FASA Studio KIA

Microsoft shutters Shadowrun and MechAssault developer, the final remnant of the once-mighty tabletop-RPG maker; half the staff "redeployed" to other MGS projects.

Microsoft has confirmed with GameSpot that it has shut down its internal developer FASA Studio. The news first surfaced last night on the official forums for Shadowrun, the shop's PC and Xbox 360 shooter.

"It is my sad duty to announce that FASA Studio has officially closed its doors," wrote FASA studio head Mitch Gitelman in a post. "Today was the official last day of employment for those of us who had not moved on to other positions within Microsoft Game Studios. While the rumors have been circulating forever, we chose to wait on an official announcement because we didn't want people's attention distracted from our last product, Shadowrun, a game we love."

Later, Microsoft reps gave further details on the closure. "Microsoft has redeployed more than half of the FASA employees throughout the Microsoft Game Studios division, strengthening MGS as a whole with their specialized talent developing a cross-platform game and overall experience as veteran world-class game developers," a rep said. "We are very proud of what the FASA team accomplished with Shadowrun, and we will continue to support the title."

Though both FASA and Microsoft corporate PR continue to talk up Shadowrun, the game wasn't the monster hit both parties had hoped for. After receiving middling reviews, the 360 version of the game sold just under 150,000 copies in the US between its May 29 release and July 31, according to the NPD Group. And although one of Shadowrun's main selling points was cross-platform play, the PC edition sold barely over 12,000 copies during the same period.

One of the greatest criticisms of Shadowrun, an online-focused multiplayer shooter, was how far it strayed from its source material. Namely, the densely plotted cyberpunk role-playing game Shadowrun, created by FASA Studio's former parent company, the famed pen-and-paper RPG company FASA Corporation. Founded in 1980, FASA Corp. created many classic franchises over the following two decades, three of which became video games: BattleTech, which inspired nearly two dozen MechWarrior and MechAssault games; Crimson Skies, the subject of PC and Xbox airborne shooters; and Shadowrun, which, prior to its most recent incarnation, inspired a Super Nintendo and Genesis game in the mid-1990s.

FASA Corp.'s game wing, FASA Interactive, was bought by Microsoft in 1999 and renamed FASA Studio. Stung by the decline of pen-and-paper RPGs, FASA Corp. closed down in 2001 and sold off its various properties. Microsoft retains the video game licenses for Crimson Skies, MechAssault, and Shadowrun, but hasn't revealed any future plans for the IPs. "We have no announcements at this time," a rep told GameSpot.

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Discussion

281 comments
forhekset
forhekset

Ah man I was wondering what happened to MechWarrior... havn't had one in so long. I completely missed this little bit of info.

blackwingzero
blackwingzero

It's a real shame that FASA went. It created the Mechassult series which was incredibly good.

allen1080
allen1080

OMG Cant you just go back and say we are So SO SORRY that we tried to make ONE OF THE BEST GAMES EVER INTO A FPS !!!!!!! AND we are going to start over from scratch but use the SHADOWRUN GENISIS version as reference .AND I DONT KNOW HOW BUT WE ARE GOING TO MAKE AN EVEN BETTER RPG THAN THE FIRST ONE !!!!!!!!!!!!

Megaship
Megaship

I will miss FASA. I had good times playing the Mech Warrior and Mechassault games... :(

guppieface
guppieface

SHADOWRUN IS THE MOST FUN ONLINE GAME ON XBOX. I buy almost every game that gets a good review (and obviously at least 1 that reviewers seemed to overlook) and the team play shooter Shadowrun is my favorite. I like it over GoW, both new CoD games, GTA, etc. Shadowrun is a well balanced game that allows many choices as to how you want to play. Try it, its a lot of fun.

alixkid
alixkid

Damn did you guys ever think maybe Shadowrun Online???? should of used the Genesis version on the game for ref material idiots.

alixkid
alixkid

Way to go Microsoft, how can you F**ked up two of the best Board and Paper RPGs that were not D&D, with an amazing following????!!! How can you f up Shadowrun?? did you not read any of the source material, or maybe go back and play the old nes or Genesis versions??? The Genesis version sold millions fo copies. What a Sad day the last of a once Powerful FASA is nothing more. eat PPC Microcrap

goon165
goon165

and don't expect MW5 to show up in the form that was hinted at at the end of MW4:mercs the plot for that game was bastardized and mutilated into mechassult 2's story

goon165
goon165

Well about the closest we'll get to a next-gen Mechwarrior game is that yet-to-be-released Crysis mod

division_9
division_9

Closed down because of one game getting OK reviews?. Go and die Microhard

fuego96
fuego96

Maybe someone should resurrect Heavy Gear in the meantime?

gut_eater
gut_eater

My God, let's release a REAL SHADOWRUN game now shall we?! and not this arcade first person shooter crap...

GunneySarge
GunneySarge

Screw Crimson Skies! Mechwarrior is DEAD! Oh Lament this black day!

Barcode711
Barcode711

MechAssault was a slap in the face to everyone who even remotely liked Mechwarrior. Now Microsoft eliminates FASA from existence because they don't sell well, and the one new Battletech game we get is BF3 with preset Mechs: http://www.mechlivinglegends.net Mech fans....looks like we're taking yet another 5-year seat.

DredWulf
DredWulf

the whole point of them closing is though..we'll never see any of those games ever again..which bites.. i own all the old mech warrior games and mechcommander 2 also....shadowrun should have been an rpg like deus ex.

Brother_Beetz
Brother_Beetz

Been waiting and waiting for a 360 mechassualt. Chromehounds the closest we'll get?

kezsim
kezsim

why does Microsoft even bother holding on to the rights to Crimson Skies, it doesn't look like they plan to make another one. (which is a shame, such a great game turned to dust by a neglectful megalomaniac corporation with its own agenda) look at all the other Microsoft titles they've purged from themselves: Voodoo Vince Blinx: the cat of time Are Meach Assault and Crimson Skies next???

Pfilosophy
Pfilosophy

If only they weren't given such horrid direction for story and design for Shadowrun and, instead, made it a game worthy of the franchise' name, this wouldn't have happened! Man, I wrote out a whole binder of ideas for an awesome Shadowrun 360 title and was ready to pitch it at PAX until I learned that it was already being made... as an FPS... what dark news.

ebookerd1
ebookerd1

They should have focused on Crimson skies or another Mechassault. An online only Game should have amazing depth Shadowrun was a serious flop. I know I own it!!! :(

SovietWarrior42
SovietWarrior42

That's sad, just because one game flopped they shut down the whole studio :(

deesnutts25
deesnutts25

i kinda ifgured that shadowrun as a fps would kinda blow, but you have to look at how shadowrun was in its entirity. i was and always will be an rpg of some sort, so why microshaft didn't listen to the fans and make an MMORPG out of it is beyond me. i know at least 1,000 people that would stop everything and get a shadowrun MMO, but theres no funding to make it and anyone that tried has to get approval from microsoft.

king_bobo
king_bobo

It's a shame that it happened that way. I hope that MGS remakes Shadowrun into a better sequel that goes a lot better than it did first time...

ColdfireTrilogy
ColdfireTrilogy

that is terrible. If there is another mech warrior game ... not crapassault ... it better be like they used to because if it is all dumbed down .... lets just say most people wont buy it ...

retrofraction12
retrofraction12

omg..... microsoft is stupid!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! mech warrior still has enough fan basis to late many years. but they had to make stupid airplane games and mech asalt. I WANT MECH WARIIOR 5 now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I really hate microsoft now. They are turning into EA, taking really good sereries and making them crap. this is an outrage and microsoft should burn for this!

jemlyn
jemlyn

Who cares about some stupid "source material" back story from ages ago? Shadowrun is a great shooter, and an excellent online game. Plenty of misguided and unfair reviews put the boots into this title (and in a flow-on effect, it's developer), including this site.

MongolPup
MongolPup

What a shame.....MechWarrior was where it was at. I just couldn't get into MechAssault; it was just too arcade-y compared to the older BattleTech games.

Crusade_17
Crusade_17

maybe if they had made shadowrun a lil bit cheaper when it was realesed and ummm had said it on they box that it was multiplayer only it may hav been okay. But thats kool i guess.....

PSdual_wielder
PSdual_wielder

poor company, I really feel bad for them(honestly, no sarcasm intended). Maybe it would've done better if they released shadowrun 2 years earlier.

thomas10soa
thomas10soa

a lot of people are commenting on how good shadowrun was and i must agree with them it realy was a good game BUT PLEASE GIVE US SOME MORE MAPS

jdowner78
jdowner78

Shadowrun is a great IP, you have to be seriously incompetent to turn it into a less than average FPS which I why they have closed.

Vazzucious
Vazzucious

I really like Shadowrun. It was unique to me, but I think it was nothing more than a research and development project for 360/Vista connectivity. Only difference is that they sold the project as a full fledge game. I mean look at it, after they ship the game they close the studio and distribute them throughout MGS to help with 360/VIsta connectivity, sounds like we were lab rats.

Agarthi
Agarthi

They should never have stopped Mechwarrior, was always a solid PC game, when they decided to move the Franchise to consoles I knew the death of the studio wasnt long off.

JCDenton
JCDenton

Just because shadowrun isn't know for being an action-like game doesn't mean that it can't be one, "nobeaner". Why should companies keep their games locked in to one genre?

nobeaner
nobeaner

To take a license like Shadowrun that is built around Role-Playing, character development and the birth of a new age, and convert it into a FPS that doesn't really incorporate what made the license was seriously a bad idea. How did Fasa come to the conclusion that this was a good idea? I can't imagine market research (done properly with the core audience that KNOWS what Shadowrun is) would have given feedback to ok something like this.

Pedro7_2000
Pedro7_2000

Well, I was one of the 150,000 360 owners and I've loved every minute of gametime in Shadowrun. As good as Counter-Strike was, SR is better IMO. And it's down to less than $40 bucks now for the 360 version. It's easily worth the money.

FiddleStick
FiddleStick

i hope there will be another Crimson Skies. the first one on the Xbox was awesome. Shadowrun has potential if they continue to support it with updates. the people that dont like Shadowrun must not be very good :D

etsmellsme
etsmellsme

GAH. They could have mined Mechwarrior forever, and that would have been fine with me! Shadowrun was a stupid idea.

Megavideogamer
Megavideogamer

So I guess this means no Crimson Skies 2 or Mechassault 3? All because Shadowrun Bombed.

darkscorcher
darkscorcher

Ha, They should have focused the game around building the strength of your character like W.O.W instead of just getting money to buy upgrades, so 10 years ago.

Turisman4
Turisman4

If Microsoft won't develop those properties with the original developers, there's no way they're going to develop it with a bunch of unrelated people. A moment of silence, please, for MechWarrior, Crismon Skies and Shadowrun.

Tuor7
Tuor7

'"Microsoft has redeployed more than half of the FASA employees throughout the Microsoft Game Studios division, strengthening MGS as a whole with their specialized talent developing a cross-platform game and overall experience as veteran world-class game developers," a rep said.' When will these guys learn that cross-platform games almost always suck badly on one or more of the platforms for which they are developed?

roams
roams

I agree with the Vista Only and Shallow use of the license... But frankly the complete lack of Single player or off-line multi-player was the turn off for me. There was also a serious lack of any content... which I only found out from friends so that's not what deterred me. The promise of downloadable content and expensions could have helped em... but people put less and less faith in this as they get lied to more and more. I hope lessons have been learned though... the fan based as tried to influence them and they would not listen. In the end word got out and no one bought it. Stop paying for market research if you're not even willing to listen to your own fans.

Cooyea
Cooyea

MGS needs to bring back Crimson Skies, I'd play that over that sh**y game Ubisoft calls Blazing Angels. Also a MechAssault on the 360 would totally kick ass! given that they stay away from MechAssault 2: Lone Wolf as a reference.

The_Weekend
The_Weekend

FASA was doomed the moment shadowrun was just a shooter ... saw that coming already.

Teroza49
Teroza49

bring back crimson skies !!!

Delius
Delius

The Vista only thing killed it for me too, although I also wasn't overly impressed with the rather shallow use of the Shadowrun licence. I would love to see another shadowrun rpg! (a remake of the genesis version would be brilliant)