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View Full Version : Is GW making enough of it's IP?



Mad Doc Grotsnik
03-02-2008, 16:16
Bit of a good question.

You see, it would appear people have warmed considerably to Dawn of War, and there seems to be a pretty good vibe about WAR.

This to me, shows that the worlds GW have carefully created over the years very much have legs, which lets face it, haven't really been properly stretched since Specialist Games stopped being produced as new products.

So perhaps it's time GW allowed other companies to take their worlds into new mediums?

What would be the best way to expand GWs IP in your opinion?

Templar Ben
03-02-2008, 16:22
I think GW was smart to license out the IP for video and I think it would be smart to do the same for the RPGs. They will only get the license fee and not all of the money from having it in house but they do not have the risk of in house production.

Telling the shareholders that you are becoming stronger because people are trying to make complimentary products that do not negatively effect you will help in the next report.

ankara halla
03-02-2008, 16:42
IMHO the first step they need to do is stop messing with established canon. Under the tender care of Mr. Alan Merret the canon for 40k (possibly fantasy as well, I don't know since I don't follow it at all) has been thrown about and re-written dozens of times.

To fully capitalize on the potential of 40k they really need to write certain key events (Heresy, primarchs, chaos gods, etc.) in stone and stick with them. I'd say they did fairly well with this stuff prior to the relese of 3rd edition and majorly lost the ball on the release of Necrons (that re-wrote, inconsistantly one might add, allmost all of the existing background) and with the growth of the BL novels (which are about as consistent about the background as Star Wars novels were/are... which is to say not at all).

The point of the rant above? before GW can really capitalize on it's IP it has to ground it on key elements so that other companies can grow it from there. That cannot be done as long as it keeps re-writing itself and making all the stuff that was based on the pre-existing stuff obsolete.
DOW is all good since it has no background to it per se. It has Marines and other races 40k in known for (or rather, it introduces races other than Marines to people not too familiar with the setting...). All the same, that's not much to build on.

Now if for some reason the 40k background did stabilize, then I'd say it could be used as a setting for a TV-series or a cartoon. A comic might also be viable, but not as a monthly, more like a graphic novel. The comics allready been done, with poor success, but I belive that's more to do with marketing. They weren't available anywhere but GW stores and some indies. There's no reason they couldn't hit the shelves of book- and comic stores. As to the TV stuff, it might very well work there. All it needs is resources which translates to talented people. Such people might get interested in the gig if they were given freedom to express their talent. While GW is careful to the point of being paranoid about it's stuff, it needs to come to terms that genuine creativity cannot be micromanaged and expected to thrive. At the same time they understandably cannot allow their IP to be blended in to generic SF/Fantasy as then it would loose it's power. All they need to do is write the setting in stone and then find people willing enough to work on that.

Mad Doc Grotsnik
03-02-2008, 16:46
But is Canon Canon? Think about it, the Warhammer 40,000 setting is more mythology than fact, if you see what I mean.

Everything that is said to be canon is from the various Creation Myths of the various inhabitants of the Galaxy. Why should this be immutable?

The IP is fairly solid still. In 40k, you have the Imperium of Man beset within and without by enemies, and it has to wage endless war just to survive. There are four main Chaos Gods and so on. This is enough for creative minds to play with. Would setting things in stone not make this stagnate, tying future creations to an immutable setting, where they just won't fit?

I'm not saying your wrong, just asking some questions like.

RobC
03-02-2008, 16:48
Problem is, Alan Merrett is one of the three people who effectively controls the background, along with John Blanche and Rick Priestley. If he says to you, "I want this to be published; it's my vision of the Heresy and it's now canon", you probably can't argue with him.

ankara halla
03-02-2008, 17:31
But is Canon Canon? Think about it, the Warhammer 40,000 setting is more mythology than fact, if you see what I mean.

Everything that is said to be canon is from the various Creation Myths of the various inhabitants of the Galaxy. Why should this be immutable?

The IP is fairly solid still. In 40k, you have the Imperium of Man beset within and without by enemies, and it has to wage endless war just to survive. There are four main Chaos Gods and so on. This is enough for creative minds to play with. Would setting things in stone not make this stagnate, tying future creations to an immutable setting, where they just won't fit?

I'm not saying your wrong, just asking some questions like.

Well, if it's not set in stone, imagine a scenario where a television series and a movie were produced at the same time. One of them tells one story of the Horus Heresy while the other tells a very different one. And they are supposed to be set in the same universe.

That's not something the public is going to like (heck, even us 40k nerds are more or less railed up about it...), and the studios that might produce anything based on GW IP know that. Add to that the paranoid level of control GW keeps on it's own (inconsistant) IP and you have a no-go from any reasonable think thank that could make something from the material.


The eternal war and galaxy in flames and all that is not something grand or unique or anything that really makes 40k special. Why would anybody buy a licenese for anything like that?

Mad Doc Grotsnik
03-02-2008, 17:34
But why go for such a grand thing?

Take the Marvel films. Although they touch on the background, they have (wisely in my opinion) steered largely clear of any major, world changing events, as if they stuff it up (and believe me, the major fans would have everyone believe they had!) there would be hell to pay.

The 40k Galaxy is a big enough place to have your own set of events, which is why it's so attractive as an IP.

ankara halla
03-02-2008, 17:46
True enough and this isn't an issue that I've really given that much though. Just throwing my ideas and frustrations about GW's IP out there.

However, the way I see it the IP it self has limitless potential. Think Star Trek. There were several series and 10 movies based on that IP and it was all consistant. I do belive that was one of ST's major strenghts to the studios. It was consistant and it had a fan base that was craving for more. I seriously doubt ST would have become what it did if the movies and series' contradicted each other in the way 40k background does.

Any movie/tv/cartoon done wouldn't need to be universe shattering. Like the Marvel Universe there's plenty enough meat in the GW setting allready to cut up in slices and serve as meals to entertain the masses.

By not capitalizing on this background GW is failing to do what you are asking in the thread title. But to truly make it succesful, GW need to ground it first so that others can work their magic on it. All IMHO of course :)

Mad Doc Grotsnik
03-02-2008, 18:11
Well, thats the point of Forums, to air your views!

I reckon a series of films could work very nicely just covering the experiences of a Guardsman. Ideally, the lower the main character in the grand pantheon, the more interesting a film could be. Also, as the Uplifting Primer points out, they are largely ignorant of the truth, and thus, would be an ideal way of introducing new comers to the Universe. The only problem is that it might be a little too close to Starship Troopers!

superknijn
03-02-2008, 18:27
Well, thats the point of Forums, to air your views!

Nay, that's where blogs are for now. ;)

GW sits atop a huge mountain of IP, but I think most ways to use that are already used. There's already a miniatures wargame (As we've seen with LOTR, a good way to use IP to gain profit) and there already are video games of all sorts (even the immensly popular MMO's). Other ways of using the IP can be either films (yay!) or RPG's. And that's where sanity ends and irony and insanity begin.

Why!

ankara halla
03-02-2008, 18:33
EDIT: At MDG...

Exactly! Especially since Starship Troopers is also about "in the future there is only war, as the humankind struggles to defeat insurmountable odds against aliens while the galaxy burns in flames" ...well, not qute but it's certainly close enough to it anyway and kinda goes towards my point about 40k IP not being that great in it self if it's all just "eternal war and galaxy in flames" and all that.

The juicy parts are in the details and what's hurting GW is changing the details with allmost every book they publish. I know for a fact that I wouldn't want to write a script for a 40k movie if the foundations of the universe I was writing about kept changing over the time (a year is about right for a movie [with all the re-writes and production inputs such a project calls for] and in that time GW would have published about two or three more "heresy" novels that would've all re-written key elements from the background) it would take me to write the thing.

Gazak Blacktoof
03-02-2008, 18:36
and majorly lost the ball on the release of Necrons (that re-wrote, inconsistantly one might add, allmost all of the existing background)


They didn't really re-write any existing background to fit the necrons in.

Like the Doc says nothing is really canon anyway. Most of the information is propaganda or mythological in nature. 40K is fantasy (small F) rather than sci-fi. I'd rather not have absolutes that permeate a timescale and area (or more correctly volume) as vast as the one tackled by the background of 40K fiction.

ankara halla
03-02-2008, 18:51
Uh, well... Necrons certainly re-wrote alot of the older (RT and 2nd edition, the foundations of the 40k universe in the practical sense) background to fit themselfs in.



And as to the mythological nature, it didn't used to be. In the good old days (and this is me in my grumpy old graybeard mode...) the background was sourcematerial to set games/campaigns on and to give players the history of the armies they were collecting.

Over the evolutiuon of GW this all changed, and not for the better IMHO. There's no need for any settings background to be restricting while being consistant, heck, even GW used to do it that way. Continually spreading the universe without messing with established canon.

Now that the presedent of "no canon is really canon anyway" (and that sadly is the case) is set who'd want to work on that? Unless you recived your paycheck from GW to do exactly that...

It really is GW's failing to capitalize on it's IP by not being consistant in it's IP. There is so much that could be done from it (other than medicore BL novels...) but that won't be touched by anyone becouse of

a) GW's paranoid control of it's (inconsistant) IP

b) It's very hard for anyone to work on something that keeps on changing and much less build anything (like a franchise) on.

Darkson
03-02-2008, 19:16
TV series - set about the IG/squad of IG - think Sci-Fi version of "Band of Brothers".

Film and/or TV series - The adventures of an Inquisitor (adult)/The adventures of a Rogue Trader (kids) [better as a TV series]

I personally think they should avoid the "big war in space" schtick - that's been beaten to death before.

Templar Ben
03-02-2008, 19:21
I would like to have the fluff more stable. There shouldn't be an issue of "old fluff". GW seems to retcon as much as a comic book. Compare that to ST and SW the two big boys of space. Compare also to the Forgotten Realms setting in fantasy. I am saying this as a person that would love to see more done with GW but they do need to have a tighter control on the universe.

Darkson
03-02-2008, 19:35
Compare that to ST and SW the two big boys of space.

And yet if you go on SW or ST forums, you hear them moaning about the retconning in SW I to III or ST:Enterprise.

ankara halla
03-02-2008, 19:39
Exactly. All one needs to do is look the the movies/serie that killed those franchises by alienating the fans... .. .

Heck, both SW and ST were established names which everyone knew/knows. Now they aren't worth half as much as they were ten years ago.

Gazak Blacktoof
03-02-2008, 19:53
Uh, well... Necrons certainly re-wrote alot of the older (RT and 2nd edition, the foundations of the 40k universe in the practical sense) background to fit themselfs in.


Not really. The necron fluff was gap filling not re-writing existing material.

I like the necron background, its a chance to explore the galaxy before there were space marines. The war in heaven stuff is the only place they can't bung a marine in.

+++++

I think GW are curently doing quite a bit with their IP. Unless they can get a production company to do a TV series or film there's not a lot more they can do.

I hope they do allow somebody to pick up the dark heresy and WHFRP material and continue expanding it.

ankara halla
03-02-2008, 20:02
Pre-3rd ed. 40k fluff wasn't Marine centric. The war in heaven was allready established and the Necron codex surely did a number on that.

However the biggest issue with it was it's re-writing of the birth of chaos, it just flew in the face of the Realms of Chaos -books, which were *the* tomes all of GW Chaos is/was set upon. And Chaos playes a big part in the 40k universe.

I really can't see how anyone can say with a straight face that the Necron codex didn't re-write the history of the 40k universe from the bottom up.

The Phazer
03-02-2008, 20:31
However, the way I see it the IP it self has limitless potential. Think Star Trek. There were several series and 10 movies based on that IP and it was all consistant. I do belive that was one of ST's major strenghts to the studios. It was consistant and it had a fan base that was craving for more. I seriously doubt ST would have become what it did if the movies and series' contradicted each other in the way 40k background does.

Sorry, but Trek isn't nearly as remotely consistent as the 40k universe cannon wise. Original Trek contradicts itself several times. Enterprise starts off it's first episode with an event (meeting the Klingons) that *directly contradicts* the explanation of how that went made in TNG. The Bajorans got retconed a bunch of times around series 7 and the beginning of DS9 as they worked on the story.

I don't think it's that important to a mass audience to be honest - look at Batman. Batman Begins doesn't even remotely match with the Tim Burton Batman films, and Fantastic Four changes all kinds of details about the comics, but the box office ratings showed people don't appear to care that much.

Phazer

DonkeyMan
03-02-2008, 20:46
I think the 40K changes are still okay and that it didn't ruin the fluff. Well, except the Undivided Chaos thing (meh, I want more Chaos infights again).

The new fluff for Fantasy isn't too good though. The Empire is far too hard pressed to survive really and they simply made it too "dark" (if you know what I mean).

Talking about using the IP. Well, we are seeing more games, which is good. I can't imagine any TV or movie shows as of yet.
But GW should outsource many things. Sell licenses to other companies (to make RPG's, Comics, Action Figures and other stuff).

There is one thing that I find interesting. The Warcraft Universe is now much better known then Warhammer Fantasy. Some people even say, that WAR copies Watcraft in the Fluff too. Yeah sure! :rolleyes:
So if a copy of Warhammer Fantasy is so successful, then you could wonder, why isn't it the original?

ankara halla
03-02-2008, 20:47
@The Phazer

Yet the story of ST is about the Federation and the crew of the Enterprise (however intergalactic politics wise alien rasistic that migh be), and they didn't mess with that stuff.

FF movies sell well, but not Fantastically well. They are like the Blade movies. Good for a laugh, good enough to milk the cow for a while as long as the lowest common denominator is willing enough to go see it.

As to the Batman movies, that's a series that's been brought back from the dead by re-inventing it. Tim Burton did a good run with his two movies, then the franchise went straight to hell. The follow ups to his movies had about as much to do with the vision of Batman as does the current revivial, which as you said is something totally new.

But becouse of exactly that I wouldn't personally compare those franchises to what GW could potentially create with their IP.
Sure, they could do a Blade series or what not, but it has potential to go far beyond that. That's why I brought up Star Trek in the first place, it's gone to places, 40k could go too.

Gazak Blacktoof
03-02-2008, 22:36
The war in heaven was allready established and the Necron codex surely did a number on that.


I think the war in heaven is 1 line in my 2nd edition eldar codex.

I'm not sure what you mean about re-writing chaos background material- PM me so we don't de-rail the thread completely.

shabbadoo
04-02-2008, 03:08
GW could have made a few better business decisions with regard to its IP. Lone wolf would have officially used it but GW basically wanted to bend them over a barrel and sock it to them so they declined. Then there is that little ****-ant company called Blizzard that would have loved to have released W40K and WFB IP themed computer games which would have exploded into GW IP themed MMORGs. Once again, GW wanted to put Blizzard over a barrel and give them both barrels, so Blizzard passed on the DP and did their own thing, and greatly to their benefit. Blizzard’s monthly profits are higher than GW's yearly profits. GW could have had William Shatner doing commercials for their MMORG and it would be plastered all over the world media. D'oh!

Surely the Blizzard negotiation was the big flub-up on the part of those in GW who decide on licensing their IP, but the Lone Wolf deal also generated quite a bit of negative sentiment, especially considering how haphazardly the GW army builder program has been updated. DoW is a good start back into electronic media at least. What GW really needs to do to make proper use of its IP is to seek out some feature film prospects, and be willing to bit the bullet on at least the frist one so that they can establish themselves on the movie screen. They'd bet not make a goofy lame 40K action movie either, but something along the lines of a dramatic sci-fi flick. The 40K backgorund really does kick the crap out of Star Wars, and so as long as they don't make some hokey low budget B movie(no lame Jar Jar characters, no lame one-liners) they ought to do very well. Definitely make the movie PG-13 or even R rated. People will see it, even if(and probably especially if) it is R rated.

MadDogMike
04-02-2008, 19:02
Personally I think they need to make use of their IP, period. They're so damn paranoid about licensing areas they won't pursue themselves, it's the equivalent of hiding your money in a matress rather than investing it. Even if there were "canon" concerns (which given how cheerfully GW will rewrite their backgrounds for a new idea is a triffle hypocritical) in my experience hardcore fans are quite capable of deciding "Oh, such-and-so isn't canon" or coming up with a fanwank explanation if they don't like it anyway. Licensing requires a certain amount of patience to boot; with the video games you had several less successful releases prior to Dawn of War, yet Dawn of War is the only thing generally remembered. And they SERIOUSLY gotta get it through their heads that IP outside the minature lines does NOT equal a loss in money for the minatures, but often an increase; I'm probably one of several people who got into 40K thanks to DoW. But GW's attitude seems to be that people will either spend money on minatures or books/games/etc, not both, so they keep trying to control EVERY use of their IP so they're getting the money. That makes them wind up neglecting areas where their IP could be sold because they won't exploit it themselves and refuse to let anyone else do so.

scarletsquig
04-02-2008, 19:18
GW could have had William Shatner doing commercials for their MMORG and it would be plastered all over the world media. D'oh!
Maybe Mr. T *likes* wargaming?
Maybe Mr. T *likes* modelling and painting?
Maybe Mr. T has an artistic side?

:D

Honestly, I think wargaming is a lot more presentable to the public than MMORPGS.

Templar Ben
04-02-2008, 22:47
Maybe Mr. T *likes* wargaming?
Maybe Mr. T *likes* modelling and painting?
Maybe Mr. T has an artistic side?

:D

Honestly, I think wargaming is a lot more presentable to the public than MMORPGS.

Just curious but why do you think that?

ankara halla
04-02-2008, 22:54
[Off Topic]

I think the war in heaven is 1 line in my 2nd edition eldar codex.

I'm not sure what you mean about re-writing chaos background material- PM me so we don't de-rail the thread completely.

Sure. I'll get back to you once I get my hands on the Necron codex (most likely later this week) to offer direct quotes. It's been a while since I read it, but I do remember shaking my head while going thru the new fluff GW wrote for the universe in it.
[/Off Topic]

Cypher
05-02-2008, 02:57
I've long thought that GW would benefit greatly from "selling out", as it is, and broadening the use of their IP by third parties. With the exception of Dawn of War, most of their stuff hasnt been exactly great (Firewarrior anyone?). However "Warhammer" is a well known brand (even outside of GW hobbyists). Third party products should be a no brainer: they're a good source of income, and they're of minimal risk to GW since someone else foots the bill.



Oh, and Trek hardly worries about continuity: back in the sixties Spock was a "Vulcanian" at one point ;)

mcl
05-02-2008, 08:27
Yes they could do more with their IP. They have to be careful to ensure quality and maintain the brand value. More games, etc... great. But they have to be good games that enhance the brand. Same with any other ventures.

Worrying about the 'canon', consistency, etc is a red herring. Playing with background is a common feature of Marvel & DC. They thrive on it. Or used to! Provided within a single branch of the background it is consistent within itself it does not matter if it deviates from the game background.

Personally I would love to see a horror-scifi inquisitor film series. It could be excellent. It could be dreadful. But there is no doubting the potential. A kind of Blade Runner meets Dune (the closest films I can think of that have the 'look' in terms of costume, equipment and architecture).

Amon 'Chakai
05-02-2008, 14:29
They should secure it properly and get Malal back!

Damn lax IP dept! Never happen in my office!

RobC
05-02-2008, 15:38
They should secure it properly and get Malal back!

Damn lax IP dept! Never happen in my office!Malal (and the other characters created for the Kaleb Daark strip) was a one-off, a mistake. It would not happen again it's the lesson that taught GW to be extremely careful with creative control of its IP.

Cypher
06-02-2008, 07:44
Yes they could do more with their IP. They have to be careful to ensure quality and maintain the brand value. More games, etc... great. But they have to be good games that enhance the brand. Same with any other ventures.

Worrying about the 'canon', consistency, etc is a red herring. Playing with background is a common feature of Marvel & DC. They thrive on it. Or used to! Provided within a single branch of the background it is consistent within itself it does not matter if it deviates from the game background.

Personally I would love to see a horror-scifi inquisitor film series. It could be excellent. It could be dreadful. But there is no doubting the potential. A kind of Blade Runner meets Dune (the closest films I can think of that have the 'look' in terms of costume, equipment and architecture).

But I think this is at least partially the problem as well. Look at Firewarrior: I think we can all agree that was pretty bad (or other words that would get me banned). GW supported it because they believed that the folks who made it were GW fans first (and quite possibly they were never software developers). And that's a common symptom of the low quality of GW's third license products to date: they give the license to groups who may be fanboys, but arent actually all that talented in their chosen field. GW need to realise that if they license professionals, said professionals will do the work involved to ensure adherance to the license, even if they arent familiar about it. Im sure there are many top shelf creative types out there who may not be core GW fans, but who would love to work with the GW IP.

mcl
06-02-2008, 17:38
Cypher: I quite agree. Firewarrior was very poor. Extremely poor!

No fanboys unless they happen to be called Peter Jackson (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Jackson) (or similarly capable individuals/companies).

Licensees should enhance the brand and draw in new players. Not put them off.