Warhammer 40K: Andy Serkis stars as space marine in Chaos Gate: Daemonhunters

Warhammer 40K Chaos Gate Daemonhunters: A group of grey knight space marines looking at a star map on a table.

Lord of the Rings star Andy Serkis is playing a space marine in Chaos Gate: Daemonhunters, the upcoming XCOM-like strategy game set in the Warhammer 40K universe. He voices Grand Master Vardan Kai, who’ll advise the player as they lead a squadron of Grey Knights against the Death Guard and other putrid forces of Nurgle.

In an interview with Warhammer Community, which revealed Serkis’ involvement through an article on Tuesday, the actor describes his role as an “authoritarian figure” who has a “master-teacher relationship” with the player – harsh, but with an underlying humanity. “He’s very dry and sardonic, and he doesn’t have much of a sense of humour. I keep thinking of him as having this extraordinary tough, granite-like face that doesn’t crack at all, this stern exterior, but occasionally you see glimpses…” Serkis adds.

As Grand Master Vardan Kai, Andy Serkis will not only berate the player’s tactical decisions via psychic link, he’ll also be responsible for rewarding them with new equipment – or perhaps withholding it, as the Warhammer Community article says Vardan will “quickly tire of a squad that doesn’t meet his high expectations.” It seems the Grand Master won’t be getting his hands dirty himself, however, as he’s “on campaign elsewhere” for the game’s duration.

Releasing May 5 this year, Chaos Gate: Daemonhunters is a modern successor to the 1998 PC title Warhammer 40K: Chaos Gate. It’s being developed by Complex Games and published by Frontier Developments, creators of the Elite series. Its story, by Black Library author Aaron Dembski-Bowden, has players exploring Chaos-infested worlds as Titan’s Grey Knights, to root out a demonic plague named The Bloom.

Warhammer 40K Chaos Gate Daemonhunters screenshot of tactical combat. By Warhammer Community

This is the second upcoming Warhammer game to boast some serious Middle Earth star power, as Richard Armitage (chief dwarf Thorin Oakenshield in the Hobbit trilogy) is voicing big bad Be’lakor in Total War: Warhammer 3. You can find out everything we know so far about that game in our handy Total War: Warhammer 3 release date guide, which includes details about factions and settings.