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We've had a lot of news so far this year about DoW2 and what's going to be in it. Normally any DoW2 news would be listed under "Official News", but I'm listing this under "Previews", because what this news post is going to do is to bring together all the official online news releases Relic have done (which you've probably all seen), along with all the reports from various conventions and physical presentations Relic (and their staff) have gone to and given (which you probably haven't), to give you all a great big summary of What We Know So Far.
So what do we know up front?
We know that its current release date is sometime during Spring 2009. We know that the initial release will have at least Space Marines, Orks, Eldar and Tyranids. We know that they've removed the base-building focus for a more tactical squad-based mission focus. And we know that it's going to have a massive free-form campaign where you play as the Blood Ravens, trying to defend a whole Imperial sector from a Tyranid invasion. And of course, it'll run on an upgraded version of Company of Heroes' Essence Engine, which means deformable terrain and better graphics and a whole lot more fun.
Sounds cool? Well now we get down to the fun part. What else do we know?
We know from an interview with Jonny Ebbert (the lead designer) that the campaign will have two possible endings (saving the sector, or losing it to the Tyranid invasion), but that the campaign itself will be so large that you'll probably have to play it a couple of times just to see through all the various sub-plots properly. DoW2 will also tie in to the previous Dawn of War games, and from other sources, we know that Jonny Ebbert's also stated that we'll get to see some old faces from the other Dawn of War campaigns.
We also know a reasonable about about gameplay in the campaign thanks to various articles like this one from IGN (which was featured in one of the earlier DoW2 news posts). Squads will have MMO-style attribute increases that the player can pick and choose as their squads gain experience. Wargear will be gained from either killed opponents or from optional mission objectives (and some mission objectives will be mutually exclusive with others). And we know that the Strategic Points from the original Dawn of War series have now been replaced with Shrines (which you'll usually have to fight like hell for), which give you the ability to reinforce squads and revive fallen comrades. More information about the interface, mission set ups, and even details on AI complexity (including how Tyranids react to grenades) can be found in this article from WorthPlaying.
We also know due to a report from Comic-Con: San Diego that not only are there planned expansions (meaning probable new campaigns to play once you finish the massive initial release), but Chaos (who'll be getting an expansion regardless of whether they're in the initial release or not) are also going to get a lot of love from the developers when they're eventually released which should make all you despondent Chaos players happy (Tzeentch, Nurgle and Slaanesh anyone?). There'll also be cool features like your Assault Marines creating craters which grant cover when they land - meaning there are going to be new layers to strategy in DoW2.
If that isn't enough for you, here's some news as recent as yesterday from Games Day of new game footage from Relic, which has yet to be publicly shown anywhere else.
And for those of you who haven't got enough of the Tyranid talk, here's a video of Jonny Ebbert covering them in great detail.
Oh, and it's not just for PC, DoW2 will also be on Xbox 360. Sorry, Relic have released a statement saying that DoW2 is going to be PC only. My mistake.
So what don't we know?
We haven't heard any mention of single-player skirmish or anything like it. The single-player focus so far has been entirely on the campaign. Who knows what's happening there.
There's also been little coverage of DoW2's potential moddability. What little news we do have doesn't seem positive, but at the moment it still seems up in the air whether we'll get mod tools for it or not.
We also haven't heard much of anything about multiplayer features, other than that the campaign can be played as a co-op game, and that whatever multiplay features it's going to have will run (without needing a subscription fee) on Games For Windows - Live!. Oh yes, and one other thing - unlike the single-player campaign, all the DoW2 races will be playable in multiplayer.
We do know from the Q&A with Jonny Ebbert however, that there's going to be a news release later in the year though which should give us a lot more info on what's going into the multiplayer side of things.
So what now?
Well that's the basic gist of what we know and what we don't (although there are a lot more details in those links than what I covered here, so go have a look). There's a lot more information yet to come, but so far it's shaping up to be everything we wanted from the original Dawn of War series, and then some. Expect more news over the next couple of months - we'll try and get as many details for you as possible.
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