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Warhammer MMO is an “awesome responsibility” says lead dev

Warhammer MMO lead developer Jack Emmert explains his vision and aspirations for the game, in the final part of his interview with Wargamer.

Veteran MMO developer Jack Emmert says he wants to “share my passion for the [Warhammer] IP, and bring it alive for everybody else”. Wargamer interviewed Emmert to find out more about what he hopes to achieve in the officially licensed Warhammer MMO, being worked on at his new studio Jackalyptic Games.

This is final part of Wargamer’s interview with Emmert; in part one he gives an overview of his 35 year love affair with the worlds of Warhammer, in part two he recaps his career to date and why he’s confident Publisher NetEase is the perfect home for this project; and in part three he explains the opportunities he sees for MMOs in 2023 and beyond.

Can you reveal more about the setting in your MMO?

We have a Warhammer license. I can’t tell you which one, they have a whole bunch!

What’s exciting for you about getting to create an MMO in a Warhammer setting, whichever one it is?

I think in any of the different Warhammer settings, currently there is no world that I can go to that I can immerse myself in the universe. The miniatures, the novels have great reach, but there are so many people out there that only dimly know about either. They’ve heard about it, but they don’t really know about it.

Warhammer MMO lead developer Jack Emmert running a game of Horus Heresy at a company off-site event

And this is an opportunity for me to share my passion for the IP, and bring it alive for everybody else. That’s going to be there 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

And it’s going to be where people meet, they make friends. You know, I still get stories, mostly from City of Heroes and Star Trek Online players… in fact, my COO met her partner through City of Heroes, my game, right?

And those stories happen all the time: how people played with their kids, how people who love Star Trek could get online and play Star Trek. Neverwinter was a tremendous way for people to play DnD online, before there was Zoom and all this other stuff.

Warhammer MMO lead developer Jack Emmert's model collection - dark blue armored Night Lords terror troops with jet pack

My hope is that we can say, “Here’s this magical world, which has been created by Games Workshop, and it’s been popular for decades, but you don’t know about it”.

I liken it to the MCU before it came out: people knew who Spider Man was, but they didn’t really know. Or they knew the Avengers name, but they didn’t know the team, the dynamics, the villains. And what the MCU has done is package this great material and put it into a new medium for a brand new audience.

I’m very excited about that. And it’s an awesome responsibility to have because so many great designers, so many great writers have worked on Warhammer material, have worked at Games Workshop. And I don’t want to let them down. I mean, I just do not want to let them down.

Warhammer MMO development team Jackalyptic play Warhammer at an off-site event - closeup of hands moving Custodes miniatures

Do you think this game will get hardcore Warhammer players into MMOs?

There’s always going to be an overlap. But hardcore tournament players probably don’t play video games. Why? Because they’re playing tournaments or painting their miniatures.

This will be more for people, if I had to have a hunch, people who know of Warhammer but would never have bought an army. People who’ve read a book, but wouldn’t have bought or played an army.

People who once played, but now don’t have the time for that commitment and want to have an experience they can just dive into and not feel they have to paint a 2000 point force, putting all that time, energy, money in. Whereas a video game, man, you can just flip it on and play.

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So there will definitely be overlap, but not necessarily entirely. I’ll give you a great example. In City of Heroes, most of my audience were occasional comic book readers. That fascinated me! The most hardcore comic book fans didn’t play City of Heroes. And why? Because they’re spending all their time reading comic books right, like no duh?

Jack, thank you so much for your time

If you’re an MMO fan but you’ve never really gotten into Warhammer before, we have guides to the best digital Warhammer fantasy games and Warhammer 40k games, which are great ways to start exploring the settings.