healthy amount of speculation going on over at rpg.net about what this recent blog post from Mongoose has to say regarding the state of the Star Wars RPG license:
"In other A Call to Arms news, I can now report that we did not manage to grab the licence we were chasing for the game - Star Wars. We weren't really expecting this one to happen (we made a sideways reference to it in the State of the Mongoose), but we got much further along than we thought we would.
The interesting thing is why our negotiations ended - another company beat us to it. We are not going to reveal who this is (you have heard of them), as that is their fanfare to blow. However, I am sure many will find it intriguing that the licence covers card games, RPGs, and... miniatures. Now, the company concerned is not known for its miniatures lines, which will probably put paid to my dream of 28mm multipart/multipose Stormtroopers. "
So who could it be? First off, it's important to note that, as is discussed in the thread, Mongoose is not the most reliable of sources on these things. It's well-known that Mongoose was gunning for the Star Wars license after it was dropped this past April by Wizards of the Coast (but not after completing the amazing Saga Edition line of books - big props to Wizards for giving us a complete game!). So I'm not going to deal with whether or not this information is accurate or good. Nope, I want to simply speculate on what it would mean if it were. Who should get a crack at making a Star Wars game next?
My feelings are that it should not be a company whose expertise is in the d20 arena. Saga Edition is pretty much the best we could ever hope for when it comes to d20 Star Wars, and I'd much prefer a fresh crack at it with a new system if I'm too be interested in pursuing a new Star Wars game. So that wipes out Paizo (who, given the quality of Pathfinder releases, wouldn't be the worst choice) and Wizards if they wanted to pick the license back up.
So where does that leave us? White Wolf? They'd be a really interesting choice to run it (each different character class could easily be their own fatsplat!), but we have unofficial word from the thread that it's not them. It took me a while to get to my choice. There's TONS of great RPG publishers out there, but most of them don't really feel big enough to a.) afford the license or b.) properly give it the support it needs. For example this strikes out Pinnacle and their Savage Worlds - I don't need something so similar to Saga Edition rules-wise either.
Then it hit me. I want to see Star Wars - pretty much one of the holy grail properties for RPG's - to be one of the most gorgeous, modern games I could find. Saga Edition has a lot of soul, and there's really a great amount of art found throughout the line, but it is at it's heart a Wizards 3.5 product. Lots of thick text blocks without a lot of flare. That's fine - I'm not trying to bag on Saga Edition - but I'd love to see the next version of Star Wars Role-Playing to be a coffee table book. Something you can feel comfortable having out there in front of company and really have a high "wow" factor.
I haven't even gotten to the art yet. L5R 4th Ed. is the prettiest RPG book I own, and a prized item in my collection. I haven't found a single piece of dud artwork in the book. Instead I'm presented with double-page full-color paintings formatted perfectly to present the true nobility of a Lion Samurai or the terror of the power of a Phoenix Shugenja unleashed. If AEG got the license and put the L5R team behind the game, it would be truly gorgeous. Considering how much Lucas pulled from Akira Kurosawa films like Hidden Fortress for his inspiration for Star Wars, I can't think of any better home for the ancient intergalactic struggle between good and evil.
(all art is borrowed from Bioware's upcoming MMO game The Old Republic)