The latest on Targets status
Author: The Judgeīs Corner Đ 17.10.2000
Before I start, first and foremost this is NOT official. This is what I have cobbled together from various sources. From past conversations with Mike Murtha the ex-head of Target US, snippets from people at Paradox, comments from guys who used to be with the studio, info from other Sharpshooters and finally tidbits from others in the industry. Itīs mostly second and third hand knowledge so take it with a grain of salt. I am simply writing and posting this on my site because I get over a dozen emails a week asking me about this and itīs a pain to keep answering the same questions :) If you find out further information please let me know so I can revise this document.
I hope it helps
Latest update October 17 reflecting on Mike Murthaīs departure and other tidbits
How did we get here ?
Target Games AB, the parent company you usually refer to when saying "Target Games" was a Swedish based company, with a seat on the Swedish stock exchange and consisted of a number of different divisions. There was a CD-Rom game division (Computer games), a family games / candy division called "Prinz August" and "Target Adventure" which controlled the miniatures business (Chronopia/Warzone) and related products. The Adventure division consisted of Target UK, Target IRE and Target US. Target UK was the design studio and non North American sales HQ. Target IRE was a casting (pewter and resin) plant in Ireland and Target US, which was once known as Heartbreaker Hobbies, had pewter casting facilities and the offices for North American distribution.
The financial troubles came about as a result of massive sales problems with Prinz August. My understanding is they lost their 2 biggest distributors and sales plummeted. I forget the exact numbers but it was a drop to around 30% of the previous yearīs sales. A BIG DROP. This effectively killed Prinz August and brought Target AB to its knees. Target AB went into court protected status (US equiv - Chapter 11) and started restructuring. At this point recovery looked possible and all were proceeding on that basis. The CD-Rom business was spun off as Paradox Entertainment, a new entity. Proceeds of this were to pay off debts and get things restarted but not as much was raised as had been hoped. Prinz August was cut loose and put into full bankruptcy.
The impact on Target Adventure (the point of all this) was staff was not paid in UK or IRE for 2 months and eventually both IRE and UK were closed. Indications/comments were that they were not making money although that has been argued from various standpoints. I guess it depends largely on if you look at each of the elements separately or the Adventure division together as a whole. Target US operated on itīs own at full capacity as a separate entity supported by itīs own sales. The UK staff (lead by John Grant and John Robertson) attempted to buy the rights to Chronopia and Warzone from Target AB for starting up a new company but no agreement was reached - probably largely over the issue of the rights other than for miniatures games (movies, computer games, etc). John Grant, John Robertson and most of the staff went on to create I-Kore and the new game Void. The intellectual rights to Chronopia and Warzone eventually went to Paradox and Target US was to continue with the minis games.
Target AB is now an empty husk and is nothing more than a seat on the Swedish stock exchange (referred to as "Target Investments AB"). As getting such a seat is an expensive, difficult proceeding the seat itself is worth quite a bit and apparently the remaining creditors/investors wish to sell the seat to a company desiring such a seat or start up a new IT based company using it.
Where are we now ?
Latest Update (OCT 17):
I have heard from a number of people who have tried to call the Target US main phone number that it is not in operation. Combined with the departure of Mike Murtha to greener pastures this is likely evidence of the final death knell of Target US. Mikeīs departure left Lance running the shop and there was no evidence of further product development or capital infusions to correct things.
Paradox owns/controls the rights to Warzone, Chronopia, Kult and the Mutant Chronicles. They were "allowing Target US to use those rights" to produce the miniatures games and apparently have/had a small minority ownership in them (5% ???). This is primarily because they are only concerned with the digital domain (computer / video games) yet it is still in their best interest if the miniatures games gets produced thereby maintaining a target market (no pun intended).
Presently, I hear that Paradox is negotiating with "multiple" parties regarding the liscencing of the miniature lines. I do not know who they are and I do not know how these talks are going (and itīs none of my business to be honest). I am not currently aware of what has happened with the current assets (molds, equipment, digital media, etc). I suspect that if Paradox does not currently have control of it they are striving to do so (it is their property afterall). It will be quite interesting to see what comes of these "negotiations". If someone emerges from the chaos to continue these games then that would be great. I donīt see anything happening real quickly though.
UPDATED / REWRITTEN:
Well, pretty bleak right now isnīt it ?? If Paradox can get someone else to liscence the rights and continue casting figs with new sculpts added in then we could see some fresh life injected. However, with Rackhamīs Confrontation hitting US shelves, WHFB 6th edition released, and with VOR and VOID growing in popularity, what market there was is rapidly disappearing. Even if Warzone and Chronopia came back full force with new printed and miniature products retaillers and consumers would probably ignore it. Thatīs a shame as Warzone had a huge following and Chronopia was a far superior fantasy game then any out there or waiting in the wings (and yes that includes Crucible)
I of course will do my best to update this as I hear more info.
Where do you get more info ?
The best source of info is the official Warzone and Chronopia forums. These were moved from Targets servers to Paradoxīs and can be found at warzone.paradoxplaza.com You can also find out info about Paradox itself and their computer games (including Warzone Online) at www.paradoxplaza.com
Again, for more official info contact Paradox or Target US, this is all based on second and third hand info at best. If you do so I strongly suggest you do so politely as an interested gamer or retailer, that will get far more attention then any ranting or demands ever will. Check the Paradox site for contact information and TRY to contact Target US by phone at (610) 626-2259. (no they do not currently have their own website and they are notoriously bad at responding to emails)
As for our group:
My group and I continue to play and support Chronopia in the Atlanta area. Itīs still one of our favorite games and we intend to release to our site our own additions. These include the proposals we had sent into Mike for Chronopia 2 - what we thought should be done. These have now been sent into Paradox with a request for official recognition of it. This is not a whole rewrite, just some improvements to wait, use of DAM modifiers (make addition of STR universal and more important), etc. We also have a new race developed using the Confrontation Wolfen figs as well as Shepīs new house of Elves, the Shadow Elves. All of this will be available this fall on the site as well as new fig pics and battle reports.
With that said, our travel and distant support is being reduced and we are sticking to local and internet support for the time being. Nonetheless, if you have Chronopia questions fire us an email at email@example.com and we will give you the best unofficial answer we can :)
We never were big Warzone players and our efforts in the sci-fi area are going more towards VOR primarily and some Void. We do continue to support Warzone through both area gaming and helping Paradox staff out as requested with W-O. How much that will continue will be based largely on how things go with Paradox and how much support we get.
- Dave "FC" PooleFirst version from 23.03.2008. Last version from 24.03.2008.
Article from ChronopiaWorld.com