This is an excellent brief interview with Robbin Cruddace at France's Games Day which to my understanding just ended the previous weekend. Robbin was gracious enough to answer some questions by one of our readers here, and Commissar-Lord Brusilov wrote up an excellent overview of that conversation. This is definitely worth your time to read, answers some questions about the Black Templar and codex creation, so sit back and enjoy on a hopefully quiet Sunday morning.
via the Faeit 212 inbox from Commissar-Lord Brusilov
I attended the French Games Day last week-end and while I did not learn much about any upcoming releases (everyone is quite tight-lipped about that), I did have a long chat with Robin Cruddace (thanks again to him if he’s reading this for putting up with me).
Since he wouldn’t get into details of what’s coming up, I asked question regarding the development process, GW’s release schedule (in broad terms). Here is what I can remember from it :
- interestingly enough, Robin mentioned that they want to avoid releasing models without a Codex/Army book. He explained that new models drive book sales and vice versa. I forgot to ask him whether he tought new releases without a book may spark new interest in that army, but I don’t think it would have changed his answer ;
- he added that it takes basically a year to write a new codex ;
- he mentioned that models come first, the models designers sit down and come up with new ideas for units and then the rules designers create rules and background for them ;
- Speaking of rules, I asked him about folding the Black Templars into the vanilla Space Marines Codex, he semmed dubious it was doable, arguing that while Imperial Fists and Crimson Fists are very close and are both adhering to the Codex Astartes, Black Templars diverge a lot. He neither confirmed nor denied that the Templars would be folded into the future iteration of the Space Marines Codex ;
- Regarding Codices, he did say that they intend to try and get back to each army every four years (or so). He acknowledged some armies have fallen behind but mentioned that he has written army books or codices for armies that are yet to be released ;
- We talked a bit about the Sisters of Battle. While he did not confirmed they’re being worked on, he said that considering the age of the models it would be a very long process (Jes Goodwyn’s design sketches for the Heldrake, that a model designer had brought with him were dated of summer 2011 IIRC).
Robin was very open about GW’s marketing and sales policies, which I found very interesting :
- when I asked him why there was only one Codex release this year, he explained that if they released more this year, their financial results would skyrocket abnormally and shareholders would expect sales to be as good, if not better next year. Basically, they withheld releases to smooth over the results year to year ;
- I wondered why GW now has such a short release notice. Robin explained that they experimented with shortening the release notice, one step at a time, from six months, to three months, to a month, to a week. Every time GW did this, their sales increased (or so he said). Basically, GW wants us to surprise us and get us to spend our money impulsively, rather than plan ahead (not what Mr Cruddace said, rather what I get out of this) ;
- Robin explained that if you look at the lifespan of an edition (he said roughly five years), if you remove the months dedicated to the new rulebook, the new starter box for each of their flagship games, the months where GW release supplements (like Blood in the Badlands or Planetstrike), surprise releases (like Space Hulk or Dreadfleet), it leaves basically 36 months out of 60 months (5 years remember) for new releases, and firstly codices and army books ;
- I asked him how they playtested new rules. Robin explained they have an inhouse team dedicated to that and they call upon renowned tournament players to assist. When I asked him about an open beta for a new edition (like PP did for Warmachine Mk2), he did not seem to keen.
Finally, I asked him the running joke question I ask every rules designer I come across (especially now they’re officially in the background again) : “when are the Squats coming back?” Robin laughed and acknowledged that they’re back in the background but that they have no plans for them. Maybe when they’re done with everything else...
I hope this sheds some light into GW policies for our favourite games.
The Emperor Protects,