CRPG developer Owlcat Games has revealed that the Warhammer 40k: Rogue Trader release date on PC will be December 7. PS5, XBox Series X|S, and Mac versions of Rogue Trader will follow, though a date has yet to be announced.
Players are inheritors in a powerful Rogue Trader household, a noble lineage with a warrant to explore the stars and expand the boundaries of the Imperium of Man. You’ll assemble an inner circle of companions drawn from across the Warhammer 40k factions, as diverse as Adeptus Mechanicus tech priests or a vile Drukhari slave-taker, but your actual “crew” of indentured servants numbers in the tens of thousands.
If you’re not even sure what Warhammer 40k is, but you do know your Star Trek, think of a Rogue Trader as a Starfleet Captain, but without a prime directive to pretend to follow and a keen eye on the bottom line. If you’re more familiar with Star Wars, the Rogue Trader’s ship is as big and heavily armed as a Star Destroyer and has the architecture of a medieval cathedral.
Also, the only way to make faster-than-light travel in the 40k universe is to teleport into hell. It’s just like that.
A beta version of Rogue Trader is already available. Wargamer tested the Rogue Trader alpha build, and was deeply impressed with how well Owlcat had captured the vibes of the 40k setting, while still creating a comprehensible RPG for series newcomers. Check out this recent interview with executive producer Anatoly Shestov and lead writer Olga Kellner to learn how they’ve made the 40k universe digestible without losing the sense of scale.
The 40k setting is over 35 years old, fleshed out in hundreds of Warhammer 40k books, and there are dozens of Warhammer 40k games in the action and strategy genres. Despite this substantial legacy, the Rogue Trader release marks the 40k universe’s very first appearance as a digital RPG.
Owlcat’s two previous games are Pathfinder: Kingmaker and Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous. These adapt huge quantities of the Pathfinder classes, Pathfinder races, and other core rules into a digital setting, while adding in original systems to manage kingdoms and crusades.
Similarly, Rogue Trader adds space exploration and colony building to the CRPG formula. In case you’re worried that Rogue Trader has too much in common with Kingmaker – which launched in a very buggy state – Shestov told Wargamer that the studio has learnt from past mistakes in an early interview.
A December 7 launch puts Rogue Trader close to the probable Space Marine 2 release date. For CRPG fans, we expect the real competition for their time is a second (or subsequent) playthrough of Baldur’s Gate 3. If you’re still unsure what all the fuss with that game is about, check out our Baldur’s Gate 3 review, or some of our expansive guides – like this guide to Baldur’s Gate 3 romances.