Earthdawn with its twenty-five year history is just one of the many games we’ve gotten from FASA Corporation. Not everyone, however, knows that the rights to the system over the years passed from hand to hand between different publishers, and The First Edition issued by Mag is one of five and a half incarnations of this system. Now that the license has returned to FASA, it’s worth to learn the history of the publisher of our beloved system.
Fasa Corporation, because that is the “True Name” of the publisher, between 1980 and 2001 was involved in the publication of role-playing games, battle games and board games. Founded by Jordan Weisman and Ross Babcock initially had a modest budget of $ 350, but five years later, Weisman’s father joined the company, and the cash injection that he provided allowed to expand the offer and publish books and figurines.
Starting as a licensee of Traveler sci-fi system, FASA was involved in the production of suplements for this game. The company appeared as a large game publisher, only when it was the first to obtain a license for RPG Star Trek, and then released several successful author games (such as BattleTech, formerly known as Battledroid, Shadowrun, Crimson Skies, Renegade Legion, Vor and Crucible). An interesting fact is that BattleTech has found it’s way to a line of video games, which were used to work on the beginnings of virtual reality. At one point, one of the company’s branches, “FASA interactive”, went under the wings of Microsoft together with Ross Babcock, which led to the slow extinguish of the publishing line and the creation of FASA Inc., which existed only to hold the rights to intellectual property developed over the years.
Until now, FASA Corporation has managed the rights to its brands together with Ral Partha Ltd, which was involved in the production of figurines and their distribution to the European market. Currently as FASA Games Inc. release Earthdawn, Demonworld, Noble Armada and 1879. Earthdawn fans will be happy to see that after recent staff changes (employing Andi Watson as the ED project manager), the production of the promised textbooks for the Fourth Edition has taken pace and the waiting time is over.