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Warhammer 40k Rogue Trader alpha opens for pre-order players

Fans who pre-ordered Warhammer 40k Rogue Trader will soon be able to get behind the helm of the Warhammer 40k CRPG, via a playable alpha

Warhammer 40k Rogue Trader alpha - illustration by Owlcat Games of a navy officer or rogue trader, an imposing woman in an ornate blue military uniform

If you pre-ordered the Developer’s Digital Pack or Collectors’ Edition of Warhammer 40k Rogue Trader, you can download an alpha build of the new CRPG on December 7. According to developer Owlcat Games, the alpha gives you access to all the features you’ll find in the full game: a party of companions, exploration, turn-based combat, ship-to-ship fighting, and space exploration.

Owlcat Games gave Wargamer a guide to the alpha, which explains some of the features players can expect, as well as the limits of the current build. Players control a Rogue Trader, who Owlcat Games describes as “a combination of an explorer, voidfaring merchant, and a powerful feudal lord”, who must “operate on the fringes of the known space, moving freely across the Imperium and beyond, and stand above most of the laws and limitations of the Imperium”.

Warhammer 40k Rogue Trader alpha, screenshot of a game by Owlcat Games, a party explores the overgrown remains of an expedition outpost

You’ll create your own Rogue Trader at the start of the alpha using a provisional version of the character creator, then jump straight to chapter two, after the events of the prologue in which your predecessor Theodora von Valancius is assassinated. According to the alpha guide, this build contains all the systems you’ll need to begin enriching your trade empire. As well as standard CRPG fare such as conversations, quests and combat, players will be able to explore unknown space, enter ship-to-ship combat, trade cargo, and establish settlements.

Warhammer 40k Rogue Trader alpha screenshot of a game by Owlcat Games, showing a ritual in an industrial slum that is summoning a warp demon

The alpha guide highlights that several features in the game are provisional and subject to change, including visuals, stats, and systems for space exploration and colonisation. Owlcat Games is actively soliciting feedback, asking everyone who plays the alpha build to submit bug reports for problems large and small. There will be a feedback survey for alpha players to submit their impressions a week after the alpha’s launch.

You can read our Warhammer 40k Rogue Trader alpha impressions, based on the same version of the game being released to pre-order purchasers, to learn what we think about it. If you’d like to learn more about the grim darkness of the 41st millennium, we have a guide to all the Warhammer 40k factions. And you can find all we know on the upcoming CRPG in our Rogue Trader release date guide.