There's a serious narrative powerhouse serving as the Warhammer 40,000: Darktide co-writer: Gaunt's Ghosts author Dan Abnett is working with Fatshark to bring the people in the hive city of Tertium to life.
Warhammer 40,000: Darktide is one of the many, many upcoming games in the Warhammer 40,000 franchise. Notably, this game doesn't focus on Space Marines or Orks or anything like that — the playable characters are much more average than you might be used to. A team of four must complete missions for the Inquisition within the hive, facing all sorts of deadly enemies within a massive city that's the size of an entire country.
There is, of course, the question of who will be writing the story for the game. It turns out Fatshark is going to be getting some help from someone with a little experience writing about regular people in a universe filled with superhuman space soldiers, terrifying chaos demons, and all sorts of other horrors: Dan Abnett, New York Times bestselling author and the creator of Gaunt's Ghosts.
How Gaunt's Ghosts Prepared Dan Abnett to Write for Warhammer 40,000: Darktide
Warhammer 40,000: Darktide diverges from the typical formula in 40K games by shifting the focus to a group of less-powerful humans. Dan Abnett is well-equipped to write this style of story thanks to roughly two decades of experience with Gaunt's Ghosts.
"You’re not immortal, invulnerable[,] or wearing a suit of ceramite power armour. It’s just you and the darkness, and that makes for a really incredible playing experience." - Warhammer 40,000: Darktide and Gaunt's Ghosts Writer Dan Abnett
If you've never heard of Gaunt's Ghosts, it's one of the many pieces of fiction under Warhammer 40,000's "Black Library" label. More than a dozen novels have detailed the exploits of the Tanith First and Only regiment of the Imperial Guard during the Sabbat Worlds Crusade, although it's far from the only 40K franchise focusing on regular people — there's also the much more humorous Ciaphas Cain books written by Sandy Mitchell. The unique point-of-view of normal humans going up against agents of chaos and other terrors made Dan Abnett the perfect choice for co-writing Darktide.
"In novels, like the Gaunt series, or the Eisenhorn cycle, I’ve chosen the ‘human’ viewpoint because it’s so rewarding," Abnett said in a Q&A provided via a press release. "That’s the case with Darktide too. We want to emphasise the human scale, the human ‘heart’ in the midst of the vastness and cosmic wonder... and we also want to emphasise the survival and horror aspect. As a human, you’re vulnerable: it’s all about wit, courage, determination[,] and focus. You’re not immortal, invulnerable[,] or wearing a suit of ceramite power armour. It’s just you and the darkness, and that makes for a really incredible playing experience."
Of course, there's still a lot that we don't yet know about the game. The team of four players will be assigned missions by the Inquisition — should they survive, they'll get access to more missions (and probably some neat new equipment). Beyond that, the overarching narrative of the game and the true terrors of the hive city of Tertium are being kept tightly under wraps.
Dan Abnett is sure to cook up an interesting story for the game — you don't write dozens of novels without picking up a thing or two in the process. For now, you can add Warhammer 40,000: Darktide to your wishlist on Steam and you can learn more about the game at playdarktide.com.
Update (06/03/21, 1:42 PM) – It has also been announced that Warhammer 40,000: Darktide will be getting an Xbox Game Pass release on launch day.
What do you think of Gaunt's Ghosts author Dan Abnett serving as Co-Writer for Warhammer 40,000: Darktide? Do you think a game about normal humans can be as entertaining as a game about Space Marines? Let us know in the comments below!