Games Workshop announced on May 22 its plans to launch a streaming service that will host original animation based on both of its miniatures wargames, Warhammer 40,000 and Age of Sigmar.
The publisher detailed Warhammer+ in a community post, claiming it will be available on smart televisions as well as both iOS and Android devices sometime in July. Eleven different titles will be available at launch showcasing factions and conflicts from both games, though the preview clip seemed to favour the future setting home to Space Marines, daemons and Necrons.
The eleven separate series look to be in different stages of production, as the largest preview given to Angels of Death showed seven minutes from the first episode. The glossy and grand style looked impressive given the supposedly short time Games Workshop’s studio team has been working - Syama Pederson, creator of the fan animation Astartes, was formally hired by Games Workshop back in March, and the publisher called Angels of Death “brand new” at that point. That said, it’s hard to tell if the greyscale colour with splashes of red is a stylistic choice or simply an unfinished presentation.
The other titles launching with Warhammer+ include Hammer and Bolter, The Exodite, Iron Within, Altar of Wrath, Blacktalon, Interrogator, Broken Lance, Pariah Nexus, High Lords and Astartes II - the officially sanctioned sequel to Pederson’s independent creation. The short pitches Games Workshop gave for each sells them as prime opportunities for players and fans to see their favourite units in bloody action across the seemingly endless battlefronts in both universes.
Some follow the more realistic CG animation of Angels of Death, while others adopt a cleaner and brighter 2D style or a mixture of the two between backgrounds and character models, a la Netflix’s The Dragon Prince. The differing looks will likely go a long way to offer something enjoyable across the wargame’s broad fanbase and show facets of storytelling beyond massive shoulder armour and green-tinged metal skeletons.
Games Workshop plans to reveal more about Warhammer+ on June 23rd, including what it called “awesome subscriber benefits'' - the details of which or price weren’t part of the initial announcement. It isn’t difficult to imagine the publisher offering early access to pre-orders for new models and sourcebooks or perhaps digital discounts to those who sign up for Warhammer+ and find themselves inspired to drop money on their first set of sprues. The popular perception is that Warhammer is an expensive hobby, and while the truth is a little more complicated - discounts will likely be the nudge many need to leap into wargaming.
Animation isn’t the only unconventional expansion for the plastic game this year. Magic: The Gathering will release Warhammer: 40,000-themed Commander decks later this year as part of the trading card game’s Universes Beyond initiative, which allows sets and special releases the freedom to cross over with existing media, such as Lord of the Rings.