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Chat with Catalyst Game Labs

So, for the first of our extra Con coverage, I had a talk with Herb Beas and Jason Hardy from Catalyst Game Labs about what they've got going on for GenCon and just new updates in general.

So I first talked with Herb Beas, who is a line developer for Catalsyt's BattleTech games. Though he's mostly doing BattleTech, the big news for Catalyst, of course, is Leviathans. The long-anticipated game of massive airship combat has finally been released. Here at GenCon, they've got the starters here, along with both the French and the British fleets. The models are a lot bigger than I expected. The larger ships are probably a good 6" long, really filling out over the 3-hex base they take up on the board. The resin models have pretty good detail on them and the painting is nice for out-of-the-box paintjobs, but is still nice and basic that you could just add in your own touches and flairs as you saw fit.

For BattleTech, it is the "Year of the Star League" where they're going back and re-visiting a lot of the core, original material and updating it for the current play environment. For example, they've re-issued the core weapons manual from the original BattleTech series. It's a feeling of getting "back to the base" to draw in more players and hopefully getting back those nostalgic for the game originally. They can return with all of the options they remember now updated to fit the play environment.

Next I chatted with Jason Hardy, Shadowrun line developer. For Shadowrun, Catalyst has been putting out a lot of material this last year, and they've all got it featured here at GenCon. There's things like the Runner's Toolkit, which included lots of maps and floor plans for buildings, plus a booklet to compile plot info and other gaming hooks. There's the ShadowRun 2050, which, much like BattleTech is doing, is bringing the game back somewhat to the original setting and helping get people who may have gotten out of the game get a nice starting point back in with the Shadowrun 4th edition rules. But they're not all looking back, they also have the Clutch of Dragons book, which continues the storyline as the next expansion for the game.

Here exclusively for the convention, they've got the Runner's Black Book, a wonderfully-presented set of pdf products, in full color that's full of all types of gear and other things every good street punk could want. Then they've got both the Gun and Vehicle & Drone decks, which give you stat cards for a lot of different pieces of gear from the world. So you can just have a stat card for your new bike, instead of having to write out all the stats or have to keep your book around.

One interesting bit that Jason talked about was how the RPG was going to tie in with the suddenly-successful Shadowrun Online game. The things players do in that game will help shape how the world, as a whole, advances. Jason was pretty excited to have that part where it's tying in both the video gamers along with the "traditional" tabletop gamers (a group that can, at times, not really get along very well). It's a project that will be very interesting to see how it proceeds in the coming months and years.

So there you have it. My thanks to Herb and Jason for their time and can't wait to be posting up even more releases from Catalyst coming soon.