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DC Universe Online MMO director attached to Warhammer project

Austin, Texas based Jackalyptic Games is working on an as-yet unrevealed Warhammer IP project, with MMO veteran Jack Emmert at the helm

New Warhammer IP project from veteran MMO director Jack Emmert - blue-armoured Ultrmarines Space Marine, promotional image from the upcoming Space Marine 2 game

In a press release on May 18, Jackalyptic Games announced that a new project using the Warhammer IP is in “early development”, and the talent attached to the project hints it could be a Warhammer MMO. The company is led by CEO Jack Emmert, a veteran of the MMO industry who led development on the classic City of Heroes MMO, and was the director on the DC Universe Online MMO until March 2022.

The prospect of an MMO starring the Warhammer 40k factions and set in the Imperium of Man is tantalizing, but Jackalyptic’s press release does not confirm exactly what kind of game is coming. Jackalyptic games was formed in May 2022 as Jackalope Games and doesn’t list any previous titles that the studio itself worked on, but some members of the team have worked together in other studios.

Jackalyptic Games’ CEO Jack Emmert has a long track-record developing MMOs and running MMO studios. According to his LinkedIn profile he co-founded Cryptic Studios in 2000, and in 2003 he led the design team for City of Heroes. As Chief Creative Officer he led design on Champions Online and Star Trek Online from 2006 to 2009.

DC Universe Online director Jack Emmert attached to Warhammer IP project - screenshot of super heroes from the DC Universe Online MMO

Emmet’s tenure at Cryptic ended in 2015, by which point he was the CEO. In 2016 he became the CEO of Daybreak Games’ Austen Studio (since renamed to Dimensional Ink), directing development on the DC Universe Online MMO.

Larz Smith joins the Jackalope Team as the Game Technical Director. Smith also worked at Daybreak Games Austen as the Lead Technical Programmer.

The press release also announces that Jackalyptic Games has been acquired by Chinese publisher NetEase Games. The publishing firm specializes in online multiplayer games, particularly mobile games. Previous titles include the mobile apps Harry Potter: Magic Awakened and Lord of the Rings Rise to War, and the wuxia battle royale Naraka Bladepoint.

Potential Warhammer MMO project coming from publisher NetEase - screenshot of Naraka Bladepoint, a 60 player PVP wuxia battle royale game

Jackalyptic Games’ press release states it will “operate independently and maintain creative autonomy in its game development” following the acquisition. The firm is currently advertising for an FX artist and senior technical animator.

It will be interesting to watch this develop. There has been a successful Warhammer MMO before, Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, though that’s long since closed and the only way to play it is on the fan-hosted Return of Reckoning Servers. A Warhammer 40k MMO spent a long time in development hell within THQ, before that company went bankrupt in 2012.

We have guides to the best Warhammer fantasy videogames and best Warhammer 40k games on PC if you fancy a digital fix of Warhammer. Or visit our sister site, PCGamesN, for a rundown on the best new MMOs and the best pc MMOs full-stop.