Space Hulk: Tactics – Narrative Campaigns
Welcome back to the Space Hulk: Tactics development blog. Today we’re going to talk purely about the two narrative campaigns that tell the story of the Forsaken Doom, the Genestealer swarm that breeds there, and the Blood Angel squad that comes to defeat them. Since last time we discussed the plot of those campaigns with writer James Swallow, this time it’s all about the mechanics.
Playing the campaign follows your personalised squad or swarm as they make their way through the Space Hulk. On the Terminator side this starts simply with a Sergeant and four of his best Terminators kitted out with powerfists and storm bolters. As you progress, picking paths through the winding corridors, you’ll acquire equipment and materials to upgrade your squad.
While in Skirmish and multiplayer all content is unlocked from the start, allowing you to build whatever squad you like and tailor them to specific missions, the campaign has a progression system that sees you spending resources on weapons and cards to change your squad. Story events also see new units join you, like the Librarian. For the Genestealers, new biomorphs are unlocked over time, while biomass collected from battles can be used to upgrade cards and customise your strategy.
On the Terminator side, every time you progress the threat of the swarm will build as new Genestealers move into the area, hunting you. This is represented by the meter on the left of the screenshot above, and has many effects as it reaches different milestones. It may spawn new missions as the situation changes, or make upcoming ones more difficult. These non-critical missions can be fought as normal, or Terminators can be left behind to defend against the swarm, making them unavailable for the next mission - and eventually, you won’t have enough men to do so.
Choosing how to customise your squad, which route to take, how to deal with optional missions, and managing the threat meter makes every campaign unique. There are also points of interest scattered throughout the Hulk. These could be as simple as a cache of long-forgotten components to help you upgrade your squad, or situations that require a decision. Will you salvage the armour or weapons of some fallen Terminators, or leave them be to keep ahead of the swarm? Do you collapse an entire section of the Hulk to halt the Genestealers, or leave it open for exploration by both sides?
The decisions you make and the way you explore the Hulk will change as you move between different ships. Ork and Aeldari vessels have been pulled into the wreck over time, with their own challenges. Ork ships are dangerously unstable, while some Aeldari webway technology is still functioning and can be used to teleport to unexplored and otherwise inaccessible locations.
Interspersed with all this are the story missions, which play out as unique Space Hulk games using your specific squad. Cutscenes and communications during these battles will tell the story, while numerous side objectives will expand upon the importance of this particular Hulk and why so many squads have found their doom there over the millenia.
Whether you’re playing as the Terminators or Genestealers, there’s a long campaign for you to embark on, and it will be an experience individual to you. Next time we’ll dive into the customisation systems that define your playstyle as well as the look of your forces.
Space Hulk: Tactics releases for PS4, Xbox One and PC on October 9. www.spacehulk-tactics.com/shop