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FASA

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'''FASA Corporation''' was an American publisher of [[role-playing game]]sgames, [[wargame]]s wargames and [[boardgame]]s boardgames between 1980 and 2001. Originally the name FASA was an acronym for "[[Freedonia]]n Freedonian Aeronautics and Space Administration", a joking allusion to the [[Marx Brothers]] film [[''Duck Soup]]'', though in later years the letters of the name did not actually stand for anything. This tongue-in-cheek attitude was carried over in humorous self-references in its games. For example, in [[Shadowrun]], a tactical nuclear device was detonated near FASA's offices at 1100 W. Cermak Rd, [[Chicago|Chicago, Illinois]].
FASA first appeared as a [[Traveller (rpg)|Traveller]] licensee, producing supplements for that [[GDW]] [[role-playing game]], especially the work of the Keith Brothers. The company went on to establish itself as major gaming company with the publication of the first licensed [[Star Trek]] [[Role-playing game|RPG]], then several successful original games. Noteworthy lines included [[BattletechBattleTech]] and [[Shadowrun]]. Their Star Trek role-playing supplements and tactical ship game enjoyed popularity outside the gaming hobby as, at the time, official descriptions of the Star Trek universe were not common, and the gaming supplements offered details the fans craved. The wildly successful [[BattletechBattleTech]] line led to a series of [[video games]], some of the first [[virtual reality]] gaming suites called Virtual World (created by a subdivision of the company known at the time of development as 'ESP,' an acronym for 'Extremely [[Secret]] Project') and a Saturday-morning animated [[TV]] show.
Games published by FASA included:
*[[Star Trek RPG (FASA)|Star Trek]]
*[[BattleTech]] ([[MechWarrior]])
*[[Shadowrun]]*[[Renegade Legion]]*[[Earthdawn]]*[[Crimson Skies]]*[[VOR:_The_Maelstrom|VOR the Maelstrom]]*[[Crucible]]*[[Doctor Who RPG|Doctor Who]]
FASA Corporation was founded by [[Jordan Weisman]] and [[L. Ross Babcock]] in 1980 with a starting capital of $350. The two were fellow gamers at the [[Merchant Marine Academy]]. [[Mort Weisman]], Jordan's father, joined the company in 1985 to lead the company's operational management , having sold his book publishing business, [[Swallow Press]].{{Inote|GameSpy|GameSpy}} Under the new commercial direction and with the Mort's capital injection, the company diversified into books and miniature figures. After consulting their UK distributor, [[Chart Hobby Distributors]], FASA licensed the manufacture of its Battletech figurines to [[Miniature Figurines]] (also known as Minifigs). FASA would later acquire the US figures manufacturer [[Ral Partha]], which was the US manufacturer of Minifigs. While Mort ran the paper and metal based sides of the business, the company's founders focused on the development of computer-based games. They were particularly interested in virtual reality but also developed desktop computer games. When [[Microsoft]] acquired the [[FASA Interactive]] subsidiary, Babcock went with that company. After the sale of Virtual World, Jordan turned his attention to the founding of a new games venture called [[WizKids]].
FASA unexpectedly ceased active operations in early [[2001]], but still exists as a corporation holding [[intellectual property|IP]] (intellectual property rights) which it licenses to other publishers. Contrary to popular belief, the company did not go bankrupt. Allegedly the owners decided to quit while the company was still financially sound in a market they perceived as going downhill. Mort Weisman had been talking of retirement for some years and his confidence in the future of the paper-based games business was low. He considered the intellectual property of FASA to be of high value but did not wish to continue working as he had been for the last decade or more. Unwilling to wrestle with the complexities of dividing up the going concern, the owners issued a press release on [[25 January]] 2001 announcing the immediate closure of the business.
The [[BattleTech]], [[Shadowrun]] and [[Earthdawn]] properties were licensed off to [[WizKids]], who in turn licensed their publication to [[Fantasy Productions|FanPro LLC]]. However, the [[Earthdawn]] license was recently returned to FASA. [[Living Room Games]] publishes [[Earthdawn]] (Second Edition) while RedBrick Limited now holds a license to continue publishing First Edition material. [[Crimson Skies]] was originally developed by [[Zipper Interactive]] under the FASA Interactive brand in late 2000 and used under license by FASA; FASA Interactive had been purchased by Microsoft, so naturally the rights for Crimson Skies stayed with Microsoft. Rights to the [[Miniature figure|miniature]]s miniatures game [[VOR:_The_Maelstrom|VOR the Maelstrom]] reverted to the designer Mike "Skuzzy" Nielson, but it has not been republished in any form due partly to legal difficulties.
==References==
*[http://uk.gamespy.com/articles/697/697083p18.html 'GameSpy Retro: Developer Origins', uk.gamesy.com (2006)].