Monday, January 28, 2008

Dark Heresy

Let me just echo what we've all been saying today about the decision to close down Black Industries.


On Friday they announced the new Dark Heresy book, the Warhammer 40K Role-Playing Game, was sold out. They announce on Monday, the next business day, that they're done with RPG's. They actually told distributors on Friday, so they had their outrage stewing for the full weekend before store owners got to express their disgust. Literally as soon as their product is out the door and in the hands of retailers and distributors, they sabotage everyone by making this announcement.

The inside scoop is that Games Workshop is dissolving Black Industries, despite it being profitable. The staff found out about it with the press release, so there's some animosity out there. They've let us know the list of books that will still be released:
  • Inquisitors Handbook (Dark Heresy players guide)
  • Purge the Unclean (Dark Heresy adventure anthology)
  • Disciples of the Dark Gods (Dark Heresy source book)
  • The Thousand Thrones (Warhammer Fantasy Role-Play campaign)
Before everyone has a nervous breakdown and decides that Dark Heresy is a dead product, what if they had announced that it would only have six products in the line? White Wolf has been doing that for their product lines, self-limiting their games to keep product quality and focus in line. I just want to throw that out there because this really is a good game, and I would hate to have people consider it DOA, when it's alive with three more products in the pipeline, not to mention that I've got a dozen $50 rulebooks sitting on my shelves. ;)


  1. Keep in mind that there was no announcement of the death of Dark Heresy. Only that there would be no more support of the game through Black Industries. BI isn't folding, but rather going back to novels, leaving WHFRP, 40KRP, and Talisman to find other GW-based imprints. My guess here is that GW is finally considering diversification, not putting all their eggs in the minis hobby basket, and finally re-integrating back into the industry they've tried so hard to dinstinguish themselves from. Something's telling me we'll be seeing their little logo on these products in the near future...

  2. Actually, Black Industries is folding. They're discontinuing the imprint to focus on Black Library products. I've seen this mis-reported a couple places now that BI is going to publish only novels now, and that's not true, BI isn't publishing anything anymore, BL is.

    This kind of thing is not that uncommon in large publicly owned companies. Profitable is no longer enough in these situations, they have to be highly profitable. The buzzword phrase "focusing on core competencies" is what appears to be happening here, and it's the opposite of diversification.

    The problem is that GW is ignoring the synergistic effects that the RPG line has on their other lines (to use another popular business buzzword). RPG players buy the novels and the minis because they play the game. Some of them go on to play the core mini games as a result. I know of at least two people like that (one here and one there in CA) and in both cases they are alpha gamers in the sense that tend to organize others to play (as gamemasters often do).

    As for the "what if Dark Heresy was announced as only a six product line" that might be an interesting way to look at it, if it wasn't for the fact that it was instead announced as a trilogy of three different core rule books, each covering a different facet of the 40K universe and supported by multiple supplements.

    I've already seen it mentioned that while WFRP is being left with a fairly extensive and reasonably complete line of supplements, that DH is being left in a position similar to that WFRP v1 back when GW cancelled it the first time: A solid core, but lacking elements essential to fully rounding out the setting.

  3. I think part of the "are they folding" confusion comes from their changing their press release half way through the day. Originally it said they were dropping RPGs and focusing on novels. Later in the day they reported the closing of the company.

  4. Heh, it seems like maybe even the folks at GW were confused about the distinction between Black Library and Black Industries. The latter has always been a subsidiary of the former focused on publishing RPGs and board games. Black Library in turn is the book publishing subsidiary of Games Workshop.

  5. I am going to buy all the forthcoming products and keep my fingers crossed that they license the line to someone else.

    I find it strange that the line which, as far as I know makes them very little money, Lord of The Rings, is still around.

  6. I have a feeling the term "contractual obligations" has a large part to do with why they still push Lord of the Rings.

  7. As a partner store we're obliged to carry Lord of the Rings. We carry the bare minimum required and it sits gather dust.

  8. I am disappointed.

    I was buying GW miniatures, building an army, and buying their fanfic novels, all because of the rpg.

    Now I will only buy what is left of the rpg releases and go back to Warmachine.