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  • B5 RPG License not renewed

    (This may be my first relevant thread start)

    So over at Mongoose Publishing, they've announced that the B5 RPG license won't be renewed:

    A final note on Babylon 5. We first approached Warner Brothers about doing games for the setting because, although the studio regarded it as pretty much a ædeadÆ property, we had faith enough that there were enough fans among the RPG and miniatures crowds to justify the games we have done, and for nigh on six years we have been pretty much the only Babylon 5 licensee, the only ones carrying the torch (during the course of this, we actually made it into the Top Five of publishers Warner Brothers works with, a bizarre achievement for an RPG company, but it got us into a few premieres, such as 300 û but, again, I digress). During that time, we have produced over 40 books and over 200 miniatures.

    However, nothing else has really been happening with Babylon 5. Lost Tales, though it did well enough as a release, failed to spark any real interest in the property. Legend of the Rangers, we believe, might actually have done some damage, and we have recently heard that there will be no more Babylon 5 screen projects unless funding is made available for a major feature film. From our point of view, interest in Babylon 5 has visibly declined in the past two years and, regretfully, we will not be renewing the licence in 2009.

    It has been a great ride for six years, but all good things must come to an end. We will be releasing Warships of Babylon 5 in 2009, along with the Trouble with Drazi adventure and LurkerÆs Guide to Gaim, but then things will just. . . stop.
    I heard a lot of good and bad about Mongoose's work, but I bought most of the Species and History books, just to have more "fluff" and detail in the B5 universe, and because someday I may get back into RPGing again.

    *Shrug*

    WB long ago joined Sony on my list of "places that could stand having a few executives set on fire."
    "It's hard being an evil genius when everybody else is so stupid." -- Quantum Crook, Casey and Andy Webcomic

  • #2
    Thanks for the info, Doom Shepherd.

    Jan
    "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

    Comment


    • #3
      Hearing this isnÆt really surprising.

      B5 û fantastic
      Crusade û IÆm saying nothing
      LOTR - was a joke.
      The Lost Tales was OK, but when jms said it was a big budget film next or nothing (because thatÆs what it boiled down to) he basically put the breaks (hopefully temporarily) on anything new being produced for the B5 æverse.

      Mongoose was trying to do it, but he basically put the boot into that as well by letting everyone know that their basically crap, not canonical and he does not endorse their publications.

      Seems to stem from either them only offering jms 500 bucks per book, if he helped out with them. Or them trying to go it alone without his help. I know there was a lot of claims and counter claims kicking about but one or both of those things seems to be the basis of the æfrictionÆ. IÆm basing that observation on the sequence of events as laid out in the post archive on here (and the dates they were made).

      October 2005
      http://jmsnews.net/msg.aspx?id=1-17407&query=mongoose
      Mongoose asked me to consult with them, since they are doing just a
      couple of books and as I understand it ONLY for release in the
      UK...asked if I could help come up with some stories for them, or
      provide material from myh notes, proofread the manuscripts, make
      corrections, maybe write an intro, and do lots of other stuff...and I
      said okay, great, what are you going to pay for my work?

      At first, silence. As if they were stunned that I would actually ask
      to be paid for my time and work. Then finally, they came back
      with...five hundred bucks per book.

      To which I responded, "You have GOT to be kidding me."

      I have, subsequently, washed my hands of the Mongoose books. I haven't
      seen anything, don't know what they're doing, so sure as hell it ain't
      canonical.
      All of the more negative comments from jms seem to have been made after this date of that post (including it not being about money but providing good stories to fans).

      December 2006
      http://jmsnews.net/msg.aspx?id=1-176...ngoose%20money
      I made it very clear that I did not want any money off the deal, no
      fees for myself, the purpose was to ensure the quality of the books. . . . . . .

      . . . . . .So having given a second chance to this process, and again as well
      intentioned as they may be, my sense is that this is going to be a case
      of diminishing returns. Fiction is a far more subjective field than
      putting together reference books, and you really have to trust the
      tastes and perspective of your editorial staff, which for me,
      subjectively, isn't here. So I've stepped back and said I really can't
      be a part of this process because I can't endorse something if I don't
      think the quality is going to be there. So it's between them and WB at
      this point.
      Whatever the case. Between jms making it clear he didnÆt get on with Mongoose and the movie deal ultimatum I guess it was only a matter of time before mongoose cut itÆs ties with B5.

      Bit of a bugger, but there you go.

      Comment


      • #4
        The only thing I'll add is that when JMS wrote:
        The manuscripts came in on the books currently in progress, and
        unfortunately the level of writing is at very best amateurish, on a
        level somewhat below what one would find on the average fan-fiction
        website.
        he was absolutely correct. It looked to me like he did give Mongoose a second chance after the blow-up but there was no way he could endorse what Mongoose sent him. Having seen samples of them myself, I completely agree with his conclusion.

        Jan
        "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Jan View Post
          The only thing I'll add is that when JMS wrote:

          he was absolutely correct. It looked to me like he did give Mongoose a second chance after the blow-up but there was no way he could endorse what Mongoose sent him. Having seen samples of them myself, I completely agree with his conclusion.

          Jan
          Wholeheartedly agree Jan,
          I have tried to give Mongoose a chance myself. Even after JMS voiced his disapproval. I just wanted to give them a chance hoping they would take heed of his warning. It now appears clear that rather than take his counsel on improving their writers' storytelling.
          Now rather than admit their error, and the fact that the large not diminishing fanbase avoided their poor attempt at continuing the stories from our favorite universe, Mongoose is trying to spin it by trying to tell the public and WB that there is no interst in B5.
          hmmm.....interesting since B5 dvd sales are still strong when compared to the other scifi tv shows, and this with only one type of release. (no multi type releases like Star Trek and Stargate)
          There is no greater power in the universe than the need for freedom. Against such power, governments, and kingdoms, and conquerors cannot stand.
          WE WILL BE FREE!

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Ranger 6 and 7/8 View Post
            Now rather than admit their error, and the fact that the large not diminishing fanbase avoided their poor attempt at continuing the stories from our favorite universe, Mongoose is trying to spin it by trying to tell the public and WB that there is no interst in B5.
            Absolutely - it's disgusting and says just about everything that needs to be said. They are masking their utter, profound failure by blaming B5 for not being popular enough... which DVD sales can easily disprove. They are amateurs of the worst kind, and deserve nothing but contempt for these tactics, and for their attempts to rip off fans with crappy products.
            Jonas Kyratzes | Lands of Dream

            Comment


            • #7
              Before we pound on Mongoose too hard, let's remember that they've made a business decision based on the price of the license from WB. Spin or not, if they thought they could make money by continuing the license, they probably would do so.

              Yeah, they spin things; that was a large factor in the blow-up with JMS over the novels (translating the use of his unproduced scripts into 'outlines'). But I've never heard that WB licenses B5 cheaply so I think we can just chalk this up to a business decision.

              Jan
              "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

              Comment


              • #8
                Perhaps now that the license is available a more reputable company will come in and do the job right.

                Comment


                • #9
                  The books—while it was apparent that hard work was put into them—were shit. I picked up the Centauri Republic one and it was full of conjecture and information that contradicted canon and semi-canon.

                  I noticed that Amazon UK doesn't have samples of the novels. Do any sites?

                  It should be noted that RPG designers sometimes make great novelists. Mike Stackpole and Aaron Allston come to mind.
                  Recently, there was a reckoning. It occurred on November 4, 2014 across the United States. Voters, recognizing the failures of the current leadership and fearing their unchecked abuses of power, elected another party as the new majority. This is a first step toward preventing more damage and undoing some of the damage already done. Hopefully, this is as much as will be required.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Doom Shepherd View Post
                    WB long ago joined Sony on my list of "places that could stand having a few executives set on fire."
                    Oh so true...

                    Warner Brothers,
                    TNT,
                    The Sci-Fi Channel,
                    Fox Network....

                    ...those are my big four.
                    Mac Breck (KoshN)
                    ------------------
                    Warner Brothers is Lucy.
                    JMS and we fans are collectively Charlie Brown.
                    Babylon 5 is the football.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Karen View Post
                      Perhaps now that the license is available a more reputable company will come in and do the job right.
                      With B5 being pretty much a stealth property, a property in which Warner Brothers refuses to seriously invest? What's going to attract these licensees?
                      Mac Breck (KoshN)
                      ------------------
                      Warner Brothers is Lucy.
                      JMS and we fans are collectively Charlie Brown.
                      Babylon 5 is the football.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Care and Feeding of Geese that Lay Golden Eggs

                        Originally posted by KoshN View Post
                        With B5 being pretty much a stealth property, a property in which Warner Brothers refuses to seriously invest? What's going to attract these licensees?
                        Unlike Paramount that has overfed and abused their goose to induce it to lay more golden eggs, Warner Bros. generally ignores and forgets to feed their goose proclaiming that it is not worth the effort despite the continuing supply of golden eggs.

                        Comment

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