With the impending shutdown looming over games previously covered by Microsoft’s Games for Windows Live service, Relic and SEGA have just announced that steps are being taken to preserve the functionality of online play for the entire Dawn of War series. The original Dawn of War was patched earlier in the week to replace Gamespy service, and now it’s Dawn of War 2’s turn.
This isn’t the first time Relic has had to deal with something like this in recent years; the original Company of Heroes went through a conversion to Steam in 2013. Philippe Boulle, Design Lead for the Dawn of War franchise, announced on Steam just moments ago upcoming patches to convert both Dawn of War games to Steamworks. Both titles will be updated to use the same system that was implemented for Company of Heroes 2.
On May 22nd, the original Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War and its expansions underwent a major update in order to preserve multiplayer gameplay for all these titles.
Since their launch, Dawn of War and its expansions (Winter Assault, Dark Crusade and Soulstorm) have relied on the GameSpy service for multiplayer matchmaking. Since they are about to shut down their services for good it would otherwise leave these games without any way to play multiplayer. That is not an outcome anyone at Relic would want to see.
Dawn of War II and its first expansion (Chaos Rising) also rely on other external servers so we also intend to take this opportunity to migrate them over to Steam in order for a consistent multiplayer experience across the entire portfolio. This migration is in progress and we’ll have more details soon.
So, all titles in the franchise are being updated to use the same matchmaking and backend developed for Company of Heroes 2. This will not only mean multiplayer can continue on these titles, but the matchmaking experience will be improved. Matchmaking/login and so on will thus all be through Steam.
In the short term, there are likely to be some technical issues with the new setup. Recreating the multiplayer infrastructure for seven titles is no small feat, and there will be bugs. Ultimately, we felt that it would be better to get the update out in a slightly imperfect state in time to prevent an outright interruption in multiplayer play. So, bugs.
We are committed to tackling these bugs and getting all titles to be fully Steam enabled.
This update – and continued further support for DoW and DoW2 – is a big step for us at Relic. It’s a concrete signal of support for the Dawn of War franchise from us and from SEGA as a whole. Ever since SEGA acquired Relic we’ve been working on continued support for the Dawn of War back catalogue. It’s great for some of this to see the light of day at last.
I came to Relic in 2005 to work on the product that became Dark Crusade and went on to run narrative and campaign on both Dawn of War II and Chaos Rising. To be working on these titles again is a joy, and on behalf of all of us, I’d like to thank the fans who have continued to keep DoW in their hearts. You guys rock.
For the Emperor!
Design Lead, Dawn of War Franchise