RPG giant ditches ‘Star Wars,’ re-launches ‘Gamma World’

Pathfinder Infinite

Out with the old, in with the … old?

This weekend, Wizards of the Coast, the Hasbro subsidiary that produces the Magic: The Gathering card game and the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game, is playing host to the annual D&D Experience, an event chock-full of seminars, signings and, of course, gaming.

464px-gamma_world_bookThen there are the product announcements. On Thursday the company announced the return of Gamma World, a sci-fi mutant RPG originally published by Wizards’ predecessory company, TSR, in 1978 and for many years thereafter. The 160-page book, due in October, will be geared toward both player characters and gamemasters — unlike D&D, which traditionally divides player and Dungeon Master content into separate volumes. According to the official Wizards_DnD Twitter feed, “the game also has a card component. A deck of 80 cards with 40 tech cards and 40 mutation cards you might suddently manifest.”

Interestingly, on the same day as that news broke, Wizards issued a statement that spells the end of the company’s line of RPG products based on the Star Wars franchise. It’s a relationship that has spanned a full decade and two editions, the most recent of which was a testing ground for many of the rules found in the current 4th Edition of D&D.

Here is the announcement by marketing director Greg Yahn:

starwars_article_rpgsagaed_pic1_enThere have been several questions lately regarding the future of the Star Wars Miniatures and Roleplaying Game and until now I haven’t had definitive answers to give you. After a lengthy evaluation, Wizards of the Coast has decided not to renew the Star Wars license with Lucasfilm. We’ve had a long and fantastic run, but with the economic downturn, we have made the tough decision to discontinue our Star Wars lines.

The license officially ends in May this year, with WotC product available through August. In the meantime, we have awesome new products still coming your way. This week, we released The Dark Times minis and Galaxy of Intrigue RPG. We’ll have more coming with Masters of the Force minis in April, which will have some of your most favorite characters along with rare creatures from the Dejarik Holochess game that have never appeared in our game. We’ll also release The Unknown Regions RPG in April, which includes entirely new planets and mini-adventures for each world.

We are finishing the line with a bang so look for special programs at your local game store to stock up on favorite sets before they go into the vault. We will continue to support our Star Wars forums on the Wizards Community site so you can reach out and chat with us and other fans.

While I know the news is disappointing, we wanted to make this announcement as soon as possible and thank you for being such great fans. It’s been a fantastic ride with the Star Wars community and working with Lucasfilm. We hope you enjoy the next several months of great products. You never know when we may circle back again!

Greg Yahn

Director of Marketing, Wizards of the Coast

Other announcements from Thursday’s panels included the launch of a midweek organized play program called D&D Encounters, which replaces the Delve Nights that were discontinued over the summer and sent back to the drawing board. It will be a recurring mini-campaign structured like a “season” of a television show, with reward programs for participating players and Dungeon Masters.

Also introduced: a new basic edition of the D&D game in a throwback “Red Box” edition; a Rules Compendium collecting material from existing books; Player Essentials, which explains the basics for new players and provide new takes on the core character options; a Monster Vault boxed set that comes with a monster booklet plus tokens for each beast found in the book; and a boxed Dungeon Masters Kit that includes the Rules Compendium, monster tokens and two adventure scenarios.

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