Friday, 7 November 2014

Has the roleplaying world started to resemble Hollywood...?

Considering going to see Interstellar tomorrow, not only for the eyecandy that it promises but also because the storyline promises to be something that hasn’t been rehashed a million times before or is just a remake of something that was done twenty years ago, and then I got to thinking...

That seems a lot like many RPG releases these days...

In the last few months, there’s been a number of new games in the RPG world, but the ones that seem to be getting most of the interest are the ones that have already been out...

Usually twenty or thirty years ago...

I got to thinking at this point, because while some games have done just fine as brand new releases, most of them have the backing of one of the major RPG houses like Monte Cook or have had significant time and effort (Not to mention money) lavished on them by the design house responsible for them.  The one’s that have been kicking off at a run and sprinting for the finish line are the games that were really popular when I used to go to conventions rather than run them.

Take a look at the list of games that have :

Feng Shui, Mutant Chronicles, Lone Wolf, Paranoia...

All games from the 80’s and 90’s, being offered again for a new generation, but the interesting thing there is that for the most part, it doesn’t seem to be the new generation that are picking up on them, it’s the older generation trying to recapture the magic that they had when playing them when they first came out.  Most of the talk is about how great the game was when it first came out and how much people are looking forwards to playing it again.

I’m equally complicit in these things, I remember how much fun all of these were back then.  I remember all the games above and more besides, all of which are scheduled for a release to a new crowd of gamers, but I wonder if these will really be of interest to new gamers, or if it’s just giving all us older guys a second chance for the games of our youth. 

I believe that games have moved on since the times at which most of these were originally released.  When you look at games like the adventure books that comprised Lone Wolf, where the path was clearly defined and you had to make sure that you got that path to succeed.  In games such as Paranoia, where no one that I’ve ever talked to has managed to run anything vaguely resembling a campaign game (or indeed advanced beyond clearance level red without some sort of GM Deus Ex), and in games such as Mutant Chronicles, where the escalation of warfare was so fast that it could easily have been 40k the game years before the such a thing was ever envisioned, I have to ask the question of whether or not another rerelease is what the games industry needs?

Don’t get me wrong, I have no doubts whatsoever that these games will be excellent when they come out, but I wonder whether or not the same levels of effort being put into new games wouldn’t have been a better thing.  The thing that made these games great at the time was that they were new and interesting, they were the things that hadn’t been done before. 

They were the forerunners that got everyone into games, and for me, that’s a big part of why I haven’t backed a lot of them.

I’ve got no interest in seeing a new rule set for a game that I already own, if I played it before and remember it fondly, I’ll still have that book somewhere in the collection and if I want to play it, I’ll just go get the rulebook and play it.  If the new version is offering something new that might be useful to running the old game, then I might be interested, if it’s offering something that the old game didn’t (or couldn’t) offer, then I’m definitely interested, but when all it’s doing is showing me a game that I already know...

What would I want it for?

Twenty years from now, I don’t want to see another remake of Numenera or Shadows of Esteren, I hope those games are still running and doing well for the people that make them, but I don’t want someone to take the concept and say “I can do this better.” I want people to be asking the question “What can I do new and interesting?”

So the question today, is am I the only one tired of repeats?  Or are people just as interested in a game whether it’s been out once or five times?  Are some games literally just all about the game to the point that it doesn’t matter how many editions there are of it?


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