Out of three full-time employees they have, they are letting two go. And those are the two that do all the writing. I hope that this will turn out to be just a restructuring and not the end of Hero Games. There are lots of good RPG companies out there that don’t have any full-time employees. So I hope they can keep it going.
I’ve been keeping tabs on Hero Games ever since middle school when me and two of my classmates played Champions. It was a great system for the long, drawn out combats that you see in comic books. Later they tried to turn it into a genre-neutral game system, and I think that is where they really failed. The system just never really could handle low power heroes. Low power superheroes were okay, but not regular people. And the long, drawn out combats just don’t feel right in a non-super setting.
They gave it the old college try though. It seems like they were trying to follow the GURPS business model, by writing genre books for Fantasy, Space, Horror, Martial Arts, Pulp, Post Apocalypse, and many others. Some of these books, especially the ones written by Steve Long, are great books despite the system; just for the great background material.
They recently put out a 6th edition, which probably could have saved them. I guess it didn’t. My guess is that they didn’t simplify enough, and the old system is just a dinosaur in the current RPG market, like GURPS or Rifts.
I always thought that Savage Worlds did a great job of simplifying the old Hero System to speed up combat, character creation, and conflict resolution. And they did it without getting rid of the classic point-buy, class-less, level-less system that I love so much. I guess I’ll have to commit to Savage Worlds now.
I saw that twice in the last month Hero Games put large bundles of their 5th edition books on sale for cheap through Loot.com. I’m kinda sorry I didn’t buy them when I had the chance.