Yes the grimdark legendary game is likely to enter its 8th edition this summer and the rumours have been flying thick and fast.
The prevailing controversy currently is to what form 8th edition will take. G-dubs posted a curious article on their community site last week which appeared to be part joke part statement. Personally I think this is likely to be a clever information campaign designed to muddy the waters in the inevitable tide of leaks that have already come out and will continue to do so.
Some might say I'm giving GW too much credit and they're not likely to think that far but lets cast our minds back to 6th edition. Some might remember that about 4 months before release a leaked version of the rulebook surfaced online, apparently found on a memory stick left on a train. In those 4 months many theories came forward and the leak was largely discredited as a hoax. However it wasn't. My sources tell me that it genuinely was left on a train by accident and that G-dubs then engaged on an extensive misinformation campaign using multiple fake forum accounts to discredit the leak.
So with all this in mind its not a giant leap to assume this GW post is part of an information management operation.
Anyway I digress. The biggest issue people are struggling with is to what format the new rules will take, and by this I mean will it be the "Age of Sigmar"ification of the 40k universe. (For those not clued up thus means the abandonment of previous lore and background and an extreme dumbing down of tge rules). G-dubs have previously stated this will not happen however the exact wording they used to state this is open to interpretation.
The general consensus seems to be that the rules will be simplified and this is no bad thing. Ive not managed a game using the 7th ed rules yet but from reading them I can confirm that they have become quite unwieldy and cumbersome. 6th edition proved to be time consuming enough with it hard to complete a simple 1000 point game in under 2 hours. It might be a rose tinted memory but I dont recall this issue with 2nd or 3rd editions. 1st was a tad cumbersome due to targeting matrices and the like but was still fun.
However simplification needs to be done carefully and sensitively in order to not alienate the loyal fanbase again.
As for the story, background and lore, I'm of two minds. One one hand I love the 40k background - the endless struggle, battle upon battle with no side gaining the upper hand. Its been well written about, explored and there is still a lot of room for story telling there. However there is the limitation on epoch making events, and its this aspect that G-dubs seems to dislike. They are attempting to "move the story forward" as its effectively been stuck in the same 1000 years since its creation. Now... I understand the desire to do this and the idea of new storylines is interesting. What worries me is how this is done. If G-dubs destroys the background in the same way they did with the Warhammer Old World then that would be a great shame and it would make me seriously reconsider my involvement with their game.
However if they left the old timeline available for interaction, much like their 30k game system, then I can't see any problem.
I guess the big issue is really about how it affects the armies. I'm a background addict. I pick my armies after expensively looking at their background and making sure I agree with it. Yes that is taking it quite personally but given the level of time and money investment I think this is more than justified. If, for example, my Crimson Fists were to suddenly be found to be Chaos agents and their background totally altered, I would be greatly aggrieved and this is something that drives the fear behind the anti 8th edition movement on social media.
Do I think this likely? No. I think G-dubs has learned from the AoS debacle and doing this would harm sales. I hope they'll be able to pull of the exceptionally difficult task of balancing all the options. Time will tell.