Just like in a real superhero story, the death of the HeroClix Collectible Miniatures Game may only be a temporary setback.
Topps announced earlier in November that it would be closing down HeroClix creator WizKids in order to focus on products being developed at its New York office. However, the company said it would attempt to "pursue strategic alternatives so that viable brands and properties, including HeroClix, can continue without noticeable disruption."
Those efforts may meet with close-to-home success, as former WizKids executives Jake Theis and Justin Ziran announced today the formation of Piñata Games and their intention to acquire control of the HeroClix game. In a recent interview with GamingReport, Theis, WizKids' former manager of brand development, expressed optimism for the future of the game, saying, "I can't imagine such a wildly popular game disappearing."
"We have more than 6,000 visitors to our site, and are preparing for a huge retailer support push that will culminate the weekend of Dec. 5-7 at core hobby stores around the globe," he continued. "We're calling the weekend-long event 'Calling All Clix,' and the premise is simple, if you love the game and want to show support, get your butt out to a hobby store and tell retail."
Funding for the acquisition is expected to come at least in part from the "Save HeroClix" effort. "If our efforts go well with the Save HeroClix movement and with Calling All Clix, we hope a sale of HeroClix from Topps to Pinata Games would be soon to follow," Theis said. "Our group has expertise working for the big three in the gaming industry- WizKids, Wizards of the Coast, and Upper Deck, so we bring a unique perspective to the table."
But a second company, Catalyst Game Labs, has also expressed interest in taking on the property as well as other WizKids titles including the Pirates Pocket Model Game, Mechwarrior and Shadowrun, and according to a statement by majority owner Loren Coleman, an offer has already been tendered to Topps. "Catalyst has demonstrated our ability to manage large and important intellectual properties," Loren said. "We will bring the same excitement and care to the HeroClix, Pirates and other WizKids' brands. We've made our initial offer, and look forward to a successful resolution."
It appears likely that HeroClix will survive the loss of WizKids; the only question at this point appears to be who will take home the big prize. Catalyst has no experience with collectible miniatures, but it is an established company, which would presumably give it a big advantage over the upstart Piñata. Any HeroClix fans have a favored horse in this race?
(And if you're interested in how the Save HeroClix effort is going, be sure to have a look at this.)