There Are Far Too Many Warhammer Video Games

There Are Far Too Many Warhammer Video Games

I’m as much a fan of Games Workshop’s fantasy and sci-fi settings as the next person, but over 20 games released since 2014 with at least three more due this year is way too much Warhammer.

Warhammer Fantasy and its dystopian science fiction counterpart have been a staple of tabletop roleplaying for more than three decades. Countless fans have gathered around tables covered with painstakingly-painted metal miniatures, crafting their own tales of victory and valour.

They are settings ripe for video game adaptation. Orks, Space Marines, Goblins, Elves — these are fine video game characters. Both Fantasy and 40K are capable of supporting a wide range of genres, from really fantasy football to strategy to text-based adventure.

It’s just maybe we could do those one at a time instead of all at once.

I’ve considered writing about the proliferation of games working the various Warhammer on several occasions, generally prompted by a wave of PR emails. Since March 1 I’ve received emails about five different games.

Warhammer on a boat.

Warhammer on a boat.

  • Creative Assembly’s Total War: Warhammer (still not called Total Warhammer) was pushed back from April to May.
  • A new game mode was released for Warhammer: End Times — Vermintide.
  • Warhammer: Arcane Magic was released for iOS, Android, PC and Mac.
  • Battlefleet Gothic: Armada, a strategy ship warfare game set in the 40K universe, entered beta.
  • Man ‘O War: Corsair, a naval action game based in the Fantasy universe, announced an 15 April Early Access launch on Steam.

It just seemed like a good time to address the situation.

Total Warhammer is what we're going to call it, no matter what the digital box says.

Total Warhammer is what we’re going to call it, no matter what the digital box says.
It feels like there’s a new Warhammer game released every couple of months. That’s because there is a new Warhammer game released every couple of months. Games Workshop loves seeing its name pop up in game loading screens, and it shows.

Here’s a list of games released on Steam and mobile over the past two years and change. Note that some of the games are available on both mobile and PC.

Warhammer Games Released On Steam Since 2014

  • Talisman: The Horus Heresy — 40K themed variant of classic board game
  • Warhammer: Arcane Magic — Digital board game
  • Warhammer 40K: Eternal Crusade — Early Access persistent-world shooter
  • Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide — Co-op action survival
  • Warhammer 40K: Dark Nexus Arena — MOBA
  • Legacy of Dorn: Herald Of Oblivion — Largely text-based adventure
  • Mordheim: City of the Damned — Turn-based strategy
  • Warhammer 40K: Armageddon — Hex-based strategy
  • Warhammer 40K: Deathwatch — Turn-based tactics
  • Blood Bowl II — Yes it counts, sports sim, sort of
  • Warhammer 40K: Regicide — Action turn-based strategy
  • Warhammer Quest — Digital version of the classic board game.
  • Warhammer 40K: Kill Team — Twin-stick shooter
  • Warhammer 40K: Storm of Vengeance — Lane strategy
  • Space Hulk Ascension — Re-interpretation of classic board game

Warhammer Games Released On Mobile Since 2014

  • Warhammer: Snotling Fling — Really
  • Warhammer 40K: Freeblade — Tap to shoot action
  • Warhammer 40K: Carnage — Action roleplaying
  • Warhammer 40K: Space Wolf — Turn-based strategy
  • Warhammer 40K: Assault Dice — Dice game
  • The Horus Heresy: Drop Assault — Real-time strategy

That’s 21 games in 27 months. Even if you toss out Blood Bowl for being set in an alternate version of the Warhammer Fantasy setting, that’s still a large amount of games.

I’m not saying there are too many bad Warhammer games coming out. Some of the most recently releases (Mordenheim, Vermintide, Freeblade) are among the best Warhammer games I’ve played on their respective platforms.

Warhammer: The End Times-Vermintide should have just been called Vermintide.
Warhammer: The End Times — Vermintide should have just been called Vermintide.

They’re also games I almost missed due to being overwhelmed by the flood of Warhammer titles. The names have all begun to run together into one messy pile of dramatic-sounding words. If you came up to me on the street and told me you loved the video I did on Warhammer: Death’s Fury, I might make up some bullshit about a game that doesn’t exist because how am I supposed to know?

“Oh neat, a new Warhammer game is coming out!” is a phrase I’ve not used in years. but I’d definitely used it before. Back in the days of the first Dawn of War or Warhammer Online. 2011’s Space Marine got me invested in the 40K universe, and for a while I looked forward to exploring the science fiction side of things more.

Now the science fiction side of thing is suffering the brunt of the video game explosion. Of the 21 games listed above, 15 of them are based on Warhammer 40K. The comparatively low number of Warhammer Fantasy video games is particularly disappointing considering the major, world-shattering replacement of Warhammer Fantasy Battles with Warhammer: Age of Sigmar. Given the success of Vermintide, set in the End Times prior to Age of Sigmar, I’m sure there’s a fresh wave of games coming in the near future.

Snotling Fling is really a thing.
Snotling Fling is really a thing.

It’s not a matter of quantity over quality. It’s quantity overshadowing quality. The Warhammer name is attached to so many games these days that it’s no longer special. An amazing new Warhammer game is still just another Warhammer game, a label that’s dangerously close to becoming a joke.

It might already been too late. Considering the frequency that Games Workshop has been handing out video game licenses the glut is likely to continue for years. It’s not like they can just tell everyone to give it a rest.

I wish they would.


  • Lol… Games Work Shop whoring out it’s IP?

    That’s not anything new. It’s the only way GWS is trying to stay relevant as a company these days after a series of extremely stupid market decisions on their table tops to try set some sorta monopoly retail control on their products.

    The good news is at least a lot of the new stuff out now are actually being carefully QC’ed by GWS so it doesn’t completely destroy the name *cough*Storm of Vengeance*cough*

    • They’re not whoring it out, thq owned relic who held the rights for gaming. Thq went bust and the rights were sold.

      • Ummm.. no.

        GW still owns the full rights to the 40K and Fantasy Line seeing as they’re the one’s who MADE the games. The only thing sold during THQ’s collapse was the franchise rights to the Dawn of War and Space Marine series by Relic by purchasing the studio. Relic still NEEDS to gain approval/licensing rights from GW if it wants to continue games under that franchise.

        Any other games would have all been licensed/approved directly from GW. THQ/Relic would have no rights to actually “resell” the license because they don’t own the brand.

          • That’s the video game “license”. To be specific the 40K license they used to produce the DoW and SM series (which Relic actually spoke about before THQ dissolving basically saying that w/ their conract/license the DoW and SM series would get over the biggest hurdle of licensing the 40K name for future release) . That is not the 40K *brand* license/copywrite

            That just gives the person the rights to create a game w/ the 40k logo on it w/o the threat of being sued by GWS. GWS still owns the *brand* and the rites to give or take the *license* to whoever wants to develop a game w/ 40K as a setting.

            Not every 40K licensed game has to go through THQ/SEGA/Whover got the Relic license. These developers/publishers can acquire their own video game licenses seperate license to create their own product for 40K. Which is why there was a glut of sub par games after DoW/SM. GWS was basically selling the gaming license to anyone who would fork up the licensing fee.

  • It’s almost as if Games Worship is continuing their legacy of not knowing what the hell to do with their properties.

    Not that it hasn’t been entirely painful… Amongst the glut of ‘We’re proving we don’t understand why you like Warhammer or Warhammer 40k’, they’ve resurrected a bunch of dead games… And despite some technical flaws, Blood Bowl, Space Hulk and Mordheim are honestly competent video games, one can only hope that Battlefleet Gothic and Inquisitor will follow suit when they’re released. (Necromunda and Gorkamorka when?)

    • Yeah, there are some great game mechanics in there that are a lot of fun. All the games I’ve played have been pretty fun, fairly well executed versions of the IP. They just happen to be on-rails and don’t attempt to really innovate the genre.

      It’s also worth remembering that GW seem to be using these apps from a marketing perspective – timing them with new ranges of minis and codeces or using them to test the market. For example, the recent Deathwatch game is also a new boxed game for tabletop. Likewise, its no coincidence that the problems with Blood Bowl gaining traction outside the real niche fans is reflected both for tabletop and video game.

    • I’m waiting for them to awaken the Epic 40K games =P

      Nothing like commanding a whole unit of Titans/Tank Squadrons/etc. 😀

    • Yes, DoW 3 please. Returning to the root gameplay of the original game and not the poo sequel.

      • I enjoy both for what they are and the gameplay was fairly interesting on DoW II…

        That being said the focus on “hero” questing instead of the mass armies of DoW 1 was really a bit of a let down (even the pop cap for Multiplayer made me a sad panda.. like really? a “Super Weapon” eating up almost 2/3 of your pop count?!) I’m hoping we go back to the mass unit battles from 1 😀

        • The problem with DoW 2 is they ripped out all of the strategic depth that made DoW 1 so good and replaced it with nothing substantial.

          • i just want dark crusade with updated graphics and a larger map and access to all factions. Truth be told Ive never cared at all about Warhammer as a Table top game, then relic came along and made Dawn of War. I still dont care about the table top, but damn i want another Dawn of War!

          • Same with me. I don’t want to play the TT game but I loved Dawn of War. I actually started collecting and painting Ork miniatures purely because of Dawn of War. No intention to play the TT game, but building and painting them is kinda fun on its own.

            I reached the top 10 on the online Gamespy ladder at one point. I played that game too much.

          • i remember getting into the beta for the original thanks to having fileplanet membership and having everyone on my base asking for a copy, from my mates to the freaking OC… there are shitload of Nerds in the Army

    • I’d sacrifice every single one of these if it meant getting some closure to the cliffhanger at the end of Space Marine.

  • 21 Warhammer games since 2014, and not one better than Dawn of War.

    In all seriousness, I consider that statistic a very, very bad thing.
    Reading down that list, I haven’t played any of them, and there are only 3 that I’ve even heard about.
    Way to go, marketing teams! How can you say you’re doing your job if people have never heard of your products.

    • You’re setting a high standard by wanting games better than an already excellent game in Dawn of War. Vermintide is pretty damn good, and Blood Bowl (both games) are faithful reproductions of their board game counterpart. If you don’t mind jumping out of the 2014+ bracket, 2011’s Space Marine was a masterpiece.

      A lot of the listed titles only came out in the last 4 months, so that might affect you hearing about them. Regicide and Arcane Magic are mobile ports, Kill Team and Storm of Vengeance are ultra-cheap experiments that should have been mobile games but weren’t for some reason. Eternal Crusade is in early access. Blood Bowl, Vermintide, Space Hulk and Mordheim were well-advertised and are reasonably popular.

      Mobile games don’t tend to be direct advertised unless the company is rich. They usually rely on votes and popularity to rise to the top of ‘popular games’ charts on their respective platform storefronts. Take out the six mobile games actually listed as mobile, the two that are mobile ports that happen to also be on Steam, the titles under $5 that don’t have the budget to advertise, plus the one in early access and the list drops down to 10, of which at least four got pretty solid marketing, and another two had reviews done by TotalBiscuit.

      Games Workshop is definitely very liberal in licensing out their IP and some of the titles just aren’t the kind of quality fans like myself are looking for, but I don’t think things are as dire as you’re suggesting.

      • Correction… Storm of Vengeance was basically a cash in by the publishers by basically slapping on a 40K skin on an older obscure game they had and hoped the name alone would sell the title after getting the license.

  • give us X-COM in a 40k package with squads instead of individual characters (with the exception of actual character units)
    Practically all the different effects are already in place, squad morale, psyker powers, heavy weapons, grenades, true line of sight firing, armour and armour piercing, moving/running/shooting interactions. Even a few special rules are handled like Eldar hit and run style moving after shooting and leadership aura negating morale effects etc.

    But also what @thyco said, DoW3 and SM2

    • They pretty much did this back in ’98 with Warhammer 40k: Chaos Gate (minus the squad bit). I remember having a lot of fun with it back then, but I was young and stupid and it’s entirely possible it was a terrible game.

  • These days I think they’re actually doing themselves a disservice when “Warhammer” is specifically in the title of nearly everything they release…

    As when we get a number of bad games with Warhammer in the title, people start assuming anything else with the name attached is also going to be bad. Which simply isn’t the case given that you’ve got so many different studios making very different games.

    Not to mention that the anti-Warhammer/Games Workshop crowd tend to show up simply to hate on it whether they’ve played the game or not.

    • At least good games like the Dawn if War series allows actual fun at a reasonable price, but that’s because it’s not made or priced by Games Workshop.

    • Can you imagine if Games Workshop made and sold the video games? $200 for the base game for one squad from one army, and $1000 to complete just one army.

      • Don’t give them ideas. The last thing we need is a Warhammer the Gathering: Online where you buy squads and characters, then buy paint schemes, buy terrain and battle tiles. The amount of money GW could make from whales would be endless.

  • GW’s biggest enemy is GW’s bloodsucking greed. They are vampires bleeding their fans dry. From changing the figures every few years so fans spend another $1000 each to banning retailers who discount, they are their own worst enemy.
    What’s the point in getting involved when they act like drug dealers?

    • Yeah. My biggest beef is not so much the models, because to an extent you can still use legacy models, but forcing you to upgrade your codex and rulebook collection every few years is what got to me in the end. Not such a huge deal if you just have one rulebook and one codex/army book, but if you collect multiple armies for multiple games or even just like to read up on your opponents’ armies, you are screwed.

      • I was never interested in playing the TT game…too complicated. I just enjoyed building and painting the miniatures.

      • I don’t mind the updated fluff and codex since thats what I really digged about the games (I never really got into army building as it was insanely cost prohibitive for me). I just grab novels and codex books for fluff

        But the whole decision to basically strangle all independant 3rd party sellers a year or so back pretty much soured me on GWS even more. It’s bad enough that there was even less GWS shops these days because of bad management + economic downturns but the fact it’s even harder to get fluff and the like because GWS pretty much banned anyone reselling their stuff to force people to go on their own (now hard to find) shops really annoyed the crap out of me =/

        • Yeah added to the fact that they prohibited third-party resellers from exporting overseas. That sucked big time. GW applies a hefty Australia tax on many of its products.

  • The IP is incredible.
    Honestly, long-term, I think GW is sitting on a goldmine of the ‘Marvel’ variety.

    Just need a few more home runs from developers.
    Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine is still one of my favourite games of all time.

  • Pretty keen on the Battlefleet Gothica game coming this year, and Deathwing too, though I can hardly find any material on it, the best video so far has been a walkthrough with someone I assume is a dev, but the whole thing is in German, so I can only guess.

  • I totally disagree.

    How many WW2 games were released in the last couple of years, across genres, including mobile games? Hundreds? Thousands?

    The thing is – the GW games have mountains of backstory and lore. We aren’t talking about 15 COD games being released over 2 years, we are talking about a setting. It’s a backdrop to the games, rather than the defining trait. You’ve also combined both Warhammer settings into one generalization, which is a mistake – they are each unique.

    I say bring it on – I love the 40k universe, and the more games I get to play in that setting, the better.

  • To be fair there is a wide spread in quality across the titles, theres some gems amongst them that will sadly be missed by some. I’m enjoying the early access of “Eternal Crusade” Played several months now. For bonus RTP use Ref Code:EC-HMS0YRU2Z6SQ1

  • Warhammer 40k Armageddon is actually a very good game. As long as you’re a fan of hex based strategy games.

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