Will we ever see a Necromunda Videogame?
Necromunda: a world ravaged by pollution where the final remnants of humanity survive in towering Hive Cities. The bulkheads groan under the weight of conflict as marauding gangs vie for territory in a noxious subterranean district. Mutants scutter around bubbling sump pits whilst diseased scavengers pick through the rubble underfoot. Devoid of optimism, daylight never penetrates the smog of this industrial place beneath the cloud-piercing Hive Primus: The Underhive. Many Games Workshop tabletop titles have been adapted into videogames, from the Warhammer 40K universe encompassing Dawn of War series to adaptations of standalone titles such as Space Hulk and Blood Bowl, yet the skirmish-based Necromunda (now twenty years old) has never been among them.
Given its long-standing appeal (ever apparent on forums and fan sites) this is baffling, as Necromunda is an ideal basis for videogame adaptation. Its strong character design, scenery, lore and potential to borrow from the 40K universe, all provide rich source material from which a developer could construct a compelling player experience. The likelihood of such an adaptation has been reinforced by the fact that Mordheim (essentially Necromunda ported to the fantasy Warhammer universe) has been developed by Rogue Factor and is currently on Steam early access as Mordeheim: City of the Damned. This tactical third person turn-based venture looks promising at present, with respect given to the tabletop version’s source material and mechanics.
If a Necromunda adaptation were to come to fruition it would realistically make sense for Rogue Factor to develop it as a follow up to Mordheim: City of the Damned. If another developer became involved and sought a different approach, I can see the title working as a squad-led turn-based shooter with RRG elements such as XCOM: Enemy Unknown, the Shadowrun series titles or even a full on third person shooter with similar mechanics to Gears of War and Space Marine. Indeed, in a 2013 interview with RPS, Firaxis’ Jake Solomon explicitly states that Necromunda was an influence on XCOM: Enemy Unknown.
Starting off as an in-experienced band of young brigands you’d be required to expand your territory through turf wars, exploration missions and by hiring out your gang’s mercenary services. As your power and influence increased, the goal would be to gradually ascend The Underhive, up through the Hive City and eventually breach The Spire, gaining eventual freedom or becoming a Space Marine and fighting for the Emperor. Alternatively, you could start out as a young leader and be tasked with forming a new gang from scratch. The online possibilities would be excellent with the option of taking your gang from the campaigns out into the field and testing their mettle against others from across the globe.
Despite last year’s plummeting stock report, it’s apparent the cogs are still turning at Games Workshop’s HQ, with the huge shake-up to the Warhammer table top and many upcoming videogames such as Total War: Warhammer besides many more. So, for now at least, I’m optimistic the potential for a Necromunda videogame will one day be realised.