Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium goes from "a Massively Multiplayer Online game to an immersive single player and online multiplayer experience with robust digital content, and engaging community features." Whatever that means.
With the future of its business very much in the balance, you probably shouldn't be surprised to learn that THQ has "refocused" its Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium project from "a Massively Multiplayer Online game to an immersive single player and online multiplayer experience with robust digital content, and engaging community features." The company didn't provide any additional details regarding platform, release date, or what exactly "robust digital content" means.
The refocusing isn't without its costs, however. Austin-based Vigil Games was handling the lion's share of development on the MMO and will lose 79 full-time employees; it continues development on Darksiders II. The Vancouver-based Relic Entertainment, which last worked on the well-received Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine, will lose 39 employees.
Unsurprisingly, both THQ and Warhammer licensor Games Workshop agree that the change is for the best. In today's press release, Brian Farrell, President and CEO of THQ said that the decision was "based on changing market dynamics and the additional investment required to complete the game as an MMO." Games Workshop's Job GIllard stuck by his man, saying, "We are genuinely excited about the new direction that THQ is taking with Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium."
We've reached out to THQ for more information and will update this post with what we learn.
Update: THQ got back to us with some more information. The publisher wouldn't confirm how many employees remained on the project across Vigil and Relic, but did confirm that it was no longer seeking an external partner to help shoulder the game's massive development costs. Ostensibly, the new single-player direction and the layoffs allow THQ to see Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium through itself.
And speaking of Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium ... what happened to the "Online" that trailed the end of that title since its announcement in 2007? It was notably absent on today's press release. THQ acknowledged the ommision but said that it has not "officially named the new product." So don't get too comfortable.