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Dawn of War II Makes You Love Space Marines

Lead Designer Jonny Ebert started off by explaining the three keys to success of the first incarnation of the 40k RTS for the PC: brutal melee combat, nothing goes in the game unless it's f#*@"ing amazing, and focus on fighting and action, not basebuilding.

In developing the new game, they want the players to become much more attached to the individual characters. & All of the sergeants now have faces, names, and backstories. & They'll have conversations with each other on the field, they'll gain experience with each shot they fire, and you can individually customize them with a whole library of wargear.

Secondly, they want you to actually care about the environment you're in (not in the Greenpeace way, but more in a "this is my patch of land" way). & The environment plays a much bigger role in the game now. & Your marines will dive to cover, they can demolish buildings, and even find shortcuts with the clever use of explosives. & And they've added some great touches. & If your assault marines are standing on a bridge that gets destroyed, they'll use their jet packs to jump to safety.

"No more starting over!" Jonny declared repeatedly throughout the panel. & He hates the whole build-your-base-and-army-to-monstrous-size-only-to-start-over-with-four-peons-on-the-next-level game that most RTS's repeat ad nauseum, and promised that this would be fixed in the Dawn of War II .

In the Q&A, someone asked, "Will there be Tyranids?" & Jonny's stentorian response, "I can confirm that Tyranids are indeed a race in the 40k universe," did not exactly satisfy our desire to know whether or not they'd be in the game, but it was indeed funny. &

I asked when will there be a 40k movie (to which I expected only a clueless shrug) but I actually got an interesting answer. & Apparently, Peter Jackson is a huge 40k fan. & He even has custom models made for his army. & You can't get copies - they destroy the molds after making them for him! & Apparently, the guy who made the Lord of the Rings movie thinks that space marines would make for a great movie, but has yet to go beyond the "wouldn't that be cool?" stage. & I think it is high time for a letter-writing campaign to Jackson.

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