Simplification? There's been a lot speculation on what will be the new direction for 40k when the next edition drops.
Funnily enough it will be eighth edition which to many signaled the beginning of the end for WHFB. Back when I first started to play 40k there were actually more people playing Fantasy at the time in my area.
Here is my take on sixth and seventh editions for 40k...
second edition - I started to play right at the beginning of third edition so I can't really say. The game became much more streamlined with less rules and the tournament scene flourished at the local level along with Games Workshop Grand Tournaments. I really enjoyed third edition and it took me around six months to really get a solid handle on the rules.
Did sixth edition bring a lot of new players to the game? I don't really know but I did notice the number of players attending local tournaments dropped off quite a bit. It was a struggle for me to master the new rules and just about the time I got there the infamous Black December happened - Games Workshop released both the Apocalypse book introducing Lords of War along with Stronghold Assault. They just threw them over the fence with no warning... We all had to figure it with little to no help from Games Workshop. It was a dark time for 40k and I worried what would happen to our game. Needless to say sixth edition was a huge change in and of itself.
Of course a whole new phase came about following in the foot steps of the WHFB Magic Phase. The psychic phase obviously needs more work but it's very new so I understand. Hopefully they'll get it all sorted.
The Next Big ThingMany say the game now is too complex and they look back at third edition with fond memories. Many too feel heavily invested in the current game having successfully made the transition... It's a lot of time, effort and money.
I ran a poll on my blog asking what do players want. Out of over 50 people who responded roughly two thirds voted not to drastically change the rules - the rest would like to see the game simplified. I don't know how much change is wanted but my gut feeling is not anywhere close to degree of change we have all seen happen with the newly released Age of Sigmsr. I say this because I think more people would have voted for change otherwise... But it's just my best guess. Like I said there's a lot of heavy investment in the current edition.
Could the rules benefit from a move to a more simplified version of the rules? I think so - for me there are plenty of rules now that seem superfluous and I often to forget about some such as Soul Blaze. Personally I don't want "Age of the Emperor" but I'd like to some form of streamlining.
CONCLUSION • How Does the Development Team FeelThis is the proverbial biggie no doubt about it and I think many of them also feel heavily invested and there must some level ownership felt towards what they have accomplished over the past few years. It required a cleansing of the old guard, purging many of the veteran developers such as people like Alessio, Andy Chambers, Pete Haines and Gav Thorpe to create an environment that supported the fundamental changes to the game that occurred in sixth edition and I feel certain there many of the younger generation developers are still there.
Honestly I have no idea what will actually occur and your guess is just as good as mine.
~But based on hints and trends in existing GW books, what do you think GW will do with 40K 8th edition?