Crimson Skies revival planned

Q&A: Smith & Tinker founder and FASA IP creator Jordan Weisman discusses his new kid-friendly game Nanovor, future of famed tabletop RPG licenses.


Earlier this month, FASA Corp. founder Jordan Weisman reemerged with news that his latest company Smith & Tinker had joined with Piranha Games on a new installment in the venerable MechWarrior franchise. The announcement was made possible through a deal Weisman made with Microsoft in 2007, in which the notable game designer licensed the rights to make games based on FASA's lauded IP, which also includes Crimson Skies and Shadowrun, through 2015.

MechWarrior isn't the only FASA IP Smith & Tinker hopes to revive.
MechWarrior isn't the only FASA IP Smith & Tinker hopes to revive.

And if Weisman has it his way, MechWarrior isn't the only FASA IP that will see a revival in the near future. Speaking to GameSpot, Weisman confirmed that a new installment in the Crimson Skies franchise may be not far off. Originally conceived at FASA Corp. as a tabletop role-playing game, Crimson Skies first saw release on the PC in 2000, before migrating to the original Xbox in 2003, where it received exemplary critical approbation.

"I wanted to start with MechWarrior because it really struck me as the one that had the largest existing fan base and it had been the longest since a MechWarrior title was done right," he said. "Most of my time is invested in [Smith & Tinker], but in the wee hours of the night, I spend time thinking about the older properties. I think Crimson Skies is something we'd love to get some energy around, and we have some devious plans...we'll see if those materialize."

Nanovor has a range of freaky critters.
Nanovor has a range of freaky critters.

The same can not be said for Shadowrun, however. "Shadowrun was recently...not treated well...shall we say. So the thought was let a little time pass before approaching that one again," Weisman noted. Shortly before Microsoft pulled the plug on Weisman's FASA Studios in 2007, the techno-punk franchise with origins in the pen-and-paper RPG genre was reimagined as a first-person shooter for the Xbox 360 and PC, receiving mostly lackluster reviews in the process.

As with MechWarrior, Weisman doesn't plan to have Smith & Tinker do the heavy lifting when it comes to bringing additional FASA IP to market. Instead, the noted designer plans to serve as a creative consultant on the games, leaving the day-to-day duties of developing and publishing the titles to Smith & Tinker's partners.

"The older properties--MechWarrior, Crimson Skies, Shadowrun, those kinds of things--are kind of grandfathered in," he said. "They're not really what we're all about, and we won't be developing and publishing those ourselves as a result. We'll be, like we are now, talking to other publishers and finding good homes for those. But they're not what Smith & Tinker at its core is about."

The strategy lies in building the most complementary Nanosquad.
The strategy lies in building the most complementary Nanosquad.

So what is Smith & Tinker about, then? Having briefly surfaced in December 2007, the company has since been keeping a low profile as it launches its first wholly owned property, Nanovor. Aimed squarely at the 7-to-12-year-old demographic, Nanovor is a free-to-play, microtransaction-supported online game that went live this weekend.

A strategy-oriented collectible card game at heart, Nanovor sees players collecting the titular microscopic monsters in an effort to build a fighting force with which they can battle up to three other competitors. More than 100 Nanovor in various states of evolution are available, with gamers able to supplement their squads by purchasing booster packs using in-game currency called Nanocash.

Beyond the online game, Smith & Tinker felt it was important to also have a tangible element in the form of a handheld device. The device in question, called the Nanoscope, is expected to launch at retailers such as Toys "R" Us and Best Buy this October for $49.99.

Up to four Nanoscopes can synch up at once.
Up to four Nanoscopes can synch up at once.

"The organizing principle of the company is looking at how younger and younger kids' lives have become bifurcated," commented Weisman. "They have this attraction to online, which has ever-fresh content, wide social circle, any asset you have you can enhance inside of the games. Plastic just doesn't do that stuff. Yet, there's still nothing more interesting to them than another 10 year old in the same room."

Players can synch up the Nanoscope with their online account, letting them bring their roster of creatures offline to compete in single-player minigame challenges. The device also incorporates the battling component of the online game, letting up to four friends attach their devices for offline competitions.

More information on Nanovor is available through Smith & Tinker's official Web site for the game.

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Avatar image for MrNib

I loved Crimson skies, I remember playing it with my Sidewinder Force Feedback 2 joystick, the thing still works, mabey I'll be able to use it again in the future!

Avatar image for bertm1975

Thank God for Crimson Skies. I still have it and love to play it. Really captures the 40s adventure serials like Raiders of the Lost Ark did. Hope they keep it the same and I'll be sure to pick it up.

Avatar image for UnamedThing

Horray! I loved Crimson Skies!

Avatar image for athenian29

I'm going to just call them "Tith & Sminker." It sounds funnier. Spoonerisms always do. :D

Avatar image for skinny_man_69

Crimson Skies came with my original Xbox and I couldn't stop playing it. Great to hear about another one :)

Avatar image for sonicmask

if microsoft doesnt mess this up, this might be the 3rd good game on the whole entire console!

Avatar image for WolfGrey

Crimson Skies: I have been waiting for a new one for so long.Good luck guys, bring us the good one. Mechwarrior: Mechassualt 1 was the last decent mechwarrior game.Vulture user here.Owned with that thing.Either way i just hope it keeps some of mechassualt's properties but bring back and spruce up the good ol customization we know and love.I miss setting weapons on my mechs and actually see them there and of course all the original mechs and hopefully some new ones.

Avatar image for nickythenewt21

Crimson Skies?!?!?!?!!?!?! Hell to the power of yeah!!!!!!!!!!

Avatar image for CwlHeddwyn

Crimson Skies on the Xbox is an AWESOME game- the 77% score Gamespot gave to it is a CRIME against VIDEO GAMES. Anyone who played the game said it was at least deserved a 85% rating , the definitive flying game on the Xbox console and a TOP GAME all round.

Avatar image for WalterPeck

Looks like I've got a little engine fire.

Avatar image for snake289

@ Humorguy_basic Lol I remember when Gamespot said that Return to Castle Wolfenstein came out in 2003 because of the Xbox version instead of the original version which came out in 2001 on the PC.

Avatar image for Un4givingAsault

Loved the first one, Crimsons Skies is a blast

Avatar image for Humorguy_basic

Quote from Gamespot: "Crimson Skies migrated to the original Xbox in 2003, where it received exemplary critical approbation". What they should have said, if they were not so biased against PC and console-centric nowadays: "Crimson Skies was released initially on PC in 2000, where it received exemplary critical approbation."!!!! Gamespot reports now as though video gaming only began in about 2002 - and anything that happened before then, especially on PC, somehow gets forgotten! As a PC gamer I find it so frustrating how PC gaming is treated now by this site! Oh, and someone mentioned the fact that Crimson Skies only got 77% on Gamespot, and that's why they quoted the XBox version, but on every major gaming site at the time CS got 85-95% scores, so the 77% was about Gamespot's inadequate reviewing rather than the quality of the game. Thing haven't changed much, have they?!

Avatar image for chappy_man

hmmm, i dunno if a crimson skys would hold up now, and i am a bit iffy on the mech warrior one

Avatar image for ZedX-14Pilot

Best gaming news all year, for me anyways. Crimson Skies is my favorite game of all time. I do hope they bring it to the 360 AND the PC. The XBox version was sweet, but I do think the PC version was the best. Either way, this guy is resurrecting two of the greatest gaming franchises EVER, and I don't think there will be any better news over the rest of this year than this.

Avatar image for Cdscottie

@newb16 I'm well aware of the 2003 release on the Xbox (I do own it) but the way gamespot has this article written, it makes it sound as if it is the first one to be released.

Avatar image for DP1130

WiiNut6493, You don't look at anything more than face value do ya. Xstagg was prolly referring to one of the best GAMING experienced he's had. Learn to look at things alittle deeper. As far as I'm concerned WiiNutt you say get a life, I say to you get an education. Who are you to judge someone else's interests???

Avatar image for plastikpanzer

Crimson Skies was probably the game that proved to be the best fun in split-screen multiplayer after Goldeneye in my opinion. Can't wait to see the new version!

Avatar image for Trogeton

Sweet this was one of the best air plan shooting games I have ever played and great graphics

Avatar image for mforbesy

Crimson Skies was one of the best online games from the original xbox. I am greatly looking forward to this. I hope they bring back the paranha that shoots lightning.

Avatar image for xstaggerxleex

just dont screw the controls... please... Crimson Skies was one of the 1st games I played online MP with, one of the best exp in my life... this and Halo 2...

Avatar image for Imperator2007

Thats some pretty sweet news. Crimson Skies was just plain fun, I really liked the unique take on the time period. It was all around an amazing game. Mechwarrior was also one of my favorite franchises of gaming, and one of the first games I played religiously was a Mechwarrior title. I don't like to consider MechAssault as part of the franchise because they really dropped the ball on those. I sincerely hope that these two IP's are done justice. I can't wait to get my hands on these games.

Avatar image for andrew_ribbons

Crimson Skies on the PC was a wonderful combat sim with excellent RPG elements and a great story. I really would relish a return from the grave for that IP, horray!

Avatar image for jackakhan

why oh why cant we get a "true" shadowrun game?!?! An action/rpg hybrid, even an fps in the vein of Fallout 3 (can you imagine what Bethesda could do with a great franchise like Shadowrun?). The Genesis Shadowrun was one of my all time faves, and although the latest (underated) version was good, it doesnt take advantage of that great Shadowrun mythos.

Avatar image for bonzoso21

Crimson Skies was a great game both single-player and online, and I've been hoping for several years that they would revive it this generation. However, seeing as how many readers probably never played the original, maybe the phrase "exemplary critical approbation" should link to the 8.9 Xbox version rather than the 7.7 PC version.

Avatar image for kvan33


Avatar image for CVM_123

who cares!!!!

Avatar image for Justforfun44

I would like to fly the Crimson Skies again!

Avatar image for diabloakaSAHA

oh dear, the only crimson skies game ive ever palyed was the first one back in 2001 and it was very good , not interested anymore in playing crimson skies or blazing angels.

Avatar image for WormyTheWorm

i play a lot of multiplayer shooters online and have to say.. out of all of them i would rate Shadowrun as one of the best. Does not deserve the bad press it got and still gets

Avatar image for SR71halo

Nice. I never played the first one but maybe I should give it a shot.

Avatar image for nurse_tsunami

I can't wait for the new MechWarrior and I look forward to seeing a new Crimson Skies. I really enjoyed playing MechWarrior back in the day!

Avatar image for DarknessLion

Finnaly one of my favorite xbox games makes a comeback. :)

Avatar image for NuKkU

thats awesome :D

Avatar image for master_zidane

Good to know that they're reviving a great IP!

Avatar image for jmace1

"Crimson Skies migrated to the original Xbox in 2003, where it received exemplary critical approbation." Really gamespot??? Can't you just say it received good reviews. That's the most ridiculous wording I've ever seen.

Avatar image for baystatethrashr

good news all around

Avatar image for newb16

@Cdscottie In 2003 there was another version of the game that came out, the xbox version is called Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge.

Avatar image for WithoutGraceXII

Oh my gosh, drop everything and make a new Crimson Skies! It is at the top of my list of games that deserve a sequel.

Avatar image for brok

Crimson Skies on xbox had great music and atmosphere, but if you've only played that version, you haven't played CS at all. The PC version is so much more a complete game, and this coming from a console fanboy too. Any further CS games better be more like the PC version- more believable back stories, zeppelins draping their charred carcasses across landscapes, instant action, and no stupid wild wild west style walking or slithering machines for god's sake!

Avatar image for TripSe7en

Wow, after reading all the posts it seems like I am not alone; this game really opened a lot of eyes for XBL! The first game that got me going on XBL was Wolfenstein, but Crimson Skies was the first to really embody XBL IMO.

Avatar image for TripSe7en

Man I hope the bring back Crimson Skies for the 360! That was one of the first games to really get me going on XBL! It was so much fun to play back then and it was actually a very good game!

Avatar image for Cdscottie

Alright, I know that Gamespot has become more console oriented over the past several years but why mention that the game "migrated" over to the original Xbox in 2003 when the original Crimson Skies released onto the PCs in 2000?

Avatar image for m4rkoca

What's this with reviving great franchises? Devs can't come up with new ideas or they just want the money from the old fame....

Avatar image for SirSpoon84


Avatar image for SkidRow18

its about time to give fans what they are looking for

Avatar image for DoomZaW

A new Crimson skies would surely be awesome! :D

Avatar image for Rey_Sword

yeah crimson skies