Magic: The Gathering – Tactics: It's gotta suck ass, right?

Well, normally I’m a huge cheerleader for all things Magic.  Wizards of the Coast is at times a contentious company, and their customer base tend to have strong opinions one way or the other, and are characterized by periodic mutiny.  Often you’ll hear cries of “the sky is falling” from among hard core Magic geeks, even as they shell out big bucks to continue their addiction.

Maybe all these non-Magic-Online video game spin-offs are just my pet peeve, or maybe it’s my turn to cry havoc and trash talk the hand that feeds me.  Either way, I view these video game ventures as pure wastes of money and resources which could otherwise have been spent making the actual game more enjoyable.  It’s as if there’s some wing of WotC Brand Management or Marketing who have decided that acquiring new players is where it’s at… it’s a microcosm of the mentality built into industrial capitalism itself; that companies must ever expand, constantly seeking new markets, higher profits, more money.

Don’t get me wrong.  I want Wizards to succeed.  But they got where they are by making an amazing table-top strategy card game about resource management and combinatorics.  They’re pretty mediocre when it comes to programming, and they’ve had an abysmal track record when it comes to these 3rd party video-game-esque ventures.

Anyway, here’s the fucking trailer for the latest worst face of Magic, which they’re giving the straight-out-of-someone’s-ass title “Magic: The Gathering – Tactics”:

Magic: the Gathering – Tactics

Not a lot to go on.  Now that I watch it again, I’m wondering if this is primarily my bias against such ventures at work here.  But I can’t help but cringe when I see a shitty 3D shivan dragon.  What a crock of crap.

I’m guessing this is going to be like wizard chess or some kind of Final Fantasy: Tactics sort of weirdness.

I just wish the money had been spent on, say, commissioning  multiple artworks for a bunch of the new commons in an upcoming set the way they did back in the day.

Meh.  What do you all think?

5 thoughts on “Magic: The Gathering – Tactics: It's gotta suck ass, right?”

  1. I agree, I could care less about this game. I’m not into tactics games however so that might feed my lack of enthusiasm. In order to create spin off games I think magic has to make the story matter more so it has relevance in cross platforms. Since we love the card game magic, we don’t really care about other game formats with the same name.

  2. I actually disagree. Duels of the Planeswalkers is the top hit on the Xbox live store and has done its job in raking in new customers. I have actually met a few players who started playing Magic through duels so first hand I can see how wizards reach out to the community of Xbox gamers has worked. They are the audience that wizards probabaly have the most stake in. I haven’t heard much about Tactics but WOTC has given me almost no reason in the past year or two to question big decisions. They have done a stellar job on ideas and execution and I would expect the same on tactics. Simply put, R&D is doing a fantastic job.

  3. @pedro, i think it needs to be VERY clear that this project or Duels or any other video game version of mtg wasn’t designed or implemented by WotC R&D–at all. aside from some minor guidance from WotC, this concept (and duels) was implemented completely by a third party.

    the business model we’re looking at here isn’t so much targeted at growing the player base–though this is obviously part of and a consequence of these activites.

    what we’re seeing is the mickey-mouse-ization of magic. WotC is becoming a license-intense company, generating cash flow through other companies building games and slapping magic related images and names on the cover. when i say mickey mouse-ization, i don’t mean “dumbing down”–i just mean an emulation of what disney did/does with its animated characters.

    so far as appeal to the consumer base, we’re finding that the magic-playing community is really vast in tastes. it’s a squishy market. creating games like this or duels is just a reflection of the very varied appeal the base-game has for people.

    @norm; i agree. the storyline is completely irrelevant so there’s not much appeal for checking out a 3d version of the game. there’s no pull. maybe if WotC made a decision to locate a design studio (i’d love a Square version of mtg) and develop an intense storyline like we see in full RPGs, they could create the storyline there. a solidification of a consistent narrative would be nice.

  4. totally agree. I think it’s dumb to assume that just because we like one product (cards) that we will like a game that features those characters (tactics game)

    See also: Pokemon / Pokemon Puzzle League

  5. To be fair, I loved Pokemon Puzzle League. I’ll probably get the game to check out, but my expectations aren’t high. If it turns out awesome, then all the better.

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