ContemplativeSphinx wrote:Some tough choices would have to be made. [...] Depending on how one shaped continuity, one risks alienating a portion of the fandom.
Undoubtedly. I'm not sure if it would be better for 40k at this point
(the deviations between depictions of specific details in official/licensed material have been growing ever larger, and as such the number of opinions within the fandom) - just that it might have been better if continuity would've been held sacrosanct from the start.
Retroactively invalidating things would be a tricky thing indeed ... even though one could very well argue that nothing is valid right now anyways. But most fans have embraced a very specific vision of the 41st millennium and would become angered at a different, perhaps even opposing interpretation being officially elevated above theirs. I know *I* would have a hard time accepting the contents of certain BL
novels over Codex fluff, and it might actually end up driving me away from the hobby if the latter would ever be discarded for good, as it would force a very different perception onto my army. Many hobbyists will feel likewise, whatever source they prefer.
So in away, at least now we're all on the same footing and nobody is left behind. I only hope that stability will not erode further over the coming years, as the various origins of fluff will churn out ever more contradictions and conflicts between themselves, further increasing the mental gap between the fans. Is this just my perception, or have fluff debates increased in both frequency as well as intensity over the past few years?
ContemplativeSphinx wrote:So a debate about the Emperor for instance isn't merely about the Emperor - it spirals into discussions about the status/role of religion (or lack thereof) in society, the cost benefit analysis of dictatorial authority vs. civil freedom, etc.etc. The storm brewing over the Tau takes on characteristics of dicussions about nationalism and race (West vs. East), systems of control, etc.
Oh, yes. Although on some level, they are interesting debates to be had. It's almost a credit to 40k
that it inspires people to talk about such things - proof that there is a deeper, almost philosophical meaning behind many of the themes, even if it's just a side-effect of the setting.
ContemplativeSphinx wrote:Trying to sustain an interesting Story Arc/Plot spanning decades (in the real world) is very very very difficult.
And we can witness this in 40k
too, with people moaning about how the timeline is stuck at 999.M41 etc...
Although this franchise/setting already offers an easy way out of the issue - in essence, the "time travel" or "multiple universes" cop-outs you listed, but without actually breaking continuity:
Time travel: 40k
is a setting with a very long timeline, so it would be easy to retroactively insert events into it. In fact, this is already being done. There are almost 10.000 years of history to be filled, and I can't imagine that previous eras of the Imperium do not offer any potential for interesting novels or campaign plots? What about, say, the Age of Apostasy? A 2E story blurb in a half-forgotten Codex, yet such a monumental event in Imperial history that it's mind-boggling that nobody picked it up for a story yet.
Multiple universes: The galaxy is large, and so is the Imperium. Thousands of planets colonised by all sorts of people and all with potentially unique cultural and technological traits. You want to place your story on a feral world with amazons riding dinosaurs? We've got a planet for that. Mad-Max'esque gangers in a violent cyberpunk turf war? Here you go, take this star system over there.
The real issue with 40k
's continuity is not actually any big divergence in terms of "world events" or alternate histories or so, it's that a large number of authors are seemingly incapable of sticking to certain standards. Example: Jes Goodwin once joked on the GW
Designer Podcast that Space Marines are getting bigger and bigger in BL
novels. Why? Why are the writers unable to stick to as simple a guideline as "7 feet"? Did I somehow miss the memo about some sort of one-upsmanship contest between the writers?
This is what really gets me - and what causes most of the disagreements in dakka's fluff section. There is so much potential for rich detail, yet it's thrown away again and again because apparently almost every freelance writer thinks he's got a better idea. Most often, it's not even about any sort of story, it's about not caring enough to embed a plot into the corset that already written fluff would provide, or maybe just not doing enough research.
ContemplativeSphinx wrote:I think the advantage held by SW (which i'm only using here as an example for Franchises like it) over 40K re: Continuity stems from the fact that - 40K grew out of a Game, SW grew out a single creative vision. We can't specifically point to some sort of authority or authorial vision of 40K in the same manner that SW or ST could.
I dunno - 40k
may have started as a game, but at some point in time there still was only one vision, and that was the studio's, as printed in the books they published. If they really wanted
, they could have made sure that licensed fiction respects it - alas, they caved in and established the Black Library, to officially separate tie-in fiction from the game and its background.
Let's take a look at Battletech. Similar to 40k
, this started only as a game as well, yet the authors have established firm guidelines and policies about how their canon works, providing all fans with a clear idea of which sources they can turn to if they have any questions regarding how X works within the setting: http://www.sarna.net/wiki/Canon
1) Rules take precedence
2) Fluff and novels are next
3) Artwork is lowest on the continuity food chain
4) Newer material overrides conflicting earlier publications
5) The Line Developer has final say. All hail the Herb.
- Mike Miller, BT
Hell, if people want, they can even pay the guys in charge a virtual visit and ask them directly
. We can only dream of something like that for 40k
Granted, in 40k
, the GW
studio has also supplied a much smaller amount of detail as to how certain things work, almost forcing other writers to come up with their own stuff - but still, there was a time when you could find cross-sections and hard numbers in GW
books. Now it seems as if everything just becomes more vague, as if out of fear that it might contradict with some licensed material.
ContemplativeSphinx wrote:I tend to toss around my old battered copy of Rogue Trader to my kids friends who get into 40K and they always ask questions like "Where's the Emperor? Where's hte story?"
To which I can only say, "Back then, they made it up on their own.