Not very much of a new thing today – all most likely know about this already but Hawk have been bought by TT combat. A move I think will be very good for the long term for the Dropzone universe. Of course there are always things to watch out for as well.
So first everything I will note here are hugely subjective. Do not take anything here as facts – instead you need to consider it as a personal opinion from a weird and lousy blogger as myself. Build your own image of the situation and hope for even more improvements.
So let me start with my thoughts of advantages of this:
A better focus
In my opinion Hawk have always struggled with their releases. For me it have always gone like this:
Month 1. Holy shit this is gonna be awesome!
Month 2. Damn that looks good.
Month 3. Still waiting.
Month 4. So there went another player to another game.
Month 5. And another one…
Month 6. Holy shit they have secretly worked on this massive release for six months and oh my god it is awesome! And they have talked about the next rally cool releases as well.
Month 7. “Dude are you not going to play it again? Cool! Yeah I know, they need to prove themselves but the next few months are going to be awesome!” *I think to myself*: Well at least one of the two leaving came back.
Month 8. Still waiting. A player stop playing.
Month 9. Still waiting. Another player again leaves.
Month 10. It is getting hard to get games in.
Month 14. Holy shit it is awesome and…. (continue).
I have always thought that hawk should not consider their releases in form of waves. Because it is much more difficult. Much better to get a slower but more steady releases that actually comes out as expected. Joining another company will let Dave work with the design of the game and hopefully TT will override him regarding releases. We get a lot of cool stuff at one time and then nothing and it is really hard keeping players in a community like ours where the amount of players are pretty low. When one leaves it really hurts the amount of games you can get in.
Models isn’t the only thing to release.
On a related topic. Releases doesn’t have to be models. It can be missions, special stories or artwork. That means a “wave” of five models can be released over a time of 5 months. Without any issue. 6 months isn’t a problem either. Hell. If you mix in missions, campaigns and terrain you can have one wave of 5 models over a year. But with a joint venture with TT Hawk get a chance to also release terrain in a different way. Companies like Blotz and Darkops have done a lot for Hawk and kept the feeling of releases. And now a more dedicated terrain company have the IP.
Production is not in “Hawk’s hands”
One advantage again is that hawk does not need to focus on customer support nor logistics in the same way as before. I have always gotten the feeling that the company consists of personal that loves gaming but are not actually professionals in their respective areas. It comes hand in hand with a small company and could also be very wrong. But to use Dave as an example, he is clearly competent but is he better as a company leader than as a designer? No is the short answer. He is not at his best dealing with personal arguing for higher pay, dropping everything as a delivery from a supplier goes wrong and so on. He should design. With a merge you can more get that kick-ass boss doing their stuff, a skilled logistical manager dealing with deliveries and a purchaser to save the companies (no mention of engineers here, everybody knows they add nothing to any business besides extra costs). Something Hawk have been missing.
A terrain company
TT have already started with their own terrain for Dropzone and should be even more interested on improving on it more. That means more and closer contact with Hawk in the production.
There are more advantages of course, many of them we are not able to be noticed quickly. But things like economy of scale comes into the company pretty fast. From TT’s perspective they seem to have struggled with several ideas for games with no real focus. From their perspective I would drop the more complicated games and focus on the Dropzone ‘verse and then focus on game related stuff like terrain and markers.
But not all is good. There are many things that can be a hindrance:
Not your child
A clear risk is that Dave with follow the lead of someone else and that will affect his creative work. He can not do “just” exactly what he wants. He will most likely be the creative leader but strategy for the company might need other considerations to the game. I have had several experiences with rushed projects that needed to come out before a new fiscal year starts. Things like that can (and will) affect Dropzone.
There will be more goals in the company. Some people will look into selling more of the terrain and some will want to sell DZC. A good example is that while DFC is kind of popular it still have some drawbacks that a version 2 will most likely fix. But that means a second ed need to come out. DFC can also be considered a side effect of the Dropzone commander game where DZC can stay on its own and DFC can’t. That means that sales between the games will be less balanced and in Hawk’s mind that doesn’t need to matter much but in the eyes of the owner? Will a new owner that have two games want to aim as much resources on a game that doesn’t sell as much?
It will be a improvement. It has been bleeding a lot and I think that TT is not as big in it’s mind as GW with shareholders to consider. TT have already taken steps to confirm Kickstarter backers will get stuff and emails have been answered. Also TT want to have better control over the production. While there will be issues on a creative side it will most likely only happen internally and we will see little to no crap like that. TT have acquired a good IP and will want to do stuff with it. That means taking it to the next level. They also talked about a third game in 2018 which I have no idea about if I like or not. Prove first you can do DZC and DFC right. Still, a skirmish game with squares based on a Blotz building with 5-6 levels that simulates a CQB would be cool. Especially in 10mm. Or a small boardgame. But a third main game? Then they just do the same mistake Hawk have been doing.
But the times are good for a DZC/DFC player.