Sega and Relic and the whereabouts of the Warhammer 40,000 IP

It sounds promising but it's not set in lead.

Sega sent a press release overnight about its Relic acquisition, and seemed to suggest it had acquired the Warhammer 40,000 IP as well.

THQ definitely held the IP and Relic had used it over the years to make Dawn of War 1, Dawn of War 2, the in-development Dawn of War 3, and Space Marine. But nowhere in the THQ auction document did it mentioned Warhammer 40,000; only Company of Heroes and UFO game licences were named.

Sega's press release announced it had acquired all shares of THQ Canada (AKA Relic) "and some IPs owned by THQ". The only IPs talked about in the press release were Company of Heroes and Warhammer 40,000.

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Specifically, Sega noted: "THQ Canada provides several million seller franchise titles, and its representative products include the Warhammer 40k Dawn of War series."

Then Sega Europe boss Jurgen Post said: "We are incredibly excited to welcome Relic Entertainment into the Sega family. They are a highly respected development studio, with Company of Heroes and the Warhammer series both testament to the pedigree of their games."

Nowhere did Sega state undeniably that "we now own the Warhammer 40,000 IP", but why drop hints and talk about it so much if that wasn't the case?

I asked Sega Europe for confirmation of the Warhammer 40,000 IP acquisition this morning, but Sega could give me none.

All a spokesperson could tell me was: "Sega acquired all shares of THQ Canada and THQ's IPs related to the titles developed by THQ Canada. Those IPs include Company of Heroes, which is developed by THQ Canada, and its R&D engines."

I spoke to Games Workshop yesterday about the status of the Warhammer 40,000 video game licence but discovered it was company policy not to comment.

In other words, there's hope for Sega and Warhammer 40,000 but it's not set in stone yet. It's encouraging that Sega's Creative Assembly studio successfully licensed the Warhammer IP in December, though, because it seems as though Sega and Games Workshop get along.

As to what Sega will do with the Relic and its IP, Sega's press release name-dropped "the PC online game market".

"As a result of the THQ Canada acquisition, SEGA will further advance the provision of various appealing entertainment contents by utilising THQ Canada's high-end content development capabilities and accumulated development know-how, and increase SEGA's presence in the PC online game market."

The Sega spokesperson said a little more: "THQ Canada titles are already compatible with online gaming, and we think the ratio of the titles made compatible with online gaming among all THQ Canada titles will further increase going forward."

Smartphones and tablets were mentioned.

The Sega rep also told me there were "no plans" to change management or employees at Relic, and that Company of Heroes 2 will be unscathed - although specific details about games will be aired in due course.

Sega bid $26.6 million for Relic and Company of Heroes (and maybe Warhammer 40,000). Zenimax Media, Bethesda's parent company, only just lost out with a bid of $26.3 million.

Relic turned out, unsurprisingly, to be THQ's most valuable asset.

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