Games Workshop's Space Hulk coming to iPhone, not Android

The tactical sci-fi game is coming to PC, Mac, iPhone and iPad next year, but Android isn't yet on the cards, the developer tells CNET.

A nail-biting game of survival horror set in the rotting spaceships of the grim far future, Space Hulk scared my pants off when Games Workshop released the board game in 1989. Now it's licensed the game to Danish app developer Full Control, which is bringing it to PC, Mac and iOS next year.

You'll control a squad of implausibly armoured space marines trying to escape one of the titular wrecks as you're hunted down by the merciless Genestealers -- multi-armed horrors that bear more than a passing resemblance to HR Giger's alien.

Unlike previous PC treatments of the property, new Space Hulk won't be a first-person shooter -- it's a 3D turn-based strategy game, in the vein of XCOM: Enemy Unknown . You'll be able to play co-operatively or against each other with friends on different platforms, and even make your own maps. I'm absolutely delighted by this approach, because it stands the best chance of capturing what was so tense and thoughtful about the original.

Copenhagen-based Full Control have mainly released strategy games for the PC, Mac, iPhone and iPad previously. I asked CEO Thomas Hentschel Lund why Android wasn't in the mix.

"We had to pick launch platforms, and we decided to go with the ones that had the right balance of ROI [return on investment], most team experience, least QA challenges and most users that are willing to pay for premium games," Lund told me in an email.

"So while Android (and consoles and Windows RT) are not in the launch list, [that] doesn't mean we do not want to do them in the future. But no promises. Let's make Space Hulk first -- then spread it out on a variety of platforms.

"We are not hating Android or Android users," he says. "But it's simply a more risky platform to launch on. Much less risky to go with solid platforms, get the game profitable and then port to more risky platforms once you see the performance of the given game."

We've heard recently from the likes of the BBC and Sky that Android is harder to develop for than Apple's iOS because of the different versions of the software and the many devices you need to support to make it worthwhile.

But Android is beginning to represent a better investment for app makers. A survey in August by app maker SwiftKey found Android users were narrowing the gap on iOS users in terms of the number of apps they had paid for. Meanwhile the number of Android users continues to skyrocket, with IDC estimating it took 68 per cent of the smart phone market in the second quarter of the year.

As Lund mentioned, however, the experience of developers is a key factor in deciding which platforms to launch on. As Apple has dominated apps for the last four years, it'll be some time before dev teams build up sufficient experience to be confident of launching successfully on Android.

Space Hulk is due for launch sometime next year -- check out the teaser trailer below, and you can find more details on the website. Do you remember the board game fondly? Are you annoyed it's not launching on Android? Unload your comments below, or over on our hard as space-nails Facebook page.

 

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