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The Warhammer that almost was

Michael Zenke

Warhammer Online was recently delayed once again, as EA Mythic works tirelessly to bring us to war. Once upon a time, though, Mythic wasn't at the helm. The concept of a Warhammer MMO was under the auspices of a completely different development house, one named Climax Online. Syp over at the WAAAGH blog runs down the brief history of that other Warhammer Online, the one that really only lived in the imagination of the Climax developers and fans who attended E3 2003. The differences between the two games are very pronounced, especially given that both titles stem from the same IP. Climax's WAR was to be a small, gritty world with very low population servers; hallmarks of the time in which the game was developed.

Reading over the announced features now (12 towns, 15 dungeons, 5 races, skill-based leveling) it's easy to be more enthused about what Mythic has in development. Just the same, looking to the past can reveal some connections; Syp points out that Climax's Warhammer was to offer "an in-game journal that would record every quest undertaken, every mob killed, atlases and so forth - a precursor to our beloved Tome of Knowledge, perhaps?" Looking back on the MMO commentary available at the time, the original game's cancellation was cause for sadness. At least, these four years later, we can look back and see that the IP's journey to become a virtual world will have a happy ending after all.

To fully appreciate what might have been, read below the cut for a Warhammer Online trailer from 2003. Mind the vampires ...

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