Saturday, December 15, 2018

Looking at my January Predictions for Gaming in 2018

Seems like as good a time as any....unlikely any misses will turn in to hits with 16 days left on the clock! Back in this post in January I made some predictions for how the RPG industry (and others) would shape out for 2018....or at least, certain companies. Here's what I predicted, and here's where it landed:

1. KULT: Divinity Lost Will Arrive in Print (or maybe just PDF)

I suppose this wasn't that risky since the new edition of Kult was pushed to a summer release, but it was also a long delayed Kickstarter so....yeah, you could go either way here.

Result: True, for the PDFs for sure

Kult is out, and I have most of it in PDF, but the books were supposed to ship November 21st and I am still waiting to even get notice they have been shipped. I've emailed the distributor and Modiphius on status, but silence makes me wonder if the print copies actually showed.

2. No Pathfinder 2.0 in 2018


Result: FALSE

We got a playtest announcement and book. Next year's prediction gets to focus on whether or not the final release will be a hit or sinks Paizo, I guess. (Yes, I am one of those people who was gravely concerned by what I saw in the design of 2.0).

3. Melee/Wizard and/or The Fantasy Trip get Kickstarted in a big way

Well, this one was pretty well all but implied once SJG acquired the rights to TFT, but I guess back in January they hadn't formally announced any plans yet.

Result: TRUE

And how! The Kickstarter is full of TFT goodness, the "I want it all" option gives you a ton, and from all updates I've read the final product is on schedule for March 2019 release, maybe even just a bit ahead of schedule. Ancient TFT fans, who are almost as numerous as Greyhawk fans, can at last get their just due for hanging in there. I've looking forward myself to getting to play a game again that I haven't run since 1985.

4. A new Marvel RPG will be announced

This was my "out on a limb" prediction. It was predicated on the idea that Marvel/Disney would be willing and interested in letting their IP get licensed for a tabletop game.

Result: FALSE

Oh and how! Marvel has killed various video game tie-ins (notably a fun to play Marvel Diablo spinoff that I enjoyed for a while) and studiously avoided anything that isn't a mobile game. A video game exclusive for next year on the Switch has been announced, but I don't think the Mouse with the House of M really gives a crap about tabletop RPGs.....sigh.

5. WotC releases four books, and brings back Eberron

Well, I think there were hints suggesting they would revisit something not Forgotten Realms so that wasn't too much of a stretch. As for the additional books....again, its all haruspicy using Mearls' and other WotC personalities' twitter tweets to decipher their plans.

Result: TRUE

Yeah, so they actually released more than four books this year (yay), especially if you count map packs and stuff, then a lot more....Waterdeep, Dungeon of the Mad Mage, Ravnica, Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes, and lots of peripheral tie-ins like Endless Quest books and "hook 'em when their young" books, too. WotC is starting to look like they're confident in their product, at last. Well....except for Eberron, which got a PDF release as a living document on So technically back? Yes. The way we wanted it? Not really.

6. Movie Apocalypse in 2018

What is this doing on my RPG predictions? Hmmmm I must have just had nowhere else to stick it? Well...

Result: FALSE

Did not happen in the manner described by sundry youtube vlogers and amateur film critics insisting that the industry was going to murder itself with a flood of weekly blockbusters. This year had a lot of good movies (and more than a few stinkers, too) but it didn't implode any studios or distributors, near as I can tell. And stranger even, Sony released two Marvel Spider-Man tie-ins in a row worth watching! Now predicting that would have been impressive prescience!

7. Loot Crate Apocalypse

At the start of the year loot crates were a popular topic thanks to EA's ability to egregiously overreach and stay off message with their audience, and Star Wars: Battlefront II was too high profile not go unnoticed.

Result: TRUE

I suspected from the negative feedback in 2017 with games using loot boxes as their in-game monetization scheme that this would have repercussions, and it definitely has. EA got the hairy eyeball in some countries, the practice is under legal scrutiny, and while the concept of the loot box lingers on, video game publishers seem to be trying to keep it lower key and focused on purely cosmetic options. Some (such as Epic Games) don't even bother with them (Fortnite's Battle Royale mode, for example). I suspect that good publishers will realize that being up front with what you're offering will work if your product is worth it and your fans are loyal. Meanwhile the crappy publishers will try to hide substandard purchases behind their loot crates (fyi Epic Games get rid of the damned loot lamas in Fortnite's co-op mode, the seventeen people playing co-op fortress defense could use a break!)

8. Still no Fantasy AGE Companion in 2018

If you love Green Ronin it is easy to be forgiving of their schedule. But when in doubt, just look at what Palladium fans go through!

Result: FALSE

I wanted this one to be false, and it ended up coming out like three months later. Joy!!!

9. Runequest will release

Result: TRUE

This was an easy was late, but they were clearly pushing on a release. The book did get in to print before Greg Stafford's passing.

10. Genesys Core Will Expand a Lot

When this released late last year it was a fascinating game and I got a chance to run a campaign in 2018, extracting from the Terrinoth sourcebook. Since then....well, I guess it's subject to interpretation.


There's an Android universe book on the way. FFG only released some card sets following Terrinoth, but a lot of talk on various forums revolves around this game (and usually, inevitably around whether people love or hate the dice). I have come to the conclusion that the game won't catch on due largely to the dice, but it will likely serve to gateway Star Wars gamers in to broader role playing. People either get the dice and find it natural or they don't. This is a sticking point for a lot. Hell, I've already decided I won't even bother with the new L5R since I hear FFG has symboled up it's dice. I will likely try playing Genesys Core more in the future, but admit that my discovery of Cypher System really makes that future uncertain now.

11. Starfinder will make or break in 2018

What kind of prediction is this? What the hell was I thinking?

Result: TRUE (I guess)

2018 showed that Starfinder is a game a lot of people like, enough so that it's gotten fair amount of new material and support from Paizo. Yay!

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