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40K Deep Thought: Ending The Horus Heresy

6 Minute Read
Sep 25 2017
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The Horus Heresy has run it’s course – it’s time to give it a proper send off and call it done!

The Horus Heresy is the pivotal event in the Grim-Dark Universe. It’s the war that launched a thousand ships (probably a few more than that). Brothers fighting brothers. A Father fighting his sons. And the fate of countless lives in the balance. We’re still feeling the impact in the 40k universe to this day. That said, it might be time to call it done and move on. Games Workshop has announced plans to end the book series already – so what about the future of all things 30k?

A Marathon, Not A Sprint

When the Horus Heresy was first introduced (as a book series) it was an amazing and inspiring time to be in the hobby. 30k, as it came to be known, was a fun way to get creative with conversions and painting. You could really sink your hobby teeth into making one of the Pre-Heresy armies and it was a blast. As the book series went on, Games Workshop and Forge World started to take note and slowly started to roll out 30k kits. Different style dreadnoughts from the era, big tanks, shoulder pads, different marks of power armor, and (almost) all the Horus Heresy Era Characters. All of those things are still available from Forge World and are excellent kits to add to your collection.

However, it’s been 10 years and +45 books (and counting) and, if we’re honest, somewhere along the way the series has felt like it wouldn’t end. Maybe it was a pacing issue. Maybe it was a direction the series just started drifting toward. However, now that GW has come out and said, “yes, we’re going to end it” we can all collectively see the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s given me a second wind and I know more than a few other folks have perked up and taken notice. “It’s finally coming to a close? I guess I need to go back and figure out what’s going on again.” Yes. Me too…but now we know that this is a Marathon and not a Sprint.

The Ending Is Key

The meeting that the writers had should be taken as a GOOD sign. It shows that the writers are taking this seriously. The ending needs to finish strong and put a perfect bow on the end of the Heresy. It’s been such a massive undertaking that it deserves to end with a bang and not a slow spiral towards oblivion.

Now, that’s easy for me to type – I’m not the one writing it! I’ll be the first one to come out and say what a challenge it’s going to be. I don’t envy the writers at this point. There is so much history to chew through and the expectations are so high the pressure must be pretty intense. The real kicker here is that everyone already knows the ending! How can you possibly surprise anyone with twists and turns when everyone already knows that Horus loses, the Emperor is mortally wounded, and the Imperium of the Grim-Dark is born? At least they know where it’s going. To the writers of the Horus Heresy: Good Luck!


It’s All About 8th Now

As far as on the tabletop side of things 8th Edition Warhammer 40,000 has really taken the wind from the sails of Horus Hersey. Towards the end of 7th, people were ready for a change and 8th has delivered in spades. It’s the newer, shiner, more entertaining upstart on the tabletop and folks are gravitating towards it with a fervor we haven’t seen in a while. The reaction that the Horus Heresy was going to get a 7th Edition book has been somewhat mixed now that 8th is actually out (and popular). And where is that Horus Heresy rule book at anyways?

We know that the passing of Alan Bligh had a big impact on The Horus Heresy line. We don’t want to downplay that – it caused a major hit to the design team and slowed it’s development. Due to that tragic loss, the Heresy is in a rough spot.

8th Edition has all the momentum now and it’s getting most of the attention from the design studio. It makes sense – when you have a new stud horse ready to run, you run that horse! You don’t put your money on a horse that’s ready to be retired. Sure, it might have a good race or two left but that’s not going to carry your company into the future. I’m sorry to say (and also sorry for the horse/race analogies) but it’s time to keep it moving to the new hotness.

What About The Models

If you think I’m saying to stop producing the newer “old school” Power Armor Marks, that is not at all what I’m getting at. I’m saying that those kits need to keep coming but the Horus Heresy needs to conclude. We’re always going to have Space Marines and those extra Marks can really help give armies a unique look – GW, never stop making the Horus Hersey kits!


If anything I think the old kits are should become more important. The reason is that a giant warp scar has torn the galaxy in half! We’re not sure what the properties of Warp Space really are but I know that time dilation and warp anomalies are not “uncommon” in the Grim-Dark. Warp Travel has always had an element of Time Travel so what’s stopping entire companies of Marines re-appearing from the Warp to re-live these epic battles all over again. It’s a Grim-Dark Groundhog Day, baby!

8th Is The Continuation Of The Horus Heresy

For the first time since Epic 40,000, we have honest-to-goodness Primarchs on the battlefield again. We have Guilliman, Mortarion, and Magnus running around leading their sons in battle. We have a focus of Chaos vs the Imperium and the battle lines are drawn. 8th is the story of the HH continued and things are actually progressing. It’s time to pass the torch to the next “generation” and let them run with it!

I would like to take a moment to say one thing about this transition: I don’t think the shift was done in malice. I think that the success and excitement for 8th has genuinely surprised Games Workshop. But at this point it’s pretty clear the directions the customers want to move. At the same time, I think it would be an amazing olive branch to the dedicated HH fans out there if GW/FW/BL finishes the Heresy strong. Give them an ending that blows them away and leaves them with a sense of completion. I want the Heresy to end with an amazing capstone on the series – a capstone that folks can point to and say “that is why I still love the Horus Heresy.”


What direction do you think GW should take the Horus Heresy series? Should they just give it a great ending and be done? Should they do a reboot? Should they update it for 8th? Let us know in the comments below!


Author: Adam Harrison
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