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FASA Studios Now Out of Business 72

Posted by Zonk
from the sad-that-i'm-not-sad dept.
PhoenixOne writes "Another chapter in the long and sometimes-frustrating history of the name 'FASA' comes to a close today, as Microsoft's FASA Studio has closed its doors. 'It is my sad duty to announce that FASA Studio has officially closed its doors. Today was the official last day of employment for those of us who had not moved on to other positions within Microsoft Game Studios. While the rumors have been circulating forever, we chose to wait on an official announcement because we didn't want people's attention distracted from our last product, Shadowrun, a game we love.'"
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FASA Studios Now Out of Business

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  • Big Deal (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I was getting sick of games instructing me on how to fill out Federal Applications for Student Aid [fasa.org] anyways.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by TriezGamer (861238)
      Which is called a FAFSA, not a FASA. I just had to fill one out about 2 months ago.

      Though, I must admit, having just gone through several loan documents, I read it as FAFSA at first.
    • by stevenvi (779021)
      While someone already beat me to it, did you even check the link you posted? It has nothing to do with the form of which you speak.
  • Oh, that's swell. I just spend a half hour composing a submission on this :o(

    I felt ill when I heard Microsoft had acquired FASA Interactive, which meant all and future BattleTech video gaming properties (except those held by Activision) would have to come through the hands of a giant corporation which acquires properies which quietly die and fade away.

    If I had just sunk some change into Shadowrun I'd be rather pissed right now. At least for me I spent most of my happy hours with the illicit BattleMech

    • by Praedon (707326)
      I spent my days playing Shadowrun for the Sega Genesis and old skewl tabletop... Those days are long over...
    • by nomadic (141991)
      If I had just sunk some change into Shadowrun I'd be rather pissed right now.

      You know, if the company goes out of business that doesn't mean the game isn't playable...
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Danse (1026)

        You know, if the company goes out of business that doesn't mean the game isn't playable...
        No, but it really wasn't worth playing to begin with. It had fuck all to do with Shadowrun and simply ensured that we won't get a real Shadowrun game anytime soon. It's like they chose to slap that name on just to fuck over the SR fans. There really isn't any other reason for it when they could have shipped the same game with any other name and it would have made no difference.
        • by Blakey Rat (99501)
          Nerdrage!!!
          • by Danse (1026)

            Nerdrage!!!
            Damn straight! It burns like a Russian fuel air bomb within me!
        • Yeah this is the core of the problem. It's not that the Shadowrun game is inherently bad; it's actually a pretty decent game. If you feel in the mood for yet another team FPS. Personally I could have lived without it.

          But it's been labeled all wrong. It really did need to be Generic Sci-Fi Fantasy FPS X : Elves with Guns Edition and not THE NEXT-GEN SHADOWRUN GAME (OMG). Although, having said that, not labeling it Shadowrun would have meant it probably faded into obscurity (even) quicker than it already migh
      • by KDR_11k (778916)
        That depends on whether it relies on a central server.
    • At least for me I spent most of my happy hours with the illicit BattleMech and BattleFort games written by Ralph Reed for the Amiga.

      I, too, spent countless hours playing that. I especially loved designing mechs.

      There's is a windows game called "Titans of Steel", which is inspired by Mechforce. I enthusiastically bought it a couple of years ago, but either I really, really suck, or the game is way, way too hard. Despite max'd pilot and gunnery skills for their level, my pilots couldn't hit the broad side of a barn, and were constantly falling down. I got so angry with the game, I popped it out of the CDROM drive and flung the CD acr

  • Not Surprising (Score:3, Interesting)

    by p0tat03 (985078) on Thursday September 13, 2007 @01:30PM (#20590891)

    FASA Interactive has long been dead, with no new Mech games for a number of years and certainly none on the horizon at any point after MW4. It's sad, that all traces of Battletech have been wiped off the face of the Earth - between the death of FASA itself and now its spinoff companies. I really wished someone would do something great with those properties - even Mech Commander wasn't such a bad game despite its flaws.

    I really do wish someone would translate the original Battletech table top game into computer form, but with some concessions made for easy multiplay and quicker learning - i.e. something X-Com style.

  • Good riddance. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Danse (1026) on Thursday September 13, 2007 @01:33PM (#20590963)
    Microsoft and FASA have destroyed both the Mechwarrior and Shadowrun franchises now. Glad to see FASA go before they could strike again. Now if only there was some way to get those licenses away from Microsoft and give them to someone who would actual create a good game rather than the button-masher of the week.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nutshell42 (557890)
      They seemed completely unable to release a game that wasn't part of the genre du jour.

      Mechwarrior was a mech simulation at heart. But haven't you read the news? Simulations are dead, so let's do... a RTS! But wait, now FPS are the best-selling titles and we're busy losing $4bn on our console anyway so let's drop the PC...

      Chromehounds sold well despite having some big flaws (just look at the reviews) and despite being part of a "dead" genre. This shows that there would have been a niche for a well made "re

    • by vecctor (935163)
      Indeed.

      To steal my comments from another forum on FASA's closure:

      FASA was just a name by the time they closed down - all their goodness had been pillaged and destroyed.

      I would love to see another REAL Mechwarrior game (none of this xbox arcade-style stuff) and/or another Mechcommander game. Both series were fun romps in the superb Battletech universe.

      The last iterations of each (Mechwarrior 4, MW4: Mercs, Mechcommander 2) were all a blast to play, had decent stories, and great cinematics. Picking mechs, cus
    • I wouldn't say they destroyed the MechWarrior franchise. I quite liked MechWarrior 4, and was hoping for MechWarrior 5 to emerge someday. Sadly, I guess that will never happen now. :(

      Now if you're referring to stuff like MechAssault, then yeah, that wasn't very good, but I don't consider them part of the MechWarrior series in any way, except that they happen to include mechs.

      • by Danse (1026)

        Now if you're referring to stuff like MechAssault, then yeah, that wasn't very good, but I don't consider them part of the MechWarrior series in any way, except that they happen to include mechs.
        Yeah, I was basically talking about the fact that they seemed to have quit developing MechWarrior games in favor of the button-mashing MechAssault games. If there was ever a textbook example of dumbing-down a game for consoles, MechAssault would be it.
  • by WillAffleckUW (858324) on Thursday September 13, 2007 @01:42PM (#20591187) Homepage Journal
    back when I wrote SF and Fantasy gaming articles in the 80s.

    Regardless of what happened since then, it's sad to see them go.
    • by ackthpt (218170) *

      back when I wrote SF and Fantasy gaming articles in the 80s. Regardless of what happened since then, it's sad to see them go.

      I met Michael Stackpole on GEnie where FASA had a considerable BattleTech and Shadowrun presence in the 80's. After GEnie because too much of an expense and I left them I kept contact with Mike through email and his website. I picked up some euro editions of his books and sent them back to him so he could study what changes were edited into the euro copies. In the mid 90's it w

      • by jamstar7 (694492)
        I still have a bunch of FASA materials for Traveller in a box here. Haven't played it for years; hardly anybody wants to do table-top anymore.
        • So do I. Quick quiz: Who here knows what FASA is an acronym for?

          Chris Mattern
          • by jamstar7 (694492)
            IIRC, Freedonian Air and Space Administration.
            • Correct! They made up a small independent state in the Traveller universe named Freedonia (name swiped from the Marx Brothers movie _Duck Soup_, along with the country's leader, Rufus T. Firefly, who was played by Groucho in the movie). Their first products were ship plans ostensibly turned out by the agency, complete with cover letter and commentary in character. I still have the ones I bought.
      • Well, mind you, when I was involved with them I had two hyphens in my last name and lived in Canada ...
      • by Yunzil (181064)
        In the mid 90's it was apparent the wheels were coming off of FASA.

        They shot themselves in the foot really. I watched it happening at GenCon. First there was Earthdawn. I can't speak for others, but I thought it was a pretty good game. The problem is that they never marketed it at all, and I thought they missed a big chance. It seemed like a lot of people were getting fed up with D&D at the time. The TSR castle was the biggest thing on the convention floor and it was nearly empty most of the time.
        • by ubrgeek (679399)
          I guess I'm confused. I understand from the post that FASA Interactive (which I didn't know existed as I'm a Mac-head and don't play their game (games?)) is different - at least in part - from FASA, the makers of Shadowrun. But is FASA itself gone? Does someone else own the IP to Shadowrun the RPG (and if so, who)? Or is the RPG dead, too?
          • by Erik Fish (106896)

            FASA Interactive [wikipedia.org] was a division of FASA Corporation [wikipedia.org] which (along with perpetual rights to the creation of electronic BattleTech and Shadowrun properties) was sold to Microsoft in 1999. MS dissolved FASA Interactive (so that all IP rights would be directly owned by MS) and created FASA Studio which went on to create MechAssault, the Shadowrun FPS, etc. FASA Studio is what this /. article is talking about.

            FASA Corporation went out of business in 2001 and sold most of their remaining IP (including BattleT

  • Mechwarrior (Score:5, Funny)

    by theantipop (803016) on Thursday September 13, 2007 @01:58PM (#20591433)
    Still the only RPG I've played where I spent 5 hours creating the character and 5 minutes getting him killed.
    • by sanjacguy (908392) on Thursday September 13, 2007 @02:04PM (#20591525)
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traveller_rpg [wikipedia.org]Traveller is still the only rpg that I know of where your character can die during character creation.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by clem (5683)

        Traveller is still the only rpg that I know of where your character can die during character creation.
        But you save yourself so much time that way.
      • by Hungus (585181)
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolemaster [wikipedia.org] Rolemaster is the other one you can die in during creation.
        • by Creepy (93888)
          I don't remember anything in Rolemaster that is fatal to a character during creation in any of the first 4 editions (0 [the parchment pamphlets], 1, 2, and RMCC - I don't have anything after that). I remember a game where you could start with fatal diseases (like Leprosy), but that was a low fantasy game (and might have been house rules).

          Traveller was only fatal in the first edition and the "hardcore" variant of Megatraveller (optional rules), after that, you were booted before completing a term (mustered
      • It is much more likely to die during character creation in HOL. Human Occupied Landfill is a hilarious game. We even actually played real sessions of it.

        You start with what is officially labeled the 'chart chart'. And, before I forget, you have to have the supplement - Buttery Holesomeness - before you actually even have character creation rules.

      • In addition to Traveller, West End Games' DC Universe RPG [wikipedia.org] (not to be confused with the years earlier Mayfair's DC Heroes RPG [wikipedia.org]) also featured death by character creation.

        If you had Superspeed, and therefore were attuned to the Speed Force, there was a slim chance you would be sucked into the Speed Force before you even got to play the game.

        Not like you couldn't just roll up the exact same thing minutes later.
      • Traveller is still the only rpg that I know of where your character can die during character creation.

        True. But that's because it simulates a realistic universe.

        I enjoyed writing articles for Traveller, and developing for it.
  • Well that's a shame, if they had released another dozen maps for Shadowrun on the 360 I would have bought it. I did the beta on the 360 and had a lot of fun with the game. Wasn't the best graphically but selling it for $60 with no single player mode and only a few maps was a really bad choice and hurt the sales in an already crowded FPS market on the 360.
    • I'm not going to defend the price. I think if they priced it at $40 they would have sold a lot more. But the only problem with the limited number of maps is marketing.

      Each map in Shadowrun is amazing. You get the feeling that they spent months perfecting each one.

      But, given how many people cite the "lack of maps" as a killer, they probably should of made a dozen more half-assed levels just to bump up the count.

      • by Is0m0rph (819726)
        I agree the maps included were really well done. I never got bored of the couple maps available in the beta. But when you have excellent FPS' like Rainbow 6 Vegas including a good amount of maps and releasing their two add on packs for free a while ago it hurts Shadowrun chances.
  • Battletech on Sega Genesis, on hard, was one of the truly hard games I've played.
  • by Murrdox (601048) on Thursday September 13, 2007 @03:20PM (#20592889)
    The TRUE Fasa died years ago. This is just a game studio that ripped off its name.

    Give the Mechwarrior franchise back to the remnants of Microprose, who can give us a fabulous Mech game, like Mechwarrior 3. Mechwarrior 3 was nearly perfect. Mechwarrior 4 was too "Arcade-like"... and Mechassault is just a console shoot 'em up with Mechs.

    Also, give Shadowrun to Bioware, so that we can have an awesome Shadowrun RPG. I couldn't even BEGIN to think of how wonderful a game Bioware could make with Shadowrun.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Chas (5144)
      Ripped off?

      As I know people who worked at FASA, FASA Interactive, and FASA Studios, I beg to differ.

      Take a look at the people who worked at FASA Studio when Microsoft assumed control of FASA Interactive.

      No ripoff there.

      As for MW3, it's was a "meh" last-minute slot-in.

      MW4 was a conversion of the Virtual World code, begun at FASA Interactive when they and Virtual World Entertainment were occupying the same offices (I've even see the early conversions of RedPlanet).

      Unfortunately, FASA Interactive had never rel
      • by Hydian (904114)
        Yes, FASA Interactive was originally a part of FASA and then was spun off into its own company before the troubles started mounting.
        • by Chas (5144)
          Actually, take a look at which companies (yes PLURAL) put money into FASA Interactive. And how the rights for all computer BT stuff was signed over to FIT.

          It wasn't "spun".

          It was a, once formed, self-sustaining entity right from the get go.
      • First, I would love to know where that conversion of RedPlanet went (I loved that game, and I'm sad to see it go).

        Having played the MW4 on the custom hardware ("Firestorm" Pods) I have to say I still prefer the previous (Tesla) version. You could play the original Tesla BattleTech for years and still not get bored with it, but the learning curve was high for new players. The Firestorm version removed the simulation parts to make it easy to learn, which made sense since they also moved the Pods into arcades

        • by vecctor (935163)

          Having played the MW4 on the custom hardware ("Firestorm" Pods) I have to say I still prefer the previous (Tesla) version. You could play the original Tesla BattleTech for years and still not get bored with it, but the learning curve was high for new players. The Firestorm version removed the simulation parts to make it easy to learn, which made sense since they also moved the Pods into arcades, but it stopped being a sim and just became another arcade machine.

          Even MW3, rushed as it was, still had the right feel of a military sim (not surprising given Zipper's background).

          I have heard this same thing said elsewhere and it made me curious because I was a big flightsim person and played all the mech games with a joystick setup for a more sim-like experience. What specifically was different between them (these "simulation parts" you mentioned). Any details would be great!

          • by Chas (5144)
            Under BattleTech, you'd have control over your power systems, power management, weapons systems, cooling systems, all sorts of stuff.

            You could control which weapons fired from what triggers.
            You could control which weapons received recharge priority after firing (want to make your PPC come up faster, sacrifice power to your lasers, etc). You could reroute coolant away from areas that had been cored out to help increase cooling efficiency.
            You could switch piloting modes from just your joystick and throttle t
            • by vecctor (935163)
              Ah interesting, thanks for the reply.

              I played MW4 on the PC. You could do all the control stuff (custom weapon groups, assign them to whatever buttons, use pedals, etc) but it certainly didn't have any power management stuff. Sounds interesting - I always thought the power management in games like X-wing and TIE Fighter added to the fun.
        • by Chas (5144)
          You'd have to ask PropWash about that. He'd know if anyone would.

          • Given the Red Planet news released on their website a few days after this story went up, I think I have my answer. :)

  • Who here... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DavidTC (10147) <[slas45dxsvadiv. ... ] [neverbox.com]> on Thursday September 13, 2007 @03:38PM (#20593307) Homepage

    ...hates how Microsoft buys companies and then destroys half their product lines?

    It's not just FASA, I don't really know much about them. The one that really pissed me off was Access Software, which MS bought for the fricking golf game, incidentally destroying the Tex Murphy franchise.

    I understand, and am resigned to, Microsoft buying and/or destroying competitors. What really pisses me off is when they decide to purchase and then sit on intellectual property, like I am sure they are about to do with FASA's licenses, simply because they think it won't make them high enough profits but are too fucking lazy to sell it, despite the fact it has nothing to do with any of their core business.

    • How about Wing Commander? Starlancer / Freelancer? God dangit, I miss my space sim :|
      • by deniable (76198)
        Corporate ADD: build something cool then forget about it. It's better than an endless line of mediocre sequels. Actually, I could go for a nice space sim about now.
  • Kinda sad (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Wylfing (144940) <brian AT wylfing DOT net> on Thursday September 13, 2007 @03:39PM (#20593327) Homepage Journal

    Yeah, there are some funny comments about it already, but I would like to say how this is a bit sad for me. Me and friends played some seriously neat Mech games, with me acting as GM. We read all the books and noted the makes and models of the parts, and I'd invent "issues" that the techs needed to solve to make certain parts work with other parts, and garage facilities that they needed in order to implement various repairs. The players always had to be thinking about risking their mechs because of repair issues, and when they got damaged it spawned mini-quests to secure the necessary parts to make things right again, or mini-mini-quests for parts to fix the interoperability problems.

    So although the main game revolved around mech pilots, I focused on the repair techs, ammo specialists, tankers, cooks, construction teams, radar ops, MASH units, etc. that made the expeditions a success, and threatened them and the adventures practically wrote themselves. Really good times.

  • Everybody remembers Battletech and Shadowrun but I was hoping FASA Interactive would produce more for Crimson Skies. It was the usual Fasa game: a really cool, well developed background and a clunky, heavy rules system.
    The first computer games was pretty good, but I was hoping for more. There were even rumors of a movie, but I doubt this will happen.
  • I'll be pouring one out tonight for all my chummers at FASA
  • This is sad, but... (Score:3, Informative)

    by scottneelan (1156621) on Friday September 14, 2007 @03:35AM (#20600319)
    The incarnation of FASA that just died didn't even own the rights to Battletech, Mechwarrior, or Shadowrun (or Crimson Skies for that matter). Jordan Weisman kept the rights when he sold FASA Interactive to Microsoft, and when he founded WizKids they ended up with ownership. The properties were leased to FASA Studios and FanPro. All in all, this is probably a good thing. As long as WK can be convinced there's a market for Mechwarrior and Shadowrun video games, they'd most likely be very willing to find a new company to lease the rights to.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by gonzoxl5 (88685)
      According to the Catalyst Games Website they are looking to acquire the Battletech rights from Wizkids http://www.catalystgamelabs.com/ [catalystgamelabs.com]
    • by ExPacis (973499)
      This is factually incorrect. Some of the points are correct, but several are dead wrong.

      1) WizKids owns the Shadowrun tabletop game, as well as BattleTech and MechWarrior.
      2) Microsoft owns all video game rights to SR, BT and MW. FASA Studios was part of MS.
      3) Catalyst Game Labs currently licenses SR and BT from WizKids.

      So it's not convincing WizKids to license for video games, it's convincing Microsoft.

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