Games Workshop Group PLC, the successful hobby, publishing, video games and retail business behind hit franchise Warhammer, has appointed former Turner Broadcasting and Hasbro Studios executive Finn Arnesen as its first head of entertainment development.
Reporting into Jon Gillard, Games Workshop’s EVP of global licensing, Arnesen is tasked with mining the extensive and multi-faceted Warhammer universe – home to thousands of novels and short stories, featuring a diverse range of engaging and extremely popular characters – to develop live-action and animated content for broadcast channels and platforms around the globe.
Arnesen, who was most recently SVP global distribution & development at Hasbro Studios, brings 25 years’ experience to the role. He inherits an initial content slate that includes the previously announced live-action drama based on the best-selling Eisenhorn series of novels. Eisenhorn, a classic tale of one powerful character’s fight against external and internal threats, set in the galaxy-spanning, dark dystopia of the 41st millennium, is currently being developed with Frank Spotnitz (The Man in the High Castle, The X-Files) and his company, Big Light Productions.
“In its almost 40-year history, Warhammer has been a leader in the field of tabletop and video gaming, growing into one of the most fully realised examples of fantasy and sci-fi world-building ever devised. The characters we’ve explored and stories we’ve told during that time, through games, books, comics and more, are crying out to be brought to the screen. Getting Finn on board, with his wealth of expertise and knowledge across both programming and wider IP use, combined with his sheer energy and passion, will continue to cement Warhammer as one of the most unique and distinctive fantasy settings ever,” commented Gillard.
Arnesen added, “This is a hugely exciting time to be joining Games Workshop, and I am relishing the opportunity to work with such an established yet, in terms of entertainment, relatively unexplored universe as Warhammer. There is a tremendous appetite at present for series set in unique, fantastical worlds, so, with Warhammer’s thousands of stories, numerous worlds and countless memorable characters, our options are virtually limitless. I was delighted to discover there are already early discussions in place with a variety of production companies around the world, from L.A. to Japan, and an array of highly sought after writing talent, to bring the vast Warhammer universe to all platforms.”
The second facet to Games Workshop’s content strategy lies with the internal Warhammer Animation Team, which is working directly with world-class animation studios to develop official animated content for the thriving Warhammer Community. With three exciting shows nearing completion and a half-dozen more in development there’s a lot to be excited about. A decision will be made as to how this content will be delivered to fans later this year.
Andy Smillie, EVP digital and community at Games Workshop, is leading this initiative. “Over the decades, Warhammer has attracted the most dedicated and passionate fans of any gaming and publishing franchises. Every day they reach out, asking for more ways to enjoy Warhammer,” he observed. “This new project will offer Warhammer fans everywhere rich, unique content to meet their insatiable demand. Combined with the mainstream entertainment strategy, we will soon be successfully delivering more Warhammer, more often, in multiple ways for dedicated and casual fans alike.”
Founded in London in 1975, Games Workshop’s history stretches back over 40 years to humble origins as a U.K.-based mail-order business for fantasy role-playing games, and now produces tens of millions of miniatures a year. All operations are run from the company’s HQ in Nottingham, England — including design, manufacturing and distribution. Today, Games Workshop stores can be found in hundreds of cities across dozens of countries, with thousands more independent stockists selling Warhammer worldwide.