Saturday, 18 January 2014

Robotech RPG Tactics

Funded May 2013, estimated delivery Dec 2013. First expected delivery October 2013. Real expected delivery 20??

So Robotech's been delayed once again. Some would say that those familiar with Palladium Books should have more than expected this. Seriously, when was the last time Palladium Books hit a deadline? Maybe if it visited a funeral...

So what's behind the delays here? According to a very wordy update from Kevin
Siembieda (here), the delays are totally not Palladiums fault. Or is it?

Let's just look at the parties involved in this mess. First, there's Ninja Divison; made of people from Sodapop, then Palladium Books and Harmony Gold. For ND, the last KS they were involved in was Relic Knights. Which was funded in Sep 2012 and supposed to deliver in May 2013. As of Jan 2014, there's still no news on when it'll be delivered. Then there's Palladium Books...Really, does anything more need to be said about the numerous delays Palladium has had? Really, just look here. Holy shit, they delayed something for 3 years? Granted that was a few years ago, but just look at a more recent entry. That's still a 1 year or more delay. For a rulebook. 
Book 33: Northern Gun One (originally Northern Gun Sourcebook)
    1. Announced: Rifter 5 (Jan 99), p.13 – "Kicking around"
        Interim mention: Rifter 37 (Jan 07) p.12 – "Coming in 2007"
    2. Announced: July 14, 2011 PR – "In development"
        Scheduled: January 13, 2012 PR – March 2012
        Released: October 24, 2013
        In production: 2 years 14 weeks 6 days

So what does this mean? This, my dear readers, is the perfect storm. It's what happens if EA and Activision had some unholy spawn. Let's make it clear, in this case, two negatives don't make a positive. Basically, neither party is going to come away clean from this KS and its delays. 

However, the latest update would have you believe that everything is all fine and dandy on Palladiums side and they have completed everything and it's all the fault of those unreliable people they partnered with that's causing the delays. But is it really? Like I said, I would come back to this and I'd just like to highlight that Palladium hasn't exactly been a picture of punctuality either. However, what's particular damning is this and this. All written by a guy who's actually worked with Kevin back in the past and backed up by several other writers who've had the (mis)pleasure of working for Palladium in the past as well. Notice how the verb is in the past tense. 

As he says
This is where another big problem of his comes forth and compounds his first problem: Kevin simply cannot accept the fact that sometimes he is wrong or might have fallen short in something. Work with the guy long enough, and you'll see this is the case. He never, ever accepts responsibility for something bad that has hapened to the company. Or if he does, he couches it in terms of how he's too much of a nice guy and gave Idiot Freelancer #23 a break when he should not have, or he was too open a boss and let Treacherous Scumbag #44 stab him in the back, and so on. His fault, but not really his fault.
So...Kevin has an issue accepting blame. And then we look at his recent update
MUCH of this is out of Palladium Books’ hands. We are reliant upon Ninja Division and the engineers and manufacturers in China. As newbies to this type of product, Palladium has no choice but to trust the people handling design, layout, sculpting/model making, engineering, mold making, manufacturing and all the rest.
Note the bolded text. It's especially important since the only other bolded text in that long rant is the respective company names and the game name. So that sentence was really the only SPECIALLY EMPHASIZED text. See, I can do it too. Like his ex-employee said, it's his fault but not really his fault. 

But surely, KS wouldn't lie to us would he? Wouldn't he? Seriously, who knows what goes on in Palladium anyway? Nonetheless, not everyone was as willing to throw ND under the bus as Palladium was, most likely because they had had several experiences with Palladium delays before. 

Of course, that's even ignoring the shady issue behind this Kickstarter in the first place. For those not in the know, it wasn't Palladium books that came out with the idea of a miniatures wargame for Robotech in the first place. Instead, it was Paulson Games who pitched the proposal to Harmony Gold (license holder for Robotech in USA) but due to the license agreement, Palladium was ultimately the only one who could agree to any miniature based agreements. Sadly, Palladium didn't choose to go with PG despite him having made a lot of the minis and rules for his proposal to Harmony Gold and decided to look for their own sculptors (here). Nobody knows why but usually in cases like this, it's all down to money. This was after news of his pitch leaked to most miniature gaming websites and created a fair amount of buzz. I guess Palladium saw a pretty good market opportunity.

In the end, all backers really want are robotech inspired miniatures to play with and a good ruleset to play them with. Sadly, it seems neither are coming true. Mostly because none of the miniatures have hit mass production yet, despite HAVING had prototypes ready to demo to people for Gencon and somehow the rules have had a massive rewrite inbetween the KS and, with quite a few lamenting the new state of rules where it becomes more efficient for Veritechs to pummel and kick each other to death instead of y'know...shooting.