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If you had control over the art direction of the 40k franchise, where would you steer it? There's lots of different levels to answer this question on, but I'm talking about the direction of the look and feel, not rules or GW's business practice or release schedule or anything.
I'll post my idea if it appears anybody has interest in this topic. Better not to indulge myself if no one is going to care.
I would love to have it go the way Warhammer Fantasy has been going lately, with the more gothic look and dark feel to it. i realise 40k is already much like that already, but to continue to capture the atmosphere of the 41st millenium. i know many of the armies are already like this, but for example i want the dark eldar to truly be the bloodthirsty psycopaths they are supposed to be haha
Frankly, I think the "future gothic" image is getting a little long in the tooth. When I first got into this, it took me a loooooooooong time to accept the concept, after being a rabid fan of Star Wars and Star Trek. I felt a little bit like Simon Phoenix in "Demolition Man": "Wait a minute. This is the future! Where are all the phaser guns?"
Don't get me wrong. I see where GW has been going with this, and given that the game was born in the mid-80s, it made LOTS of sense at the time, and I still like it, but unlike many hardcore 40k fans who had a fit when the Tau emerged, I thought it was the right move. No, I'm not a "Gundam" fan or anything (kinda the opposite, really), but it tapped into a newer trend, and thus breathed new life into the game. That was, I'm sure, the point.
I guess I'd like to see something introduced to tap into a newer market. As a player, I like how the Tau look decidedly different from much of what's out there. Basically, I'd like to see a race or unit or something that looks different on the battlefield. No, I don't want to see the traditional blocky, bulky future gothic-inspired stuff go anywhere. I'd just like to see some other shapes and themes on the tabletop to give the game more variety, I guess.
If I had my way, I would really emphasize and stylize the gothic elements of the game. The background would bring forth the oppressiveness and brutality of the Imperium. It would be like 1984, except a hundred times worse. It would take every example of abuse of power from throughout human history and magnify them through the lens of fantasy. The drawings from the Fluff section of the 4th edition rulebook are a good idea of what I'd want applied to the actual models. Regiments like Vostroyans and Death Korps would be the lead regiments, or Cadians would be re-conceived to be more dirty and gothic, and less clean-cut generic sci-fi plasteel/kevlar stuff. Marines would remain, but in the background it would be emphasized that they're dwindling and pushed to their limits. Everyone's paint schemes would be dulled and mucked-up. Marine units would be more powerful than they are, to line up with fluff, so Marines would be seen in fewer numbers on the battlefield. Their models would be more gothic-ly detailed and slightly larger. The Baneblade is a good example of a suitably gothic-looking vehicle, and more vehicles would be redone to feature rivets and spinets and stuff. The Inquisition would be supported and emphasized. One thing I'd retcon in fluff is that the Emperor is not really a god. No more miracles; he was just man whose likeness was abused by his followers after death.
I'd like to see a Chaos Renegades army take the helm of Chaos over from Daemons and Marines. Both Chaos Marines and Daemons are very well-done artistically and have models I like, but I'd like to see a Lost and the Damned-type army be the mainstay of Chaos, as it realistically would. The Forgeworld models are pretty close to what I'd like to see, except with some more variation in units. I guess Chaos Marines would undergo the same gameplay and modeling changes as loyal ones. The "Chorsair" drawing from the 4th edition rulebook is a good guideline.
Eldar would be completely redone to be more like the "Eldar Pirato" drawing from the 4th edition rulebook. Out with the clean, curving contours and bright colors, and in with the dark gothic future of a dying race. Similar changes to Dark Eldar. The moral ambiguity and untrustworthiness of the Eldar would be brought the forefront.
If I had my way, Orks would be brown and have smaller heads. They would be vile and cruel instead of comical, and their emphasis would be on numbers and steampunk-ish contraptions like the Shokk gun. I'm sure no one else in the world wants brown, realistic Orks besides Peter Jackson though, so in the unlikely situation that I actually did have this kind of power, I'd hesitate to instate such a change.
Tau would get a similar treatment to Eldar, although I have no drawings to go off of. Needless to see, I'd like to see a more gothic interpretation, with tales of slaughter of any who wouldn't commit to serving the Ethereals. Probably a less clean-looking design for their models as well; I can't put my finger on what I'd do specifically. I'm not a concept artist or a model-designer though.
I can't complain much about Nids or Necrons. The horror of both would be emphasized, but I don't think there'd be a big change in art direction. Perhaps a change in lead paint scheme for Tyranids. If Necrons models were re-released under me, they would be more detailed and horrifying, and in poses more suitable to inspiring terror. Perhaps rusty and dirty would be the new scheme for them.
I don't think I missed any armies. Overall, I'd really just like to see 40K embrace its gothic roots and give us a picture of a truly dark and terrifying future, where everyone has sunk to the lowest level in order to survive.
Yeah for this art direction, there's definitely a line between the actual model and the paintjob of the models. there could be a very gothic look sculpt of a model, but if not painted in a way that emphasizes that, one would lose that gothic/steampunk feel of the model…
and secondly, i furthermore agree about the 'wanting a more futuristic' feel to the models. why the hell are there still Abrams and other WWII looking tanks in 37,902 years from now? however GW would either have to redesign everything and give up their lore/fluff or change to name to warhammer 4,000.
that said, i dont mind that and whatever GW does, i trust them in making the right move for the better
Got to agree with you on what you have to say about the Lost and the Damned. If they were a properly supported army I would have been playing 40k for years now, instead of, well, never..
I only have one small niggle when it comes to some of the Games Workshop artwork; It really bothers me when artwork has a face from a photograph inserted, and then shopped to make it 'fit'. Novel covers are the guiltiest for this, but I remember seeing one or two in Inquisitor. It never looks as good as it sounds, please stop doing it people!
Id like to see Space Marines become a more suppressed army. Opposed to the way they are currently favoured, with more than 5 army books for just the one race, i think it would work better if the universe was progressed a bit, and SM made into an amy which were more like small pockets of resistance and freedom fighter type units.
A similar sort of thing goes for IG. How on Earth do they exist anyway? 38,000 years and man hasnt evolved at all...
This is supposed to be the time of the Alien! We need more new armies...
I think 40k can be more GRIMDARK without being too Gothic.
I like the current look of 40k, I hate the Vostroyans, to me they just look silly.
Death Korps are more like it. Cadians are my favourite guard though. Here is a helmet, a chestplate and a pair of boots. Now get out there and hold the line, dammit!
Too much Gothic and it looks a bit silly, My steam powered plasma reactor! It makes little sense.
Tau are exactly the opposite to the retro futuristic look for a reason, and I like how they look. The only thing I would change would be to make the suits look a bit meatier (like FW models)
If you want your gothic fix, don't play tau.
Brown Orks look rubbish. Green is best, and they don't have to be comical if you don't want them to be. In the end they area race of arsonist monsters who live to fight. They just enjoy it.
Arch Overfiend & Grand Despot
I currently play:
Doom Eagle Space Marines
Hive Fleet Omega Tyranids
Goff Ork Boyz(dead)
Tau of O'me
Inquisitorial Xeno Hunters
and my attempted foray into fantasy
'Dark Angel Green' Dark Elves in need of fluff
Alright, I have an expressed problem with the Gothic feel of other armies. Only mankind ever went through the darkages and only mankind experienced the Gothic and Baroque periods. While it all looks quite cool in game, I believe that the unanimous call is for variation.
I feel that Human and Chaos armies should certainly be extraordinarly gothic in their feel and flavor, armies like the Tau and Eldar need to have a futuristic, clean feel to them. The current Eldar models all look futuristic, I can accept the heavy robes of some of their models. The Dark Eldar though need less of the Gothic and more of the psychopathic. Someone needs to look into what really scares humans, and make them look like 'that'.
Also- box art? No more stupid photoshopped pictures of the models. I want a return to art, real, drawn, art. No computer generation. I need box art- that alone is half the fluff. Sure nobody can actually make a model look like that, but it gives us all something to work towards.
And finally- i know that you said no 'rules', but I would like to put forward the concept of perhaps combining all Loyalist Human Forces into one large book, with rules that force players to take a "realistic" approach to the army selection. No more hordes of marines, rather, we have hordes of gaurdsmen backed with marines, and led by the Ordos. Do the same to the Chaos armies. Waves of Cultists supported by the rare and aloof CSM and their summoned Daemons. Variants would be possible, placing more emphasis on one aspect or another, but each army would still include the three main elements in some way shape or form.