Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine 2 was supposed to be out by the end of 2023, but in November publisher Focus Home Interactive mashed the brakes hard, pushing it into the second half of 2024. We noted at the time that the vague launch window could mean a full year of extra waiting, but as it turns out, it’s not quite that bad.
It’s still bad, though. In a brief teaser revealed at The Game Awards last night, Focus Home dropped a new release date of September 9, 2024. That’s enough time to gestate an entirely new human being, which makes it a significant delay in my books.
Focus Home said when the delay was announced that it would “provide the time needed to properly polish the game and to ensure the best possible experience.” Nine months of polishing is a lot of polish, but it might be called for: Associate editor Ted Litchfield wasn’t wowed by a hands-on preview session he had with Space Marine 2 in August, writing that the entire time he was playing, he was “yearning for Auroch Digital’s recent Warhammer 40K: Boltgun instead.”
“Titus just doesn’t feel responsive, launching into slow, lumbering combos with his chainsword that I can’t cancel out of when it’s time for an Arkham-style omnidirectional parry,” he wrote. “The weapons don’t carry that oomph for me either—these feel like assault rifles and submachine guns and not bolters, and I think they could do with deeper, punchier audio and more dramatic enemy reactions to getting hit with micro-missiles. I was also disappointed by the chainsword, which rather than ripping and tearing would smack against tyranids like a pool noodle. There’s just no chew to it.”
Previews are very different from reviews, but they’re intended to show off a game in its best light and in this case it just didn’t come together. I got the same impression from an extended gameplay trailer that dropped just after that session: The environments and tyranid hordes were impressive, but it just wasn’t violent enough. When an eight-foot-tall supersoldier wearing armor that weighs more than a Cadillac wades into a mountain of space bugs with a giant chainsaw, I want to feel it. Hopefully this extra time will enable developers to make it happen.
Focus Home said a playable beta test for Space Marine 2 will be held sometime before launch—if you want to get in, you can sign up at focus-entmt.com.