False Prophet wrote: ↑
Sat Nov 17, 2018 11:42 am
Say, I know that Robotech has a good number of RPG splatbooks to it, but what about Macross? I have heard about people roleplaying Macross with hombrew rules, but what about official support either in Japan or the States?
Japanese audiences tend to gravitate more towards video games and TCGs than more traditional options like pencil-and-paper RPGs or tabletop games. I've talked to a number of games industry folks about it, and no two of them had anything like the same answer for why though. That's not to say games like that don't have a following - Slayers
, Goblin Slayer
, and several other popular titles are openly acknowledged to be based on games like D&D that their creators played - but it's not as prominent as video games or TCGs.
did have a rather successful TCG for a while called Macross Crusade and Studio Artdink had a string of successful "Flight Action RPG" video games.
As far as old school pencil-and-paper RPGs go, we've never had any official support from Japan and the US licensees haven't had anything to bring to the table since the mid-90's. It's pretty much 100% fan-produced material these days.
Until very recently, the only licensed Macross
RPG materials came from a small-time (which you should absolutely read as "incompetent") Michigan-based game publisher by the name of Palladium Books. They got the license to make a Robotech
RPG in the mid-80's because literally nobody else was remotely interested in that license and proceeded to make a pig's ear of it. The "first edtion" books were so badly researched, written, and edited that they bore only superficial resemblance to the Robotech
setting and story, but Robotech
fans still shelled out for them because it was as close as the franchise would get to having official reference materials until 2001. The entire line was disowned by Harmony Gold as "Robotech
in name only" in 2006.
The "success" of their Robotech
RPG prompted Palladium Books to shell out for a license to make a game based upon the Macross II: Lovers Again
OVA in 1992. Unfortunately, the standard of workmanship was even worse for that game. Despite having the help of an alleged expert "researcher", Palladium Books did such a poor job of it that it would not be an exaggeration to say that the only part of the books that was Macross II
was the (traced) line art. Every single solitary detail is wrong, from the details of the ships, mecha, and characters to basic stuff like the year it was set in. The text is so badly written and edited that there are numerous cases where two paragraphs right next to each other contain contradictory or mutually exclusive statements, and even more cases where the text on a page is contradicting visible details of the traced line art on the same page. There are several cases of misidentified line art too... like the VF-2SS cockpit art they have is actually for the SNN Valkyrie (VC-079). The stats are so inaccurate that you'd swear they never actually watched the show... citing ships shown folding as not being fold-capable, or claiming ships made from four of the 4km-long Zentradi battleships were smaller than a Zentradi scoutship.
As embarrassing as the Macross II
RPG was, when the internet came along Macross
fans started using it as their starting point for playing Macross
RPGs. They kept Palladium's "Megaversal" game system but created new homebrew stats for mecha from Macross Plus
and Macross 7
. This spawned several different forum gaming sites devoted solely to Macross
games, and fans who visited Japan brought back material used to develop more stats and stories from the Macross
video games. Even now, virtually all homebrew Macross
games use the Palladium system or tweaks of it.
fans did something similar, except it generally involved "adopting" mecha, characters, and stories from whatever anime was popular at the time into the Robotech
setting. They would often start with Megazone 23 Part I
because it was used for the unreleased Robotech
movie, but pillaged material from Macross
RPG sites and other titles like Gundam
, Full Metal Panic!
, Neon Genesis Evangelion
, the later Megazone 23
installments, Ghost in the Shell
, Engage Planet Kiss Dum
, and VOTOMS
. This actually started to drop off a bit in the late 90's when Palladium Books lost the Robotech
license after Harmony Gold had demanded they buy an (expensive) license to Robotech 3000
sight-unseen in order to renew their license to the "original" TV series. They got the license back in '06 after Robotech 3000
spun in and Harmony Gold attempted to relaunch with another new animated sequel, Robotech: the Shadow Chronicles
. HG put the kibosh on conversions of stuff from other stories as part of the terms of their new license agreement though, since they were afraid of legal reprisals from Big West and Tatsunoko, so misappropriation of material from other shows by fans dropped off a bit when the publisher's website made posting it a banning offense.
Palladium Books recently lost the license again, for good this time, over the Robotech RPG Tactics Kickstarter fiasco. A series of scandals prompted Harmony Gold to revoke their license with extreme prejudice over accusations of general mismanagement of the project and project budget that led to major cost overruns on design and manufacturing of the miniatures, several broken promises to Kickstarter backers including that they would not sell at retail until after all the backers had received their backer rewards, misappropriation of funds from the budget to purchase retail stock, hiring (using the budget) a new PR guy to lie to backers about the misappropriation of funds, and an audit revealing that the company no longer had enough money to finish the project and was unable to secure a loan for the ~$600k that they needed to finish because their credit is crap. That license has now passed to a different small-time operator called Strange Machine Games, who are seemingly rushing to get a poorly-written RPG out the door before Harmony Gold's license expires in 2021.