December is finally upon us. It’s a month known for three things: the holiday season, being the twelfth month of the calendar year despite being named after the latin word for “ten”, and the transition from autumn to winter. Officially, the first day of winter is on the twenty-first of December, but if you’re cool with the cold then winter starts the minute December starts off.
Maybe as the weather outside gets frightful, you feel a little worried about keeping up with all of the latest happenings in the tabletop games industry and its related media. Just thinking about it sends a chill up your spine, and makes your veins feel like ice. If your sources of weekly industry coverage suddenly froze over, how would you maintain informed and well rounded opinions?
Well, don’t worry. Stay frosty, perhaps. Chill out, even. Unlike the Texas power grid, the Goonhammer news machine can keep delivering an avalanche of knowledge even on the most frigid of evenings. Our icy roundup writer, Dan “Swiftblade” Richardson, is here again to make sure you stay in the snow.
Wait, that’s not right. Too many cold puns. Stay in the know, not stay in the snow. Anyways, the news!
The Game Awards 2023 Airs December 7th
This week marks the return of one of the most visible nights in the video game industry, the Game Awards.
Starting its life as a niche marketing stunt by SpikeTV back in 2003 called the Video Game Awards, host Geoff Keighley broke off from SpikeTV in 2014 to independently host the show. Free from SpikeTV, the award show moved to major streaming platforms like Twitch.tv and improved its production values and prestige bit by bit with each year, and its popularity rose. Now the Game Awards is a cultural juggernaut, with staggering viewership numbers. The Game Awards website states that in 2022, 103 million people tuned in for the live stream, leaving that year’s Oscars broadcast in the dust with only 16.6 million viewers, and nipping the heels of the viewership numbers of Superbowl LVII at 115 million viewers.
The Game Awards is unique amongst other award shows for focusing just as much on big reveals and announcements for upcoming games as it does the awards it hands out. It’s clearly a marketing ploy to include so much of the show’s runtime to advertisements and announcements for games not up for awards, but even so when it’s hard to beat the rush of excitement you feel watching the lights dim on the livestream and the in-person audience roars with cheers as a slick trailer for a project you’re hyped about plays.
The popularity of the Game Awards has been great for the video game industry, and every once in a while we get cool trailers during the show that ties-in to a popular tabletop IP, like the reveals of Darktide and Space Marine 2 during previous shows. This year might be the biggest ever for tabletop games at the awards thanks to Baldur’s Gate 3 by Larian Studios, an excellent adaptation of the Dungeons and Dragon’s Fifth Edition ruleset and setting.
Baldur’s Gate 3 comes in as a favorite to win big, being nominated for 8 of the 31 categories at the event as well as making it to the final round of the players choice community award. Additionally, Baldur’s Gate 3 did very well at the Golden Joysticks awards earlier this year, winning seven awards including game of the year.
If you’d like to catch the Game Awards live, it will be streaming at 7:30 ET/ 4:30 PT on most major streaming platforms, like Twitch and YouTube.
The Walking Dead: All Out War Comes Back from the Grave
Mantic Games announced on December 1st that their skirmish game based on The Walking Dead comics, The Walking Dead: All Out War, will be returning after a long absence.
The press statement by Mantic is a welcome surprise for many fans of the game. In 2022, Mantic Games and the company that owns The Walking Dead IP, Skybound, announced that it had decided to discontinue the miniatures game. Mantic had been releasing new miniatures for the game based around story arcs from the comic, and once they had caught up with the conclusion of the source material Mantic and Skybound decided it was time to say goodbye to the game and discontinued selling models for the game on it’s webstore on March 31st, 2022.
There’s a whole lot of excitement for the return of The Walking Dead: All Out War, including here at Goonhammer. Michael O “Mugginns” gave the game high praise in their review. Since I’ve never played the game, I asked Momma-Negan to share her thoughts about the game’s return, and she was more than happy to oblige.
Momma-Negan: We all know how 2020 and 2021 were really shit and we all were hoping for some reprieve in 2022… Well maybe you got it. But when I woke up on the 1st of January, I was hit with the bad news: The Walking Dead All Out War comes to an end. To say that I was obsessed with this game the years before, would be an understatement. I would save up to buy two to three boosters every month. So the news really put a dent into 2022 for me. I did what every hobbyist would do, scramble to buy the remaining kits I was missing and try to still enjoy the game on my own. But from there, well, it was kinda slow sailing. When I joined Goonhammer, I met a fellow fan in Muggins, we did bounce around the idea of doing some articles, but since we got busy with historicals, nothing came of it.
And then a week ago, we got the teaser, both Mugginns and I were really excited and we got what we wanted. The game is back, just like that! And we are getting the Commonwealth, a faction I had fantasized about when the game was still around. Also Mantic, don’t think I have forgotten. You teased us more Telltale miniatures, I still want them! Anyways, I really am looking forward to 2024 now, so thank you Mantic.
Mantic Games has said to expect more news and the first new releases for the game to return in early 2024, as well as older models to be made available to fill new players collections.
The Black Library Preview Returns This Saturday
Warhammer seems to be having a new preview every time I look away nowadays. This time is a different sort of preview, though. Rather than focusing on the miniatures, the Black Library Online preview will focus on the new releases we can expect from the publishing arm of Games Workshop in 2023.
The article on the community site is very cryptic about what exactly we might see during these previews. We do know that we will get interviews from Black Library authors John French, Jude Reid, Mike Brooks, Guy Haley, and Marc Collins, and there will be books announced for Warhammer 40,000, Age of Sigmar, The Horus Heresy, and even The World that Was (AKA Warhammer Fantasy).
As for speculation on what the releases will be, that’s anyone’s guess. Games Workshop normally announces a miniature based on a character from a Black Library novel at this event, but there’s no current indication of who that character will be this year. Additionally, with The Siege of Terra series coming to a close early next year with The End and The Death: Part III, it’s unknown as of now what direction we can expect from novels set in the Heresy era. Will we see more parts of the Heresy fleshed out, or will we start moving into the post-Heresy years and The Scouring?
To watch these reveals for yourself, tune into the Warhammer.tv Twitch channel at 2 pm GST/9 am EST on Saturday December 9th.
Paizo’s Pathfinder 2E Sheds Its Dungeons and Dragons Roots
Earlier this November marked a big moment for TTRPG company Paizo. Its flagship fantasy roleplay game, Pathfinder, released a revised version of its second edition core rulebook as part of its larger “Pathfinder 2E Remastered” project that removed any connections it has to roleplaying game giant and its progenitor, Dungeons and Dragons.
It’s a moment that feels a little surreal for anyone who’s followed Pathfinder since the start of its lifespan back in 2009. Initially, Pathfinder was released as a direct response to the unpopularity of Dungeons and Dragons Fourth Edition. During this first edition of Pathfinder, it was a very derivative game of Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 edition, with some additions and tweaks to streamline some of that systems more unmanageable and confusing bits like grappling. The second edition of the game made strides to step out of the shadow of 3.5 into a more unique system, but familiar mechanics and concepts were still around from Dungeons and Dragons, like the alignments system or Tieflings.
Much of this overlap between the two games was possible because of the Open Gaming License, OGL, a document written in 2000 that allows for creators and even rival companies to create and sell materials based on or used for the Dungeons and Dragons system. At the end of last year, Wizards of the Coast announced it would plan to update this document, and a leaked version of the new OGL stated that it was not a legally binding license agreement. For Paizo, this would mean that their license to use materials from Dungeons and Dragons was no longer protected, and the game the company had grown was now under serious threat.
While the large public backlash against this eventually made Wizards of the Coast walk back the new OGL changes, companies like Paizo that relied on the existence of a document outside of their control to continue operations were shaken. Paizo created a new open gaming license, the Open RPG Creative license, or ORC. According to Paizo, the ORC is “…a system-agnostic, perpetual, and irrevocable open gaming license that provides a legal “safe harbor” for sharing rules mechanics so as to encourage collaboration and innovation in the tabletop-gaming space”
While this was happening, Paizo began work revising Pathfinder Second Edition to ensure that it could completely remove anything that could be claimed as being copied from Dungeons and Dragons. This project was announced in April this year, and the first two of these Remastered Books, Players Core and GM Core, released on November 15th. While backwards compatible with older 2E books, it contains rules tweaks as well as a host of renaming and reimagining of iconic D&D concepts all under the ORC license.
The next two Pathfinder 2E Remastered project books, the Monster Core and Players Core 2 will release in the first half of 2024.
Frontier Games Pivots Away from RTS games After the Release of Realms of Ruin
While Warhammer 40,000 is experiencing a surge in popularity in the gaming space, its cousin Age of Sigmar is struggling to reach the same levels of public excitement.
In a business update released on the 27th of November, Age of Sigmar: Realms of Ruin developer Frontier Games announced that while the company is pleased with the generally positive reviews the game has received by media outlets following its release, Realms of Ruin’s sales are lower than expected. Even with the expected boost from the holiday season and future content releases from DLC, Frontier Games notes that this likely won’t boost the sales of Realms of Ruin enough to meet the financial goals that it had set for early 2024. With this in mind, Frontier Games announced it would be shifting its focus to more Creative Management Simulation Games, or CMS Games, like Planet Coaster or Planet Zoo that have been financially successful for the company in the past.
As for the low sales, it’s disappointing to see as a fan of the setting. One very PC Gamer review aside, reviewers found charm in the game, and our review here at Goonhammer had alot of praise for Realms of Ruin. If an Age of Sigmar game with this sort of charm and fun was wrapped up in an action game package, a la Space Marine, I think it would be a huge success for the popularity of AoS. But Realms of Ruin is a real time strategy (RTS) game, a subgenre of strategy games that saw its heyday in the late 90’s and 00’s with games like Warcraft III, Starcraft, Command and Conquer, and Dawn of War. Nowadays, it’s a very niche subgenre, so even with the marketing of Games Workshop firing on all cylinders in support of the game it’s difficult to build enough excitement that can lead to pretty sales numbers.
As for the future of Realms of Ruin, this article does imply that there is additional DLC content being worked on for the game, and I’m rooting for the success of this scrappy little RTS.
Bonus: Hbomberguy Releases a New Video on Plagiarism
Video Essayist Harris Brewis, known on Youtube as Hbomberguy, has been making video essays for a long time on YouTube. Initially focused mostly on video games, his range of topics has expanded to include more political and social issues like climate change denial, vaccine conspiracy, and the war on Christmas. Last year, his video on the origins of the “oof” sound from the game Roblox went down a wild rabbit hole that exposed video game personality Tommy Tallerico as a gigantic fraud. Now, Mr. Hbomberguy has come back after a year without uploads with a new topic to take down: plagiarism.
The video itself is nearly four hours long, but extremely worth a watch. In it, Hbomberguy dissects the scope of the problem of plagiarism on Youtube, particularly in the world of video essays. He focuses on several large content creators and presents some truly damning evidence of plagiarism that these channels engaged in. I don’t want to spoil it too much, it is a video truly worth your time, but some examples we see of copying the works of others in the video made me audibly gasp.
Why bring this up in the roundup? Well, this video highlights that plagiarism isn’t just a problem for when you write college papers: it’s a real problem that affects many people who spend the time to write original pieces of fiction or nonfiction all over the world. Plagiarism is open mockery of these writers, stealing their words is just as easy as stealing candy from a baby and who cares if the baby is crying now? It’s a baby, get over it. They don’t deserve that candy anyways.
With Hbomberguy’s video, it’s nice to see someone stand up and defend the importance of original work and how it should be protected. Especially with the ever-growing rise of generative AI all around us, it’s nice to see someone looking out for those still writing something original, and the importance of citing those sources.
I appreciate the work Hbomberguy put into this video immensely, and I also now live in permanent fear of making sure I cite my sources for these roundups correctly so that Hbomberguy never ever has to notice or message me.
And that wraps it up for our Games Industry News Roundup this week! Join us again next week for more news about the tabletop games industry and related media. If you have an interesting tabletop news lead, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and we may include it in next week’s report!