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
Natfka,
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,

Commissar-Lord Brusilov

66 Comments:

  1. Thanks for posting always an interesting read from Games Days. Shame about Sisters...

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    1. yeah i just started building a sisters army, i like them a lot but i would love to not have to spend close to $20 for 3 models. i suppose i could also hold out hope that they get some more elite choices, too.. repentia are awesome but celestians are mostly a pass, i can find a spot for every unit in that army except s,t,i 3 marines.

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    1. pls no firsts. I wish I could edit comments, because the rest of the comment were worth keeping.

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    2. Thank you natfka, cruddance and Commissar-Lord Brusilov on the info for BT..

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    3. Very interesting bits of information!

      Especially the part about Games Workshop holding back releases to smooth out their sales over years. This gets my hopes up that we may see a new Codex every few months, but this may be wishful thinking. Although, 3 codexes for WH40K and WHFB each next year would be sweeeeeet!

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  3. With the current rate of updating dexes, I suppose that people new to 40k should be made aware that this process can be as long as WW2. I want to see new books for BT, SoB and whatever other armies that are behind so that all of us may simply enjoy the game without feeling that some have better options than others. If you are dedicated to a particular force, you may as well see your kids grow up and move out of the house without you having an up-to-date version of a codex.

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  4. nice info, thanks

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  5. What I take from this IS Gw thinks Hobbit crap is gonna account for the lost revenue/releases of THERE FLAG SHIP PRODUCT 40k!

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    1. Actually they want smooth sales amounts over several years, not to make as much money as possible in the next 3 months. The Hobbit is a part of it as well as other army books. Hard to argue when they are doing what's best for their shareholders.

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    2. Every corporation says the same crap! Its about the shareholders and making it easier to deal with or making more money! They all seem to forget that when I the customer and others like me are fed up with what we are given as a result, they make no more money!

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    3. This is not a regular business model. The fact is because they cleverly make sure new models are competitively priced points wise, they will always get repeat business. Add onto that the 'plastic crack' element of the hobby, and you have a business model that is good for the owners.

      It's like premiership football. Steady price increases and new kits every year. A few people pipe up saying its money grabbing, but those people will still be seen at the club/with a new kit, because being a fan attaches emotions to a business decision. GW plays on the fact you enjoy the game you play.

      In essence they plan there schedule to maximise impulse spending but over a period of time.

      I am desperate for skull crushers, and it took alot to stop myself going down and spending £70 today. They're good at what they do.

      Lastly one persons money is not important.

      Sorry to run on, it's just I appreciate your sentiment but in terms of impact it is neglible.

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    4. yeeeah back under the bridge!

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  6. Holding back the releases to 2013 makes a lot of sense from a business perspective (though obviously sucks from a gamers perspective). GW had a huge bump from the release of the new paints (they said as much in their own financial reports). I imagine that the sixth edition/dark vengeance was also a boost and the Hobbit can be expected to sell.

    My guess is we'll see much more in the way of codices and other odds and ends in 2013 to compensate for the lack of big releases (new paints, sixth edition, etc.). Obviously the key is a mix of codices but also releases that prompt people to buy regardless of what army they play. This may also explain the current rumors that Dark Angels won't drop till next year.

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    1. Holding them back though is caring more about shareholders than the fans. Imagine if codices could be released together at once? He even said he has already wrote a couple and said the models are designed prior. So that means the likes of Tau, Eldar and the rest are probably sitting on a shelf somewhere already done but to keep shareholders happy, remain there.

      There you go then. If you want your army to come out sooner, stop putting money in GW's pockets and your army might be the one released to keep shareholders happy. lol

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    2. Or even better become a shareholder, that way you have power over releases. I'm sure you'll be able to twist the other shareholders arms ;) we need those squats and plastic sisters

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    3. It's not caring about shareholders, damnit! Did you not read what he said? It's about tricking the fickle shareholders more than anything! GW doesn't want to increase revenue, because otherwise they would have majorly increased revenue expectations for next year. Expectations they may not be able to meet and thus lose shareholder confidence next year. So it is more or less acknowledging that SHs are fickle dastards and playing their game against them.
      Please realize this and stop bitching...

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    4. Tricking, caring, bowing... It's all still the reason why long overdue codices stay overdue. Now we know. :P

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    5. So blame the greedy stockholders. GW would LOVE to give you your plastic crack. I'm sure they would be delighted to indulge all your needs of new minis, but they can't do that because they know you don't have enough money to keep buying new stuff as quickly as they could produce it. Hence they slow down, so you can earn some more money to give away. It's funny how at one time people are bitching about GW prices and now they bitch because GW isn't giving them enough to buy. Like you're upset about not getting to spend.
      Shut up and take my money indeed... ;)

      But yeah, blame the stock holders for their fickle demands.

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    6. Don't care about the share holders? Please be real for a minute... without them you wouldn't have this game... they funded this company and brought it up... Come on guys stop being such babies and children and be thankful we have one of the greatest hobbies on Earth!

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  7. "- 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"

    This folks, right here, is why GW will never get any better and writing rules for their game

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    1. I disagree. Mostly because I believe that the statement is not as literal and matter of fact as you are taking it.

      I believe that it goes back and forth. Model work might be the first thing to get started, but I am sure there is conceptual design that is the very first thing. (we want a heavy gunship, modellers get to work on some sketches)

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    2. Natfka is correct. There is a synergy to the design process. They've said in the past there is a brainstorming session where all the designers get together at the start of a project to discuss ideas and the essence of the project. However, it is true that a lot of it hinges on the sculptors. GW has always been a model company first, that designed game systems to sell more models.

      To Anonymous, that's not a new revelation or a "gotcha" moment, unless you want to get in a time machine and say "gotcha" in the late 80's, but its something they have been open and honest about for 25+ years. They were a company that made models for role-players and then decided they should make games to give people a reason to use their whole model collections. There is nothing new or shocking to that quote.

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    3. Random guy 1: Hey where has Goodwin been the last 8 months
      Goodwin walks in the door: Hey guys lets do an eldar codex, i got all the new sculpts right here!

      Somehow i think it might be a little more organized and deliberate than that.

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    4. To expand upon what I say, and supporting Natfka's argument, Robin Cruddace explained that the minituare designers sit down and think over what new models could be added to the range, what models could be redone (in plastic from resin or metal).

      From there, they start designing models, and would probably share their ideas with the rule designers to get them working.

      Rulewise, Robin mentioned something very interesting. Sometimes rules that seem very cool are pulled out of the codex at the last moment, because someone said "this rule is nice, but it does not fit with the theme of the army." To give an example, he said that at some point, the imperial guard had a "fix bayonet!" order (or something to that effect) but it was removed because they wanted the guard to be a shooting army (too bad, I'd have love that order and I'd use it often)

      Cheers, Brusilov

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    5. That doesn't make sense. Models being designed first doesn't mean the rules for those models can't be good/balanced. I'm not saying GW does a good job of the rules writing, but models coming first is not inherently a problem.

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    6. Well the New Chaos Codex seems ballanced.

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  8. ...and somewhere a clock resets Natfka. :P

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    1. Well its is daylight savings time my good sir....

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    2. well playd sir.

      Somewhere in a dark room "mantic" laughter echos as a clocks dial is turned back.

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  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    1. warlord titan -_- Why.....

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    2. Enough links to this ebay page. Mentioning it once is more than too much. If you want to advertise it, you can email me, but in general ebay advertising is not something I am interested for the site.

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  10. "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 "

    ..this feel so wrong

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    1. It's why GW makes awesome minis. ;)
      Sculptors aren't at their beat when forced to create something they have no passion for. Better have them create awesome sculpts and then get those into codexes than having rules dictate the models. After all, if rules balance was allowed to dictate the models, we'd have very bland armies. Why? Because rules people have a hard time balancing things, so logically they would shun away from difficult to balance units. What are such units then? Well, those that have mixed results, ie high risk high reward models, or in most cases "epic" units.
      It would be a lot easier to balance a game with only a few units that do very little beyond their basic function. That would create a dull miniature base and probably make you loose interest in the hobby.

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  11. So if they really do acknowledge that Squats have been re-retconned in, we can remain hopeful. After all, it only took what, 15 years, of constant whining to get them back in the fluff, so in another 15 years or so we could reasonably expect a codex for them (not to mention Chaos Squats, who originally were the ones building and maintaining Chaos Titans and Dreadnoughts). :D

    It will be a long wait, longer than the beards of the Ancestors, but the years have forged our patience to be as strong as the rock of the Homeworlds.

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    1. They are in the core rulebook, as demi-humans. Basically if you want to play them convert an IG army.

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  12. Personally as a BT player I would hate to see them folded into codex marines.

    Currently they might not seem that far away from codex marines. Or have many unique units but that is more of a issue of being the oldest codex.

    I would ask people who are not that familiar with the fluff of BT to take the time to please read the small amount of fluff on the BT.

    Find the codex, as I would not recommend to buy it as it has now been FAQed all to hell and most of it is no longer correct. Read over it and you will find that the Black Templars are one of the most divergent chapters and one of the key aspects is that they refuse to conform to codex astartes.

    "Squatting" a codex or folding one has never made a play of that army happy. Ask Eldar players who played the different Eldar books before the last one or CSM players of 3.5 ignoring the OP of that book and focusing on the flavor and diversity or even codex marines when they had chapter traits.

    GW has FAQed away Drop pods from all Black Templar termies and did not given them back.

    I relate Black Templars to Space Wolves as for a very long time SWs player base was very small until they got a new codex. BT just needs an new codex to help bring them up to date and display that they are deserving of not being suck in the big "Blue marine" book.

    Folding would hurt Black Templars and they would lose big time. I have no desire to see "Ultra Black Templars" or "Blue Templars" or "Black Salamanders". Black Templars fluff will be fully retconed and rewritten leaving nothing left of them.

    I just ask people to educate their selves about BT before removing another army from the game.

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    1. Im thinking the original legions deserve a codex before BTs. They could simply section the new SM codex by legion.

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    2. We know they will not do that look at CSM.

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    3. @Azrell: I'm thinking the original legions(not all) are quite similare due to the codex astartes. They don't need their own codex, it would make no sense. But the black Templars differ a lot from the ultra codex, so they simply need their own codex.
      @anon9:59
      Good spoken, brother. Hellbrecht would be proud.

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    4. I really don't understand the whole Legions need codex thing. There aren't Legions anymore. Maybe the Undivided, but even they war with themselves. They are chapters at best, just like the loyal marines, albeit they aren't resricted to 1000.

      What I have always found odd is the 8 maybe 9 (twins) traitor Primarch still just hanging around and never give a rats ass about Abbaddon's crusades. Haven't even seen anything out of Angron since his defeat at Amaggeddon by the Grey Knights and Space Wolves. They are all just lazy uninspired fat cats content with their one little Deamon Worlds. That I know of.

      Bellumvinco

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  13. As long as he hasn't written another Tyranid Codex...

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  14. So what i got was Squats 2013? First half?

    GREAT NEWS!!!!!!

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    1. squats and sisters of battle
      new combo team designed to take on the threat of choas..

      Or maybe not. still i can hope! :)

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    2. Biker with chicks in leather :D

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  15. http://uk.finance.yahoo.com/q/ks?s=GAW.L

    Am I reading this right? Is GW stock at $678.50 a share?

    Cosper

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  16. the fact I fined interesting is is that we are lead to believe that GW have no interest in tournaments & just want a game that people just have fun with, but use tournament players to do the play testing.

    Which if said players are any good that GW are well a were of broken combo's that they are putting into codices, this also should be together with the need to keep the shareholders happy by enough to explain why Mat Ward is their golden boy.

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  17. @cosper

    GW are floated on the UK stock market and there shares are priced in Pence IIRC.

    Shame no one asked him why he hates Tryanid players so much.

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    1. I agree, though I think it may have been a bit rude to come right out and say it. Maybe if it had been coached as "Hey, do you have any regrets on how the Tyranid codex came out?", that might have gotten somewhere.
      Also, the lack of SoB rumors is making me edgy...

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    2. Just wondering, what is actually wrong with the Tyranid codex, aside from the Carnifex being a bit overpriced and Tyranid Warriors being more prone to instant death?

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    3. No EW anywhere really, no invuln saves, overpriced monsters, lots of useless units, etc.

      6th made them more usable, but by no means fixed them.

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    4. @ dewi sant
      What is Pence iirc
      and wtf the heck is GW stock worth 677050 GBP??
      That seems soooo high??

      ..... and why didnt i buy any when it was cheap!! lol

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    5. Pence is the British equivalent of a cent, ie 100 pence per pound as 100 cents per dollar, or euro.

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    6. Even "do you have any regrets on how the Tyranid codex came out?" would be pretty offensive, I think. I have no doubt that these guys read at least some of what gets written about them online. No matter how politely you phrased it, he'd probably instantly guess that you'd been howling for his blood on some forum or other.

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    7. It has been so long ago. Surely he is over it by now.

      Bellumvinco

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    8. Exactly. One shouldn't let Cruddace talk so much without explaining why he destroyed Tyranids.

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  18. Okay all you BT players can STFU until you play TS

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  19. "models come first ... then the rules designers create rules and background for them."

    Had me cracking up as I imagined how this must actually happen.

    Model Designer: "Hey I got a mediocre idea for rehashing Obliterators as a melee unit. I'm busy though so I'll have my pet monkey do the sculpting."

    Rules Designer: "Sounds Great! I'll draw some rules out of a hat for them. Looks like they get Slow and Purposeful and 3 man squad limit"

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  20. i bet the guy that made the pyrovore was PISSED when he read the codex haha.

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  21. "shareholders would expect sales to be as good, if not better next year"

    Ahhh there we go. If anyone had any doubt that shareholders come before customers, fans, society, the planet, the universe, life, love, god, aetheism, sleep, water and mini cheddars, you may remove that doubt now. Also good to remind myself that my favourite universe is accountable to a bunch of bald, fat, cultureless ra-ra's. "Sorry you can't have more codices this year to allow more of you to have a fair, balanced game with the figures you love because Sir John Barrington-Smythe-Holland hasn't paid his prostitute bill yet....."

    Gotta love this system haven't you? It really, really works. No really it does. Really.

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    1. How DARE you talk about my Mini Cheddars like that!

      You'll see, Mini Cheddars will take over the world starting with the stock market. ;)

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  22. So nothing on the Sisters, he pretty much sounds like he just openly doges the question and in the process insinuates that They Haven't Even Started!

    I doubt the Sisters are squatted but I honestly doubt they will even get failcasted before 7th ed.

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