Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader released a trailer yesterday touting the narrative consequences of choices in its upcoming video game, which takes the classic RPG approach of heavily weighing a player’s decisions. According to this trailer, both the far reaches of the Koronus Expanse and the life of the player’s freebooting protagonist will be indelibly shaped by how they navigate the plot.
Developed and published by Owlcat Games, Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader adapts the premise of the very first sourcebook released for Games Workshop’s military sci-fi miniatures wargame. Players are put in command of a ship as a titular Rogue Trader who has the express blessing of the Emperor, himself, to explore the vast reaches of imperial space.
These privateers ostensibly act on behalf of the Empire but can enrich themselves and their crew if they avoid prying eyes, such as Rogue Trader’s ancillary antagonist Inquisitor Xavier Calcazar. He won’t be the only one carefully scrutinising how players comport themselves while exploring this dangerous chunk of space, but he apparently has quite the nose for budding heresy.
Like the massively popular Baldur’s Gate 3, Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader will surround the player with a cast of memorable characters who all have their own reasons for venturing into the largely unexplored Koronus Expanse. Owlcat Games now has a detailed breakdown of your potential allies on their website, which include Ulfar, a Space Wolf marine with a massive red beard, Sister Argenta, a Sister of Battle with a brutal chainsword, and Aeldari Ranger Yrleit Lanavyss, among others.
Once massive choice outlined in the teaser trailer involved either saving the population of a doomed planet or “cleansing their heresy” with orbital fire. That branched path will be etched into a shifting circular board, a literal tableau of moral and ethical quandaries the player has overcome. The world will reflect an adoption of the Emperor’s edict, a more gregarious hand or a full-throated embrace of Chaos in both dialogue, narrative content and the aesthetic of the Rogue Trader’s ship. Multiple endings apparently await those who champion one specific dogma over the others.
Rogue Trader boasts turn-based tactical combat on what looks to be a square grid. Your scrappy team of freebooters will use melee weapons and futuristic firearms against massive machines of Chaos, creepy Necrons and more as they explore a region known for swallowing whole legions without a trace. Outside of battles, players will converse with a wide cast of characters and learn more about specific planets and factions. Some conversations carry much more weight than others - Inquisitor Calcazar’s interrogation, for example, may alter the entire course of the story.
Owlcat Games previously developed two Pathfinder video games: Kingmaker and Path of the Righteous. This is their first foray into Warhammer 40,000’s universe, and Rogue Trader marks the first official revisiting of this slice of Warhammer’s prodigious lore. Fantasy Flight Games published a standalone tabletop RPG called Rogue Trader in 2009 that was not officially licensed by Games Workshop.
Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader will release on December 7th for nearly all platforms - PC and Mac will access it through Steam, GOG or the Epic Game Store, while PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S/X can find it in their respective storefronts. A beta version is currently available to download via the publisher’s website.
Owlcat Games said in a press release that full Japanese subtitles will be included in the launch version of the game.
Update: This article now provides some names of companions found within the game.