Orogogus wrote on Feb 3, 2021, 14:08:
I'm not under the impression that there's any kind of exclusive licensing going on for any of GW's properties. So I assume it's negotiated on a game-by-game basis (or trilogy, in the case of the Total Warhammer series). If CA wanted to make a 40K game, they'd go to GW, say they want to make Total War: 40K, then sign a contract saying who gets how much of the profits.
That said, I don't really see what Total War brings to a 40K game. Why not just make another real-time strategy game? The Total War strategic layer doesn't seem particularly suited to a game set in modern or futuristic times. Dawn of War has a barracks spitting out Marines or whatever, and that's kind of fine in a video gamey way, but on a world map scale most of the armies really shouldn't be recruiting troops on-planet.
Yeah, it certainly isn't exclusive anymore. They're throwing Warhammer licenses at anyone with a design document these days. But 40K game licensing was exclusive during the THQ days, which was why CA/SEGA couldn't license 40K for a Total War game in 2012.
As for what 40K could bring to a Total War game. To a bog-standard Total War formula, probably not much. That likely wouldn't be a good fit, as you pointed out. Instead I'd imagine they'd shift the formula slightly in a way that has been done before. Namely, some developers of regular C&C-style RTS have made attempts to emulate Total War in the past, with sci-fi properties, to great success. Those games are Dawn of War: Dark Crusade and Star Wars: Empire at War. CA could certainly do a take similar to those titles and it'd be far less of a departure from the Total War formula than it was from the Dawn of War and Petroglyph (C&C) formulas. There's certainly ways to make 40K work and still largely keep Total War gameplay and design recognizable.
There could be great benefits to CA stepping out of their comfort zone a little. Triumph did it with Age of Wonders, and managed to make that formula work in space with Planetfall. And when Firaxis went outside their comfort zone and created a futuristic Civ game, they created one of the best Civ games to date: Alpha Centauri. Amplitude meanwhile took their rather mediocre 4X Endless Space 1 formula and created a wonderful and far superior fantasy/sci-fi mix in Endless Legend. Granted, such unusual diversions can also crash and burn like Sid Meier's Starships...