Why We’re Getting So Many Games Workshop Games

Say, remember the olden days before the Warhammer video game drought? GOG, that virtuous virtual vendor of vintage video games, have dug up an artifact from those times, today digitally re-releasing Warhammer 40,000: Rites of War. Harking from 1999, it’s turn-based strategy game built on the Panzer General 2 engine.

Say, notice how the Warhammer game drought ended a few years back and we’re now flooded with them? Games Workshop have spoken a little about how and why they’ve changed their plans about licensing Warhammer (and their other creations) to people making video game adaptations. They have a few ideas of their own too.

So, Rites of War! Made by DreamForge and published by SSI in 1999, it’s a serious turn-based strategy game starring the Eldar. Those space-snobs are busy trying to reclaim an ancient Maiden World by duffing up those louts from the Imperium of Man and the drooling Tyranids. GOG are selling for £3.99. To celebrate its launch, GOG are also holding a Warhammer sale this week.

As for the wider issue of licensing, Games Workshop chatted about this with Gamaustra. Head of licensing Jon Gillard explains that Games Workshop started rethinking their games ways back in 2011.

“Firstly we decided that we would focus on licensing the rights somebody needed to make the game or games they had an absolute plan to make rather than the big all-encompassing deals for a huge section of IP, like all of Warhammer 40,000 for example,” he said. This combined with the rise of digital distribution and self-publishing, reducing reliance on monolithic publishers, means they have loads more people making Games Workshop games.

He explains that unlike their physical games which limit the amount of things they can make by simply taking up space, video games let them go wild. He tosses out a few ideas, saying “… we absolutely want to see massive space ship battles based on Battlefleet Gothic, or a gang warfare game based on Necromunda, maybe a crazy violent racing game based on Gorkamorka.” Yes to that Necromunda, ta.

Though we’re seeing more mediocre Games Workshop games thanks to this change – the glory days of Relic making all the WH:40K games are certainly gone – I’m hopeful that it’ll throw up some wonderful oddities. Heck, I’m stoked to see what strange things the E.Y.E.: Divine Cybermancy folks end up making in Space Hulk: Deathwing.

But please do announce Dawn of War 3, Relic.


  1. Al__S says:

    Gorkamorka is needed now more than ever

    • iaguz says:

      Wasn’t that just Mad Max?

      • unacom says:

        No. Gorkamorka is Mad Max with cars that will -for no reason at all- desintegrate, flip or turn mid-boost. It is Mad Max with frustration. It is Mad Max with deliberate Cruelty. It is Mad Max with backstabbing.

        Actually Mad Max was an early, unfinished Gorkamorka.

        Yes. It. Is. Needed.

  2. FriendlyFire says:

    I’m not convinced by their new direction personally. While I think not being so incredibly protective of their franchises wasn’t the right move before, this new “Open the floodgates!” approach tends to create a lot of trash.

    At the very least make Dawn of War 3 happen for crying out loud.

    • FriendlyFire says:

      “While I think not being so incredibly protective of their franchises wasn’t the right move before”

      Ugh, my kingdom for an edit button!

    • Xzi says:

      Yeah, but Vermintide is really great and was worth wading through all the trash for. It’s one of those those brilliant concepts that makes you wonder why it hadn’t been done sooner.

      • Zankman says:

        Yeah, it’s great that it has been created!

        Now we just wait for them to finally make a kickass FPS game.

        Imperial Guardsman or Space Marine, I don’t care, just give me one!

        • Zelos says:

          Space Marine is/was actually a really good shooter. So they’ve already done that.

          • unacom says:

            Yes-ish. It´s not bad. But.
            I so much want to play as guardsman, ork, grot or some small tyranid. I want to have to think about how to get to the enemy, because one shot will off me.
            So. Space Marine is only a step.

      • SaintAn says:

        Same with Mordheim, which will be GOTY 2016 most likely.

      • socrate says:

        While vermintide isn’t BAD…its not the greatest thing ever and is already hitting massive concrete wall with the player base…its essentially Left4dead medieval with loot…and while adding loot might attract loot whore…it doesn’t have that fun moment of L4D or the quality of it…you didn’t need orange to actually finish the campaign on the hardest difficulty in L4D for exemple…and having bad player that would zerg would not cripple you as much and ruin the experience for everyone…you also have the problem of people just farming the same 2 map because their easier and they offer better opportunity for good loot or quick roll…i mean what did they expect from a loot game?that people would play the entire campaign?..loot efficiency is about RNG giving you more efficient drop…and their RNG is as bad as every game with drop these days..if not worst

        If you have a really good party of 4 with the skill to go on really hard difficulty then you will enjoy it more then most people…but…really you end up with even more problem then L4D had and you end up with the same boring gameplay that we’ve seen that long ago…the usual make noise by activating stuff or defend this or break that and then survive the swarming…which most of the time end up being go in a corner or use the glitch spot that everyone use because getting no loot for failing is horrible and its more fun to cheat then to lose at the very last spot.

        I think GW as always done stupid stuff and giving their IP to everyone they can give it as made it so i don’t want to see the normal Warhammer anymore…not to mention the huge screwup that was End Time.

        If people think about getting it i would say wait really…its really just L4D with loot and its not really all that great for more then maybe 4 hour and this is coming from someone who finish both L4D a gazillion time and did all difficulty with bot and people friend or pickup group..don’t listen to the stupid hype train that seem to happen all the time on steam now..save your money for november their is like gazillion game coming that are worth wasting more money on…or…you could do like a friend that bought it and got a refund when he didn’t enjoy it,just be sure to not clock 2 hour.

        • Pich says:

          I didn’t know that William Shatner visited RPS.

          • Kaben says:

            I will admit I had to read that comment again to understand yours – but laughed very hard when the penny dropped. Bravo.

    • SomeDuder says:

      Problem is that we only get games about SPACE MARINES & friends – the focus is always on the angry red men in power armor. Because thats what people know, so its safe. And Im fine with that. I really dont give a shit about the classic Warhammer (i.e. the boring one) and necromunda Ive never heard about.

      So yea, you want more than just ANGRY MARINES and their dumb bolters, but as a developer, you also want to make money, so where do you go?

      • Random Integer says:

        The three big GW related games out/coming out (Vermintide, Total Warhammer, Mordheim) are nothing to do with Space Marines.

        • hmj87 says:

          They’re also nothing to do with 40k. It’s certainly good to see these kinds of games, but I stand with SomeDuder in that every 40k game made in recent years with the exception of the Dawn of War series has had the focus primarily (or entirely) on Space Marines vs Chaos Space Marines. We need more games about lesser explored (and more interesting) races like Tyranids, Eldar/Dark Eldar, Imperial Guard, Necrons etc. Fire warrior had the right idea (although execution could have been improved), but too many games take the boring route of having Space Marine protagonist and Chaos antagonist. There’s more to the universe than that and it would be nice to play as an interesting faction for a change.

    • Renegade says:

      I feel it’ll be a bit of a learning process for GW as they go forward and see the results of the games being produced, hopefully the shovelware won’t dominate.

      I’m secretly hoping firaxis make a bid for an 40K x-com game.

      • FLoJ says:

        A Space Hulk-esque game…but not narrow corridors in the Xcom engine would be incredibly cool.

        • Evil Pancakes says:

          I’m sure, if the modding tools are good enough, someone will make that happen with XCOM 2. They’ll just need to keep it quiet so GW doesn’t shower them with C&D letters.

      • Moraven says:

        It was done before, just not on PC.

        link to en.wikipedia.org

  3. Drinking with Skeletons says:

    My Warhammer idea is set in the fantasy version and would be called “Black Crusade.”

    You are an aspiring Chaos Champion. Unite the forces of Chaos and lead a great assault against everyone in your way. It would be a combination of Final Fantasy Tactics’ battles and Heroes of Might and Magic’s unit progression system. Doing certain things in combat would earn you favor from the Chaos gods–melee attacks, for instance, would generate Khorne points–that could be spent on advanced units or to deploy powerful abilities. You could bring either generic units or unique heroes to the battlefield, and could sacrifice either for bonuses and unique equipment, depending on the strength of the unit/hero and their Chaos alignment.

    Sometimes I think about this game and I can almost feel my fingers on the buttons. It could work. It really could. *sigh* If only I was in any position to make it happen.

  4. SpoiledToast says:

    A little surprised that there was no mention of Warhammer Vermintide (and hasn’t been, in general). It was released a few days ago and it’s pretty damn good.

    • Firkragg says:

      And very popular too it would seem, servers are down for a quick emergency fix, should be up soon.

    • JamesTheNumberless says:

      Yeah I thought they were all about the Skaven on here.

      • Optimaximal says:

        I think that was just Kieron… He was enough ‘about the Skaven’ for everyone.

    • Afro says:

      +1 on Vermintide being good. They are probably boycotting it because they dont like that you kick the skavens ass in the game.

    • DelrueOfDetroit says:

      Primarily multiplayer games always take a little longer before the review is out.

    • Thurgret says:

      It’s a really splendid co-op game, and going by Steam numbers, quite popular indeed. It’s also been almost entirely ignored by games sites, including RPS, with only three reviews on Metacritic so far.

    • mcnostril says:

      That is indeed strange. There’s been barely any mention of it. Of all the trailers that get posted, it’s been weird to not see Vermintide’s launch trailer among them (especially considering the game looks quite good).

    • Random Integer says:

      I dont what the general expectation for Vermintide was but my personal one, on the rare occasion I thought about it, was ‘lazy L4D/Warhammer cash-in’. Was totally caught off-guard by how good it is and hopefully its a big success for the devs.

      Although if anything at the moment its too successful as Fatshark don’t seem to have the resources in place to deal with the player load.

      • socrate says:

        It’s not lazy…but it is L4D with loot and a warhammer setting..the mission always end up with in a corner and kill the horde or use the glitch or exploit to cheat because losing at cataclysm or any difficulty for that matter at the very end suck badly in design..even L4D didn’t do this,there is also tons of problem that as been pointed out on reddit,steam forum and other forum..you also have the loot problem which bring people to do the same 2 map over and over again because 1 is extremely fast and the other is easier then most and as easy tome and grimoire to get…and you still have the problem that if you don’t have real life friend that communicate or end up with people that don’t just try to zerg it(never actually worked in l4d other then when the spawning would be in your favor to begin with and yet people still do it)

        all in all i think its wayyy overhyped like sooo many game on steam which are reviewed sooo high and yet you look at some rated high and they are not played anymore and are literally desert zone…just look at things like depth it was fun for the few game…but to last more then a week?..it became extremely repetitive quite fast..and although that as loot i already feel its extremely repetitive…in L4D you had alternate route…in this you simply don’t…it could have improved L4D formula sooo much yet…they really didn’t…and loot doesnt = good..it usually =grindy or bad RNG at this point..or both..they are talking about improving the map thing by adding quest…but i think it will need wayy more then that when you consider that people in loot game will look at whats the most efficient way to do thing.

        The problem of not finding people is not really the problem of the matchmaking system its the fact that people do the same map..do the first one and you’l always find people insanely fast

        quite frankly the thing im most worried about is really the repetitiveness of the game itself which you can already see alots of people that aren’t really into the loot thing quitting,,unlike L4D i think people just don’t like exploring these level..no window to break or wall that collapse or fun thing like that..a few really hard to find secret but…i found these out on reddit and youtube i don’t know how you would find these otherwise because alots of them have no visual effect…or maybe they bug out for me but candle don’t turn off when i hit the chandelier or stuff like that…

        • Optimaximal says:

          socrate, please learn to punctuate properly, not just keep typing.

    • Syra says:

      Vermintide has been great so far, if you don’t binge on it too much. crazy that so many people are already farming the highest difficulties… but a lot of this is due to exploiting.

      It’s well worth an article or two though RPS! Maybe you’re all too busy just trying to talk to the skaven to write about it.

  5. Freud says:

    I don’t mind. It’s not like it’s hard steering clear of poor games, if you put a little bit of time into finding out.

  6. Jediben says:

    Necromunda! No finer opportunity to inflict pain and death in menfolk as a femdom ganged. House Esher for evaaaarrrr!! Turn based squad 3rd person combat in the style of Fallout or Wasteland 2. DO IT

    • mattevansc3 says:

      In keeping with the type of game Necromunda is I’d say that new Wild West X-COM would be a good base model to work from.

      • HefHughner says:

        1. Yes! A X-Com-like Necromunda game is something i want to play since i first read about Necromunda in the late nineties. Always loved the scenario, but could not afford another GW-“Hobby” beside my Warhammer army. Please. Maybe the folks behind Mordheim will build the game on the foundation of Mordheim.
        2. I really don’t get why everybody is complaining about so many GW-Workshop games being released these days – especially since there are more good ones than bad ones released in last two years (at least in my opinion). I remember 2002/2003: Dawn of War seemed as good as it would turn out to be, but the only thing new game one could actually play was this abysmal Shooter “Fire Warrior”.

    • Quimby says:

      Necromunda would be awesome. My Redemptionists would sort your silly Escher out no probs :p

      • Palindrome says:

        Rogue Factor (currently finishing off Mordheim) have been open to the suggestion of moving onto Necromunda. All that’s really required would be changing the art assets and a bit of rules tweaking as Mordheim was basically Necromunda with a cleaned up campaign and a severe lack of lasguns.

        Personally I would love to see a Necromunda campaign in the mould of Battle Brothers, basically a large party (Battlebrothers has a max party size of 12) turn based RPG on a sandboxy and procedurally generated map. That would be excellent.

  7. mandrill says:

    Still waiting for Epic scale 40k…

    • mattevansc3 says:

      There’s the 90’s Epic game Liberation on GoG.

      • Stellar Duck says:

        Final Liberation. I think you a word.

        I sometimes wonder if it’s as good as I remember it. Probably not.

  8. klops says:

    Look at those trees! Aren’t they the cutest? And in a 40k game
    :) :) :)

  9. Palindrome says:

    The real reason for the floodgates opening is that Games Workshop is dying on its arse. Quite simply they need the money.

    There has been some decent games (Mordheim) to come out of the rush of mobile games and assorted crap but in the long term all that will happen is that people will associate Games Workshop’s IP with shovelware, its already happening to an extent.

    Ironically their biggest tie in by far (Warhammer:Total War) is being released about 6 months or so after the entire Warhammer World was literally blown up (inso far as you can blow up something intangible) and the entire 30 year old game system abandoned. Now that’s marketing!

    • Zankman says:

      Yeah I hear that with that so-called Age of Sigmar reboot, the universe is quite different.

      So, basically, the Total War game will be set in a retconned universe!

      • Werthead says:

        If Total War is a huge success, that will give them the excuse needed to reboot the “Classic” setting again with a new edition/rules/models. GW never miss a trick, especially now that Age of Sigmar has been thoroughly panned.

        • MisterFurious says:

          The reason they blew it up was so they could have an excuse to change all the races names to original ones that they could copyright. It was too easy for other miniature companies to make Elves and Dwarves and Orcs to compete with them. They also wanted to add Space Marines to Fantasy because kids like Space Marines.

    • Stellar Duck says:

      How did it blow up?

      I haven’t been following this stuff for years.

      • Palindrome says:

        Basically Chaos won and there are now some sort of half arsed ‘domains’ that roughly correspond to factions of the old world with the setting for the new game several thousand years later. I haven’t been following the train wreck that is Age of Sigmar though to know nor care enough about the new fluff to go beyond that though.

        • Stellar Duck says:

          That sounds dreadful!

          I was always more interested in the 40K side of things (though I haven’t played since 3rd ed) but the Fantasy setting was a lot less dumb in it’s nonsensical grim darkness. It sounds like they made it edgy?

          Also, a heartfelt thank you for calling it fluff instead of “””lore”””. Fluff is the appropriate amount of serious one should take this stuff. Lore lends it gravitas it does not deserve.

          • Palindrome says:

            I wouldn’t call it ‘edgy’, nothing Games Workshop makes could be called edgy anymore. It is GRIM DARK, so covered in skulls and themes that a 13 year old boy things are really deep and meaningful.

            Basically Fantasy wasn’t selling (due to various in built problems that had been added to over the years) so rather than fixing the ruleset they destroyed everything that went before and created something that looks extremely similar to fantasy Space Marines with the worlds least detailed and quickest produced rules (the rules in their entirety are 4 pages long). Anecdotally it has sold extremely poorly and I suspect that Games Workshop are realising what an idiotic mistake that they have made, although probably not sufficently to do anything about it.

            I’m not a fan.

          • Stellar Duck says:

            Oh, I think I may have used edgy wrong.

            I was thinking edgy in pretty much the way you described with the 13 year old. Maybe edgy wasn’t quite on point, so torture a metaphor.

            From your description it just sounded like they were doing a knock off of 40K. Which shouldn’t be done.

            And let’s face it: 40K these days takes itself all too seriously. It’s so cringe-worthy at time. We should all just laugh at the space facists and have glorious fun with it. It all seems so mopey now.

          • Stellar Duck says:

            Edit: fascists! Oh, RPS, where is my edit button!? I will forever be the guy who couldn’t spell fascists.

          • gunny1993 says:

            I think the idea behind the Warhammer mass change was a good one, i.e. moving a stagnant universe forward, they just used it as an excuse to try and make the setting more bankable rather than better.

            I’d like to see something like that happen in the 40K universe TBH, the setting is pretty much sitting idle when it has so much potential (As shown by the rather well written Horus Heresy series)

          • Unruly says:

            @Palindrome – Did anyone ever figure out how you were supposed to balance armies with AoS? I looked at the absolutely massive 4-page rulebook and some of the warscrolls shortly after release and saw nothing of point costs or similar.

            I’ve never played any WH of any sort, namely because I didn’t ever have anyone to play with, but I had started looking into WHFB around the time AoS dropped since I finally had someone local to play with. Seeing the lack of an inherent balancing system turned me off completely.

          • Palindrome says:

            People have tried to balance it, ranging from using wounds as proxy points values to heavily rewriting the entire game. It was not designed to be balanced though and there are far better rulesets out there for tournament play. Kings of War (which was written by one of the Warhammer designers) seems to have become the Warhammer replacement.

          • Unruly says:

            @Palindrome – Yea, that’s what I’ve been hearing. I’d never played WHFB, because I never had any other people interested, but then I found a local group of players and started looking into it again shortly after AoS dropped. All of them told me to avoid it like the plague and go for Kings of War instead. Said that KoW was doing everything that WHFB did, but better. Even going so far as to make lists and rules for armies that hadn’t seen WHFB updates in a while.

            I was just wondering if anyone had figured out how AoS was supposed to work as a game yet. I guess this is going to be GW’s “new coke” gambit. Take away the good, send in the bad, then when people start leaving they bring the good back and hope people come back with renewed fervor.

  10. manio22 says:

    Amen at last sentence. Come on Relic, after all “Heresy grows from idleness”!

  11. sonofsanta says:

    I am so very happy to see Gorkamorka mentioned, oft-forgotten as it is.

    Seriously though just build Necromunda on Firaxis’ XCOM engine. A bit more verticality in the engine, a few scanned John Blanche pictures for the loading screens, job done.

    • king0zymandias says:

      You mean the Unreal Engine? Because that’s what Firaxis’ XCOM uses and will be using in the future.

    • Michael Anson says:

      Yeah, seriously. An XCOM-like Necromunda is desperately needed. Base assualts, defending the Hive from a variety of invading terrors (orks, genestealers, and other filthy xenos), rival gangs, cults, raids on Imperial Guard or even (if you’re crazy) Marine supplies… it could be great! Best of all, there’d never have to be some made-up excuse for multiplayer, just have their gang show up while your gang is on a mission, or have a fight for turf!

  12. Wowbagger says:

    Just put Dark Omen on GOG please, It’s vastly superior to Shadow of the Horned Rat.

    There’s also a mod for the original Dawn of War which adds Titans and the like that i’m yet to try but looks interesting none the less.
    link to moddb.com

  13. Chiron says:

    Deus Ex style Inquisitor game please

    I think my main issue with the glut of Warhammer games is they all kind of rely on playing up the WAR ALL THE TIME GARRRR! aspect of the setting, theres never much depth.

    A couple of really good RPG’s would be appreciated, you could even make it a Necromunda based one (Squighunter Smith; Private Eye)

    • frightlever says:

      Story heavy RPG, along the lines of the Dan Abnett inquisition novels would be cool. Deus Ex would be a solid model.

  14. Jaybone says:

    Would love to see Dark Future in one format or another. It probably could be a nice turn based game, with the rpg elements of customizing your character, gang and the car.
    I’ve been having a good time with Blood Bowl 2 even though the game does reek the usual Cyanide aroma.

  15. EhexT says:

    Big developers and publishers won’t pick up 40k games anymore because giving the license to anyone and flooding the market with 40k branded crap means the value of the 40k brand is in the toilet. Why would a big publisher make a 40k game, which thanks to the masses of crappy mobile shovelware only triggers warning signs in your customers, when they can make their own IP which isn’t tainted.

    GW has screwed their customers by letting everyone have the license.

    • Chiron says:

      Oh balls.

      Big publishers don’t want it because they have to pay to use the licence and they’d rather get their own franchise running.

      • EhexT says:

        Publishers greatly prefer existing licenses to starting their own. Why do you think there’s so many sequels and Hollywood is rebooting everything for the umpteenth time instead of making something new? If your brand is seen as non-toxic you’ll get picked up.