Games Workshop is trying to shut down fan animations

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Games Workshop is facing backlash after making changes to its IP Guidelines (opens in new tab) to clamp down on fan-made animations.

For the most part, changes to Games Workshop's IP Guidelines make a lot of sense. It makes sense for the miniatures company to enforce a zero tolerance policy towards people 3D printing its designs, for example. But things take a turn for the concerning when it comes to a note on fan-made animations, which reads:

"Individuals must not create fan films or animations based on our settings and characters. These are only to be created under licence from Games Workshop."

It's worth noting that while a similar clause applies to fan-made games, fan art, fiction and websites are permitted so long as they're not-for-profit and make it clear they're not official works.

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These changes coincide with the recent launch of the Warhammer+ subscription service (opens in new tab), which launches with two animated series. Games Workshop has also been pushing hard on official Warhammer animations, many of which were sourced from existing fan projects—even outright hiring the creator of those stunning Astartes shorts (opens in new tab).

For fans, it reads as somewhat hypocritical for Games Workshop to shoot down fan animations at the same time it's benefitting from their work, as is the distinction between which kinds of fan works are allowed. We've reached out to Games Workshop for comment.

While the decision to completely lock out fan works may be seen as an understandable (if unfortunate) move, other companies have proved you can have a far more positive relationship with fan creators. I recently spoke to Apex Legends developers and fan artists on how that game is putting its story in the hands of the community (opens in new tab).

Natalie Clayton
Features Producer

20 years ago, Nat played Jet Set Radio Future for the first time, and she's not stopped thinking about games since. Joining PC Gamer in 2020, she comes from three years of freelance reporting at Rock Paper Shotgun, Waypoint, VG247 and more. Embedded in the European indie scene and a part-time game developer herself, Nat is always looking for a new curiosity to scream about—whether it's the next best indie darling, or simply someone modding a Scotmid into Black Mesa. She also unofficially appears in Apex Legends under the pseudonym Horizon.