I've been away from the Warhammer world for some years now, so correct me if I make wrong assumptions. I think this question is on-topic because of the "behind the scenes" kind of question we allow here.

In 2015, Games Workshop released Warhammer: Age of Sigmar, as a replacement of the old Warhammer: Fantasy Battles

From the wikipedia page :

Warhammer: Age of Sigmar (AoS) is a tabletop wargame released by Games Workshop in 2015. It replaces Warhammer Fantasy Battle (WFB) as the fantasy wargame in the Warhammer universe. Several supplements released for the eighth edition of WFB centred on the End Times which led to the almost total destruction of the Warhammer world and the death of most of the world's population. This leads into the Age of Sigmar with the return of the long-lost founder of the human empire worshipped as a god.

Emphasis mine

Browsing the Games Workshop site it appears that the minis base can now be indifferently round or square. The rules appear to have been simplified a lot. There are only 4 factions (or Alliances), somehow divided into smaller branches.

I could go on about the changes because there are apparently a lot.

What is/are the out-of-universe reason(s) that pushed Games Workshop to go through such a rebuilding of the Warhammer world and rules ?

2 Answers 2


The problem is that their sales dropped over time. Thus they had to make a decision. Do the same thing again, and bring out a new edition with a few more units like they have done before (but which hadn't worked this time around), OR make a radical step and create something new.

They decided for the latter, and had to get an idea of how to end things so they can start from scratch. If they allowed the old world to still exist, they would have in essence gained nothing, as they would just keep doing what they had done before. Additionally they needed some kind of a link between the old game and the new game, and thus the choice fell on the most dramatic change possible... Chaos wins. And some of the heroes survive as gods, who would serve as the link to the old game's world.

Additionally, they could now change the age-appropriateness rating for the game itself, if they took care of Slaanesh. The problem with Slaanesh was that many parents complained, and forbade their children to buy Warhammer figures, after finding out about Slaanesh, as the figures of this Chaos God were AT LEAST half-naked. Thus Games Workshop wanted to broaden the possible buyer spectrum, and had to get rid of Slaneesh. (How they did it is similar to the End Times itself, and really hurts someone who is a fan of logical and consistent backgrounds. All in all the decisions themselves were seemingly purely made based on marketing assumptions.)

That is all the out of universe reasoning behind the End Times and Age of Sigmar. Just pure marketing strategy, which possibly didn't take into account how hurtful it would be for most fans of the old Warhammer game and setting.

  • I see. Last time I played was about 7 years ago, things seemed to go pretty well for them, didn't realize sales were bad. Would you care to expand the "rating of the game" part of your answer ? Did it prevent a younger audience from playing ? What do you mean by "taking care of slaanesh" ? Anyway, insight appreciated, +1.
    – Kalissar
    May 20, 2016 at 14:53
  • @kalissar Most of the slanesh figures were at least half naked which made parents sometimes say "no" to their kids wanting warhammer figurines. That is said to have been the Slaneesh problem. I also didn't know about the bad sales until age of sigmar came out (only then heard about the end times). +
    – Thomas
    May 20, 2016 at 14:55
  • The Slaanesh Daemonettes were always like that, even way back in the 90s (maybe even the 80s?) Does anyone know why parents complained so much more in the 2010s?
    – AJM
    Nov 17, 2020 at 10:35

Shareholders want their Money.

You get money buy selling things.

The old stuff has saturated the market.

Most people buy things that look cool or are new (TM).

New, simpler and flashy rules to draw in new players.

Gorgeous new miniatures to buy.

So everybody needs to buy the new stuff.

That's generating revenue for Games Workshop.

It's always about money.

  • And yet they didn't renew every minis. I played orcs, so i have one of just like this one. And their business model was "update one army every 6 months so the players buy this new army". Wasn't it working just fine ? Can you add some source to your answer ?
    – Kalissar
    May 20, 2016 at 13:48
  • Mhh, maybe i need to formulate that a bit different, you're right, you don't need to buy new miniatures, you can. Maybe they changed their business model, GW is a company, they don't do things because they are a bunch of funny guys, the want to make money, so the source would be market economy 101 May 20, 2016 at 13:52

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