Namco nabs Warhammer license

Publisher plans to focus on PC titles based on the Games Workshop fantasy tabletop game; deal does <i>not</i> cover Warhammer 40,000 or Warhammer Online.

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Has it really been seven years since the last fantasy Warhammer game? Apparently it has, as Warhammer Online's indefinite postponement leaves 1998's Warhammer: Dark Omen as the last fantasy-strategy title based on Games Workshop's tabletop game.

Now, Namco Hometek is betting that the market is ripe for another Warhammer game. Today, the Japan-based publisher announced it had acquired the Warhammer rights from Games Workshop. According to a statement released by the two companies, "the exclusive, long-term deal will allow Namco to publish multiple games for the PC and also allows for future console and handheld gaming versions [of Warhammer]."

Contrary to previous reports, the Namco-Games Workshop agreement does not involve Warhammer Online, the Climax-developed massively multiplayer online role-playing game that was officially canceled last spring--only to be unofficially resurrected several months later. "We don't know what's going on with that," a Namco rep told GameSpot. "This is a separate deal."

The same Namco spokesperson also shot down widely circulated news that the Warhammer deal meant THQ was losing the license to Warhammer 40,000, which is based on another Games Workshop war game. "We're not taking anything away from [THQ]...Warhammer is set in an entirely different universe than Warhammer 40,000." Indeed...while Warhammer 40,000 sees a four-way conflict centuries in the future, Warhammer is set in "a dark and forbidding fantasy realm, where Elves, Orcs, Dwarfs, Undead, and many other races clash constantly in mighty battles," according to Namco.

Warhammer joins the as yet unnamed debut title from Flagship Studios, founded by former Blizzard developers last year, in Namco's fledgling PC-games arm. "We really want PC gamers to know that we are bringing a great fantasy license to Namco and making PC games out of it," said a Namco spokesperson. "We do have console rights...[but] we just wanted to focus on the PC right now since we are growing our PC division. Since Namco is known as a console-only company we didn't want to confuse people or have them think we would just be doing a PC port."

No due date for the first PC Warhammer game from Namco has yet been set.

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