West End Games (WEG) was a company that makes board, role playing, and war games. It was founded in 1974 in New York, but later moved to Honesdale, Pennsylvania. Its current and past product lines include Paranoia, Torg, Shatterzone, Men In Black, DC Universe, Star Wars, The World of Indiana Jones, Junta, Necroscope, Tales from the Crypt, Bloodshadows, and Metabarons.
Around 1987, the company acquired the license to produce a Star Wars RPG . Since the films had been released some years ago, and there was (at the time) no new media forthcoming, the success of these books came as a surprise. Their early work on the Star Wars Roleplaying Game established much of the groundwork of what later became the Star Wars Expanded Universe, and their sourcebooks are still frequently cited by Star Wars fans as reference material. Lucasfilm considered their sourcebooks so authoritative that when Timothy Zahn was hired to write what became the Thrawn trilogy, he was sent a box of West End Games Star Wars books and directed to base his novel on the background material presented within. Zahn's trilogy, in turn, renewed interest in the franchise and provided many sales for West End Games. In the early 1990s, the FidoNet Star Wars Echo hosted a message forum for playing the Star Wars RPG on computer bulletin board systems, and some current and future West End Games freelancers took part.
Another contributing factor to the failure of West End Games may have been the company's failure to establish an internet presence even after most other game companies had done so years earlier; the company's only acknowledgment of the web-based community was a contact e-mail address through America Online. Although these might have played a part in weakening their market position, the culminating event involves mismanagement between West End Games and its then parent company, shoe importer Bucci Retail Group. When the parent company filed for bankruptcy, West End Games could not survive the process and had to go under as well.
No longer considered stable, all of West End's licenses to produce work based upon various settings were terminated, most significantly the Star Wars license which had produced most of the company's business. West End was forced to liquidate most of its assets, including a large backstock of unsold books. Ironically, the company finally created a web-site while in bankruptcy proceedings in order to facilitate the liquidating of their stock.
However, despite appearances West End Games did not disappear. A European company invested in them, and produced a game using the D6 mechanics for the Metabarons setting, a popular French comic story. Unfortunately the game never found a following with American audiences and did not lead to a resurgence of the company.
West End also expanded back into board games, beginning with a new edition of Junta, which according to Eric was one of the few products that was turning a profit.
West End Games' most recent planned offering, the Septimus roleplaying game, was cancelled by the company in March of 2008. Eric Gibson announced on the morning of July 16th, 2008 that West End Games could not currently afford to provide refunds to customers who pre-ordered the cancelled Septimus product, and indeed could not even afford to pay the postage to ship books to individuals who expressed a willingness to accept a refund in the form of products instead of money. Around the same time, Gibson revealed that he had refused recent purchase offers for West End Games intellectual properties, despite the company's current financial predicament, since he did not consider the offered prices to be sufficient.
COURT UPHOLDS PEEP-SHOW TAXES PSC TELLS UTILITIES TO CLARIFY COSTS LABORER WINS HALF OF $4.5M LOTTO STATE BANS SALE OF LEAD FIGURINES.(Capital Region)
Dec 04, 1992; New York City's famous "peep shows" may have to pay up millions of dollars under a state court ruling Thursday. The peep shows,...