A wise person once said “Ignorance is bliss”. When asked to elaborate, they promptly responded with “huh?”
But is ignorance really all that blissful? Sure, by remaining ignorant of everything happening around us we don’t have to confront “the terrors”, but then how will we know the kind of things that make our day good? Like if we stay ignorant, we won’t know when it’s a good day to take a nice walk outside. We would just be guessing every time we stepped out the door, which would make us look foolish in our stylish but expensive suburban walking gear.
Now, unfortunately, many of the stories we report on here at the Games Industry roundup qualify as “the terrors.” But hey, maybe our faithful newsman Dan “Swiftblade” Richardson will have a sweet piece this time about cool new models and neat games, and no more industry layoffs! (Unfortunately, there will be a section about industry layoffs.)
Games Workshop Reveals Plastic Kroot, Mandrakes, and More During the LVO Preview
Games Workshop took center stage at the Rio hotel and casino on Thursday night for another preview event for many of its most popular games.
Partnering with large independent Warhammer tournaments to do preview events is something Games Workshop has been doing for a few years now, and since it’s one of the largest tabletop events in the world, the annual Las Vegas Open (LVO) hosted by Frontline Games is no exception. A live preview event was hosted for those in attendance at LVO, followed an hour later by a digital preview event hosted on the Warhammer Twitch page.
There were a number of new models debuted in the event, mainly from the games set in the Mortal Realms. First of these was Warcry, revealing a new set featuring the water-themed Lumineth called “Riverblades” and the fire-themed Nighthaunt called “Pyregheists.” The Age of Sigmar portion gave us a look at book five in the Dawnbringers series, bringing in some characters from the line’s fiction to the tabletop: witch hunter Toll and his pistol-wielding companion Callis; Krethusa the Croneseer, a new character for the Daughters of Khaine; and a retinue of other heroes of Hammerhall including a Stormcast Eternal, a master thief, and a spymaster with her weird cat. Finally, Underworlds introduced a new warband called Zhondara’s Gravebreakers, featuring a Necromancer named Zhondara who seeks a cure for the curse that transforms her lover and fellow warband fighter into a monstrous beast, and the zombies Zhondara has raised to fight alongside them.
Other reveals were long-awaited updates to plastic for fan-favorite models last seen in resin. Firstly, the Solar Auxilia for the Horus Heresy are getting a major update in plastic after being relegated to Forge World resin for their entire existence. This includes line infantry for the Auxilia, a command squad and elite troops, and plenty of tanks and transports for support — including the Malcador Heavy Tank. Warhammer 40,000 fans will be happy to learn there will be a revamping of the Kroot line for the upcoming T’au empire book, with a massive Kroot launch set teased at the event. The stars of the show here were the Krootox Rampagers, which could provide the T’au some close combat punch the faction has traditionally lacked.
For this writer, the best reveal was for Kill Team, which gave us the full contents of the new Nightmare box set. It includes the Night Lords we’ve already seen, as well as a new turbine terrain piece for games of Kill Team and 40K. The standouts there were new plastic Mandrakes, a stunning step-up from their current finecast version in appearance while losing none of the menace the models exude.
The Warhammer International Tournament Circuit Acquired by Games Workshop
Following their previews on Thursday at LVO, Games Workshop quietly announced on Friday that they had officially acquired the International Tournament Circuit (ITC).
The ITC was founded by Frontline Gaming in 2014 as a way to provide resources and track the performance of Warhammer players at events all over the world, ranking players for both their gaming record as well as their hobby record through the use of the Best Coast Pairings (BCP) player app. Games Workshop partnered with the ITC a few years ago to bring official Warhammer events into the ITC fold, as well as provide the ITC with additional resources and integrate their golden ticket system into ITC events. Now, Games Workshop has announced that they have absorbed the ITC into the company officially, and have assumed control of the organization from Frontline Games.
In the article making the announcement, Games Workshop let players know that this might not lead to massive upheavals in the immediate future. Games Workshop has formally partnered with BCP to continue to track performance, and future ITC rankings will be tracked on the app rather than on the Frontline gaming website.
In the future, Games Workshop says that they will be implementing changes to the ITC scoring system to reflect the diverse Warhammer scenes of different countries around the world, weighing scores so that less player-dense countries aren’t left in the dust by those with access to frequent large events. Games Workshop also mentioned possible updates to the hobby track in the future.
The Walking Dead: All Out War Preorder Date Revealed, and It’s Soon
Mantic Games announced in a blog post last week that those excited fans eagerly awaiting the return of The Walking Dead: All Out War won’t have very long to wait. The game will go live for pre-order on January 26th 2024.
Starting on the 26th, old and new players alike will be able to order models from the Mantic Website to start a new collection, or possibly bolster an existing collection. Additionally, brand new players may want to check out the Collectors Edition of the game. It was briefly teased in the blog post as well as the accompanying video, with more information about the contents of the set to come this week.
Massive Winter Storm Causes Delays in Warhammer: The Old World Shipping in North America
Games Workshop was forced to delay the release of The Old World to North American retailers this past weekend due to a massive winter storm that rocked the United States.
Much of North America has been gripped by an unusually strong polar vortex over the past two weeks, a powerful low pressure system originating from the earth’s poles that bring along with it frigid air. Memphis, Tennessee, the location of the Games Workshop warehouse and distribution facility in North America, has been hit particularly hard by the freeze. Via the Associated Press (AP), 700,000 people are without clean water in Memphis due to pipes bursting from cold temperatures and 27 people have died due to the cold conditions according to the Tennessee Department of Health.
Unsurprisingly, these conditions have made it nearly impossible for the Memphis warehouse to operate safely. After teasing the possibility of a delay of shipments due to weather earlier last week, Games Workshop sent an email to retailers across North America to confirm that The Old World would be delayed due to the facility being closed for several days from the icy conditions.
While the timing is poor, Games Workshop promises to do what they can to get the Old World to North American retailers as quickly as possible once the warehouse is able to reopen.
Riot Games Lays Off 530 Employees
Riot Games announced on Monday, January 22nd that it would be the next in the long, long line of gaming and tech companies laying off a large number of its employees.
Riot Games, the company behind the hit video game League of Legends, as well as VALORANT and the Netflix show Arcane, made the announcement on their website on Monday that it had made the difficult decision to let go of 530 members of its staff internationally, which is roughly 11% of it’s workforce, due to overhiring and inability to cut costs. With these layoffs, the company is narrowing its scope, focusing on its core games and IP’s while cutting back on other developing projects like Legends of Runeterra and Riot Forge. The company stated it will hold a town hall in early February to speak more about the plans for their portfolio in 2024.
While tech industry layoffs continue to be frustrating and heartbreaking for those watching and especially those who are affected, Riot’s blog post is much clearer than many of its peers in how it plans to support those let go from the company. The package for those let go includes six months of severance pay, an additional bonus based on the previous year’s performance bonus, health benefits through last day of employment and additional pay to support health benefits through severance, visa support, career support and counseling support, and a laptop for those who do not have a personal computer. Compared to Twitch’s post about its layoffs earlier this month, Riot seems to be much more transparent and forthcoming with its support for those affected by the layoffs.
Among the affected is writer Graham McNeill, who was a senior writer at Riot focusing on fiction for the League of Legends universe. Graham is a prolific writer for Warhammer fiction, including the iconic Ultramarines series, the Iron Warriors omnibus, A Thousand Sons, and the Forges of Mars omnibus.
BONUS: Evil Genius Games and Netflix Settle in “Rebel Moon” Lawsuit
While there is very little additional info about it at the moment, it would appear that Netflix and Evil Genius Games have settled out of court in their lawsuit over the canceled Tabletop RPG adaptation of Rebel Moon. Currently, it is unknown what the parameters of that settlement are, but the two parties notified the court of their settlement on January 11th, and the case was officially dismissed on the 22nd.
And that wraps it up for our Games Industry News Roundup this week! Join us again next week for more news about the tabletop games industry and related media. If you have an interesting tabletop news lead, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and we may include it in next week’s report!