However they wanted to "go down on the ground" with the Space Marine, shifting gears to third-person. Their RTS knowledge "translated really well" to it.
"It was a tricky transition, and there were certainly some growing pains," said Relic's Matt Rose. "As we looked to make Space Marine, there was a lot of stuff that we liked about The Outfit, but there were certainly some things that could be improved upon."
The studio tried its hand at console development with 2006's The Outfit for Xbox 360, which blended third-person with real-time strategy elements.
"We had a lot of really good designers who could design weapon and unit balance and the sort of 'rock, paper, scissors' aspect of some of the RTS games," added Rose.
"That translated really well to third-person shooter development, but we had to add some expertise." Relic took on developers who had history with Crytek, Microsoft, Electronic Arts and other well known console focused houses.
THQ wasn't resistant to the idea of Space Marine revealed the associate producer. "There wasn't a lot of convincing that had to be done," he said, as Relic put together a number of bite size prototypes of the project before getting green lit.
"Our mission statement is to make excellent games, not to just make excellent RTS games. The reason we wanted to do Space Marine was because there were a lot of people here who were super-passionate about the game and the idea," Rose said.
"We'd been making Dawn of War, for so long, everyone wanted to make a game where you got to go down on the ground level with the space marine, and control that character. And we want to build up our skillset and our base to develop on as many platforms as possible."
"We want to be in the business of creating new, successful, critically-acclaimed franchises," he added. "And I think that's true across both THQ and Relic. Also, we want to continue with the franchises that we have, that the fans love and the fans want more of."
"Looking to add new and exciting franchises is a really big opportunity for THQ and for Relic, and Space Marine is certainly a step in that direction."
Warhammer 40k: Space Marine releases on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC this week. Do you have confidence in Relic Entertainment delivering an action-packed Space Marine?