UPDATE: THQ has confirmed Eurogamer's previous suspicions - that the publisher still holds the rights to Games Workshop's Warhammer 40K licence.

Rights to fantasy-based Warhammer games used to belong to EA, publisher of Warhammer Online. It is the future of these rights that Creative Assembly holds.

ORIGINAL STORY: Total War developer The Creative Assembly has signed a deal to make multiple games in the Warhammer universe, publisher Sega has announced.

Creative Assembly now has five projects on the go, including Total War: Rome 2 and its in-development Aliens game.

The studio's first Warhammer project is not due to launch until "beyond 2013".

Relic Entertainment, owned by struggling publisher THQ, has previously made games based on Warhammer 40,000. So has Sega poached the whole Warhammer licence or just the fantasy version?

When Eurogamer spoke to Sega UK, the publisher said it could not add any more detail to its initial statement, but it reiterated that Creative Assembly's focus was on the "Warhammer universe of fantasy battles", which sounds like the colourful elves-and-wizards Warhammer to us, and not the grim-darkness-of-the-far-future-ONLY-WAR 40K version, which presumably remains at THQ.

We're checking with THQ now to see whether that's the case.

"With this year being our 25th anniversary it seems fitting for us to embark on such a dream project with such a well-established partner," Tim Heaton, studio director at Creative Assembly said of the deal. "The incredibly rich and detailed Warhammer world is something we grew up with, and has left an indelible imprint on us as both designers and gamers.

"We'll be doing the Warhammer universe justice in a way that has never been attempted before. We're bringing those 25 years of experience and expertise in extremely high-scoring games to bear, delivering a Warhammer experience that videogamers will absolutely love."

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Tom Phillips

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