2024 is still fresh, which means folks out there are still doing two things they’ll later drop in a few weeks. First is writing 2023 on the end of most dates. Second is clinging to idyllic New Years resolutions.
Maybe you’re built differently. Maybe you’re one of those rare few who actually mean it when you commit to a major change at the start of the year. Goals like ‘stick to the gym and become a wall of muscle’, or ‘change your diet and start feeling like a thousand bucks’, or ‘learn to play guitar and be shredding on stage by December’. All of these are lofty goals that I’m sure some sickos out there can put their nose to the grinder and stay with all year.
Life gets in the way for most of us though, and that’s okay. Life is wild! Why not lower your New Years resolution expectations. Be kind to yourself, don’t shoot for the stars. Shoot for the 7/11 down the street, get a Big Gulp, and get the kind of easy resolution you can give yourself a well deserved pat on the back for.
Our easy resolution suggestion? Be more informed about games industry news. All you gotta do is come back here weekly, read the article, and bam. You did it. Go you.
Dan “Swiftblade” Richardson is being torn away from his very own resolution of “become funny?” just long enough to bring us this week’s news roundup. After that, back to workshopping knock-knock jokes in the mirror.
Wizards of the Coast Shifts Away from Print on Demand for Secret Lair
Wizards of the Coast announced last Tuesday that it would be shifting away from the print on demand model for its Secret Lair line of Magic: The Gathering cards.
Secret Lair was created four years ago as a collectors item for Magic fans. Each new Secret Lair release, or “drop,” includes a limited run of cards that can range from alternate art of existing cards to mechanically unique themed cards that will be available only in Secret Lair until an in-universe version of the card is released six months later. Because of how diverse these drops are and their popularity with collectors, Wizards opted to use a print on demand model for Secret Lair releases.
As Wizards of the Coast themselves explain on the Secret Lair website, “The good news is you don’t have to worry about us selling out of copies—most Drop Series releases are print-to-order, meaning whoever orders one during the sales window, gets one.”
On Tuesday, Wizards announced it would be changing this policy in order to speed up shipping times on Secret Lair drops. Instead of printing on demand, Secret Lair will move to a limited run format starting in 2024. For Wizards, the priority is to avoid the long wait times for Secret Lair orders fans have experienced for high-demand drops.
The problem, of course, is that now it’s not only possible but very likely that not everyone who wants to order a Secret Lair drop will get one. Wizards recognizes that this is a possible issue, and assures Secret Lair fans that it will do its best to make the runs large enough to meet demand, and has data from previous runs to use as a benchmark for production.
This does little to ease concerns of scalping from the community. The post announcing the change on Twitter/X is filled with upset Magic fans who accuse the change to Secret Lair being driven by corporate greed and the desire to maximize FOMO (fear of missing out) for Magic fans. In the modern age of bots being able to overwhelm traffic on a website in the blink of an eye, it seems naïve to think that Wizards can truly keep up with the potential scalpers to make sure everyone who wants Secret Lair will get it.
Stonemaier Games Announces Spiritual Successor to Hit Game ‘Wingspan’
Stonemaier Games announced last Wednesday the spiritual successor to their hit boardgame, ‘Wingspan’, with a decidedly fantasy twist.
In ‘Wingspan’, players attract birds to habitats in order to win the game. In ‘Wyrmspan’, the small and gentle birds are being replaced by more dangerous dragons.
The Wyrmspan page goes into further detail. “You are an amateur dracologist in the world of Wyrmspan, a place where dragons of all shapes, sizes, and colors roam the skies. Excavate a hidden labyrinth you recently unearthed on your land and entice these beautiful creatures to roost in the sanctuary of your caves.
“During a game of Wyrmspan, you will build a sanctuary for dragons of all shapes and sizes. Your sanctuary begins with 3 excavated spaces—the leftmost space in your Crimson Cavern, your Golden Grotto, and your Amethyst Abyss. Over the course of the game, you will excavate additional spaces in your sanctuary and entice dragons to live there, chaining together powerful abilities and earning the favor of the Dragon Guild.”
Stonemaier Games don’t intend for Wyrmspan to be a fantasy reskin of Wingspan. Wyrmspan is intended to be a more complicated game for older players, and the FAQ page for the game goes into further detail about those changes.
Wyrmspan is scheduled for webstore release on January 31st, with a wider retail release in March.
Mantic Announces New Halo Tabletop Game
Mantic Games made a surprise bombshell announcement last week. In a press release on the Mantic Games Website, the company unveiled that they would be collaborating with 343 Studios on a new halo tabletop game.
The post doesn’t give us too many details on the game yet, the only sure details we know now are the fact that we can expect to see a more in-depth preview of the game in March of 2024, with a direct to retail release in September of 2024.
As for what we can expect the game to actually be, that’s still uncertain. The post does give a few hints, however. The post by Mantic says the Halo game will “bring Halo multiplayer battles to life in an expertly crafted team combat game,” as well as mentions of “intense firefights… with Spartans moving in and out of cover.”
This leads me to believe that rather than seeing a larger scale Halo wargame in the style of Warhammer featuring conflicts between the UNSC and Covenant forces, a la Halo Wars, Mantic might be trying to get in on the smaller character-driven skirmish game market dominated currently by titles like Marvel: Crisis Protocol and Shatterpoint.
We won’t know for certain until March but it is very exciting to see Halo come to the tabletop, and the franchise is good hands with industry veterans like Mantic.
Hard Drive Magazine is Criticized for Opening a Patreon by Former Writers
Popular gaming satire website Hard Drive made an announcement last week that the website would be opening a Patreon page so that the website could continue to keep the lights on.
In the post, titled “RIP Hard Drive 2017-2024”, the Hard Drive team states that in its current form, the site cannot generate enough revenue to support its staff. The website has been facing recent issues with algorithms on social media websites burying their articles and reducing the reach of the platform, leading to decreased ad revenue. While the website held out as long as they could without resorting to community funding platforms, Hard Drive has decided now is finally the time to seek additional support through Patreon.
Opening the Patreon was met with criticism on both the Hard Drive website and social media pages like Twitter/X. According to several former editors and writers for Hard Drive, there was a large internal push for months to get management to open a Patreon, and management was very resistant to doing so. Ultimately, this refusal to open a Patreon by management led to much of Hard Drive’s staff quitting the website, as it was simply no longer financially viable to continue there without the additional income provided by patrons.
Now, it seems like what remains of Hard Drive is largely new blood. While the new blood at Hard Drive deserve support and success, having so many of the beloved websites team have to make the heartbreaking decision to leave the job they loved for financial reasons only for management to listen to their pleas only after they were gone feels like a slap to the face to those writers.
Wizards of the Coast Uses AI Generated Art in Promotional Image
Two weeks ago here on the Goonhammer News Roundup, we reported on the hard stance that Wizards of the Coast made against AI generated art in its products. In the statement on their site, Wizards emphasized the value that artists bring to their products, and that using AI generated art would be dangerously undercutting those creatives.
Wizards of the Coast managed to be good on their word for about two weeks.
In a now-deleted post on Twitter/X, Wizards of the Coast posted an image promoting cards from an upcoming set. In the image, the cards were set up against a steampunk lab background. Once the image was posted, several users started to point out oddities in the picture that are in line with AI generated images. Initially, Wizards of the Coast denied that the art was AI generated, only increasing the backlash against what was at that point a clearly AI generated image.
Wizards would eventually concede fault, and deleted the post. The company also wrote a post on their website. In the post, the company states that the image was from a vendor, and that Wizards was not diligent enough to catch the issue before it was posted to social media. Wizards reaffirms its commitment to not using AI generated art, and that the company will be re-evaluating how it works with it’s vendors and partners in the future to ensure a mistake like this does not happen again.
The damage has already been done though, as the AI generated promotional image received harsh backlash and even caused some artists who have collaborated with Wizards in the past, such as Dave Rapoza, to break off their relationship with the company in protest.
Even if we generously attribute the use of this image to a honest mistake by the Wizards of the Coast team, its immensely frustrating to see the company make such a strong stance against AI art only to step directly onto a rake like this. It will likely take some time before the damage to Wizards reputation in art communities is repaired.
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 email@example.com and we may include it in next week’s report!