Total War – Warhammer Introduces Noble Cat-Birds

We’re probably not going to be covering all of these individually, but here’s the first of Sega and Creative Assembly’s unit-specific videos for the upcoming Total War: Hammer Time [official site]. Whether we post every single video or not, one thing’s for sure – if there’s a night goblin fanatic video at any point, I’ll be posting it several times.

If you choose to, you can easily interpret the narration as suggesting that Creative Assembly have been studying actual demigryphs to perfect the animation but I think they’ve actually been watching lots of cat gifs.

Pip has been learning about the units that will be in the game, particularly those in the Greenskin and Imperial factions. The demigrpyhs belong to the latter and they’re not the most unusual unit in the armies of the Empire. That might just be the Luminark of Hysh.

It’s got two Empire wizards on it and something called a bound spell. They’ve locked this spell into this machine that some mages have poured all their power into, called Solheim’s bolt. On command they can wind that up and just fire this ray. It can take down a Giant in one hit. It’s a slow firing beast but pretty powerful, mainly for taking out larger units. If you use it against a group the laser’s so thin it’s not going to take out much, but against a bigger unit…

There’s a more pressing matter though. Did Games Workshop tell Creative Assembly that the Warhammer Fantasy world would be dead before Total War: Warhammer was released? It seems unlikely that the game has been planned as a eulogy of sorts but that would be a beautiful thing. I hadn’t even realised that the new Age of Sigma heralded the end of the traditional Warhammer Fantasy setting until last week, when I decided to look at some miniatures and fell into some serious lore perusal. It’s kind of neat to think of this new Total War as a chronicle of a dead fictional world.

31 Comments

  1. unitled says:

    Maybe GW are hoping the fact the Old World doesn’t exist as a setting anymore will attract nostalgic ex-fans?

  2. Gothnak says:

    The only Demigryphs i want to see in game are the ones crushed under the might of my Chaos Army. Birdy-Liony things? Pah…

    • Chiron says:

      Demi-grpyhs are a mark of the new, shittier, direction the tried to take Warhammer. Everyone gets a monster!

      Worked so well they ended up nuking the setting.

      Fuckers… I want mostly historical style humans in a world fighting Orcs and Monsters rather than big damn heroes and blokes on monster cavalry.

  3. SanguineAngel says:

    Looking at the recently released rules for the Age of Sigmar, I think GW may have really gone off the deep end. At least they can’t take the old edition rules away from us but they will stop selling the Warhammer Fantasy miniatures so it will effectively mean the end of an era. Total Warhammer may be all we have to keep it alive I suppose

    • SanguineAngel says:

      So as untitled says, Creative may benefit from all the fans without a home seeking refuge with them

    • Chris Cunningham says:

      They’re not stopping selling miniatures though, are they? They’ve just killed the game itself off, based on the fairly solid rationale that they stopped being a games company near enough 20 years ago and now exist solely to sell cool-looking miniatures. Meanwhile, bear in mind that this is just a Total War skin with steam tanks: it’s unlikely to actually play like WFB. Hell, Shadow of the Horned Rat and Dark Omen didn’t play like WFB and they had the entire game engine written around the rules.

    • vlonk says:

      Radically reinventing something beloved more often than not leads to disaster. This might very well be a NGE moment that brakes the WARcamels back.

      With the changes to online distribution that killed many retailshop owners businesses and the new pricing model they already thinned out the lines of businesspartners, fans and newcomers alike. Where are they heading with this?

      • Hanban says:

        As someone who hasn’t been intererested in Warhammer in a decade, I struggle to see what else GW could have done. So far as I understand the conversation around AoS, Fantasy Battles was not profitable and was basically dying. I’m sure that’s GW’s fault to some extent, but they really did need a shakeup. From that perspective I think radically reinventing it was a good move. However, looking at the new rules … they look a bit shit.

        • vlonk says:

          They neglected community building. Hardcore fans can carry you only so long and so much… Maybe actually iterate on a ruleset that is… balanced ?=)
          Entrylevel got obscenely expensive since smaller models = more powerful = higher price in general in GW products right now. All the nasty things of powercreep are going on here. This leaves room for other companies to swoop in and gain massive marketshare with warmachine, infinity, etc. All GW does is… speed up that process?

          Making good rules is actually something you can solve with money… more testgroups, hire more creative talent, get some of these fancy computergame wizkids and through money at them until they want to gamedesign your boardgame… it works the other way around for christ sakes! I want Ecplipse 2.0 but NO that guy Tahkokallio was hired by Supercell Games to work on mobile strategy titles and since then his boardgame inventions are coming in veeery slowly.

          • mashkeyboardgetusername says:

            I dunno, I remember the old GW official forums and, even by the relatively low standards that internet forums can fall to they were really, really fucking awful. Huge amounts of moaning, huge amounts of aggression towards other forum members/player and GW staff (moderators, writers and designers, artists, figure sculptors, the lot). When 4chan was a more pleasant place to discuss wargaming than the official forums something’s gone badly wrong, so I can’t exactly blame GW if they decided community interaction was on a hiding to nothing.

          • Detocroix says:

            They hired Tahkokallio? God damn it.

            Well… At least you can still get Twilight Imperium, the biggest and still the best 4X (as a boardgame). Eclipse was nice and quick to play though, especially those weekends you didn’t spend both days on one game.

        • PancakeWizard says:

          “, I struggle to see what else GW could have done”

          The lore and core game was the only thing that wasn’t broken though. I’m all for shaking things up, but if it ain’t broke etc.

    • aircool says:

      I’d just like to note that I like Age of Sigmar before it becomes cool.

    • blastaz says:

      Has someone got a good link to the lore of what has happened/ what age of sigma is? I haven’t played in 20 years, but I might shed a manly tear for Bretonnia.

      • blastaz says:

        Sigmar. I thought it needed the R, but damnit RPS I trusted you!

  4. captainparty says:

    Age of Sigmar is cool as heck and fun as balls. Nerds are always going to rage, but they’re the same nerds that weren’t buying any models, so who cars?

    • captainparty says:

      Who cars indeed.

    • Archonsod says:

      The problem isn’t that people weren’t buying models, it’s that they weren’t buying Citadel models. GW is repeating the same mistake we’ve seen throughout history of trying to deal with competitors cannibalising their product by attempting to turn it into a walled garden rather than using their dominant market position to turn the tables on those competitors. It’s like IBM vs Microsoft all over again and likely to end up the same way – in fact there’s already a few companies releasing rules systems designed to replace WFB.

  5. Fiyenyaa says:

    I can’t help but think that releasing this after Age of Sigmar is a thing is massive mistep.

    I wonder how many people starting collecting 40k because of Dawn of War? Now, I’m just making a not-even-educated-guess, but I bet it was a not insignificant number. Now we have a similarly flashy game that showcases Warhammer Fantasy in all it’s silly glory, and when the person who just sat down to play this game thinks to themselves “well that was stupid in the best possible way – maybe I’d like to get my hands on some of the real life stuff” and they go to GWs website, they no longer see any icon that looks like the Warhammer icon of old, and get stared at by gigantic Sigmar not-Space Marines and think “weird! Maybe this version of Warhammer was just cooked up for that game” and go back to not caring.

    I get that WFB was overly complicated and had a huge barrier to entry (both mentally and financially), but I really feel like by abandoning many of it’s core concepts (like ranked up units, silly magic, the renaissance-on-mushrooms aesthetic, etc) they’ve gone too far with changing it. I can get behind simpler rules, but simplification doesn’t have to equate to vastly different concepts.

    Disclaimer; I am bitter because I just got back into Fantasy after a gap of about 8 years a couple of months ago.

    • Fiyenyaa says:

      A massive misstep for Games Workshop is what I meant.

      And also, maybe I’m wrong! Maybe this is the only way they could wring and serious money out of Fantasy anymore, and they are right to go full steam ahead with AoS – I could be totally wrong about how many people would get into Fantasy because they liked a game based on it too.

      But I don’t have to like it. So there. I like square bases and 3-hour games and the look of a 50-strong unit of clanrats once I’ve painted them all up.

      • captainparty says:

        Age of Sigmar units can still rank up, they’ll just spread apart if they hit the enemy, much like a real unit of troops would!

        • Fiyenyaa says:

          You’re right to an extent – and I’m not one of those people who hate everything about AoS.
          But the “ranking up” in AoS doesn’t really have any impact beyond the range of weapons, where in WFB it matters because of flanks, of combat resolution, of movement, and the mechanics defining support attacks and certain weapons.

          I honestly think that if they sold Age of Sigmar as a standalone skirmish game rule set, kept the models on square bases (especially unimportant because bases “don’t matter” under AoS rules) and came up with rules for the new factions in 8th edition, it’d be a great gateway into the hobby. As it stands, it’s pissed off half the people who really love WFB already. For myself, I’m pretty worried that the army I’ve invested a load of money in won’t really get a lot of use out of it. I’ll have fun painting it and co-opting friends to play against me, but to have entered back into the hobby to play WFB only to have it officially become unsupported after a couple of months? Well like I say, it worries me.

          • Fiyenyaa says:

            Oh, and I totes forgot; combat reforms in WFB basically simulate that in 8th edition as well – you can increase the frontage of a unit to get more people fighting – so that system is in both games handled in different ways.

    • slerbal says:

      Games Workshop have a great skill, sadly that skill is managing to piss off both their fan base and investors at the same time with decisions that make no sense on either level. Add t that the insanity of destroying the Warhammer world in a year with multiple Warhammer games being released which will reach whole new audiences and will be backed by millions of $ of marketing spend and you have a marketing clusterf*ck as well. Good job, GW.

      It is sad, and as much as it pains me to say this I hope they fall apart and get Warhammer and 40k picked up by companies who actually value the lore, and everything that makes them so unique. Games Workshop sadden me.

  6. PhilBowles says:

    After Dark Omen, Space Marine (as in, Epic) and Space Hulk (the first one), GW instituted a policy not to sell licences to make computer games that were just imports of their supported paper rulesets, and to this day they haven’t changed that (Space Hulk is the only one of their plethora of licensed games they support in any form, and that only as periodic limited editions) – hence of all the 40K games out there, and the company’s obvious desperation to milk all its licences for everything they’re worth in computer games as the tabletop business slowly sinks, none closely resemble the tabletop ruleset.

    I suspect they only licensed out a game that’s essentially Shadow of the Horned Rat/Dark Omen Redux once they’d made the decision to end tabletop support for Warhammer.

  7. Phier says:

    As a former Total War fan and now Total War Negative Nancy I’m going to make some predictions.

    The campaign AI will be awful, unless set at higher difficulty where it will cheat to make up for its awfulness.
    The battle AI will be bad.
    Diplomacy will make no sense at all.
    Anything involving sieges will be bad.
    Units will look great until game release, where suddenly they look pretty awful.

    TW peaked when they patched MTW2, and had a brief return to glory with Shogun, but with them basically nerfing modding due to Warscape and DLC, along with Warscape issues, TW has been pretty abysmal after Empire.

    • Loyal_Viggo says:

      This. So much this. Medieval 2 Kingdoms, and also total conversions, will always be the best TW experience.

  8. Chris Cunningham says:

    Erm, what? Blood Bowl is a direct, officially-sanctioned port of a Games Workshop license that is rule-for-rule identical to the tabletop game. Battlefleet Gothic and Mordheim are both on the way, the latter in Early Access already.

    You also missed that they already released a new officially sanctioned WFB game, Mark of Chaos, nearly ten years ago now (cheap, ineffective tie-in though it might have been).