From the computer to the tabletop, this is all about games. Updated each week-end.
I wrote before about the Time of Ending in Warhammer 40,000 and what it could mean. This article is to expand on that and take the foolish position of making predictions. I want to make clear these are things I think may happen. I don’t claim to have any special knowledge. The conclusions are what I came to simply by looking at Warhammer 40,000 now, and thinking about the parallels with what happened to Warhammer after the End Times.
The factions culled in Warhammer were those where models could be easily made by other manufacturers. The Empire, Bretonnia, and Khemri all had close analogues in history or other fiction works which meant look alike miniatures were easy to make, either deliberately or coincidentally. Orcs & Goblins received a face lift and a name change to single them out as a specifically Games Workshop intellectual property.
This is the basis on which decisions are made. Not story – as with the End Times, any story events are being retrofit to suit decisions that have already been made. Can the faction be made ours? asks Games Workshop.
Of the Warhammer 40,000 factions, the Imperial Guard (or Astra Militarum) seem the most likely to be stripped back and to receive a major visual overhaul. Of the other factions I think the Orks are in the most danger of getting the chop(pa). What we will see is a shrinking of faction choices to make it easier for players to enter the game by simply buying a kit they like the look of.
So here goes predictions: I think we are moving into an Age of Sigmar analogue where factions will be merged by theme rather than separated by endless army books. I’m expected all imperial factions (mechanicus, various marine chapters, etc.) to move into an ‘order’ faction along with eldar of all stripes and the Tau too. One big happy family.
Chaos of course will be their own faction, daemon and marine alike.
The Tyranids do a good job of being the destruction or in this case Devourer faction and I think we’ll see them stay by themselves, much like the undead in Age of Sigmar.
Speaking of undead, what of the Necrons, those space undead? I think they will stay, and if the Orks remain it will be as C’tan servants who can go rogue and appear separately too.
What story moves would be needed to enable the above? Well expect to see a massive expansion of chaos throughout the galaxy, and something to remind us that the Tyranids are still out there too.
A unified human/eldar/tau grand alliance linked by webway connections seems the easiest thing here. The webway allows for immediate travel to threatened worlds, regardless of the threat, so expect something similar to Age of Sigmar’s realmgates.
Armies led by demigods, whether primarchs, avatars, daemons, or something else, will clash on worlds across the galaxy. Will the Eye of Terror remain or will the energy of chaos be dissipated across the galaxy? This would give our heroic faction the hopeful tas to liberating the galaxy. There’s that word ‘hope’ again.
I don’t think Earth or the solar system in general is going to make it. Much easier to create worlds that become Games Workshop properties from the ground up, and have factions fight for those. The emperor may well wake up, but if he sticks around will stay off stage the way Sigmar does.
Necrons will have a similar role to the undead in Age of Sigmar. Nominally opposed to chaos but too intent on their own agendas to ever be truly trustworthy.
Wait and see
Ultimately this will all play out between now and the release of the next edition of Warhammer 40,000. How right am I? Will any of this come to pass? Will anyone notice none of the art used in this article is from Games Workshop? Only time will tell.