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Matthew goes in search of his Warhammer 40,000 years, but it's foggy today...
Having seen an invite arrive in my inbox to the Games Workshop Games Day and Golden Demon 2010, my eyes opened wide as a myriad of childhood memories came flooding back to me. Minutes, hours, days and months of my life were spent enthralled in everything the Warhammer 40,000 universe had to offer. However, as I grew, my passion diminished, to the point that it was almost non-existent. All that remained of my once life affirming hobby was a handful of models that were painted long ago.
When the tickets arrived the very next day my excitement was palpable. This was a chance to rekindle a lost part of my youth, at the same time as previewing a new Warhammer 40,000 movie and a new Space Marine video game. Even the journey on the train up to the Birmingham NEC was bearable with the knowledge that certain entertainment was just ahead. However, Sunday the 26th of September 2010 was not the day that I rediscovered a life long lost, rather it was the day that I realised that my childhood was well and truly dead.
As I walked around the centre amongst some of the spottiest children in all of the land, every single one of them with a delirious excitement etched amongst the scars of popped zits on their face, I realised that my childhood had long since vanished amongst a whirl of increasing responsibility and Clearasil. The universe that once drew me in with its grim and dark possibilities now seemed to be a distant and unreachable. No longer did the sight of thousands of perfectly painted figurines spark my imagination. Instead I was left wondering what the meaning of it all was.
Even the short trailer for the upcoming straight to DVD Ultramarines: The Movie, written by one of the Black Library’s finest authors, Dan Abnett, seemed to let me down. Although it features a strong voice cast with the likes of Terence Stamp, Sean Pertwee and John Hurt, the visuals struck me as a poorly finished Square Enix cut scene minus the bright colours. Moreover, the interaction of objects to surfaces revealed that while it can be called an admirable attempt, it doesn’t match the perfection of any Pixar production.
Furthermore, THQ’s latest trailer for their new Space Marine third-person action-shooter simply enhanced my belief that THQ are still a long way from creating a triple-A title. Admittedly the footage on show displays an alternative game type from the norm—no chest high walls to use as cover, for example, as you are the cover—and it appears that the gameplay may be somewhat entertaining, yet the depth to the title looks severely limited. It does capture some of the core essence that makes Warhammer 40,000 special to so many, but it’s too cautious and unwilling to break the mold to really push on with regards to sale figures.
As I journeyed back on the train I was in a somewhat subdued mood. Had I really lost my inner child, or am I now too aware of other entertainment sources to appreciate Games Workshop’s crown jewel? Perhaps it’s a bit from the former and the latter, but it may also be that I have become lazy in my search for fantasy realms. It has become all too easy to slip into the world of the biggest new videogame, the hottest new movie release, with the effort of imagination removed from my poor overworked mind. Despite their best intentions though, we as consumers have become accustomed to other people conjuring worlds for us. Is this a bad thing? I’ll let you decide.
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