Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday Discussion: End of the Star Wars License

Well, it looks like after a good run, Wizards of the Coast will not be renewing the Star Wars license with Lucasfilm. Both the minis and RPG lines will go away, with the license officially ending this May.

The license has been interesting for WotC at times, with limits imposed on print production of RPG lines, and rare supplements appearing for thousands of dollars on Amazon (yes, really). And that's going to be this week's Friday Discussion at RPG Blog 2:

What would you like to see for Star Wars and tabletop roleplaying? Is there a company you'd like to see come down with the license, or did your involvement with the line stop from West End Games' did?

Have a great weekend, and I look forward to reading your thoughts below!


KJ said...

I'm not really sorry to see the license depart from WotC. I never felt they quite captured the feel of the movies. I think RPG developers have to realize that different systems give different feel to games. While D&D/D20 might be the best system for tactical combat, it is not the system for swashbuckling cinematic storytelling, which the movies are all about.
Picking the wrong system for your game means that you have to try and patch it together to make it work in the way you want it to.
My wish would be for the license to go to someone who will translate the swashbuckling adventure of the movies into a system (not necessarily an unique one, there are several fitting systems out there), but they could certainly keep up the trend of good supplements set by WotC, without getting any complains from me.

Reg said...

I think licenses with Lucasarts are problematic. There seem to be a lot of restrictions and special clauses. I'm not sure what other gaming company is a) big enough to afford it and b) big enough to take the chance on Lucas yanking the license all of the sudden.

I don't think either Wizards version really seemed like Star Wars to me, though Saga came close. Perhaps Pinnacle with Savage Worlds?

Jon Brazer Enterprises said...

The only true version of star wars for me was the WEG d6 version. Having said that, I am sad to see the license end. I doubt another RPG company will pick up the license anytime soon. And I have not seen another movie so universally capture the hearts and minds of gamers everywhere since. So I am saddened by the news.

NukeHavoc said...

I'm sad to see it go. While I agree with KJ's comments with regards to the first two d20 iterations of Star Wars, I think Saga Edition went a long way toward making the game feel far more cinematic, while at the same time creating classes that gave you a reason to play something other than a Jedi. :)

I think part of it is the setting itself; I think my players are a lot looser, more willing to take risks, and more likely to try and be overtly heroic because it *is* Star Wars. When a rule questions comes up, its easy for us to say "yeah, but what would Luke have done?" and then blast past it.

But Saga Edition itself also cleaned up a lot of things that were problematic for us: iterative attacks (cool, but time consuming at mid/high levels), saving throws, complicated grab/trip/whatever rules, 500+ prestige classes).

I liked the way the game evolved. I think they're leaving it on a high note, and I expect my group will continue its current KOTOR run for another year or two.

I agree with Reg that the license itself is problematic: expensive, hard to work with, and with endless canon hoops to jump through to get a product released. I think it would be hard for a company smaller than WotC to take on.

I'd like to experiment with running Star Wars with other systems (Spirit of the Century and Cortex come immediately to mind) but I don't know that I'm eager to see another company pick it up. I'm content with Saga.

sacha3791 said...

My love for Star Wars gaming begins and ends with WEG. I had horrible experiences playing the
D20 version and so am not sad to see WotC lose the licence. My money is on Mongoose picking up this one. I'd like to see Cubicle 7 get hold of it.

Zachary The First said...

I think Cubicle 7 may have all it can handle--at least right now, anyways. But I think they'd do a good job with it.

Mongoose--it'd be iffy on the editing, but you know they'd push out as many sourcebooks as Lucas would allow. No drought there!

Of course, the d6 Space rules are Open, free, and it wouldn't be hard to run Star Wars again with those. I need to look at the Lucas fan works policy...

Jason Richards said...

I think this could be a big turning point for tabletop gaming, or at least an indicator of where things are headed. Here we have the biggest, most successful license in the history of role-playing (it must be, right?), which is being given up by the 800 pound gorilla of the RPG industry.

This is a license that, especially with the incredible success of The Clone Wars amongst kids, has the power to bring countless fans into the RPG hobby. Who takes up this all-important banner, if not Wizards? Who can utilize this "gateway drug" of role-playing and get the most out of it for the hobby?

Rognar said...

I have to go against the prevailing opinion here. I loved d6 Star Wars, but I think the d20 system, especially the Saga Ed., worked pretty well. The main reason is because high-level characters in d20 are ridiculously hard to kill and that fairly accurately describes the likes of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Boba Fett, etc.

As for the future, I really can't see anyone picking up the license. No one has deeper pockets than WotC, especially with Hasbro behind them. If they can't make it work, no one else in the industry will be able to.

BlUsKrEEm said...

Maybe it's time to see a WotC Star frontiers Reborn!

David said...

I'd love to see them bring back Alternity!

Zachary The First said...

@Jason: I guess we'll see. Given how WotC is looking at 4e boxed sets and all sort of other announcements, I think they're in a bit of a flux right now.

@Rognar: I guess we'll see. Cubicle 7 does seem license-happy, and we know Mongoose is, but whether they could pull it off remains to be seen.

@ David, BIU: Well, they do have Gamma World coming out. I don't know if they'd be looking at another sci-fi entry right now or not.

Dr-Rotwang said...

D6 was it, baby. I never believed in the d20 editions, even when I owned one; I, like KJ, never felt it was a good match, kind of like putting marshmallows on a steak.

I'd play a FATE-based Star Wars, though. I ran a very little bit of such a game over e-mail one time, and it felt good.

MKB said...

Is there any indication where the Star Wars RPG is going? Has a company picked up this license yet?