In a shocking announcement on Nov 16th, 2020, Atomic Mass Games announced via social media that they would be taking over Production and Development of 3 Star Wars Miniatures games previously done by Fantasy Flight Games; X-Wing, Legion, and Armada.
This comes as a huge surprise to virtually all of us. Atomic Mass Games was only recently introduced to the world during 2019’s In Flight Report, a special event at Gen-Con in which FFG announces all of it’s big games and expansions for the year. Later that year, we got the release of Marvel Crisis Protocol, which has been hailed as a huge success, in the ease and quality of it’s gameplay, and in both it’s art and miniatures. Some had predicted that AMG would eventually be taking on more miniatures games at some point, but I doubt anyone predicted it would have happened this fast, with Marvel Crisis Protocol only being out for one year.
Making the transition from Minnesota (FFG) over to AMG’s Seattle based offices is Simone Elliott, who will take over as the Head of Studio for Atomic Mass Games. Simone has been heavily involved with licensing for all of the Star Wars games that FFG has made for several years. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting her at a few convenstions over the years and I’ll say that I feel it’s a smart move and we’re in good hands. Will Shick will be assuming the role of Head of Product Development. While this might seem like a step down from previously being Head of Studio, it’s still very nearly at the top and it seems like with triple the games suddenly thrown on them, it’s probably also a smart move to divide up responsibilities among upper management.
So What does this all mean for us, the players?
In short – Hopefully not much. While it’s too early to tell exactly what impacts will be felt, there are a few bits of information we do have currently.
The Good : AMG is a miniatures-focused studio. Hopefully this change will allow growth of these games to be more refined, and possibly even allow them to Embark on new ideas that were potentially too difficult for FFG. Additionally, both FFG and AMG are still under Asmodee, so most aspects shouldn’t change in terms of purchasing and distribution. There are also likely some new miniatures games in the pipe, indicated by another press release on the 17th. Games are also open to changes, (Which could be good or bad, I suppose we’ll have to wait and see on that front).
The Bad : Moving these games away from FFG could mean a potential loss in depth. Many of the teams for various games all were able to work together. One of the things that made these games great was the cross collaboration with individuals who were explicitly board-game developers, and NOT miniatures gamers. This gave some of the developers perspective and allowed these games to appeal to a MUCH wider audience than typical mini-wargamers. Plus change in itself inevitably inspired fear and doubt. In an already difficult year, this has alot of people worried.
The Ugly : Unfortunately alot of people, many of which I’m friends with, did not retain employment during this transition. This just outright sucks and while I’m not going to name names… they are in my thoughts.
The Hope: That’s right I added a 4th “Bold” section! The hope here is that this new studio will remain faithful to what we love about these games. We as a community have been reaching out to Atomic Mass Games in large numbers, and they have at least in the past, been very receptive to their community. That is a GOOD thing! Hopefully it continues! Simone is also a huge Star Wars fan and has been a part of these games forever! I feel like if these games had to go ANYWHERE, this was the best place possible. It’s ok to be worried, but don’t lose faith! This could quite possibly be the best thing to ever happen to these games!
There are plenty more questions to be asked and hopefully answered. What about Future Products already in production? What about things still in development? What about Playtesting? Will we see a change in production materials? Same Plastic? Who are the development teams going to be? Will they give us an introduction?
I’ll admit I was starting to worry about how I was going to divide my time between Atomic Mass Games and FFG at the next Gen Con, but for now it seems like all of my favorite miniatures games are now under the same studio and that makes things simpler for now at least!
Stay tuned for more info as soon as I get it!