an option to turn on more easily-seen tile division?
A: Yes you can see the grid if you want to.
Q: What kind of map will the game have?
A: A generated world will be a region on the planet Gladius with varying climates (Temperate, Jungle, Arctic, Desert, Volcanic) that is restricted in all four cardinal directions. We considered mapping the whole planet but it was just too unrealistic from a scale point of view. Also, Warhammer 40K provides ground and airborne transport units but not really any ships.
Q: Hey, I saw that you guys said you put a lot of work into the combat, and being an avid multiplayer strategy gamer, I was wondering what kind of counter system you went with? Did you decide on an everything-is-hard-counters rock, paper, scissors style (a la C&C) or a mix of hard and soft counters for units (a la Company of Heroes, where one unit hard counters one other unit type and soft counters another) or something in between?
A: Hey there, we tried very much to approximate the board game in that regard. The various types of units and weapons with their stats like hitpoints, armour, accuracy, number of attacks, damage, initiative etc. result in a counter intensity all across the board. Some units might work reasonably well against most things while others get utterly destroyed or are nearly unkillable by certain enemy units.
Q: Space stuff? Stuff like orbiting ships bombarding the planet (sort of like how Beyond Earth did this with satellites) or something like that. Also how do you plan on balancing Necrons who are arguably the most powerful faction of the entire universe? Less units/more costs I'm thinking?
A: Orbiting Battle Barge is one of Space Marines's unique aspects. The baseline for balance were the codices from the 7th edition Warhammer 40,000. We've derived a ton from there, using our own conversion systems, so you'll be able to identify very familiarly if you've played the 7th edition of the board game -- things like Rapid Fire, Blast, Monstrous Creatures, and of course the relative comparison between the units. Necrons in the abstract, balance out by being more expensive and having restricted city placement. Although if you compare individual units, you'll also note that a Tactical Space Marine is more expensive and stronger than a Warrior (the base units for the corresponding factions in Gladius).
Q: Lots of complaints about the AI in your previous title. What are your plans to improve this time?
A: A good (!) AI is always one of the most time consuming and difficult things in a 4X game and often not very polished due to the iterative nature of game design (e.g. when mechanics change it might make previous AI programming work obsolete and one tends to shove it down the milestone plan). Then it also has to be performant and especially in a tactically complex game like Gladius this is quite some challenge. However, since Pandora we have totally redesigned the AI system. Every possible action (from movement/attacking over abilities to production) is scored utilizing all of your machine's CPU cores (Pandora only multithreaded over the players), so it mainly comes down to properly scoring and comparing all actions. Also the AI has a "memory" now -- e.g. when it spotted units but loses vision, it knows there is a decreasing chance of an enemy stationed at that position.
Looking at other games it feels one can hardly ever satisfy every player in that regard and the Pandora AI definitely lacked polish on release -- but I'm confident our new system is a big step up and will allow us to iterate the AI very rapidly.
Q: Will GNU/linux be supported?
A: Absolutely, we are huge fans and are even developing on Linux!