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Open Letter to Rebellion regarding Judge Dredd and the Worlds of 2000AD


It's with bitter disappointment that, yet again, the license to develop the 2000AD IP on the TTRPG platform has been discontinued. Given the high quality, and consistent release schedule, by EN Publishing - even thru out the pandemic - I find this discontinuation questionable. Admittedly the games could have had a higher profile at game conventions etc but lets point to the elephant in the room .... covid.

Yet again we are going to have to wait for a new publisher to develop another game and then invest again in their products and wait an eternity until new source books are created to address the additional aspects of each IP not able to be encompassed in the core rules. Realistically? we are looking at another 5 years of fresh market penetration to arrive at the same point . . . despite the claims many publishers vying for the license might claim. History and IP licensing with TTRPG's proves this as fact rather than fanciful marketing projections. To illustrate let's look at several TTRPG IP licences:

Star Wars - d6 - West End Games, then D20 - WoTC (3 iterations 1st ed, 2nd ed and Saga), then FFG now moved to Asmodee owned Edge (same system, new publisher)
Star Trek - FASA, Decipher and now Modiphius
Lord of Rings (hold on because this is a wild ride) - MERP by ICE, RoleMaster by ICE, The LoTR RPG by Decipher, The One Ring by Cubical 7, Adventures in Middle Earth 5e by Cubical 7 and (upcoming) The One Ring: Roleplaying the World of The Lord of the Rings by Free League (which is at least a 2nd edition of the Cubical 7 original release). If any IP was a 'dead cert' for TTRPG success you would think LoTR would be the veritable golden goose . . . yet it isn't

None of these has achieved anywhere near the market penetration similar to the likes of DnD for several very simple reasons.  1) brand recognition 2) 40+ yrs of providence 3) it's a generic fantasy game that has, over time, generated it's own tropes BUT these tropes can be ignored (or new ones created) because it has always been a game of individual creation (ie: quite literally open worlds free of the constraints of an IP) 4) Hasbro/WoTC have invested heavily in promoting the likes of Critical Role et al. DnD's IP emerged from the game, over time, rather than being part of the game from the outset.

I would prefer Rebellion had faith in the RPG publishers and accepted that it-is-still-a-very-niche-hobby. SA Corey have licensed a single RPG from their hugely successful Expanse series; they were also realistic and were heavily involved in the kickstarter that bought it into existence. The Expanse RPG exists and that is enough as it will be added to slowly over time by the publisher and the fans. They seem to know that it'll never set the world on fire and, as their final book and season on TV approaches, will always be of limited appeal.

I'm sure other publishers have come forth promising that their take will get the 2000AD IP to the next level of the TTRPG hobby. It took DnD 40+ years, the collapse of it's original company and eventual acquisition by the megaCorporation Hasbro to get there. Plus a lot of luck ie: the popularity of Critical Role and celebrities finally wearing their 'nerd' credentials openly (thank you Vin Diesel et al) and Stranger Things

To abandon this latest TTRPG effort just as it's gaining momentum is, IMHO, frankly reckless. I understood when Mongoose was sidelined, as the IP had basically flatlined, while Mongoose invested heavily in their clean up of Traveller and were distracted by having to disentangle RuneQuest from what would eventually become their Legend system. EN Publishing, however, consistently released products and, again IMHO, had they been given the time to showcase the game at conventions, post-covid restrictions, could have continued to grow.

Do you know what makes a TTRPG player excited? a game with a lot of optional source material and, to be fair, EN Publishing has exceeded the output of WoTC during the same pandemic restricted period. That fact alone is laudable.

More importantly EN Publishing is British, a necessary component in the successful translation of any 2000AD IP into a TTRPG - because there are certain sensibilities that make 2000AD, well, 2000AD . . . sensibilities shared by the British (and the likes of Australia and New Zealand). 2000AD isn't Marvel, or DC, or Image, or Dark Horse etc . . . that's why I still read it over 40yrs later. 2000AD TTRPG's, like the comic, will never soar to the heights of the mainstream because, again like the comic, it's a slow burn that, once it hooks you in, you tend to stay to the end. Maybe, one day, 2000AD will get the recognition it deserves but it'll always be up against it's more bombastic cousins across the Atlantic because it is 'understated Britishness'. Never mind that 2000AD explored many ideas decades ago that our American cousins have just started to get a handle on - due in the main to the stable of ex-2000AD talent siphoned from these shores to Americas warmer, and more lucrative, climes - readers of 2000AD just accept this as a matter of fact and carry on regardless.

I genuinely hope Rebellion will reconsider this latest decision

Leigh S:
AS soneone who collects the RPG stuff but has little hope of ever getting it to the table, it is disappointing, though do we know that it is REbellion pulling the plug and not EN Publishing choosing not to renew?

I know Rebellion are increasingly dipping their toe in the non video game market, so it's possible they might have plans themselves?  Didnt they previously buy up Mongoose but it didnt stick?

Funt Solo:

--- Quote from: Leigh S on 18 November, 2021, 06:44:08 PM we know that it is REbellion pulling the plug and not EN Publishing choosing not to renew?

--- End quote ---

My assumption brain was telling me that KainGuru either owns or works for EN Publishing, or is EN Publishing's mum.

I feel like I'd love to buy into a 2K-related TTRPG, but there's no time to paint the models, play the game etc. And me a lifelong 2K fan as well. With a disposable income. There's not enough time for all the work, family, spreadsheet hobbies et al. Something has to give.


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