Games Industry News Roundup- February 6th, 2024

The news can be difficult to keep up with. Even on so-called “slow news days”, it can be quite a bit of mental energy to follow. If you can’t keep up with the news, what conversation can you really bring to the water cooler at the office? That sacred communal spot of awkward workplace small talk? I mean, truly, how often can we ask Eddy down in finance about his dog before he runs out of new things to say about him? Unless that dog does something wild, like become a whizz at basketball, it’s only going to capture your coworkers attention for a week, tops. Then they’ll all turn to you, ominously, and if you’ve heard any interesting news stories lately, little plastic cups in their hands and their eyes full of expectation and judgment. Truly, there’s no greater faux pax than not having good water cooler topics ready to go. 

That’s where our trusty news expert and water cooler champion of all time, Dan “Swiftblade” Richardson, is happy to help by providing a concise roundup of the news happening in the games industry right now. Now, you’ll be the star of the cooler, your cubicle neighbors fawning over your knowledge of the goings-on in the games industry and related media. I bet Eddy’s dog can’t do that, can he?

Games Workshop Announces 2024 US Open Series

Credit: Games Workshop

Games Workshop announced on Monday the upcoming events in the 2024 US Open Series, as well as the return of the World Championship of Warhammer. 

The US Open Series hosted by Games Workshop has established itself as a premiere event for Warhammer fans since in 2021. This year, the Open Series will take place in three cities: Dallas, TX in May; Tacoma, WA in July; and Tampa, FL in October. In previous years, each event hosted major Warhammer 40,000 and Age of Sigmar tournaments, as well as narrative events and specialist games events. The Open Series also featured a traveling Warhammer store that included Forge World resin, one of the only ways to purchase Forge World in the United States without ordering from the webstore or traveling to the select few Warhammer Cafes that carry it. 

This year, the Open Series is expanding to incorporate more games and events during its run. Specialist games are getting more time in the spotlight, as each event will include a full Kill Team tournament, Blood Bowl tournament, Underworlds tournament, and Legions Imperialis organized play. This year will also include tickets for hobby classes, one themed around Age of Sigmar and the other on 40k, as well as an exclusive two-day intensive hobby class featuring a “special guest” for those willing to spend a pretty penny for the privelege.

The Dallas and Tacoma events will also include an expanded “Warhammer Experience” area, which according to the Eventbrite page will include the following events as well as some additional items that are yet to be announced.

  • One Event Exclusive Miniature of your choice
  • Full access to our Hobby Area, including Paint and Take and the miniature repair area!
  • The US Open Painting Competition – bring a model or unit and compete for the title of Hobby Champion!
  • The Warhammer Board Game Lounge
  • The Warhammer Video Game Lounge
  • The Warhammer Pin Map
  • Guess the Squigs / Nurglings (dependent on which ones the Events team is able to physically wrangle prior to the event!)
  • Warhammer Photo Op Station

The World Championships of Warhammer and Grand Narrative event for Warhammer 40,000 also make their return to Atlanta this November. While the Grand Narrative is a premium event with tickets open for anyone who wants to take part in it, the World Championship of Warhammer will be an invitational event for those who win golden tickets at large Warhammer events, just like last year. 

Tickets go on sale for the Warhammer US Open Series and Grand Narrative on February 10th at 6pm GMT / 1pm EDT.

Starfinder Second Edition Playtest Gets a Release Window

Credit: Paizo

Paizo announced that the playtest version of Starfinder 2nd Edition will be released this August during GenCon 2024.

While several smaller playtest versions of the upcoming second edition of Starfinder, called “Field Tests,” can be found on the Paizo website, this playtest rulebook is a more complete release for the game. The rulebook will be made available in a free PDF form or softcover rulebook, and it goes on preorder in July. The Paizo account on Twitter/X also mentions that for those attending GenCon, Paizo plans to host live demos of the second edition playtest rules at the convention. 

As for the release of the final version of Starfinder 2E, Paizo is going to be taking player feedback from playtest games into account and from there aiming for a 2025 release.

Wizards of the Coast Denies the Rumor of Selling D&D to Tencent

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

A bizarre rumor floated around corners of the internet last week as Wizards of the Coast reportedly was in negotiations to sell the licensing rights to Dungeons and Dragons to Tencent, a massive Chinese corporation with large shares in many of the biggest video game companies in the world. 

The rumor was originated by Chinese publication Speed Daily, who reported that Tencent had been contacted by Hasbro, the parent company of Wizards of the Coast, who was looking to make a deal on the licensing rights to D&D after a disastrous fiscal year that resulted in large, painful layoffs.

According to the rumor, Tencent wasn’t the first company Hasbro approached. Larian Studios, developer and publisher of Baldur’s Gate 3, was reportedly the first place that Hasbro inquired to about a potential sale, but Larian turned Hasbro down. From there, Hasbro approached Tencent, who owns a 30% stake in Larian, about negotiating a deal for the licensing rights.

These rumors were refuted online by Wizards of the Coast in a statement made to Dicebreaker. In it, Wizards says “We regularly talk to Tencent and enjoy multiple partnerships with them across a number of our IPs. We don’t make a habit of commenting on internet rumors, but to be clear: we are not looking to sell our D&D IP. We will keep talking to partners about how we bring the best digital experiences to our fans. We won’t comment any further on speculation or rumors about potential M&A or licensing deals.”

Larian CEO Swen Vincke also made a post on Twitter/X to refute the rumor. Vincke says “It’s silly that I should do a tweet about not buying something that is not for sale so I won’t. But in case you’re wondering, we’re not. Hope that clears it up.

If Hasbro and Tencent are talking, it’s almost certainly not about buying D&D from Wizards. More than likely, these two companies are talking to each other to see if they can make lightning strike twice with another big Dungeons and Dragons video game in the future. 

Jason Schreier Publishing a Book on the History of Blizzard Entertainment

Credit: Grand Central Publishing/Jason Schreier

Jason Schreier, one of the most recognized names in video game journalism, announced on Monday that his next book focuses on the history of Blizzard Entertainment. 

The book, titled Play Nice: The Rise, Fall, and Future of Blizzard Entertainment, examines the over-thirty year history of a gaming company whose public image has experienced some of the highest highs and lowest lows imaginable. Schreier elaborates further on his Twitter/X page that, “PLAY NICE, based on interviews with 350+ people, tells the story of how two UCLA students built a video game empire — from the rise of World of Warcraft to the Activision takeover to a sexual misconduct scandal and, eventually, a $69 billion acquisition.”

Even now, the story of Blizzard continues to be full of new twists. When asked by Forbes if Schreier plans to include a note about the recent layoffs at the company, he answered, “Actually, I’m going to be spending the next few weeks rewriting the ending to incorporate the tragic events of the last couple of weeks.

Play Nice will be available on October 8th, 2024.

Steamforged Games Brings Back Guild Ball

Credit: Steamforged Games

I confess, I did not have, “Oh Word, Guild Ball is back?” on my 2024 bingo card.

In truth, despite being discontinued by Steamforged Games in 2020, Guild Ball maintained a dedicated cult following that worked to keep interest in the game alive through fan balance patches and community events. Now, almost four years after Steamforged discontinued the game, the company announced it would be bringing Guild Ball models back as a part of Steamforged’s ten year anniversary celebration.

The entire old Guild Ball model range has been touched up and is now available in resin via print on demand from the Steamforged webstore. While there are no individual boosters for sale, the models have been bundled together for ease of collecting. Additionally, for those curious in the game with access to a 3D printer, Steamforged made the STLs for the models in the Guild Ball starter box free for download. 

As for the future, Steamforged partnered with the Guild Ball Community Project (GCBP) to incorporate the community changes made by GCBP into the official ruleset of the game in the hopefully near future. Aside from this, Steamforged says that while they’ve been overwhelmed by support from excited fans, the company wants to keep the future of Guild Ball “slow and steady for now.” Whether that means potential new releases for the game or if it means simply keeping the old line available online for new players is unclear. 

 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.

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