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.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email

Join the conversation
There are 116 comments about this story
116 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
GameSpot has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to toxic conduct in comments. Any abusive, racist, sexist, threatening, bullying, vulgar, and otherwise objectionable behavior will result in moderation and/or account termination. Please keep your discussion civil.

Avatar image for vulpine

I never had the claimed problems with the PC version of Crimson Skies (and absolutely loved it!) I was never able to get it to play on Win7 or later and would absolutely love to see a re-release of both previous versions as well as a 'revival.'

Avatar image for ezfluke

Well, it's about time they revive CRIMSON SKIES! It has been long awaited by many old school XBOX gamers. All the old Aces will surely flock to this game! Watch out one dots! Thanks for bringing it back it!

Avatar image for BigheadNo1

Loved Crimson Skies on my old Xbox, I wouldn't mind a PORT of High Road to Revenge AND a second game

Avatar image for Ultra_Taco

YES :)

Avatar image for jjjrrr11211

Nanovor Is So Cool!!!

Avatar image for Sechu

It is a superb game. I am glad to see that MS will give it a go on the 360.

Avatar image for SR71halo

I just got the original Xbox version the other day, it's a great game. It's about time Microsoft resurrects some of their older franchises.

Avatar image for Red-Beard18

Can't wait! I loved the original XBX version.

Avatar image for Zanderthe1st

i wanna 2nd original CRIMSON SKIES

Avatar image for NeonNinja


Avatar image for zekere

Make a Mechwarrior movie, fasa ! It will blast transformers into outer space !!!

Avatar image for monson21502

crimson skies was the first game i ever played online. i soon found myself searching for any game that xboxlive online play on it. crimson skies was awsome!!!

Avatar image for XanderZane

About time. I've been screaming for them to make a Crimson Skies sequel since the XBox 360 launched. I'm still waiting for another MechAssault and Links game. I don't know why Microsoft have gotten these titles going for the XBox 360.

Avatar image for rann89

I thought Crimson Skies fell off the radar. I was confused for years because I never understood why no one ever brought it up. I'm so psyched that they're finally going to update it. With Crimson Skies taken care of, all they need now is a revamp of Chrome Hounds and my mind can rest peacefully.

Avatar image for MitchBAM06

Crimson Skies=YES Shadowrun (FPS)= Bleh Shadowrun (RPG)= YESSSSSSS

Avatar image for Shinkada


Avatar image for Khalathwyr

At least Weisman acknowledges that Shadowrun as an FPS was the wrong way to go. Some IPs are what they are, and Shadowrun is an RPG. Making an RPG is where you'll get the majority of your sales because that's where the majority of Shadowrun's fans are. Can't wait for a Shadowrun RPG game and also for the new Mechwarrior!

Avatar image for vulpine

@Khalathwyr: You know, a Shadowrun MMORPG would be great! Read many of the novels when that game was popular. Really hard for a non-techie to visualize such a virtual world, though, so GMs had some problems with it.

Avatar image for H3llrazah420

i loved crimson skies they should of came out with one sooner

Avatar image for ChidoriBoyU

i wish the title had been "skies of arcadia revival"

Avatar image for shawn7324


Avatar image for rohit9891

This guy is awesome!!!both mechwarrior and crimson's gonna be great!!!

Avatar image for The_Owner

Does this mean it will be multi-platform? I enjoyed the game on the Xbox, but never got a 360. I also know some of the team that worked on that game are working on Dark Void. This is definitely great news.

Avatar image for polsci1503

Another Crimson Skies would be great :)

Avatar image for warp10ck

I really enjoyed the first two Crimson Skies so this is good news

Avatar image for BloodMist

If they were to release another Crimson Skies game that's like the classic PC one, i'd be ecstatic.

Avatar image for doubalfa

the first big xbox live game uhhhh

Avatar image for -HCMF-

I would love to see a full on Crimson Skies sequil

Avatar image for GeigerdolylWodd

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."

Please tell me that some of those devious plans involve letting us play as a girl pilot and occasionally hop out to use an out house with her...

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

Thanks a lot GERSTMAN! What a jerk.

Ironically enough this is the only game I play on a day to day basis never COD never Halo 3 nor any other FPS just Shadowrun. Consequentially my fragdoll FRIEND dropped me for that.

Sorry it... got a little under my skin.

If they do make another Shadowrun I want to have some interactivity with the environment. For instance on the Powerstation level in the office?

There is some plumbing how cool would it be to actually be able to shoot those pipes open and have some blinding steam pour out
Avatar image for GeigerdolylWodd


or to be able to not only shoot the lighting fixtures down but to actually have the lighting affect the lighting of the office if you were to shoot out the fluorescent light bulbs.

Also how about some destructibility to the maps' environments. To such extent that you can shoot out the ground underneath you or...even someone else...

Heck maybe even summoned Minions could claw and burst their way through walls to go after an opponent on the other side.

So many ideas for how they could make the sequel better. If they do do Shadowrun (FPS 2) I don't want a rehash I already got Shadowrun (FPS 1), and while I like the gameplay it 's sequel needs to evolve beyond what 1 offers.

Also why can't we have a little bit more choice as to the models how 'bout some female versions of each race and some ethnic variants within each race not just the same 4 models with a palette swap and little to no difference other than Lineage or RNA

Will there be a map creator/editor included too? Cause I want one, End rant
Avatar image for GeigerdolylWodd

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Avatar image for chibi-acer

That's great stuff. MechWarrior, Crimson Skies, and Shadowrun are all great series. The mech games took a bit of a beating on the Xbox, and Shadowrun (which I still enjoyed) fell short of it's potential, but I'd love to see more games for both.

Avatar image for ldonyo

I would love to see this brought back!

Avatar image for CrackerMcGee

Another Crimson Skies would be great, with more plane customization and RPG elements. Also a little 3rd person shooting aspect, jump out of your plane to run to AAA or hijack other planes, raid the other teams zeppelin in multiplayer to plant dynamite then parachute out and get picked up by other plane and then man the tail gun. Steal the bacon with planes and on foot. etc

Avatar image for falconclan

@WolfGrey While powerstone 1 and 2 would be great if they remade (even better if they made a 3) I think its unlikely, at least for a while. For whatever reason, capcom decided to see which series they would revive by releasing them on PSP, i believe they even said they'd bring powerstone back if it sold well on PSP. However it did not. Maybe in a few years :?

Avatar image for WolfGrey

@JayyRadd08 Dude you just made my day. A Power Stone 2 remake on the ps3 and xbox36 would be god.Those games were so addictive and online would be nice.Would certainly beat the hell out of smash brothers brawl.I miss it.

Avatar image for JayyRadd08

YES!! A new crimson skies is what i've been hoping for! now all i need is a Power Stone remake and i'll be complete.

Avatar image for redstormrisen

@WillT12345 Yet it did nothing with the massive expanse that is the Shadowrun setting.

Avatar image for scarface_dm

The more great games coming to 360 the better ! :D

Avatar image for WillT12345

I am one of the few, but SHADOWRUN was a great game. Very addictive, Class based, counterstrike style rounds, and mix and match attributes/weapons system. It should of been released at a budget price and it might of caught on, plus halo 3 being 2 months away didn't help it either.

Avatar image for FidelSarcastro

I cant wait to see another Crimson Skies... multiplayer for the XBOX was one of my favs, second only to Halo.

Avatar image for falconclan

Great news, Crimson Skies was stellar.

Avatar image for FightingFool

SWEET! Been wanting a sequel for a while.

Avatar image for akhauskinz

I would rather have a Freelancer sequel, but crimson skies is next on my list.

Avatar image for spacer69

I want a Mechassault 1 revival ! With A new River City blue and yellow matches with Timberwolves and Atlas. Pancake!!!!!!!!

Avatar image for Rougehunter

First came Starcraft 2, then Diablo 3, new Alien vs predator, Mechwarrior, and now Crimson skies. Is the the revival of the 90s or something. Awesome news

Avatar image for sportwarrior

Just make Crimson Skies multiplatform (PS3) and I'll be extremely happy.

Avatar image for Ranma_X_basic

THERE IS A GAMING GOD!!! I was hoping and praying crimson skies would get revived and i say it's about time and long over due. it was one of my favorite games on the original xbox and still is. Now with this and mechwarrior getting revived that's two games to look forward too.

Avatar image for kungfuj0

I loved Crimson Skies on Xbox. It is the best flying game I have played in a LOOOOOONG time. I'd love to see another on the 360. I wasn't that much off into the whole MechWarrior thing, but I did love MechAssault, and if another game along MA's line is coming, then I'd definitely be interested.