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Author Topic: How the Horus Heresy (as a series/imprint) has affected 40k  (Read 1221 times)

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Offline Sir_Godspeed

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With 40k now having an ongoing narrative that involves the Imperium innovating and GW bringing back several primarchs (including one loyalist, so far), I've been pondering something: 40k used to very much be a sandbox. At its worst, a static flash where nothing really mattered, but at its best, an incredibly open space to make up almost anything you wanted, and with a very broad focus overall.

This hasn't completely changed, but in my opinion, the success of the Horus Heresy novels has made GW pivot in a different directon where there is an ongoing narrative (not to repeat myself), a more narrow focus, and specific key characters receiving a lot of attention.

Honestly, the HH novels being so important kinda snuck up on me. I'm not sure when I noticed, but if you look up creators on social media, for example, the idea of "warhammer lore" now seems - to a very large degree - to revolve around the primarchs and their personal goings on from that novel series. I'm not saying the odd video on imperial guard regiments or terrible administratum practices or whatever doesn't happen, but god damn, people REALLY love the primarchs and their interpersonal dynamics, it seems. I kinda found it not so interesting, but I'm clearly the odd one out here. We have massive breakout successes that seems to have redefined the "popular" perception of characters, like If the Emperor Had a Text to Speech Device (I only started watching some of that last year) and of course lots and lots of memes.

I am... conflicted about this. It's been going on for a while, and notice that with this change in overall direction, as well as an arguably change in art direction (inevitable, I suppose) to a more "heroic" feel to the Space Marines, for example, I sometimes worry a bit if they're going to try and recast the Imperium as "flawed, but improving", which I'm not a huge fan of. I don't know.

I don't want to be a bitter grognard, and I know I've always been sorta peripheral to the hobby, being more a lore-hound and art appreciator than anything else, but I do think there's been a change, and realizing that has prompted me to try and adjust.

Thoughts from anyone else? How're you getting on? Not noticed much at all? Or got some loves or some dislikes?

(Also, to be clear, there's lots of modern 40k I love, AdMech models and the new Votann for example. I just... don't much care for the Emperor's family drama becoming such s big part of the setting, I guess.)

Offline Wyddr

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Re: How the Horus Heresy (as a series/imprint) has affected 40k
« Reply #1 on: March 4, 2023, 10:01:09 AM »
Well, most of that stuff with the Primarchs et al. was 10,000 years ago and the galaxy is a very big place, so I don't see it as being a big problem. I've not read most of the HH novels and I don't feel like I'm missing that much.

Then again, I don't actually care about "narrative continuity" half as much as a lot of people in this hobby, mostly because I've been in it long enough to see them contradict their own lore several times just for the hell of it, so I don't really think of 40k as narratively cohesive anyway. It's not. Do what you want, because the Rule of Cool is the only law.

Offline Grand Master Lomandalis

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Re: How the Horus Heresy (as a series/imprint) has affected 40k
« Reply #2 on: March 5, 2023, 06:49:13 PM »
Honestly, the HH novels being so important kinda snuck up on me. I'm not sure when I noticed, but if you look up creators on social media, for example, the idea of "warhammer lore" now seems - to a very large degree - to revolve around the primarchs and their personal goings on from that novel series. I'm not saying the odd video on imperial guard regiments or terrible administratum practices or whatever doesn't happen, but god damn, people REALLY love the primarchs and their interpersonal dynamics, it seems. I kinda found it not so interesting, but I'm clearly the odd one out here. We have massive breakout successes that seems to have redefined the "popular" perception of characters, like If the Emperor Had a Text to Speech Device (I only started watching some of that last year) and of course lots and lots of memes.
I kind of view the 40k lore, before they started expanding it, as rather dull actually.  Most of the interesting stuff happened around the time of the Unification Wars, Great Crusade, and Horus Heresy.  After the Scouring, 40k history really just became a lot of "on this date, this battle happened," with a few larger points of interest sprinkled along the way.

The Heresy novels really dove in and brought to life the era that staged all of the major history of 40k.  But you are right, they did become very important.  They have 50+ books chronicling that time of history and are culminating in the Siege of Terra books now.


I am... conflicted about this. It's been going on for a while, and notice that with this change in overall direction, as well as an arguably change in art direction (inevitable, I suppose) to a more "heroic" feel to the Space Marines, for example, I sometimes worry a bit if they're going to try and recast the Imperium as "flawed, but improving", which I'm not a huge fan of. I don't know.
I do think that this is intentional, and I think part of that has to do with the fringe groups that have latched on to what the Imperium is without grasping the satire of it.  When Nazi groups are latching on to your IP and saying "This is our ideal world," it's time to do away with the extreme satire and bring it a bit back towards sanity.  While we all enjoy the extreme xenophobia and rigid religious dogma, having the time line advance to where the Primarch's are returning and will likely return the Imperium to their father's vision?  Not a bad thing.

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Offline The GrimSqueaker

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Re: How the Horus Heresy (as a series/imprint) has affected 40k
« Reply #3 on: March 5, 2023, 10:34:55 PM »
The fluff changes to whatever a certain writer wants to do and/or what GW wants to sell models. What are Necrons? The 13th Black Crusade? Tau, who turned up and what happened in the Damocles Crusade? The writers are refreshingly open about it. I haven't read a Heresy novel in quite a while as I don't like prequels all that much and especially when they're throwing everything in there no matter how it fits. Still, they're not writing them for me.
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