In 2019 Games Workshop announced it would return to the original Warhammer fantasy setting with Warhammer: The Old World. Since then it has previewed elements of the new game in various blog posts. I thought I would see what I could piece together from them about the latest version of this setting.
In truth, the posts do not say a great deal. They reveal some maps, some concept drawings of troops and a few other titbits. The most illuminating comment is this:
Warhammer: The Old World is going to be set several hundred years before the End Times, so there’s plenty of space to explore the history of the setting. Especially knowledgeable students may also note this puts us just before another calamitous Chaos invasion, and one which, while central to the story of the Empire and the entire Old World, was barely touched on in previous iterations…
– Warhammer Community blog post
The Chaos invasion would appear to be the war against Chaos in 2302-2304 IC, which culminated in the victory led by Magnus the Pious. This places Warhammer: The Old World during later part of the Empire’s Dark Ages (or Age of the Three Emperors). The appearance of Louen Orc-Slayer’s crest in a map of Bretonnia is consistent with this. Louen was active in 2201 IC, according to Warhammer Armies: The Empire for WFB8. This is not quite “several hundred years before the End Times” (which took place in 2519-2528 IC), but the language is perhaps a little loose.
The maps show a world of fragmented, and presumably warring, kingdoms. They fall within the familiar Old World nations of The Empire, Bretonnia, Kislev, and the Border Princes. Curiously the Wasteland is also shown on the map, even though it did not secede from The Empire and acquire that name until 2429 IC. Oops.
The most surprising inclusion are Cathayan realms. Their recent addition has disproved my thesis that the game would be confined to the Old World. It might be that the release of the Total War: Warhammer III video game and the commercial interests of appealing to a Chinese customer base have prompted this. It remains to be seen how this is reconciled with the game’s name. Perhaps the Old World will become the name of the entire globe, and the region west of the Dark Lands will acquire a new name.
Links to GW’s blog posts on this subject are below, in chronological order
Title image used without permission. No challenge intended to the rights holders.