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.
- 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. 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.
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.
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.