Necromunda: Hired Gun wants to take players into the rotten core of Warhammer 40,000’s most vile locations — but not without the proper tools. The sheer brutality of the game’s frenetic first-person shooter gameplay has attracted the attention of franchise fans and newcomers alike, but its world teases endless possibilities. With the established background of the Warhammer franchise pushing wind in its sails, developer Streum On Studio has the opportunity to make the cesspool that is Necromunda’s underhive feel more visceral — and fun — than ever before.
We took the time to speak with game producer Victor Mercier to talk about how Necromunda: Hired Gun will keep players coming back to its mercenary-led story. Besides the addition of the fury companion we’ll get to meet as the game launches today, he says that Streum On’s passion for the Warhammer 40,000 universe helped it craft an engaging experience filled with varied locations to explore and upgrades to take advantage of.
The Escapist: Tell me about Streum On Studio and the people that it encompasses. I know the team has worked on the Warhammer 40K universe before, so what is it for Streum On that draws it back to Warhammer?
Victor Mercier: Passion, it’s as simple as that. We enjoyed working with Games Workshop and Focus on the previous title, and some of us are old enough to have been witnesses of the emergence of Necromunda back in the ‘90s, so you can guess we’re quite enthusiastic to work on this license that has a lot (really a lot) to offer.
How will gameplay in Necromunda: Hired Gun differ from Space Hulk: Deathwing? How does Streum On showcase its growth from previous games in Necromunda: Hired Gun?
Victor Mercier: Space Hulk: Deathwing was quite a challenge for us, as we’re more into fast FPS games (as you can see in our very first production, E.Y.E: Divine Cybermancy). Going back to our origins is quite enjoyable. Necromunda benefits from all those years of technical improvement, craziness (in a good way), and the gathering of a great team of passionate people.
What gameplay opportunities does the location of Necromunda open up? Will there be platforming challenges in-between all of the shooting?
Victor Mercier: First of all, Necromunda has a lot of diversity of environments, which allowed us to create various atmospheres and experiences for the players. We used this opportunity to have some mind-blowing events, some platforming sessions on the main path, and nervous gunfight moments.
Exploration was another important aspect we wanted to push, and without saying too much, players will have to use their platforming skills to find some quality loot in the game.
Necromunda: Hired Gun looks to be just as brutal as the location it’s set in. How creative can we get when dispatching targets and the many enemies that populate the game?
Victor Mercier: One of the keys for us was to organize enemies so that they use the environments to encourage the players to use their special moves and find the best way to get rid of everyone in your way.
Also, fast FPS means killing. A lot. This is why we chose to have many skills and weapons, so that the levels become a sandbox of chaos, where you are the one chasing your targets.
Talk me through Necromunda: Hired Gun’s gameplay loop. How will sidequests differ from main story objectives?
Victor Mercier: The hub is visited by the players between each mission (except some specific moments, but we’ll let you get the surprise!). It’s the moment where we give information about the story, give a break from all the gunfighting and fast action to allow some shopping time for weapons and bionics.
Those sidequests are more independent contracts that the player can choose to fulfill in order to get more credits. In Necromunda, everything has a price, so the more you get bounties, the more you get money, and the more you can improve your gear, yourself, and of course your four-legged buddy.
Will players be able to play through the game without much adventuring, or will you need to do some exploring in order to get the full experience?
Victor Mercier: When we create a game, every element is placed for a reason, and every corner has been carefully thought out. So, we expect players to go around and check everything we prepared for them (who said Easter eggs?).
Of course, you can go for the full violent and brutal aspect of the game, but you might miss some valuable loot that would make you feel even stronger, which would be a shame when you’ll face some big guys!
What do upgrades look like in Necromunda: Hired Gun? Will upgrades be visible on the weapons, what kind of upgrades can we expect, etc.?
Victor Mercier: Weapon customizations will be an important part of the journey, and we got your back when it comes to the number! You will be able to get the same base weapon and literally transform it to your will. Making it more tactical by adding foregrip and mid-scope, making it more long-range by changing the barrel and a specific stock, making it more deadly by adding suppressors and laser sight, etc., you name it. Everybody can find their own way to explore the Underhive.
Upgrades on the player (literal upgrades, not skills) are offering a new way of combat. Move like there’s no limit, discover the full possibilities that Necromunda is offering you. Some are quite obvious and allow you to kill without any weapon, others are more dynamic and allow you to double jump, and some are more subtle and allow you to have more money in the end. It’s always up to you.
And finally, there’s our good boy, who also deserves to pay a visit to our favorite Rogue Doc.
I’d love to talk more about the cyber-mastiff. What sort of upgrades can we give our dog, and can they take damage during battle?
Victor Mercier: Unfortunately, yes, our best friend can take damage and even get knocked out during battle, which means you should avoid throwing him in the middle of deadly enemies with big guns and just hope he’ll do all the work!
So, in order for him to survive in this hostile place, we can make him stronger, faster, and cooler. As a canine friend, he’s got the great advantage of detecting the enemies (or the allies, but let’s be real, they are not many in Necromunda).
You can also reduce his cooldown and increase the time he will be by your side. We made everything so that you can spend the most time with your dog.
Can players unfamiliar with the Warhammer 40K universe pick up Necromunda: Hired Gun without feeling left out? What has been done to make newcomers feel included?
Victor Mercier: Necromunda is quite a specific part of the IP, and we agree that it might be tough for newcomers to fully understand the lore and details of this dark environment.
This is why we not only introduce the world from the beginning of the game to everyone to make sure all players get core information on the Underhive, but we also chose to have a story that doesn’t rely too much on elements that only the IP fans would understand. (They will still find surprises of course — we leave no one behind!)
How long will it take the average player to beat Necromunda: Hired Gun?
Victor Mercier: If you want to get the game to a 100% completion and dig into side missions, you have plenty of hours ahead, especially if you go and try the game into the maximum difficulty.
If you focus on the main campaign and take time to upgrade your gear, we target a good 10 hours for the game. For the ones who like achievements, we did not forget them. We chose to go for fun and hopefully not frustrating ones!
What can players expect in terms of replayability after they complete the campaign?
Victor Mercier: As we’ve got plenty of weapons and a large amount of customization, there is quite a lot to do to test different approaches of the game, different ways of doing things. Side contracts also allow you to see different aspects of what it really means to live in the Underhive. Territories changing hands constantly. Wars between gangs. Businesses to ruin. The good thing is that you always manage to take profits.
What does Necromunda: Hired Gun’s post-launch look like? Are there any plans for additional content in any form?
Victor Mercier: Necromunda has a lot to offer, and so do we. We cannot speak too much about that so far, but be sure we’ll keep you updated.
Is there anything else you’d like to add about Necromunda: Hired Gun, Warhammer, or Streum On that you’d like fans to know?”
Victor Mercier: We really enjoyed developing Hired Gun, and we hope you’ll have as much fun as we had. If you like performing special moves, firing in every direction, escaping dangerous situations with class, crafting your own special lovely gun, running with your faithful companion, exploring old and dangerous industrial constructions, improving yourself with new (well not really new in that case) technology, developing favored relationships with Underhive gangs, etc… This game is for you.
Streum On Studio’s Necromunda: Hired Gun launches digitally on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X | S today on June 1. Physical versions of the game will be available starting June 30.
This interview has been edited for clarity.