Monday, November 28, 2011

Hero Games Gets Hit By The Economy

Hero Games has been around for 30 years with ups and downs. The economy's been pretty rough lately, as has the gaming market. With declining sales and fewer releases, Hero has reached the point where it's no longer possible to maintain a full time staff of three, so it's scaling back.
Darren and Steve will be departing December 2nd, with our thanks for a decade of hard work that gave us 108 books, and best wishes for their future endeavors, which may include producing new books under a Hero System license. We'll keep you posted on that.
Jason will remain to continue shipping books and handling day-to-day matters. Existing books will continue to be available for purchase, and the company will continue in business, just a bit more slowly. The online store remains open. Steve will continue to answer rules questions on the Hero boards as "the guy who wrote the rulebook."
We're looking into doing a Kickstarter to print Book of the Empress, since it's complete and ready to go.
For the near future Hero would appreciate your kind thoughts and your patience. Transition periods of this sort take time, and Jason has a lot of work cut out for him, so the support of our fans is much appreciated.
Jason Walters
General Manager
Well lately the number of companies going under is staggering. First White Wolf & now this. Very disturbing indeed. It looks like role players are going to be doing much in the deciding process of what is going to happen with new books coming out. Wow 


  1. Yup my reaction as well. Thanks for the comment.

  2. Theron over at "My Dice Are Older Than You" posits that 6th Edition may have been the final nail. And I agree with him.

    (And I say that as a person who's been a diehard GM and HERO fan for almost 30 years.)

  3. I have to agree with you on all counts Justin. I hope that they can recover from this but I'm a bit skeptical to say the least in a way. Anyway thanks for the comment! There will be more news I'm afraid. I hate bringing sad news like this folks.

  4. White Wolf hasn't "gone under." They're part of a larger company now, and their business model has changed to one that includes fewer new titles while being supported by their immense backlist. They're still releasing new stuff, just not in the same way they used to do -- because, as the last decade has shown, that way is very difficult to be successful in.

  5. On Thursday, 19 October 2011, after years of scaling back RPG output, CCP laid off many employees, including a number associated with White Wolf. However, CCP continues to own the White Wolf trademarks and publishes products under the White Wolf imprint
    Shall we ask those employees who were laid off what they think? I believe we'll be seeing V20 Werewolf The Apocalypse as a Kickstart. Being supported by their immense backlist isn't the same as producing new product. The market is changing rapidly. There are new ways of publishing & the middle man is going by the wayside. Crowd funding puts the dollar in the pocket of the developer & writer.
    The market of role playing games is charting a course similar to the pulps of the '30s. There are very interesting tends happening today. We'll see what happens. Thanks for the comment & stay tuned more to come!

  6. Laying off employees does not equal "gone under."

    Nobody likes getting laid off. But most of those laid-off were not working on tabletop/LARP gaming stuff. They had done that in the past for WW, they moved onto electronic games when CCP acquired WW, and years later they were laid off over slow progress on the Vampire MMO.

    It sucks for those people, absolutely. But in terms of people who were actively working on White Wolf gaming stuff, few were lost, and most are still freelancing for them, as WW has moved more heavily to using freelancers for developers/designers over the last five years as well, whereas before they used to insist those be in-house positions.

    White Wolf has been evolving their business model for years, and that evolution continues to involve releasing new material. Some people don't like that evolution, and you may think they spell doom, but implying that they've gone under is plainly incorrect -- and if you want them to survive, does more harm than good.

  7. This all seems to be a matter of perception Adam. May I call you Adam? Lay off doesn't equal going under but it also one person's opinion isn't going to affect the brand that is White Wolf.
    They have been relying heavily on free lancers for years & so have other companies in the rpg industry as well. Really all we're doing is discussing the ins & outs of the company's business model here. Perhaps its really all perception in point of fact.
    The question becomes at this point is White Wolf a brand or a company? Was it really ever a company or more of a brand. The pinnacle days of the 90s are long gone. Where White Wolf games goes from here is really up to CCP & the buyers of their wares.
    I certainly don't have your creditably in the industry. Even though I loved your Battletech stuff. All I've ever done is gamed since '77. Here's a case of you say potato & I say potato.

  8. Of course you can call me Adam. That's my name. I would _prefer_ that everyone call me Adam. :-)

    I could agree that White Wolf is more of a "brand" now, but they're still making new stuff, keeping old stuff available (and making it more available, with POD), and exploring new ideas for distribution/presentation. That isn't going under. That's adapting to the marketplace.

    And I disagree that your opinion won't make some difference. Bad and inaccurate news travels quickly and is hard to correct, hence why I'm here trying to do it: I have friends at White Wolf, I have friends that were just laid off there, and I want White Wolf to do well so they stay employed and the others keep getting freelance work and perhaps end up back at the company full-time.

    I'm not advocating boundless optimism. I know the reality of the industry. I'm advocating accuracy over doomsaying. As business models in the industry diverge (White Wolf is in a unique place because they have such a large backlist) there needs to be _more_ understanding that there are multiple ways to successfully publish in today's market. Not every model will work for every company. Interesting times, and _amazing_ times for the average gamer, given the quantity, quality, and variety of material available and easily accessible.

    And I'm glad you liked my BattleTech work. Hope you check out some of the stuff that I'm actively working on!


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