When rumblings of a new X-com game first hit the gaming scene a few years ago, fans were understandably excited. The classic SRPG series helped define the genre and is considered one of the greatest and most influential of all time. Fan disappointment was also understandable, then, when it was revealed that the new X-com game was going to be a first-person shooter developed by 2K Marin, a far cry from what fans were used to or wanting. That game, simply titled XCOM, has sat in limbo, restarted and re-imagined several times and caught in development doldrums. A rather ignominious end to the storied franchise.
Enter, Firaxis, the developers of the equally legendary and revered Civilization series. The latest edition of Game Informer revealed XCOM: Enemy Unknown, a strategy game that will be instantly familiar to fans and has quickly surpassed XCOM in terms of importance and fan fervor.
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2008 saw the release of Dungeons & Dragons 4th Ed., a release that was originally met with some strong vitriol from fans who were bothered by both the relatively small amount of time since the previous major release (3.5, released in 2003) which required a major time/cash investment for core players, and the drastic changes made to the game (ostensibly to make it more welcoming and inviting to new players). As we all know, the Internet has a drastic inability to respond proportionately to issues that bother them and in the four years since its release, fans have cooled down considerably and 4th Ed has fans and detractors in equal proportion.
Now, hoping to head off similar controvery with the next release of the classic Role Playing Game, Wizards of the Coast is looking to its fans for feedback on how they can improve things next time around.
A testing period will be open for a significant amount of time after the new editions is finalized a move the powers at Wizard of the Coast are hoping will assuage any fan fears of over-simplified rules or any other emphasis that might perceive as being wrong. Specifically, this new effort is centered around the notion for face-to-face interaction between gamers in a traditional tabletop play environment. James W. Ward, the former vice president of TSR Inc.
Here’s a suggestion, WoC, how about not asking your fans to spend a few hundred dollars every four years if they want to keep up with your product? How about spending your time and resources on creating great add-on content and adventure modules to keep fans interested in your product? There was 11 years between 2nd Ed. and 3rd Ed., 12 years between AD&D and 2nd Ed. Remember those days? The golden age?
You can find out more information about 5th Ed., along with how you can contribute to the development process, on the official D&D website.