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Warhammer 40K shooter Necromunda: Hired Gun launches June 1, watch the first trailer

Plus a breakdown of what’s in store for fans

Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

News of Necromunda: Hired Gun, a first-person shooter set inside one of Warhammer 40,000’s most beloved subfranchises, leaked on the Microsoft storefront on Wednesday. Now we have our first proper trailer, which we’ve embedded above. Fans can expect Necromunda: Hired Gun to arrive June 1 on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X, developer Streum On Studio and publisher Focus Home Interactive announced Thursday.

For the uninitiated, it’s all just a lot of gunfire and gore. But for fans of this gritty little city in the grim darkness of the far future, there’s a lot to unpack here. Let’s dive in.

Necromunda is a forge world, meaning that in the 41st millenium it’s where the Imperium of Mankind makes the tanks, guns, giant mechs, and other implements of war that keep its alien enemies at bay. Multiple hive cities dot its surface, rising high into the sky above the pollution that cakes the ground. A strict totalitarian regime divides the people of Necromunda into a kind of caste system, with the rich literally on top and the poor sequestered down below.

Image: Streum On Studio/Focus Home Interactive

Only the lowest of the low live below the surface of Necromunda, underneath the watery sumps and in among the ancient man-made structures that date back tens of thousands of years. That’s where the 2017 reboot of the tabletop game, Necromunda: Underhive, takes place. And, it appears, that’s where much of the action in Hired Gun takes place as well.

The fancy lady in the image above is an Escher, a member of a predominantly female group of gangers — that’s the slang for militant outlaws in the 41st millennium. The Escher’s stock and trade is chemical augmentation. You can find them with a flask of noxious chems on their hip, used to pump their own systems full of stimulants that boost their performance on the battlefield.

Our fair-haired friend here is also holding a shiny new plasma gun. For someone who lives on the edge of society, that’s quite the nasty bit of kit. It throws superheated material across the battlefield, turning metal into slag and punching through armor like butter. It also has a habit of backfiring and killing the user.

Image: Streum On Studio/Focus Home Interactive

This is a Goliath, a member of another group of gangers fighting for control of Necromunda’s bowels. Goliath warriors are grown in vats, and are commonly understood to be a bit dense. They use furnace plates and other bits of industrial equipment for armor, and tend to throw explosives around with abandon. They excel at melee, for obvious reasons, and also tend to favor “stubbers” — repurposed rivet guns that fire dense metal shells. On an industrial planet like Necromunda, it’s simply a variation of a farmer taking a pitchfork into battle.

Image: Streum On Studio/Focus Home Interactive

The individual in the center of the frame above is a member of the Orlock gang, also known as the House of Iron. This group is drawn from the miners and the smelters who run Necromunda’s many refineries and factories, called manufactorum in the vernacular of 40K. The hot metal raining down from above isn’t just flair. It’s likely their work product going to waste.

In the lower left-hand corner you can see an Ogryn, a common type of slave found all over Necromunda. In the world of 40K, they’re referred to as abhumans, mutated creatures that are treated like pack animals. You’ll find them fighting on the front lines of galaxy-spanning conflicts with the Imperial Guard, and hefting iron billets on forge worlds. Here they appear to be throwing massive explosives at the player.

Ogryn as portrayed in the tabletop game. Image: Games Workshop

Finally, we get another shot of a critter unique to Necromunda. It’s called an Ambot. They’re robots built to imitate the Ambull, a massive humanoid alien creature common to the planet’s arid wastelands. Ambots are commonly used for mining and excavation. This one is shown deep underground inside a circular tunnel, with stalactites and stalagmites crowding the frame. It’s a setting that hasn’t been seen in the modern tabletop game as of yet, and I’m curious to find out how it plays into the game’s overall narrative.

Finally, let’s take a quick look at the weapons shown throughout the trailer. We touched on the plasma gun above, but there are a few other curiosities worth mentioning as well.

First, the main character’s autogun: It looks an awful lot like a modern-day assault rifle, and it very well could be something very similar. Autoguns fire solid munitions, just like today’s firearms. You can also see a shotgun in another frame. Conspicuously absent from the trailer, however, is a boltgun. Also known as a bolter, these weapons don’t fire solid projectiles; they launch tiny missiles that explode on impact. They’re the weapons favored by Space Marines. They’re common in Necromunda, and I’m curious to know why we haven’t seen them in use yet.

The player takes on a group of Escher with what appears to be a hand flamer.
What could be a hand flamer.
Image: Streum On Studio/Focus Home Interactive
The player character firing what may be a Grav-Gun.
A green bolt leaves what could be a Grav-Gun.
Image: Streum On Studio/Focus Home Interactive

Also making an appearance in this trailer is what appears to be a hand flamer. It’s just what it sounds like — a handheld flamethrower. There’s also a massive shoulder-mounted weapon that throws a giant green orb across the map. It’s hard to tell from the impact of the projectile, but that might be a Grav-Gun. Another weapon favored by Space Marines, it’s a relic that dates back at least 10,000 years. No one alive in the 41st millenium knows how to make them anymore, let alone how they work.

Expect to find more relics like that as you make your way through the warrens beneath the hive cities of Necromunda.

While you’re here, know that mercenary work is also pretty common on this particular forge world. If you’d like to read up on one of Necromunda’s most famous bounty hunters, check out Kal Jerico: The Omnibus. While paperback copies are going for hundreds of dollars on eBay and Amazon, this ebook collects some of his best stories all in one place.

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