There has, you’ve no doubt noticed, been an unprecedented increase in the frequency of Warhammer games of late. Steam has been peppered with straight-up tabletop adaptations, cooperative fantasy shooters and real-time space strategy, like pellets from a dwarven blunderbuss. As an overall approach it’s seemed scattershot, but the best of the bunch - Blood Bowl 2, maybe, or Mordheim - are very good indeed.
So what’s changed at the Workshop? A few things, as it turns out. Head of licensing Jon Gillard says the tabletop studio have always felt that more could be done with their three decades of games, miniatures and 900(!) Black Library novels.
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Four years ago, with Apple, Google and Steam bypassing publishers for the first time, Games Workshop decided to change their approach. Rather than sell off single, broad deals like the 40k one they’d brokered with THQ, they started to license specific rights for particular projects - Space Hulk to Full Control, for instance, or Warhammer Quest to Rodeo Games. Nowadays, each deal is structured differently to suit the partnership.
That’s meant Gillard’s department can now look at every one of the projects they’re constantly approached with - whether or not the asker has the backing of a major publisher.
“We’re prepared to consider any serious pitch that looks like a good game that's commercially viable, whether from a developer, a publisher, or both,” Gillard told Gamasutra. “Generally we are approached by someone with a concept they're passionate about. In fact at any one time, we are seriously discussing pitches with a very large number of companies, developers, and publishers.”
Meanwhile, the Necromunda mystery continues. Mentioned to PCGamesN in interviews with the makers of both Space Hulk and Deathwatch, no digital relation to the 40K hive planet skirmish game has yet emerged - but Gilliard is keen.
“There are many, many kinds of Necromunda games you could make,” he said. “It’s a deeply realised world in its own right.”
Well, quite. What’s the perfect Warhammer game you’re waiting for?