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Licenses...

I get to read a number of companies Press Releases and news Blogs during the course of work (and am interested in what's going on in the games industry anyway) and am always intrigued when people talk about licenses. Largely because of the licenses that we, as Cubicle 7, have gone for, are interested in one day going for, or are currently in negotiations about.

One of the hot topics is always Mongoose Publishing and their 'Holy Grail' comments (which I've mentioned over the last couple of years on this blog at times). Their initial 'Holy Grail' license seems to have never materialised for whatever reason - and what it was was never announced - so imagine my interest when I read the following from their latest blog:

"5. Some interesting things going on in licence land at the moment. For example, we recently took a trip down to London to discuss a _very_ big licence. Huge. I am pretty confident that we have absolutely no chance to succeed in grabbing this one, and that we could not afford it if we had (we sell a lot of books, but not _that_ many!). It really is so far beyond Holy Grail, it is untrue. Still, we have been asked to submit an official proposal, so you never know. . ."

So "far beyond" what they thought of as the Holy Grail? Not being able to afford it if it does come off?

Now, as a small company, when we went for the Doctor Who license we really didn't expect we'd be able to afford it (we knew we had the talent and ability to make the pitch and do it if we managed to get it - but we thought the price would be *way* too high for our coffers). But we surprised everyone and got it.

We're also currently in negotiations for another major license and a second one which has the potential to be pretty damn big too. Certainly the first of these is something we never thought we'd have a chance at EVER getting our hands on - yet the company involved contacted us about it because of personal reccomendations and the owner having a prior knoweldge and professional relationship with me through Leisure Games.

Now I know a little about what 'licenses' are available on the market today. Licenses is something that we, as a company, are currently pretty heavily involved in across a variety of fields and that I've learnt a lot about in the last 12 or so months.

I really have no idea what license Mongoose could be talking about here both from the 'cost' point of view and also the 'larger than their Holy Grail' comments. I previously felt that there 'Holy Grail' would be something along the lines of Harry Potter (I still strongly think that was it), Lord of the Rings, Marvel or Star Trek. Although I'd debate whether or not Star Trek *is* a Holy Grail compared to something like Star Wars.

So what's the next step up from those that would 'dwarf' their previous Holy Grail?

Unless their previous Holy Grail wasn't an A-Lister in the first place.

Also, knowing how much they spent on acquiring the Babylon 5 license a number of years ago - and how much we spent on Doctor Who - and also comparing it to some quotes we were given on another major license a couple of months ago - I have no idea what would be *too expensive* compared to these (especially Mongoose's B5 license which cost a lot). Unless it is something like Harry Potter or maybe Lord of the Rings - or they are looking at acquiring a complete top-tier game line under license (and then the only one I can think of would be D&D itself now that Dark Heresy and Warhammer FRP are both with Fantasy Flight). Unless they are looking at licensing a game setting like Forgotten Realms or Greyhawk - but I can't see WotC parting with the Realms and I can't see Greyhawk costing more than Babylon 5 did!.

It'll certainly be very interesting seeing what they are gunning for if they do get it. I just hope we're not gunning for the same properties! And if we are, may the best company win :p

Comments

( 34 comments — Leave a comment )
sea_cucumber
May. 15th, 2008 03:04 pm (UTC)
I have no idea what that could be... I was thinking of various popular television programmes but I am not sure they would cost that much (as you say)!

Harry Potter is a likely contender though - I can't think of many book series that are big enough or that haven't already been done...
twisted_times
May. 15th, 2008 03:29 pm (UTC)

I've heard (utterly unsubstantiated) rumours that Steve Jackson Games was/is interested in the Hogwarts/Harry Potter RPG licensing prospect...

(no subject) - angusabranson - May. 15th, 2008 03:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - twisted_times - May. 15th, 2008 03:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ian_wyrdness - May. 15th, 2008 05:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - djhive - May. 15th, 2008 08:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - angusabranson - May. 15th, 2008 10:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - djhive - May. 16th, 2008 07:32 am (UTC) - Expand
pond823
May. 15th, 2008 03:05 pm (UTC)
Wouldn't that be insane - Hasbro selling off D&D or even dumping their entire RPG arm and having a leaner Wizards concentrating on card and minis games.
angusabranson
May. 15th, 2008 03:18 pm (UTC)
I've said something similar for the last few months.

I wouldn't at all be surprised if D&D changed hands in the next 36 months.

Seems a bit quick to happen now with 4E just about to be launched though.

But I expect it to happen at somepoint.

But then the money they'd be looking at would be in the *silly money* bracket as far as any other existing RPG company would be concerned.

The only companies I can see considering it would be computer companies who might then look at sublicensing the pen & paper version to someone else.
(no subject) - pond823 - May. 15th, 2008 03:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - angusabranson - May. 15th, 2008 03:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - pond823 - May. 15th, 2008 03:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - angusabranson - May. 15th, 2008 03:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - pond823 - May. 15th, 2008 03:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
matt_m_mcelroy
May. 15th, 2008 03:05 pm (UTC)
Random ideas:

Marvel Universe
Halo
Chronicles of Narnia
Final Fantasy
Heroes
Transformers
Spiderwick Chronicles
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - matt_m_mcelroy - May. 15th, 2008 03:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - angusabranson - May. 15th, 2008 03:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
paulofcthulhu
May. 15th, 2008 03:07 pm (UTC)
ummm, I thought the nature of 'Holy Grail' meant 'Ultimate' and nothing beyond. Hey-ho!

I think that only Harry Potter could out-do Dr. Who as a licence to bring new people into roleplaying (from that aspect).

LotR - done several times
Star Trek - done several times
Star Wars - done several times

I think I'm just jaded on hype. :D
twisted_times
May. 15th, 2008 03:30 pm (UTC)

How a Battlestar Galactica RPG? :)

(no subject) - angusabranson - May. 15th, 2008 03:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - twisted_times - May. 15th, 2008 03:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
angusabranson
May. 15th, 2008 03:49 pm (UTC)
Well the *first* Holy Grail rumour went well for them :p
davedevil
May. 15th, 2008 03:51 pm (UTC)
Maybe the licence actualyl is the Hoyl Grail licence. I would love to play a level 10 Knight that said Ne...
paulofcthulhu
May. 15th, 2008 04:09 pm (UTC)
Python RPG? You could be onto something... ;-)
samvail
May. 15th, 2008 04:09 pm (UTC)
High School Musical the RPG?

It would be massive in my household (with my daughters, I hasten to add, not me!)
timgray
May. 15th, 2008 07:04 pm (UTC)
d20 Trumpton.
thebitterguy
May. 15th, 2008 07:50 pm (UTC)
AvataRPG!
exmoor_cat
May. 16th, 2008 06:49 am (UTC)
PMSL at Trumpton......


Personally, I've been looking around for a manageable RPG system to set SM Stirling's Emberverse - thoughts? Was thinknig AFMBE, but there's too much emphasis on the zombies perhaps to fully adapt.
hybridartifacts
May. 16th, 2008 07:47 am (UTC)
Harry Potter is probably the single biggest deal out there right now- massive appeal plus maybe bringing new people into rpgs who have never played before-all hungry to continue 'living' in the Potterverse now the books are done.

To date there seems to have been some reluctance for a rpg from JKR though and yes, it would be expensive.

I have been making my own Potter rpg based on some slightly leftfield rpg approaches/rules and as a way of exploring those rules more than a serious go at making a Potter game. I felt that people might be more inclined to have a go at something a bit different if it was Potter (plus the game system is ideally suited). Of course everyone and their dog seems to have a Potter rpg in there somewhere. We all know that it would be massive. My prediction though-if it IS Potter, and an rpg gets made, it will probably be crap. Call me a cynic... but I think that a Potter game almost demands a rethink of how we play rpgs to try and hit a bigger market properly, especially if it is to appeal more to females. Nerdy dice-rolling, though much loved by some of us, may not be the right way to go...

I must admit I really liked the suggestion of d20 Trumpton made above though. Now THAT would be a game and a half ;)

With Mongoose - well they have done games both based on new licenses and existing ones, so it IS very hard to tell if their Holy Grail is something with untapped potential, or a proven line they are taking over.
jonnynexus
May. 16th, 2008 08:19 am (UTC)
I'd say Hitch Hikers Guide, but I guess that would have been bigger in the '80s.

(I'd still love to do it though).
pwca
May. 16th, 2008 12:45 pm (UTC)
To be honest it would have to be something pretty damn amazing to really peak my interest. Like others I have become bored with the "hype," and then more personally, dismayed by the end product that Mongoose put out.

Surely, if a publisher has obtained what it regards as a "Holy Grail," it should treat it as such?

And then again, would not the Hoy Grail of licenses be The Holy Bible? Now there's an untapped market.
w00hoo
May. 19th, 2008 12:01 pm (UTC)
TV wise I guess you've also got the whole CSI and Law and Order bits, or possibly The Simpsons if you're looking purely at scale.
( 34 comments — Leave a comment )

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