Have we been getting too much of a good thing?
Everyone loves Space Marines*. They, after all, the very poster boys of 40K, and the single most popular army in the game. Due to their popularity, the announcement of a new Space Marine Codex and a badly needed one at that was met with widespread excitement. However, after a release that has dragged on for months and come to dominate 40K news and headlines, people seem to be feeling a bit of fatigue in regards to the Angels of Death. Let’s take a look at what happened and why.
Part 1: The Hype
On August 3rd, 2019, GW announced that the new Space Marine Codex was coming. This promised to be a good-sized release, with newly released units getting added to the codex and the introduction of a few brand new units. Fans were further excited by the announcement of six supplemental books that would add additional rules for specific chapters. While at the time GW had only announced that Ultramarines and White Scars were getting books, people were quick to guess that the other four books would be Raven Guard, Iron Hands, Salamanders, and Imperial Fists/Successor Chapters. These guesses have turned out to be correct.
While some people expressed concerns over rules bloat with so many new books and were unhappy at the idea of having to buy seven books instead of one, most people were won over by the promise in-depth, fleshed out rules for their chapters. The hype was pretty real for a lot of people as they got excited about new rules and units, and an unprecedented amount of customization (for 8th Edition at least). It looked like Marines were going to get the rework and reinforcement they deserved.
Part 2: The Long Release
The release of the new Space Marine stuff has been spread out, dragged out you might say, over a long time. The first new Space Marine items, including the new Codex, went up for Pre-order on August 10th, 2019. Most GW releases are spread over 2-3 weeks. For Space Marines, we are now two months in, and still waiting on major items – like the last two supplements, the Impulsor and Infiltrators to go up for pre-order. Depending on when the final products come out, that means we are looking at a release that was stretched out over 10-12 weeks, which is significantly longer than normal. This length I think has directly lead to a level of fatigue with Space Marines.
Part 3: Fatigue Sets In
In the world of Warhammer, 2-3 months is a long time to stay hyped about a release. Players tend to want things NOW, and once received to move on with digesting and playing the new units. Yet the Space Marine release has had a strange slow dribble. It’s dominated the 40K news for nearly a third of the year, overshadowing everything else. Non-Marine players have been starved of significant news for a while now due to the length of the release.
Even Space Marine players I’ve talked to are getting a little worn out with the constant minor releases. Some have already gotten the supplement they wanted and are ready to move to the next thing. Other have spent months now waiting for their supplement. In both cases, players seem ready to move on. It also doesn’t help a lot of the upcoming rules have been leaked, leaving players simply waiting on official releases.
Compounding the issue is the fact that this isn’t even the only major Space Marine release this year. Shadowspear introduced a bunch of new units, and the Repulser Executioner had its big debut well before the new book. A lot of people are just getting tired of talking about Space Marines all the time (I know this is ironic coming from a guy who seems to write about them all the time). There simply doesn’t seem to be much excitement left for the remaining books and units.
Even worse, the Space Marine stuff seems to have overshadowed the other big release, Psychic Awakening. By putting the PA release in the middle of the Space Marine release, it’s made this big new campaign feel a bit rushed and squeezed in, and have damped down what should have been a high level of hype.
Part 4: A Lesson for the Future
If there is a lesson to be taken from all this, I think it is how to manage a large release like this. I don’t think the issue here is the volume of stuff released, its a great chunk of items and I think most of us are happy to get a lot of new toys. The issue to me is simply how long it’s taken to get everything out. GW seems to have a policy of not releasing too much at once, in order main not to overwhelm retailers and consumers. In this particular case, I think they would have been better served by releasing things in one large chunk.
If GW had released the Codex and six supplements at once, I think players would have been a lot happier and would have just taken time to talk about and digest everything, rather than getting bored with long wait times. A more robust, and less drawn out release, would have overall pleased fans better and avoided the kind of fatigue people seem to be feeling (one caveat here, its always possible the release timing was forced on GW by logistical issues and affected by certain international trade disputes). The length of the release window also likely increased the likelihood of leaks getting out, which they did.
Simply put, overwhelm people with news about one faction for two long and they’ll start to get tired of it. I know I’m ready for whatever comes after Marines.
Let us know if you’ve felt Space Marine fatigue, down in the comments!
*Anyone who doesn’t is a filthy Heretic whose opinion doesn’t matter.