Games Workshop released an incredibly brief and cryptic teaser trailer on Sunday that hints we might be getting a new edition of the Warhammer 40k Space Hulk board game… or something even more interesting. The animatic zooms in on the face of an alien Tyranid, closing in on its eye until the reflection of a Space Marine terminator becomes visible; a clear allusion to the classic board game.
Space Hulk pits Space Marine terminators against Tyranid genestealers in the cramped confines of an eponymous ‘space hulk’, a mass of ruined space vessels melded together into a single deadly maze. The terminators must race against time to achieve their objectives while under constant assault from scrabbling hordes of aliens. First published in 1989, the most recent 2014 edition is currently out of print.
Space hulks have been the narrative focus of the Warhammer 40k Arks of Omen expansion book series for Warhammer 40k, and space hulk terrain has been packaged in with the last three Warhammer 40k: Kill Team box sets. It would make perfect sense for Games Workshop to reprint its famous board game now.
But that’s not the only interpretation of the teaser, and there are reasons to suspect that GW has something else in store for us.
The Tyranid in the teaser image is not a genestealer, at least not as we currently know them. Its purple cranial plate is wide and comes down to the brow, whereas genestealers have a smaller plate higher up on the forehead; the cheekbones are very wide and extend well out beyond the eye orbits, while genestealers have more human cheekbones. This illustration better resembles a Tyranid warrior.
That doesn’t rule out a version of Space Hulk with new models. The Tyranid in the image could be a new special character, or the genestealer design could have changed to reflect the species evolving. The first edition of Space Hulk was expanded with rules for additional models from many Warhammer 40k factions, adding Genestealer Cults, Astra Militarum, and even Chaos Space Marines.
Although there’s no announcement yet, we all suspect that the Warhammer 40k 10th edition release date will be this year. It’s possible that this announcement is teasing content from a launch box set for the new edition. That would certainly warrant a long lead in starting with very cryptic marketing.
The terminator in the image is wearing ‘Indomitus’ pattern terminator armour, the most famous terminator armour design and one that only ‘Firstborn’ (pre-Primaris) Space Marines can wear. The Warhammer 40k starter sets for both 8th and 9th edition 40k contained only Primaris Space Marines, so including Indomitus terminators in a 10th edition launch box would be a surprising and interesting change.
Another possibility is that we’re going to get another Warhammer 40k: Kill Team box set, set aboard a space hulk, pitting Tyranids against terminators. The teaser uses the Warhammer 40k logo rather than the Kill Team logo, which makes this much less likely.
There’s an outside chance this is the reveal for a new Warhammer 40k videogame: there have been many different Space Hulk videogames over the years. Usually, GW supports the advertising for licensed videogames, but doesn’t lead on it.
The most prosaic explanation would be a battle box set for 9th edition Warhammer 40k, in the style of Wrath of the Soul Forge King – that set pits Vashtorr the Arkifane against the Dark Angels. It’s hard to call new Tyranids and new terminators ‘disappointing’ however we get them, but a battle box would be the most mundane option.