Global license spoke to Jon Gillard, Executive Vice President, Global Licensing, Games Workshop, owner of “Warhammer”, about the numerous launches that bring the wide world of “Warhammer” to life.
How will this new emphasis on content and entertainment change the game for the “Warhammer” universe?
There are many millions of “Warhammer” fans worldwide, some who are currently very active in the hobby and others who have never or no longer embarked on this site, but read the books or play video games. What they all have in common is a love of intellectual property and an incredible appetite for content based on it. It has been our long-held desire to meet that need, and doing it in entertainment formats is the next logical step.
Additionally, we know that there is a huge global audience for really cool, exciting science fiction and fantasy, with great stories and characters in unique, distinctive and compelling settings. The Warhammer universe is unlike anything else in the world, and we have a lot of experience doing it in our Black Library novel business. Therefore, we look forward to repeating this success through various entertainment projects.
To make sure we appeal to both current and potential fans, we’ve developed a two-pronged approach. First, there is already a lot of great fan content out there. Some of it is brought in internally to sit next to other internally generated animation projects. All of this content is aimed directly at “Warhammer” fans and provides a level of depth and nuance for this highly “Warhammer”-savvy group. Second, when it comes to licensing, we will work with companies around the world to develop large content projects that we expect to appeal to a wider audience, less knowledgeable and in need of more accessible offerings. I think a similar comparison would be the difference between the type of fans who read all of the Avengers comics ever written (which I probably have!) And the broader group that watches the movies. Of course, it’s important that all content is authentic to intellectual property and that larger projects continue to appeal to core fans.
This content strategy also allows us to build specific franchises within all of the intellectual property and create licensing programs based on these interpretations. This is a strategy that we are already applying to some of our video game IPs. For example, the highly anticipated Warhammer 40,000 Darktide game, which will be released next year after the hugely successful Vermintide games, will feature a variety of licensed products and programs from launch.
What was your first foray into gaming and how can gamers, audiences, and licensees expect this gaming brand to grow?
Well we were a gaming / miniature company from the start. “Warhammer”, the tabletop game, was originally released in 1983 and, as one of the great fantasy / sci-fi IPs, inspired much of what came after it but has always remained unique and distinctive. Nowhere is this more true than in the field of video games. Since the release of ‘Space Hulk’ in 1993 we have had tremendous success with several bestselling games on PC and console that are increasingly mobile. The nature and extent of the “Warhammer” universe are so large, detailed, and inherently designed to offer flexibility that video games have also been an obvious way to explore them. We have developed video games in genres as diverse as great global strategy titles like Total War: Warhammer to experience up-close and personal action festivals like Vermintide or Space Marine. The worlds we created have and continue to build, lend themselves to many different gaming experiences. As part of our strategy of working with the best publishers and developers around the world to bring audiences the most impressive games from across the “Warhammer” universe, more AAAs will be in the coming years Games released. With mobile games like Warhammer 40,000 Lost Crusade and Total War: Warhammer Battles working with established partners like Sega and new Chinese partners like Netease, we’re also expanding our reach in different populations and territories. many of these games, such as “Darktide”, to be built into successful franchise companies and out of the box alb of the video games category.
The Eisenhorn series is in production. Why was this the first real estate touchpoint for converting GW to television?
The Eisenhorn novels are among the best-selling we’ve ever made. They were written by the NY Times bestselling author Dan Abnett, with whom we have worked since the beginning of our publishing business. In addition to being a “Warhammer” lover, Dan has worked on several other traits for Marvel and other universes and has a great ability to make characters approachable and engaging while staying true to their lore.
The story is about characters who have a unique position in the universe that explains it to an audience unfamiliar with our IP. At its core it is an ensemble thriller with a lot of action and diverse and complex characters, a kind (warning of elevators) “Breaking Bad meets Sherlock”, but in space against the background of humanity, which is constantly threatened. So definitely “Warhammer” 40,000 in aesthetics and style, but also assignable dramas with convincing core characters who have to make difficult and often fatal decisions. Working with Frank Spotnitz and his production company was a pleasure. Frank gets character and science fiction dramas, as his previous shows (“The Man in the High Castle”, “The X-Files” etc.) have shown, and has fallen in love with the universe and the themes. As our first live-action project, it will be a great way to bring people closer to the wonderful framework of Warhammer.
Games Workshop speaks exclusively to License Global about the detailed universe of “Warhammer”, the upcoming content launches and the details behind the brand’s growing successes in the upcoming Games edition, which launches in April.