“While I yet draw breath, the lands bequeathed unto me
Shall remain untainted by evil.
Be they foul orcs, giants or mountain drakes
My foes shall fear my armies and my blade alike.
It is my sacred oath to lead wars of errantry and crusade
And to honour the duties of the King.
My love of the Lady shall be as a beacon, inspiring and bright
Even when darkness spreads its wings o'er the land.
All this I shall uphold as I become one with Bretonnia
Lest I join with her in death alone.”
- The King's Vow
That was presented as the final part of a two-page history of Bretonnia's King Louen Leoncoeur by Phil Kelly's in his Codex: Apocrypha article in this week. Its a well-written piece but what strikes me is how much of it is new, or at least new to me. All or any of this could be background from the fifth edition or earlier given a modern spin but even if it is this is what I take from it:
Two pages of a very short magazine targeted at advertising Games Workshop products was spend on advertising Bretonnia, an army with a two editions old army book and massive gaps in its model range. I'm not saying next week or even next month is going to see a new Warhammer Armies: Bretonnia, if for no other reason than I don't think there'll be a standalone army book until after The End Times wraps but I do think this means something.
Now you could say that this snippet of background took no time or effort for GW to produce. You would also be wrong. They paid Phil Kelly his wages for whatever time it took to write and edit this piece, they spent money printing it and used up 5.8% of their magazine on it. Small effort is still effort and there are probably better things one of your lead game designers and background writers could be doing of an afternoon than banging out two pages of fluff for an army you haven't supported in a decade and don't even offer a full range of miniatures for anymore. Something like, oh, banging out two pages of background to remind people this range exists because there are plans.
I'm not usually one to accuse GW of being completely mercenary but I do accept that as a relatively small company in a niche, luxury industry most of their activities are based in savvy marketing. You see, unlike far too many hobbyists on the internet I understand that if I want GW to continue making products they have to make enough money to stay in business. It is baffling how many hobbyists don't understand the very, very simple economics of this equation.
But, anyway, between this article and the huge amount of ink The End Times: Nagash spend entirely upending Bretonnia's status quo right after the Wood Elves army book spent a huge amount of its timeline introducing a Bretonnian civil war. People will read this, they'll be interested, they'll go to the GW webstore and find...
… well, a tragically out of date army book, a complete lack of knightly characters to lead their armies and models for only five of the ten units in the tragically out of date army book. They'll see that and they'll ask: where my 8th edition book at?
I can only hope.