Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What's next for Privateer Press?

So there has been something brewing over at Privateer Press within the last week or so.  It started with David "DC" Carl mentioning in a Privateer Press Insider post that he wishes he could share what's going on behind the scenes and then on Monday, Tony Konichek shared his trip to Europe where he received the request from the creative and art directors to draw some sketches of the architecture for "Iron Kingdoms reference."  Surely, this could be considered totally innocuous but Privateer Press loves teasing their community and, like I said, DC has already told us that something is going on behind the scenes and Privateer Press has never been known for sitting on their hands.  No, indeed this past year not only did they outdo their past years by releasing Colossals and Gargantuans, but they also put own a card game, a brand new board game (with new IP), created their first mobile list-building and reference app (with admittedly mixed reviews), and revived their Iron Kingdoms role-playing system (with much approval from the role-playing community).  This has me wondering: What's next for Privateer Press?

For DC to start building up hype, you know that they must have something in store.  The company has been hiring new personnel at an incredible rate for the last couple of years and they've been ramping up their production while simultaneously also releasing more products.  How can they continue to maintain such a crazy pace over there!?  Indeed, even knowing what's coming up for Warmachine from the rumors which have built up over the past year, even the amount of cool cavalry models coming can't be what DC is talking about.  Sure, he'd be pretty excited about some light cav gun mages, but would he really be itching to tell the community if it were that lame of a secret?  This is where I think our teaser post from Tony Konichek might tie in.  Sure, he could have just been taking photos for architectural reference for the Iron Kingdoms, but why would they need more reference?

What if those buildings back there were resin kits?

I'm making my predictions right now: I think Privateer Press will finally be producing some terrain for the Iron Kingdoms.  To date, the only terrain pieces produced for Warmachine/Hordes were actually made by GaleForceNine with PP's blessing, but they were faction-specific.  This year would be the perfect year for them to start producing terrain specifically for the Iron Kingdoms, however.  They've already been hiring more personnel trained in casting resin and that's the perfect medium for such large terrain pieces required by the game.  Surely Konichek's reference sketches could serve as great inspiration for designing more terrain pieces for the Iron Kingdoms - especially with the release and popularity of the Iron Kingdoms RPG.  I would be very surprised if Privateer Press doesn't do more to support their own RPG, since many of the elements can also be sold for Warmachine/Hordes players.

Imagine no longer having "just" a pen-and-paper RPG, but now you play with not only models but terrain.  It sounds a lot like a miniatures game to me, but obviously with character development and growth.  While it might not seem like a wise business decision to spend money developing a product for a notoriously "underfunded" demographic of role-players, if the product could also be sold to Warmachine/Hordes players, then they have additional opportunities to market and sell the product.  This would certainly be a first for Privateer Press and I think would be reason for DC to get really excited and wishing to spill the beans to the fans.

While some people have been creative enough to scratch-build their own structures, I think that fans will still welcome the opportunity to purchase highly-detailed kits from a manufacturer they already trust.  With the increased production capacity for resin with skilled professional casters, Privateer Press now has the option to build larger kits without worrying about the cost of production (since metal is so much more expensive than resin) and I think terrain would be a very natural next-step for them as a company.  As much as they try to distinguish themselves from Games Workshop, they do seem to follow their business model an awful lot and I absolutely believe that they've seen the success that GW has had with their terrain kits.  Since Privateer Press has done such a fine job already defining their terrain, I think they will have an easier time producing items like walls, trenches, and other structures usable by their players.  Also remember that Privateer Press already produced the resin objective markers this past year, and I bet that was a practice run for what kind of detail they can achieve for terrain with resin.

Let's hope I'm right!
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