This is really what most of us have been looking for. A serious set of answers to the hard questions that we have been wanting to hear. Will other chapters get the Storm Raven? Hard back Codex's coming to 40k?, What is really up with Finecast?, and more.
This is information from Games Day UK 2011, that we have not yet heard. Now I altered the information somewhat, by placing the Design Studio Seminar (4) first, and the Second Forgeworld Seminar second. This was done, because I felt the information from design studio seminar 4 was what most of us were more interested in.
Where things are in quotes, some paraphrasing may be happening - its been a few days since this was all said and I wasn't transcribing everything!
Design Studio Seminar (4):
Wade Pryce, the Studio Communications Manager, did most of the talking. Jervis, the WD Editor, and one of the hobby chaps were the three people on the panel.
I was desperately disappointed with the quality of the questions. With Wade making it absolutely clear that the seminar was not about upcoming releases and questions about upcoming stuff would not be answered . . . about half the questions were about upcoming releases. Of the rest of the questions, most were confrontational "Is GW about to mess us about?" type questions, when there was a really good opportunity to try and understand _why_ GW is making the decisions they are.
- The "reason" why Stormraven Gunships are Blood Angels and Grey Knights only is because . . . that's what the background GW have written says. I suspect most people tuned out at this point, but what was said next was interesting. More or less: "That's not to say that other Chapters don't have other gunships. I can tell you now that they do. We just haven't written about them yet."
(So, in short: we didn't want to backdate Stormravens into other Chapters, but given everyone is screaming for gunships, we aren't averse to putting new types of gunships into other Chapters...)
- Wade Pryce got as close to an apology about Finecast as I've heard without saying "sorry". He said that he (and GW) accepted that the quality of the Finecast models at the start had not been great, but that he was pretty confident it was now sorted. He also was very clear that if you were not happy about something you should contact GW directly about it, as they do listen to feedback. This was repeated on quite a few controversial things throughout the seminar, so I'm willing to see if his money is where his mouth is on that one and will be dropping him a line in the near future.
- Release schedules and advanced information: You've heard this spiel by now. But he did say up front "This is an experiment. If everyone hates it, we'll change back. Tell us if you don't like it." But effectively: "We want everyone to find out at the same time, either through White Dwarf, or through the Advanced Order section of our website."
- White Dwarf subscription deliveries. They said that it was not intended for people to get their White Dwarf a week after everyone else - but that no-one should be getting it early. The reason for this was to match the desire to control information about releases. This meant that as the vagaries of the postal service can't be relied on, it was likely that for the near future at least, people were not going to be getting their White Dwarf on the day...
However: He did say that he didn't like that, and wanted to change it, but while they were using outsourced distributors (can back this up, my letter about delayed release of White Dwarf this month had writing on it saying that it was by some big magazine distribution company), they weren't able to do that - but that was something they were looking at fixing.
- When discussing the hard backed Warhammer Armies books, he mentioned that he'd been asked when that would be done for 40K. His response? "Well, if I were you, I'd notice that we started doing full colour, hard backed army books after we'd done a full colour Warhammer core rulebook. So I'd be looking out for hardbacked codexes after we published a new, full colour 40K rulebook..."
(Seriously, why has no-one picked up on this comment before? Have I just missed someone posting on this?)
- Jervis, on why they developed Dreadfleet: "Because I don't _just_ want to be doing old stuff all the time. I want to do new, cool, and exciting things. I want to do stuff that means in five or ten years time, people are bugging me about 'Why don't you redo Dreadfleet?' in the same way that you do about Blood Bowl, Necromunda or Man o war."
- The Squats are a running joke at these seminars, it seems. They're dead, live with it. ;-)
- On specialist games: "Its not fair on our staff to expect them to be experts in every game they do. Particularly with the one man stores, we expect them to be experts in Warhammer, 40K and Lord of the Rings. That's a lot of stuff for them to know. These games have a strong following in gaming clubs and similar, and we support them by making most of the rules available as free downloads, and keeping the old models available."
(Honestly, if he'd just said "Shelf space", I'd have been OK with it.)
- When asked about whether or not any old models would no longer be available when GW moved over entirely to Finecast, they stated that they intended to keep on making the classic models they are doing, and they even sometimes brought old models back into production, such as with the Hall of Fame miniatures. In particular, if they were to have another old Hall of Fame miniature voted in that wasn't currently available, it would almost certainly be made available in Finecast. Things drop off the production map if no-one ever buys them, rather than because of a move over to Finecast.
Second Forgeworld Seminar:
- I got the impression that while they would be doing more work on bits of Heresy era stuff, they wouldn't necessarily do anything Heresy _specific_ (IE: Anything that dates from the Heresy that hasn't survived to the 41st Millennium). This is just an impression, as I don't recall the exact wording - there was a lot of banter around things.
- The vote on the Macharius Omega was held in the second seminar as well, and most people didn't like the name either.
- When asked why Forgeworld didn't do more Necron stuff, Tony said that given the age of the Codex, it was probably better for them to wait until after a new codex was released...
- They will be revisiting old scenery products, possibly including the Fortress Walls, with the new hollow resin technique they are using, and intend to do more battle board sections as well as smaller pieces. These pieces should be significantly cheaper as the new technique uses less resin.
- Mark 1 Thunder Armour. Its really weird looking, and Tony wasn't sure it would able to be compatible with the other marks of power armour. Possibly something for the future, but nothing definite.
- Would they do books of tanks and background without the supporting miniatures? Probably not - because everyone would then be upset they couldn't have the miniatures.
- Monstrous Arcana would have rules to use the monsters for both Storm of Magic and normal games of Warhammer.
The definite impression I got was that Tony was being pretty up front about how Forgeworld operates. They have a limited number of person hours available to make stuff, and there is a vast ton of stuff they would love to do - from Ad Mech to scenery to Titans... Almost everything he was asked about making got a pretty clear answer - not in terms of _when_ but of how they would make the decision about when to do it, based on resourcing, demand and time constraints.
There was also some interesting commentary on how Games Workshop / Forgeworld make liaise about what Forge World is working on. Tony was pretty adamant he wasn't dictated to by the Design Studio, and that his office was only a door or so away from the chap on the GW end he needed to liaise with, so they communicated pretty regularly about stuff.