Today marks the end of yet another great gaming era as Wizards of the Coast officially ends their involvement with Lucasfilm, deciding not to renew the license which has allowed them to produce the Star Wars Miniatures and Star Wars Roleplaying Game product lines since 2001. The company cites the economic downturn as the primary reason for this decision. Wizards posted the announcement on their community forums about three months ago, much to the general dismay but resigned acceptance from the fan base. StarWars.com posted a similar announcement which elaborated on the decision saying, “[…] the growth of online gaming factored into [Wizards of the Coast’s] decision to discontinue new development[…]” Many fans of the gaming giant might well remember how this figured in to some of the design decisions made for the company’s premiere roleplaying product, the fourth edition of Dungeons and Dragons.
The product line ends appropriately enough with the release of The Unknown Regions, a final Saga Edition supplement which explores the concept of unending possibility in the Star Wars universe. According to Wizards, the “book serves as a reference for campaigns involving exploration and scouting of all kinds, focusing on the Unknown Regions as the galaxy’s as-yet unexplored frontier.” It’s an agreeable send off by many accounts as it sets the stage for players and gamemasters to exercise their unbound imaginations and love for the popular setting by striking out to rediscover the wonder and mystery of Star Wars on their own again and again.
Lucas Licensing does note that it still views these products as essential so there remains hope that they may yet cycle back onto the active scene at a later date, albeit probably much changed. Like the d6 version by West End Games before our d20 model, all good things must come to an eventual end. Though the disappointment might weigh thick, fans of the series may at least take solace in the elegance of its exit.
For more information, and a brief interview with the authors of The Unknown Regions, please visit StarWars.com.