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Can Space Marine 2 Have The Same Impact As The Original?

Times have changed in a big way for the world of Warhammer 40,000 over the last couple of decades. The sci-fi universe has gone from one of the most niche hobbies to international awareness, and while that’s for several reasons, the release of the original Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine was certainly a landmark moment for the brand.

Now, the extremely long-awaited sequel is set to come out later this year to mark the main game’s 40th anniversary, but can Space Marine 2 land with as much impact as the original?

What Is Warhammer 40,000?

Launched in 1983, “40K” as it’s commonly known by fans is a tabletop sci-fi war game set in the far future, played with miniature troops, vehicles, and more. Set in an expansive universe across an entire galaxy, it features dozens of unique factions, all with unique abilities.

The game itself is played using dice to decide outcomes of attacks and armor, and while it is a strategic game, a lot of the game’s appeal is down to the slightly random nature of results because of that. Entertainment that uses ‘RNG’ or random outcomes as a core feature is currently in fashion, as we can see in the area of casinos, the one kind of entertainment that uses ‘RNG’ most of all.

What Did Space Marine Do For The Franchise?

40K spent a very long time in the shadows of mainstream media, although several factors have now brought it straight into the spotlight. Some of this is due to a surge in celebrity involvement in the game, including huge names like Ed Sheeran, Robin Williams, and most recently Superman himself, Henry Cavill, who has already done wonders for bringing the world of The Witcher into the mainstream consciousness and guaranteeing the brand for years to come.

When Space Marine was released, however, it had a major impact on the wider gaming world like no other title in the franchise previously had. Older games based on 40K were almost universally strategy games, but Space Marine was a third-person action game with far more universal appeal. It combined elements of the original God of War games, with one player character carving and blasting through hordes of enemies, as well as parts of games like Gears of War with both the massive scale and brutality behind it.

It wasn’t an incredible, award-winning game but it was solid with general appeal to a wide audience regardless of whether they already knew the universe or not. Even the multiplayer mode, which is now long defunct because of server closure, was something unique in the market at the time in terms of the gameplay loop. The whole game spiked interest in the main game and suddenly the word Warhammer was at least passingly known to a huge part of the public.

Can Space Marine 2 Repeat The Same Trick?

The sequel’s trailer recently dropped and put a release date of likely late 2023. The game is designed to tie in with events in the main narrative, with the new big bad guys being the bug-like Tyranids that may seem familiar to lovers of classic bug-filled horror movies. The reception to the trailer for this belated sequel was extremely positive, albeit with the boost from the nostalgia that it was always going to get.

In terms of the new game, it probably won’t have to innovate a massive amount to be successful, as most in the fanbase would be happy with a solid game and a great story. However, even if they do manage to find something incredible to add in, it isn’t likely to have the same long-term impact as the original. It’s fair to say that 90% of the people who would ever hear about 40K have now already heard about it.

It’s still too early to see which direction owners Games Workshop decide to push the title in, but we’d be surprised if it’s anything more than a supporting player behind some big release in the tabletop game. Who knows, however; 40K esports anyone?