Games Workshop builds out entertainment business with former Hasbro exec Finn Arnesen

Games Workshop Group is delving deeper into the entertainment business with the appointment of the former Turner Broadcasting and Hasbro Studios executive, Finn Arnesen as its first head of entertainment development.

In his new role, Arnesen will get to work mining the Warhammer library of novels and short stories in order to develop live-action and animated content for broadcast channels and platforms worldwide. Arenesen will be reporting into Games Workshop’s EVP of global licensing, Jon Gillard.

Moving over from Hasbro Studios where he was most recently SVP global distribution and development, Arnesen brings with him 25 years’ experience to a role that will see him inherit an initial content slate that includes an already announced live-action drama based on the Eisenhorn series of novels. The franchise is currently being developed with Frank Spotnitz, known for his work on The Man in the High Castle and The X Files.

Gillard said: “In its almost 40-year history, Warhammer has been a leader in the field of tabletop and video gaming, growing into one of the most fully realised examples of fantasy and sci-fi world-building ever devised. The characters we’ve explored and stories we’ve told during that time, through games, books, comics and more, are crying out to be brought to the screen.

“Getting Finn on board, with his wealth of expertise and knowledge across both programming and wider IP use, combined with his sheer energy and passion, will continue to cement Warhammer as one of the most unique and distinctive fantasy settings ever.”

Arnesen added: “This is a hugely exciting time to be joining Games Workshop, and I am relishing the opportunity to work with such an established yet, in terms of entertainment, relatively unexplored universe as Warhammer. There is a tremendous appetite at present for series set in unique, fantastical worlds, so, with Warhammer’s thousands of stories, numerous worlds and countless memorable characters, our options are virtually limitless.

“I was delighted to discover there are already early discussions in place with a variety of production companies around the world, from LA to Japan, and an array of highly sought after writing talent, to bring the vast Warhammer universe to all platforms.”

According to reports, the Warhammer Animation TEam is currently working with animation studios to help develop official animated content for the Warhammer Community, with three shows now nearing completion. It is expected that word on how this content will be delivered to fans will arrive later this year.

Andy Smillie, EVP digital and community at Games Workshop, said: “Over the decades, Warhammer has attracted the most dedicated and passionate fans of any gaming and publishing franchises. Every day they reach out, asking for more ways to enjoy Warhammer. This new project will offer Warhammer fans everywhere rich, unique content to meet their insatiable demand.

“Combined with the mainstream entertainment strategy, we will soon be successfully delivering more Warhammer, more often, in multiple ways for dedicated and casual fans alike.”