Warhammer 40K: Rogue Trader – All News So Far & Is It Worth It?

Warhammer 40K is one of those IP’s that even if you don’t know about it, you still end up knowing about it. Much like Star Wars and Marvel, the series has stayed relevant since its creation in the 80s and has branched out into every form of media, especially video games. With its most recent entry, Warhammer 40K: Rogue Trader, currently in beta, we’ve compiled all the news we know about the game so far!

If you’re fairly new to the Warhammer 40K series, it can be rather confusing to decide if this game is up your alley or not. But don’t worry, we’ll go over everything you need to know and determine if it’s a good fit for players unfamiliar with the setting and just worth spending your time on in general.

What We Know About Warhammer 40K: Rogue Trader So Far

Let’s start with what we know about Warhammer 40K: Rogue Trader as of now. With the beta out as of June 1, we’ve got some hands-on time with the game, as well as what we’ve been told by the developers.

What we know about Warhammer 40K: Rogue Trader
Image: Owlcat Games

Genre and Setting/Plot

The first thing to note is how the game will play. Much like their previous games Pathfinder: Kingmaker and Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous, Rogue Trader will be an isometric RPG. The game will also play like those previous titles with a strong emphasis on companion interaction and storytelling. 

Much like the Pathfinder games were based on Pathfinder (First Edition), Warhammer 40K: Rogue Trader is based on the TTRPG Rogue Trader produced by Fantasy Flight Games back in 2009.

Just like the TTRPG, you will take on the role of a Rogue Trader – an explorer/merchant faction within the 40K setting with a unique amount of freedom in the grim dark oppressive period. Your goal will be to explore the Koronus Expanse and build your trading empire while also fighting against the forces of Chaos and their minions.

Gameplay & Difficulty

Warhammer 40K: Rogue Trader offers a fun blend of storytelling and turn-based combat with XCOM-style elements sprinkled in. This addition adds a nice twist to the Owlcat game formula.

While the combat system is easy to understand and get a grasp of, the unique abilities and weapons allow the game to get pretty complex. The best way we can explain is that the game has a low-skill floor with a high-skill ceiling.

We fully believe players can get through the game without utilizing every mechanic available to them, especially with the extensive difficulty settings. On the flip side, there’s a lot of ability/weapon cohesion that open up opportunities to turn the battlefield into a symphony of war and carnage… presuming you can master them of course.

Voidship Combat

This time around, instead of Kingdom management or Crusade management, Rogue Trader has Voidship combat. In the past, these additions have been love-it or hate-it amongst the community, but it’s always interesting to see how Owlcat translates these RPG mechanics into the game.

Much like the Crusade management, Voidship combat is turn-based. You’ll get different weapons positioned around the ship that you can use, and your crew will level up to unlock new abilities. These abilities will come in handy, because enemy factions have different ship types that they will marshal against you. Although not confirmed, we would be surprised if upgrading and training your crew didn’t play into whatever ending you get (like in previous titles). 

Release Date & Availability

Warhammer 40K: Rogue Trader is expected to have a full release date near the end of 2023 on PC via Steam, GOG, and EGS.

However, players who don’t want to wait can pre-order the game on Owlcat’s website and get a beta key that lets them play the first three chapters. Be warned though, the beta has bugs and incomplete features, so it’s (hopefully) not indicative of what the final product will be like.

With all that being said though, the 40K series might seem daunting to players not familiar with it. After all, it’s hard to roleplay in a game whose setting is completely alien to you. Which leads to our next section.

Is Warhammer 40K: Rogue Trader Good For New Players?

As someone fairly new to the Warhammer 40K setting, having dived into it about a year ago, I find myself in a unique position with this game.

On one hand, I’ve been dabbling in the lore and setting, so most of the concepts brought up in the game are ones that I can understand. On the other hand, I’m not nearly as versed as veterans of the 40K universe, meaning some things brought up in the game are completely unknown to me.

Good for new players - Warhammer 40K: Rogue Trader News
Image: Owlcat Games

This puts me in a nice position to see somewhat from the perspective of someone completely familiar with the setting and someone who isn’t. But to make a long story short, Warhammer 40K: Rogue Trader is perfect for players new to the setting.

While I went into Owlcat’s previous games already having a fair bit of pen-and-paper Pathfinder experience under my belt, I’ve never played Rogue Trader. And as I said, I’m still fairly new to this juggernaut of a setting. Luckily, this didn’t even remotely take away from my enjoyment of the game.

Owlcat does an amazing job of onboarding the player into the world of Warhammer 40K the moment they start the game.

Major concepts, characters, and events are given a hyperlink when they appear in dialogue. Much like in the Pathfinder games, all the player needs to do is hover their mouse over the word and they’ll be given a short blurb or definition to help them out.

This is incredibly helpful when just one character can go by four or five different names and titles. Furthermore, Owlcat has included an already robust glossary and dictionary containing all the information you’ll probably need. And that’s just in the beta! I can only assume more information will be added by the full release.

I have no doubt this game will be more than fun for players new to Warhammer. More than that, I think this game could serve as a perfect entrance into the setting. I wish I had a game like Rogue Trader when my interest in Warhammer was first sparked. While the old Dawn of War games did a great job of keeping me interested, this game’s goal of teaching you about the universe as you play it would have been very welcomed.

Is Warhammer 40K: Rogue Trader Good For Veteran Players?

As I mentioned above, I’ve got my hands in both camps when it comes to Warhammer 40K. While creating a game that caters to people new to an IP is welcome, it shouldn’t be to the detriment of that IP’s existing fans. Although easier said than done most of the time, Owlcat had no problems with that issue when making this game.

Good for veteran players - Warhammer 40K: Rogue Trader News
Image: Owlcat Games

Whereas new players have all the tools they need to understand the universe, veterans will feel right at home. The developers have done their research here. Much like in the Pathfinder games, players that understand the setting and the lore associated with it will be able to pick out neat easter eggs and references throughout the game. And while I’ve never played the Rogue Trader pen-and-paper game, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some easter eggs from that as well.

I think this game could prove to be a favorite of Warhammer 40K fans – even for those who tend to stay away from turn-based games or isometric RPGs!

Join the High Ground

And there you have it. All the current news on Warhammer 40K: Rogue Trader and our thoughts on whether or not this entry will be good for players new to the setting.

Are you excited for the release of the game? Have already begun exploring the Koronus Expanse in the beta? Tell us in the comments below and don’t forget to subscribe for more content like this in the future.

Happy gaming!


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