The Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Realms of Ruin trailer showcases the classic RTS focus

By Mike Mahardy on May 25, 2023 12:51 pm

The Warhammer tabletop game and strategy video games have had a long, sometimes fruitful, sometimes damaging, relationship, and another crossover is on the way.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Realms of Ruin, a “modernized take on the classic RTS,” was announced during Thursday’s Warhammer Skulls show. Frontier Developments, the team behind Elite: Dangerous, Jurassic World Evolution and RollerCoaster Tycoon, has partnered with Age of Sigmar and Warhammer 40,000 developer Games Workshop to bring the game to Windows PC (via Steam and Epic Games Store), PlayStation 5 and others to bring Xbox Series X “soon”.

Realms of Ruin will take place in the realm of Ghur, also known as the realm of beasts. It is a “wild and savage” plane of existence that emerged after the 2015 destruction of the tabletop wargame Warhammer Fantasy Battle. The story was written in collaboration with Gavin Thorpe, longtime designer at Games Workshop and author of a handful of books, in the Black Library’s collection of novels and graphic novels.

As in “classic” RTS games like Starcraft, Command and Conquer, and Age of Empires, Realms of Ruin places a heavy emphasis on controlling key map locations, gathering resources, and attacking enemy command posts from a bird’s eye view.

Stormcast Eternals target a group of Orruk Kruleboyz with a Celestar ballistaImage: Frontier Developments

Two Orruk Krulzeboyz aim crossbows at off-screen enemies. Image: Frontier Developments

Orruk Kruleboyz attack a Victory Point controlled by the Stromcast Eternals. Image: Frontier Developments

Capturing a Sigmarite wayshrine unlocks new technology options for the Stormcast Eternals. Image: Frontier Developments

A Stormcast Eternals Decimator attacks a group of Orruk Kruleboyz. Image: Frontier Developments

Four factions are planned for release for Frontier, of which only two have been revealed: the superhuman Stormcast Eternals and the cunning Orruk Kruleboyz. During a recent behind-closed-doors presentation, Polygon took a look at part of the game’s second campaign mission, which played out a battle between the two factions. The player commanding the Eternals had access to the heroes Sigrun, Iden, and Demechrios, as well as a diverse roster of superhuman units.

By conquering Arcane Channels, the player progressed through the Eternals’ research tree, unlocking increasingly powerful units (including Annihilators, Prosecutors, and the Stormdrake Guard) and defeating the Kruleboyz across the map. The fight seemed intense, if a bit slow. Current RTS games have a “tactical pause” option to increase accessibility without sacrificing intensity. However, it remains to be seen whether Realms of Ruin will follow suit.

Frontier has not yet announced a release date for Realms of Ruin or the dates of any planned multiplayer betas. This will be the studio’s first foray into the real-time strategy space, which has soared in recent years since the ‘golden age’ of mainstream gaming in the early 2000s, despite its waning popularity. Realms of Ruin will be the first video game set in the Age of Sigmar universe since 2021’s Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Storm Ground, a solid but unforgettable XCOM-like game.

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