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Space Hulk video game takes cues from XCOM, says dev

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Developer Full Control has taken some cues from the XCOM series to make Space Hulk — the studio's game based on the board game of the same name — an engaging strategy title, according to CEO Thomas Hentschel Lund.

"When we were developing the game, we wanted to take some cues from XCOM, which has [added] action but is still a turn-based strategy game," Lund told Polygon.

Making a video game based on a board game is not as easy as it may seem. Lund said there are multiple factors to consider when making a video game out of a physical one, many of them having to do with how to tweak strategy elements for the more visual-dependent video game medium.

"You have to make a very early decision of what kind of board game conversion you're going to go for," Lund told Polygon. "One of those options is a one-to-one conversion, just developing the game 100 percent [in line with] the board game, all the way down to seeing the dice roll on your screen and having non-animated figures on a small board sliding back and forth. That kind of literal conversion.

"The one that we went with for Space Hulk was to keep the core mechanics in place and take a more video game approach to the interface," he added. "Some of the dice mechanics we've got running underneath the hood and have made gameplay visually more expressive — adding 3D environments and such. It's still the board game rules, we just took the general essence of the board game and made it a completely different type of game."

Lund said that Space Hulk is a "one-to-95 conversion," in that the game preserves the essence of the board game original but is more complex in terms of mechanics.

"We sat down very early [in development] with the rule book and campaign book from the board game and we ran through each and every single rule, and asked ourselves, 'does this rule make sense in a computer game?'" he said. "Is this rule in there for board game fluidness or actually brings something [else] to the board game?"

Space Hulk — which launched last week for Windows PC, Mac and Linux — is a computer adaptation of Games Workshop's board game, which is set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. Lund's team is working on a scaled-down version for iPad, which he hopes can be completed and launched in the near future.