It has been several years now since the Warhammer Fantasy Battles fell over and never got back up. Games Workshop made the decision to end the old fantasy setting in a spectacular fashion: they blew it to pieces. The planet, the world, the entire setting was ‘sploded and everyone in, with the exception of some power leaders and a handful of people, were destroyed.
The Warhammer community exploded too. The hate and the backlash were extreme: people were selling their miniatures for a pittance, some went so far as to burn their collections on their YouTube channels. It was a reaction to loss, a grieving protocol which some on the internet didn’t know how to process.
To make matters worse, the substitute for Warhammer was the introduction of the Age of Sigmar. Whatever your feelings on that particular tabletop wargame, the fact is that a large proportion of people seemed to have stepped away from Games Workshop in a sea of salty-salty tears.
(If you read the comments from one of our previous articles, you’ll see what we mean!)
Well, all those tears were apparently for nothing, because after nearly 5 years of Age of Sigmar, the Games Workshop design studios have decided to bring back the Old World.
We predicted this just over a year ago.
(But we’re still surprised).
The Old World fantasy setting was still hanging on thanks to the digital gaming world: Total War: Warhammer, Vermintide, Mordheim, Warhammer Quest and even Bloodbowl held the sputtering torch and maintained the dying light for those who just wanted the snuggly warmth of something they grew up with and loved.
We’re not going to go into a huge amount of detail here, but we’ve put together some considerations and we’d like to get into the hype of what the return of the Old World may mean.
The Horus Heresy Equivalent
The release note from the GW studio suggests that the Old World will be the equivalent of Horus Heresy for Warhammer 40,000. This seems fine, as it will likely start with a smaller following than the mainline games GW currently offer. What is an interesting consideration is whether or not the miniatures supplied with come from Forge World or regular GW supplies.
Forge World is the premium miniature producer for GW (and is still part of the GW corporation). These miniatures are top-notch but you pay a far greater amount of your precious cash to get these miniatures.
The other hand to this portion of the debate is that Warhammer Fantasy Battles was a game of mass rank and file troops, which may put the price of Forge World productions beyond the buying of Fantasy gamers.
The studio is suggesting that there’s likely to be nothing for at least two years. It’s typical GW to hint at or promise something so excruciatingly far away that it seems unreal, but it does raise some questions about why it is so far away.
Realistically, 2+ years is not world-shattering when it comes to designing games – which is part of this consideration: are we getting a whole new game system? GW is not beyond emulating industry pioneers, and seeing the success of community-driven games such as the 9th Age and Mantic Games, we’re predicting a return to the rank and file battle system, but perhaps a more streamlined version of the game (personally, I don’t mind the current Age of Sigmar game system).
Let’s keep in mind that the recent GW success story, financially, is heavily supported by its ability to attract brand new players with easy to learn rules and game systems.
It has been some time. In fact, it has been just the right amount of time for the majority of players to have ditched their old Warhammer Fantasy armies for the newer, sleeker and prettier Age of Sigmar factions. Perfect time to release whole new lines of miniatures.
This is both exciting to consider. And a nightmare for our bank accounts. If GW go down the Forge World rout, that could be bad for the return of the Old World. If they start with army boxed sets (as the casts for all of the old miniatures are probably still around) then we can hope for a return of the classic models and miniatures. This, I hope for personally, because I miss my Wood Elf and High Elf armies.
I think I’ve flogged this article enough already!
If you’ve got any of your own predictions, or hopes and dreams when the Old World returns, leave us a comment below, let’s get into the hype early so we can shout ‘told you so!’ at the top of our voices!
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Let the Old World reignite…