Just in time for the game’s 30th anniversary, Games Workshop has revealed plans to publish a new edition of its iconic science fiction wargame Warhammer 40,000, the eighth edition for the game.

Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40,000 has been a staple of the gaming hobby for decades, consistently appearing near the top of non-collectible miniatures games (see “Top 5 Non-collectible Miniature Games--Fall 2016”).  Players collect, build, and paint armies of Citadel miniatures (and their cousins from GW subsidiary Forge World) representing human and alien forces, then stage battles from the game’s “grimdark” future setting on tabletop battlefields.  Since its initial release in 1987, the game has spawned seven editions already.

For some time, Games Workshop has been engaging the game’s global fan base, through social media and public events, gathering feedback from the community. The new edition will feature extensively reworked and revised rules, which the company said it developed as it “worked with the community.”

Nearly every part of the game has been revised to make the game play faster, and the game stats for every unit have been revised.  The new edition will support three modes of play, designed to broaden the appeal of the game:  Open play allows players to simply pick any units and start playing; narrative play recreates fictitious battles from the game setting’s history; and structured matched play requires players to create and field balanced forces.

Games Workshop has confirmed that all existing models and armies will remain valid in the new edition.  Unlike the reboot of Warhammer Fantasy (as Warhammer:  Age of Sigmar), the transition of Warhammer 40,000 does not involve the destruction of the existing world.  Instead, the new edition will continue the narratives and themes of the previous edition, though perhaps a bit more grim and dark than before.  However, because of the extensive changes to the game mechanics and rules, all existing “Army Codexes” will become obsolete.  Like Age of Sigmar, GW will make the core rules for the new Warhammer 40,000 available for free online.

Games Workshop has a well-earned reputation for secrecy when it comes to new products, but this tradition has eased a bit with the build-up for the new edition.  The company has begun teasing out elements of the new game system with daily announcements, videos, and design commentary.  However, the launch date, publication schedule, and other details of the new edition have not been revealed, though the company has indicated that the new edition will release this year.

While some fans were upset with the direction of the Warhammer Fantasy reboot, overall sales are trending upward.  The company reported a 43% bump in North American sales in its most recent half-year (see “Games Workshop Sales Up 43%”).