Games Workshop has announced it’s working with Japanese game developer FromSoftware – creator of Elden Ring and the Dark Souls series – on a brand new licensed videogame titled Warhammer 40,000: Nihilus. Currently in development for Xbox Series X/S, PS5, and PC, the forthcoming RPG will reportedly feature actor Henry Cavill – star of Netflix’s The Witcher, and self-confessed Warhammer fanatic – as the voice of the Emperor of Mankind.
Revealed in a joint press release by FromSoft and GW on Friday, Warhammer 40k: Nihilus is intended to be a “vast, mysterious, and constantly surprising open-world action-RPG of the same breed as Elden Ring” – but the release also promises it’ll stay true to the “grim, dark heart of the Warhammer 40,000 universe”.
GW and FromSoft are giving nothing away about the game’s release date – merely teasing that fans “won’t be waiting until the grim darkness of the far future to hear more”. But their announcement does confirm that the Emperor of Mankind is a key character in the story, and that The Witcher actor and community darling of Warhammer Henry Cavill, will voice the part.
“I’m so excited we can finally talk about this,” Cavill says in Friday’s press announcement, adding it was “quite literally the biggest part in human history – the opportunity to be part of this game was so perfect for me, I did a little dance when they called”.
Cavill’s become something of a champion for the 40k community in recent months, defending his Warhammer hobby on the BBC’s The Graham Norton Show and dropping 40k-related hints online – including this Instagram post from the set of The Witcher, in which Cavill likens himself to Neoth – another name for The Emperor.
The announcement’s brief summary of Nihilus’ storyline sheds some light on Cavill’s role as the Emperor, too. In the plot of Nihilus, the announcement explains, the Emperor is stirring from his 10,000-year coma, and sends psychic messages to three warriors of the Imperium of Man – a member of the Adeptus Custodes; a Space Marine Librarian; and a Tech-Priest of the Adeptus Mechanicus – ordering them on a quest into the benighted ‘Imperium Nihilus’ region, in search of a relic that’ll allow the Emperor to return.
FromSoft says these three characters – from different Warhammer 40k factions – will all be playable in Warhammer 40k: Nihilus, with their own stats, skill trees, and equipment options. As an open world action-RPG, Nihilus will also feature “dozens of planets with huge open worlds on their surfaces, each rich with exploration, atmospheric storytelling, and deadly dangers”.
You’ll travel between all those planets aboard your personal spaceship, the Henrius Cavillium, which also acts as an in-game hub area (similar to those in Elden Ring and the Souls games) – crewed by an elite unit of Imperial Navy troopers called the ‘Cavilliers’.
“In a very real sense, I feel I’ve always been playing the part of the Emperor,” says Cavill in the announcement. “And, of course, theoretically, I could really be him!”
Cavill’s hint that he could, in fact, be the Emperor of Mankind in real life would be consistent with Warhammer 40k lore, which states the Emperor is an effectively immortal being who’s been present (under many names and guises) throughout the rise of human civilisation.
“I don’t have psychic powers, though”, he admits; “that would be ridiculous.”
“As to whether Henry is really the Emperor, we can’t comment,” says GW in the announcement – “but he sure does look like him, doesn’t he?”
“We’ll have to wait for the game to find out…”