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Author Topic: Wizkids gets the axe  (Read 3986 times)
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Turtle
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« on: November 11, 2008, 09:01:28 AM »

For people who were miniature gamers, this will be interesting news.  Love or Hate them, Wizkids was just shut down by Tops, who apparently owned them for a while now.

For those who don't know, Wizkids used to be FASA, but the execs shut down FASA and through some sneaky corporate dealings took most of the stuff, sold the rest, and formed Wizkids.  Wizkids, in turn, produced Mageknight, one of the first collectible miniatures games, which was a pretty big success and spawned the many clones you see today.

FASA is an old tabletop gaming company making things like Battletech and Shadowrun.

There was a bit of fan hate as Wizkids left a lot of FASA products in a lurch, and also because there was a lot of talk about the same execs who ran Wizkids also ran FASA into the ground.

Well, the circle is now complete and Wizkids is going away.  I stopped following the company when I realized they were just going to milk the Clix game concept until it was dry, then keep squeezing more drops out of that teat.  They had a good run though.  However, looking at their product line I wonder how they stayed alive this long.  It's all basically the same Clix game just themed differently, one of the most recent being the Halo game.  No diversification.

I wonder where the last of the FASA franchises will end up.  Crimson Skies and Battletech is now owned by Microsoft Game Studios, with Classic Battletech being handled by yet another studio in a long chain of restarts.  Vor is dead and gone, same for Shadowrun.
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Razgon
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« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2008, 09:18:17 AM »

Didnt Living Room games own the Shadowrun IP for a while? I rememeber doing an interview with them regarding the future of Shadowrun,and got a few of their upcoming releases for free for revewing, but must admit I havent follewed this for a long time.
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kronovan
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« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2008, 11:24:02 PM »

I more or less figured Haloclix would be the death of them. There's just no way I could see it flying, and it didn't. It's a shame because my kids and I were big fans of Heroclix for a while. However that series really suffered from quality control; too many non-turnable bases. Once my kids discovered SW Mini's it was game over for Heroclix. I suspect the same is true for many folks in my area, as SW Minis has gained strength while the clix products started to disappear from shelves a while ago.

BTW Wizards of the Coast is having their share of problems too. IIRC they recently announced D&D Minis will be discontinued after 2009.
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Sarkus
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« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2008, 03:28:37 AM »

That sucks.  At one point their offices were across the street from a store I managed where we sold some of their products early in the Mageknight period.  They used to come over to see what was going on all the time and seemed like good folks.

They may have been forced to accept the Topps takeover, and if that's the case then I can't be too upset, but it seems like so many of these guys go for the money when some big company offers to buy them and then before you know it they are gone altogether or are some sort of corporate run shell (i.e. WotC). 

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IceBear
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« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2008, 05:00:35 AM »

Quote from: kronovan on November 12, 2008, 11:24:02 PM

BTW Wizards of the Coast is having their share of problems too. IIRC they recently announced D&D Minis will be discontinued after 2009.

They did?  From their website:

Quote
Launching in Spring 2009, the first D&D Heroes series features six different packs (18 figures total):

Martial Heroes 1
Martial Heroes 2
Arcane Heroes 1
Arcane Heroes 2
Divine Heroes 1
Primal Heroes 1
Each package contains 3 PC minis: 2 males and 1 female, and 3 unique power cards featuring brand new class powers. All three of the figures in the package will be visible so you’ll know exactly which pack to pick for your game.

The D&D Heroes will be refreshed regularly in order to continue to deliver new PC options to players. There are two series scheduled for 2009 and three scheduled for 2010. MSRP $10.99.

Dungeons & Dragons Miniatures -- Monster Manual
Also new to the 2009 lineup are Monster Manual themed releases. These sets are designed to be what every Dungeon Master (or D&D enthusiast) needs to create riveting adventures and exciting encounters at all levels of play.

Releasing in Spring 2009, the first D&D Monsters set is called Monster Manual: Dangerous Delves. This will be a 40-miniature set containing both medium and large sized figures. Each semi-randomized “booster” box contains 5 minis: 1 visible figure, 1 rare figure, 1 uncommon figure and 2 common figures, as well as full-color D&D Dungeon Delve stat cards for each miniature. MSRP $14.99.

Upon the release of D&D Monsters and D&D Heroes, we will no longer package the D&D Miniatures line in its current configuration (fully randomized booster packs and huge packs). This means that November’s set -- D&D Miniatures: Demonweb -- will be the final release sold in fully randomized booster packs.
 

I know that's not exactly the same as current but there's a difference between discontinued and a different format.  I also think the main reason for this change isn't so much a financial one but rather because a lot of 4E D&D players have been asking for this sort of format in order to get minis for their D&D games.

I also don't know why everyone keeps calling WotC corporate shells.  I know Hasbro owns them, but they don't really seem to care (other than some image concerns which seem to be lessening).
« Last Edit: November 13, 2008, 05:05:07 AM by IceBear » Logged
Turtle
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« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2008, 06:03:52 AM »

WOTC is definitely not a corporate shell, although no doubt Hasbro does call some shots, WOTC and Hasbro cover different segments.

WOTC also had a wide portfolio of gaming products beyond D&D.

All that Wizkids had was the Clix games and a few other failed products.  Like with FASA, Weisman was able to make an early profit on its uniqueness, but eventually ran it into the ground.

Weisman has now pulled the same move he did in forming Wizkids, he's now formed yet another studio and has re-licensed all the FASA IPs back to him from Microsoft.  It looks like he's now trying to do the same thing that WOTC is doing with D&D4, basically making the classic FASA IPs into online supported RPGs.
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« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2008, 08:06:48 PM »

The D&D Minis 'game' (which has virtually no player support around here) is being drastically changed. The miniatures will still be produced, but now come in pre-defined boxes with specific creatures per box.

The minis themselves were top quality, but the game was pretty mediocre.
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kronovan
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« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2008, 09:20:01 PM »

I think D&D Mini's have suffered a bit by being in the shadow of SW Mini's. What's worked quite well for a Star Wars tabletop strategy-rpg hasn't worked well for D&D. WotC did do some things right with the D&D Mini's such as issuing new stat cards for existing figs. That's something I and many other SW Mini fans have been calling for them to do for some time. Unfortunately, having to pay a licensing fee to Lucasarts, WotC has chosen to just milk the franchise by issuing new updated figs for the same characters.

Heroclix not being successful baffles me a bit, because it's based on very popular IP's that are getting a lot of attention from Hollywood right now. The series really should have succeeded. Maybe people just got tired of always finding a few poor quality figs in boosters and even more likely; maybe the game retailers got tired of dealing with the complaints. As well not having attractive maps based on key setting from the Marvel and DC universes was a big mistake IMO.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2008, 09:22:10 PM by kronovan » Logged
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« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2008, 09:27:17 PM »

Quote from: DragonFyre on November 13, 2008, 08:06:48 PM

The D&D Minis 'game' (which has virtually no player support around here) is being drastically changed. The miniatures will still be produced, but now come in pre-defined boxes with specific creatures per box. 

I'm glad to hear that.  The random mini boxes were sort of fun, but not terribly usefull when trying to put together a D&D encounter.
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kronovan
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« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2008, 09:41:04 PM »

Quote from: kadnod on November 13, 2008, 09:27:17 PM

Quote from: DragonFyre on November 13, 2008, 08:06:48 PM

The D&D Minis 'game' (which has virtually no player support around here) is being drastically changed. The miniatures will still be produced, but now come in pre-defined boxes with specific creatures per box. 

I'm glad to hear that.  The random mini boxes were sort of fun, but not terribly usefull when trying to put together a D&D encounter.


It sounds like WotC is redesigning the D&D Mini's to be more supportive of the tabletop RPG. IMO that's a prudent move because at least at the LGS's in my city the RPG is still much more popular. Other than excellent efforts by the fanbase, no similar effort has been made by WotC to link SW Minis to the RPG. About the only thing that's been done is the publishing of RPG stats for a few of the individual figs in the few mission books. However, they haven't produced a mission book for the Mini's since Revenge of the Sith and that was over 3 years ago!
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kadnod
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« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2008, 10:16:50 PM »

Quote from: kronovan on November 13, 2008, 09:41:04 PM

It sounds like WotC is redesigning the D&D Mini's to be more supportive of the tabletop RPG. IMO that's a prudent move because at least at the LGS's in my city the RPG is still much more popular. Other than excellent efforts by the fanbase, no similar effort has been made by WotC to link SW Minis to the RPG. About the only thing that's been done is the publishing of RPG stats for a few of the individual figs in the few mission books. However, they haven't produced a mission book for the Mini's since Revenge of the Sith and that was over 3 years ago!

Yeah, I imagine that since the latest edition of the D&D RPG is more mini-centric, they're better off catering to fans of the RPG.  I've got a feeling that the lack of enthusiasm for the mini-wargame rules in your area is pretty common elsewhere.  I took a look at the latest rules for the wargame a while back and wasn't terribly impressed. 

And I actually played that SW RPG for a while.  We didn't even bother with the offical minis, just used the DM's old SW micro-machine toys and a map grid.  It worked surprisingly well.  icon_smile
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« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2008, 04:19:47 PM »

Quote from: kadnod on November 13, 2008, 09:27:17 PM

Quote from: DragonFyre on November 13, 2008, 08:06:48 PM

The D&D Minis 'game' (which has virtually no player support around here) is being drastically changed. The miniatures will still be produced, but now come in pre-defined boxes with specific creatures per box. 

I'm glad to hear that.  The random mini boxes were sort of fun, but not terribly usefull when trying to put together a D&D encounter.


I only picked up a few packs of them. I thought they were really cool. I tried out the game itself, had a starter and a few other packs of the game. Didn't really think the game was all that special, coming from a warhammer perspective. The one pack of the Deathknell expansion (I think that's the one) that I bought I ripped the beholder (the classic one, not one of the re-made beholders they did), which made the other nerds jealous, so that was kind of a plus. Seeing as how it was always my favorite D&D monster, I was happy to pull it as well.
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« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2008, 07:43:04 AM »

Just spoke with one of my acquaintances near Living Room Games... and when I say near... well lets just say that it's REALLY near... and for the record, no, they don't hold a license for Shadowrun. It's been reminded to me, since I think somewhere in my backbrain I knew, that SR is currently licensed by Fanpro, from FASA, regardless of FASA's current status, or lack thereof.

They do license Earthdawn, and some other stuff, but not the sweet sweet love that is Shadowrun.

http://www.lrgames.com/

Atomic <--- Connected biggrin

edit: Oh yeah. Fanpro is also the license holder for classic battletech, as a heads-up.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2008, 07:48:46 AM by TheAtomicKid » Logged
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« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2008, 01:20:34 PM »

I thought Catalyst Game Labs had Shadowrun and Classic Battletech now

http://www.catalystgamelabs.com/
« Last Edit: November 20, 2008, 01:22:12 PM by IceBear » Logged
TheAtomicKid
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« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2008, 08:07:25 PM »

The dates on their newsblurbs are very recent, and definitely supersede any knowledge I have of the situation.

Thanks IceBear, appreciate the heads up.

Atomic
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« Reply #15 on: November 21, 2008, 12:07:19 AM »

I want a MechWarrior MMO.  Get your connections working on that, Atomic.
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« Reply #16 on: November 21, 2008, 12:32:46 AM »

Quote from: TheAtomicKid on November 20, 2008, 08:07:25 PM

The dates on their newsblurbs are very recent, and definitely supersede any knowledge I have of the situation.

Thanks IceBear, appreciate the heads up.

Atomic

Hi.  The newsblurbs about them trying to buy the other WizKids product lines is new, but I've been playing 4th Edition Shadowrun since May or June of this year and all our books have Cataylst Games on them (I too thought it was FanPro so I think they bought the Shadowrun and Classic Battletech from FanPro sometime in 2007 or 1st quarter this year)

Edit: NM - it was April 2007 according to this news article: http://catalystgamelabs.com/2007/04/
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TheAtomicKid
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« Reply #17 on: November 21, 2008, 06:42:13 AM »

It's not a classic MMO (yet?) and sadly, it's one in a long string of promised battletech multiplayer possibilities, but... I received email a while back regarding this...

http://www.battlemechhanger.com/about.htm

You might check it out if you're interested. I believe the required software base can be had pretty cheap at this point.

Atomic

Sadly, my connections as they are, don't really extend to any software houses that I know of. Pen and Paper is a semi-go though smile
I do try to keep an eye on any potential battletech action, though.
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« Reply #18 on: November 21, 2008, 02:00:39 PM »

Can you let them know that I'm very happy that they have kept Classic Battletech alive but I was very disappointed that they made the mech construction rules a seperate charageable product (still, it's a very good product and all inclusive, but one of the main things that got me into Battletech all those years ago was modifying and constructing my own mechs so they should have left the mech stuff in the main book).
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« Reply #19 on: November 26, 2008, 09:28:16 PM »

Oh, an update on D&D Minis (the skirmish game) and another example of how WotC is a corporate shell (sarcasm)

http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/4news/20081120
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Isgrimnur
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« Reply #20 on: December 01, 2008, 11:03:25 PM »

That's some cool news for the fan base.
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« Reply #21 on: December 02, 2008, 05:56:45 PM »

All my Classic Battletech books arrived yesterday.  Thanks for the heads-up! slywink
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« Reply #22 on: December 10, 2008, 12:23:15 AM »

This thread made my head spin! icon_biggrin

I just got a glimpse into what my brother experiences when I mention what I like about a game and he says "Man! You are way too knowledgeable about that shit".   icon_wink
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