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Warhammer 40k Mechanicus 2 lets you build a Necron empire

The surprise sequel to the ace Warhammer 40k strategy game takes the battle out of the tombs and onto the surface of an Imperial world

Mechanicus 2 logo, a white skull with a cybernetic cranial plate backed by a cog, against the Roman numerals II

Praise the Omnissiah! Warhammer 40k: Mechanicus 2, the sequel to 2018’s XCOM-like strategy game Mechanicus, has just been announced, during Games Workshop’s ‘Skulls’ showcase of licensed Warhammer videogames.

Warhammer 40k: Mechanicus 2 will build on the core gameplay of the original Mechanicus, which put players in control of Adeptus Mechanicus tech-cultists delving into the ancient mysteries of an alien Necron Tomb World. For the sequel, players will now have the option to play as the deathless Necrons, driving back the interlopers from their home and even scouring the taint of the Imperium of Man from the surface of their planet.

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The plot will see Magos Dominus Faustinius, the protagonist of the first game, summoned by an Adeptus Mechanicus settlement that has unwittingly stirred up the wasp nest of a buried Necron Tomb. Cryptically, the press release promises “external actors stranger and more deadly still” will get involved.

It’s hard to think of anything more deadly in the 41st millennium than the Necrons on their home turf, but if you’re looking for a third act villain in a Warhammer 40k game it’s usually the 40k Chaos gods, so that’s where our money is.

Mechanicus 2 screenshot, the overworld map

The core of Mechanicus was a game like XCOM, with turn-based missions, the risk of permadeath for your more valuable Tech-Priest units, and a race against time to complete the campaign before the automatic systems of the Necron Tomb World woke its ancient android residents from hypersleep.

Each tomb-raiding expedition was represented as a map of dungeon locations, which might contain choose-your-own-adventure style narrative choices, or turn based battles.

Screenshot from Mechanicus 2, the ominous dark green surrounds of a Necron Tomb complex

The game’s combat system shook up the XCOM formula with the Cognition Points system. This resources powered your units’ most powerful abilities and grants additional movement, but generating it required tricky melee kills and other actions.

Meanwhile the constant ‘Awakening’ of the Tomb saw more and more powerful Necron threats phase into missions the longer they went on, giving the game relentless forward momentum.

Mechanicus 2 screenshot, an Imperial foundry complex high in the air

While the ability to fight on either side of the conflict, on the surface of the planet and in the depths of the tomb, is the most notable addition in Mechanicus 2, more new gameplay features are coming too.

You’ll be able to manage garrisons in your territory, and there will be  a “vastly expanded selection of fighters” drawn from both tabletop Warhammer 40k factions. Destructible terrain will also feature – what’s the point of having a gun that can disassemble a target at the molecular level if you can’t blow up the scenery with it?

Mechanicus 2 screenshot, an Imperial trench

As well as providing a great core gameplay loop well, Mechanicum was elevated even further by an excellent script, written by Warhammer 40k book author Ben Counter, and an incredible soundtrack by composer Guillaume David. Fortunately, both Counter and David are confirmed to be working on the sequel.

We’re stoked for this one, partly because we love a good turn based strategy game, partly because the Mechanicus soundtrack is one of our go-to writing playlists. But if it comes out this year it’s going to fight for our affections with the Space Marine 2 release – particularly now we know there’s going to be Space Marine 2 PVP multiplayer!