Interview: Thomas Lund, Head of Full Control, Developers of SPACE HULK

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Space Hulk is a classic board in which one side plays a small band of heavily armed and armoured Terminator Space Marines and the other a seemingly endless horde of super-fast alien Genestealers, nightmarish alien monsters with razor sharp claws. Videogames developer Full Control have converted this fan favourite for Mac and PC. We caught up with the man responsible for it, Thomas Lund...

Tell us a bit about Space Hulk and what it is?

Space Hulk is this fantastic digital boardgame that we’ve just made and it’s based on the physical boardgame made by Games Workshop in '89. It’s had three different editions, and our game is based on the third edition. Electronic Arts made a few versions of it in the '90s for Amiga, DOS and so on, but our is a truly turn-based 40K game.  What we’ve done is as close to the original boardgame as possible, I’d say 98% close.

Does that mean it's two-player? Can one side play the aliens?

You get to play either side if you’re in hotseat mode or in multiplayer. Single player is Terminators only.

Why Space Hulk?

Oh man, Space Hulk is one of those childhood things. I played Space Hulk as a kid. A friend had it and it was really, really cool. It’s just one of those classic games were the rules set is not too complicated but to master it you really have to employ deep strategy.  It has this classic clash of mighty Terminators with ranged weaponry versus the close-up claws of the Genestealers. There’s this clearly defined conflict and you know who the good guys are. It’s claustrophobic, dark and you can set it up easily, play the game and have fun.

What should those familiar with the various editions of the game expect?

It’s based on the third edition, that came out in 2009. They only produced 100,000 units and it sold out the day before it came out. Shrink wrapped copies go for up to £300 on Ebay these days; Games Workshop didn’t have a copy for us to use, so I had to bring my own personal copy into the office. What’s left of it isn’t in mint condition anymore. It’s been handed around a lot.

Games Workshop sees the third edition as the condensed version of Space Hulk; this is how they want the game to be.  They were some rules in first and second edition that were added on through the expansions and such that they don’t like as much. They don’t like the hybrids, as giving the Genestealers ranged weapons unbalances the core mechanic. So hybrids are not something we’re going to add on. We do want to go back and do a lot of the missions that were in White Dwarf Magazine. We also want to take some of the Space Marines that were in those campaigns and bring those up. In Games Workshop’s book, Space Hulk is about loyalist Space Marine Terminators fighting Genestealers in derelict space ship. So it’s not going end up being Grey Knights versus Daemons inside mines on a planet. That’s a different game, and it would be cool to do, but it’s not Space Hulk.

With DLC, you will be able to play different types of Space Marines. There’s going to be some totally cosmetic vanity stuff and some campaigns that aren’t Chapter specific. We are also going to release stuff the big four chapters;  you already get the Blood Angels with the main game, but they’ll be specific things for Space Wolves, Dark Angels and Ultramarines.

What does the Space Hulk look like?

We have tonnes of small 40K things such as shrines,  candles, purity seals, tonnes of machinery,  engine rooms with sparks coming out. In one of the missions were you have to defend the pump room we have a cool green light effect, and of course the battle barge scenarios look really gothic with mausoleums, sarcophagi and statues.

What challenges did you face putting this game together?

Primarily it was internal stuff. We’re fans, and we are an independent studio, so we had very expectations when it came to making the game that we, as fans, would want to play. Suddenly being able to do what is a dream game for a lot of the people in the studio. So we wanted to do it right. We wanted to keep the claustrophobic feeling of the game, and art wise we wanted it to look as fantastic as absolutely possible.

Are there any other Games Workshop games you fancy converting into video games?

For now it’s all about Space Hulk. If this turns out to be something that community supports (by which I mean they buy the game) then we have a really good case for going back to Games Workshop and saying “Hey, people really want to play turn based 40K”. There are all these really cool games that have never been made into videogames that are ripe for conversion. BattleFleet Gothic, Necromunda... there are tonnes of really cool games out there.

Space Hulk is available on STEAM now. More details can be found at: www.spacehulk-game.com.

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