The Grim Dark or Grim Hope?
Now that the Gathering Storm III: Rise of the Primarch has completed a circle one could say started with Warzone Fenris: Wrath of Magnus, we can actually discuss where Warhammer 40k universe is at right now. it seems for many like Games Workshop hit the, “Do not break unless sales tumble button”. Since we now know releases are stacked more than one year in advance, it comes as no surprise Games Workshop felt the need to inject some drama and boldness back into it’s flagship property. In less than six months we have seen the release of one good and one bad Primarch something most thought would never happen in the 41st millennium.
Intriguing still are the details of how those releases seem to in a contorted view show just how Warhammer 40k is going to become something akin to Age of Sigmar. In Age of Sigmar it is clear the “good guys” are on the offensive, and now the Imperium is doing the same. This is story many tired haters want you to believe, because it fits nicely into the narrative that Games Workshop continues to destroy the hobby they love or once loved. Scraping through the barrels of Facebook groups and Forums you will find a vocal minority trashing the latest develops in the Warhammer 40k universe. These folks have grown up with the Grim Dark caressing them in stasis field of predictability.
Accustomed to the noose ever so slightly closing in around the Empire of Man, these fans have been stuck with the frozen narrative enjoying the non-consequential battles and wars fought for absolutely no consquence. Now they see a betrayal by an all to familiar bloated Games Workshop, taking another sacred constant away from them. Like any fandom this shouldn’t be a surprise, but for Warhammer 40k the stasis everyone has lived in for almost 20 years is wrenching. Since nothing ever happened with the larger story everyone has been able to make up their own version of what should and should not happen. Now that real consequences have happened a lot of people are freaking out!
The Grim Dark is dead, long live the Grim Dark they say forgetting conveniently just how tongue and cheek the idea of the Grim Dark was from the beginning, somehow now it has become serious business. The truth though is if these folks actually read Gathering Storm III: Rise of the Primarch they would see how things are really deeper in the shitter for the Imperium. So what if Roboute Guilliman is alive and in charge, Games Workshop made subtle and not so subtle allusions to…
- Blood Angel home world attacked by Daemons and dealing with an incoming Hive Fleet.
- White Scars home world attacked by Daemons.
- Ghazghkull invading Armageddon again.
- Repeat references to a return to the Age of Strife.
All this in one book, after the last few months which saw the Space Wolves laid low and Cadia destroyed. I don’t know about you, but having Roboute Guilliman simply say, there is hope doesn’t necessary mean there is actually hope. The Grim Dark has changed and by changing it just means stuff actually happens. Instead of no consequences, we have actual consequences, the risk Games Workshop faced was doing nothing and hopelessly maintaining a stale universe. The only thing this new narrative costs is a few former players who most likely haven’t bought a new model in years and rather live in the past of a misremembered youth.
The Grim Dark lives on stronger than ever, but at least we have things to care about, setting the stage for even more changes especially if current bold ones pay off. The real truth is if you don’t like it, you can always forge a narrative in some backwater solar system no one ever cared about in the first place.
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