The Star Wars gaming license has been floating in limbo since Wizards of the Coast dropped it earlier this year. It was purchased this week by a mystery game company that has yet to make any kind of official announcement, but educated guesswork has many game industry observers thinking Fantasy Flight Games is the big winner.
Several companies this week announced that they were not successful in their pursuit of the valuable Star Wars license from Lucasarts, including Paizo, Mongoose, Margaret Weis Productions, Steve Jackson Games, and Green Ronin. Mongoose reported that the license covers card games, RPGs and miniatures, and that the winning bidder is not a company known for making minis. Since money was one of the issues behind Wizards of the Coast declining to renegotiate the license, we can assume only the big players would have the finances to even have a shot. That leaves Games Workshop (a company certainly know for miniatures, ruling them out if Mongoose is correct) and Fantasy Flight Games.
Fantasy Flight has been devouring licenses lately, with games based on Game of Thrones, Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40K property, and Lord of the Rings, among others. The work they’ve done with Game of Thrones shows that they can create a variety of games based on a single license with a lot of mileage in it. They’ve created a living card game (like a collectible card game, but there are no random booster packs to buy), a political game and a war game all centering on George R.R. Martin’s Westeros. Star Wars is obviously something they could base many different types of games on. So this not-totally-baseless rumor makes a lot of sense.
Cubicle 7, which holds a number of RPG licenses, is another possibility, but the fact that the license covers card games and miniatures as well as RPGs gives Fantasy Flight an edge. The same holds true for White Wolf, who seem like an unlikely candidate for a variety of reasons. Other dark horse contenders include AEG, who have experience creating games in a variety of formats, and Wizkids/NECA, which resurrected HeroClix this year, purchased the license to make several Star Trek games, and has a business model almost entirely based on making games out of pop culture licenses.
Of course, there is the slight chance that Wizards had a change of heart or the terms became more favorable to them, but frankly I doubt it. I’d be pretty excited if Fantasy Flight made some Star Wars games. They have a good track record or producing fun, interesting games with beautiful, high-quality components. Start saving your pennies, the inevitable Star Wars boardgame of galactic conquest will cost at least $80.