EDIT: THQ tell Eurogamer that they still hold 40K rights, so Creative Assembly are taking the Fantasy road. Skaven: Total Warhammer!
The distant rumble on the horizon is the sound of gathering forces. Specifically The Creative Assembly and the Games Workshop. Sega has just announced that the former has set up a special development team to work on the latter's IP. This is like Everest climbing K2.
We don't know what to expect from this, but I presume something involving huge battles betwixt Orc and Man won't be far off. There's no reason to get CA involved if it's not vistas filled with gore and drama.
Tim Heaton, Studio Director at Creative Assembly, talked a bit about the deal: “We’ll be doing the Warhammer universe justice in a way that has never been attempted before. We’re bringing those 25 years of experience and expertise in extremely high-scoring games to bear, delivering a Warhammer experience that videogamers will absolutely love.”
Cor. That's some rather large news for British games development. Sega's strategy studio are already busy bunnies, working on five projects: there's this, Aliens, Total War, and two apparently unannounced games as well.
It's not yet clear whether the deal involves grim future warhammers as well as those of the fantasy elf-bashing variety. Eurogamer, seeking to verify whether struggling THQ are now 40K-less received a quote from Sega specifying a focus on the "Warhammer universe of fantasy battles". It would seem odd for the license to split two ways (edit: or not, as the case may be) but we can't be 100% certain that this is Dawn of War's dusk and the actual cancellation of Dark Millennium. Time - and a carefully worded press release - will no doubt tell.
Whatever the case, Creative Assembly's first Warhammer game won't be arriving until "after 2013".