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Warhammer 40k Rogue Trader lets you blow up planets, fall to Chaos

The latest trailer for upcoming CRPG Warhammer 40k Rogue Trader hints at how far the consequences of your actions will reach throughout the game.

Warhammer 40k Rogue Trader - a circle of chanting cultists surround a glowing pink nine-flamed sun with an eye in the centre

Developer Owlcat Games released a new trailer for Warhammer 40k: Rogue Trader on Thursday, hinting at how the game will track players’ actions, and what the consequences of those actions might be. Though it alludes to more than it reveals, the trailer says that player choices can unlock totally unique game endings – choices that include ending a world in the fires of Exterminatus.

Warhammer 40k Rogue Trader is a classic CRPG, based on the Warhammer 40k tabletop RPG of the same name; we’re not far from the Rogue Trader release date, December 7. This new trailer shows some of the choices players will have, and hints at how the game will respond to them.

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First, the big one – you can destroy a planet. This is Exterminatus, the Imperium of Man’s ultimate sanction against a world lost to the Warhammer 40k Chaos gods, the influence of Xenos, or some other unforgivable corruption. Whether this is a discrete choice that occurs in the main plot, or forms part of the game’s colony management system, isn’t clear, but the trailer suggests that evacuating civilians from the planet may be an alternative option.

There will also be options to “bargain with the enemies of human-kind”. The trailer shows the Rogue Trader encountering a Forgefiend daemon engine. The player has a dialogue choice to attempt to bend the Chaos war machine to their will – but it requires that the character fulfill the “Hereticus – Adherent” criteria. Presumably that’s a tag that can stick to your character, though how you get it isn’t yet clear.

Warhammer 40k Rogue Trader alignment map - a circular chart with five concentric rings divided into three equally sized areas, corresponding to Heretical, Imperial, and Rogue Trader tendencies

It may have something to do with the alignment map which appears several times in the trailer. The map is made of five concentric rings divided into three segments, which – judging by their icon labels – correspond to Heretic, Imperial, and Rogue Trader tendencies. The trailer shows lots of fun animations of lines connecting various nodes within the map, and then the rings spinning around – hopefully the meaning of all this will emerge from the warp soon.

Freedom of choice wouldn’t mean much if NPCs didn’t react to it. The trailer reveals Inquisitor Lord Calcazar, the Inquisitor responsible for the Koronus Expanse, and states that a combination of your previous actions and answers to his interrogation with will change the outcomes of the conversation “dramatically”, perhaps setting you on a specific path and even “unlocking a unique game ending”. Other NPCs and factions will also take an interest in your activities, though the trailer doesn’t go into more detail.

Warhammer 40k Rogue Trader screenshot - a sister of battle purges Nurgle's rotten influence with a flamer

Wargamer previously interviewed lead writer Olga Kelner and executive producer Anatoly Shestov, who impressed us with their approach to the game’s faction system. Wargamer’s time with the Rogue Trader Alpha build also left us hungry for more; it was clear that the developers really understood the central fantasy of Rogue Trader. It turns out that’s because the core development staff spent a lot of time playing the pen and paper version, as you can read in this interview.

If you can’t wait for Rogue Trader to release and need some digital Warhammer 40k now, check out our guide to the best Warhammer 40k games on PC and console. You might also consider checking out the Warhammer 40k Rogue Trader bundle deal, which offers every rulebook from the pen and paper RPG that the videogame is based on at a huge discount.