The Chaos Space Marines are doppelgangers. They’re the Venom to the Space Marines’ Spider-Man; the Sith to their Jedi. They’re best buds with the dark gods of an obscure dimension. They gussy up their power armor with gaping skulls. And among the varied-shades-of-villain factions of 40k fiction, they’re a great candidate for their own expansion to Dawn of War II.
For Relic, the Chaos army is the right contrast to DOW2’s world-gobbling star locusts, the Tyranids. “They provide something that was not present in DOW2 - a thinking, speaking, malevolent bad-guy,” says Lead Designer Dan Kading. “Tyranids represented a deadly force of nature, but the forces of Chaos are the dedicated archenemies of the Space Marines, intent on not just destroying a world or system, but you specifically.”
That rivalry makes all the difference. To your Blood Ravens, every Chaos Marine is a heretic-traitor - fallen brothers who were once Emperor-lovin’ servants of the Imperium. And that history of corruption becomes a core mechanic for your own squads in Chaos Rising. The Corruption system presents players with temptations; our first comes during our world-exclusive demo of the third level. We’re on familiar ground: Angel Forge, a flashpoint for some of DOW2’s toughest battles. We approach Angel Gate (a kind of “Great Wall of the Imperium” that protects key structures in Angel Forge) after drop-podding to the surface.
We need to get to the opposite side of the gate to complete our mission. Our squads chatter over two options: jetpack to a battlement and activate a generator that will open the door (and likely lose the squad that leaps there), or bust a hole through the gate itself (and fracture one of the Imperium’s oldest and most revered defensive structures). The latter is quicker and keeps our squads intact, but we’ll see our marines’ Corruption meter creep up a little when we return to our ship.
All but two missions (of 15) in the campaign will present players with choices that affect their squads’ Corruption level. “You’ll discover enshrined armor that is yours for the taking, provided you’re willing to demolish the shrine itself - typically frowned upon in Imperial culture,” says Kading. And in addition to granting access to these different sets of wargear and unit traits, your squads’ Corruption level will influence AI allies who will assist you (or not) during a mission.