A couple years ago, just as I was getting into WFRP 3e, my gaming group fell apart. I haven't had a chance to play it since then, but I have some new players I'm going to show the system to, and I'm really looking forward to getting back into it. So it's a bit of a bummer to see all the sky-is-falling talk concerning the game. (Thankfully, even if they cancelled the game today, I'd still have years of content to explore.)
WFRP 3e seems to be fairly niche at this point; while many people enjoy the bits and believe they help facilitate roleplaying, it seems like even more people are either exhausted with the components or didn't give the game a fair shake in the first place because of them. Now we're looking at the introduction of Edge of the Empire, which appears to be a mix of traditional pen-and-paper stuff and the great narrative dice of WFRP 3e. I've read a bit of the beta book, and it indeed looks great. My suspicion—and I don't think I'm alone in thinking this—is that it will fare better in the market than WFRP did. I mean it's Star Wars, so it could be terrible and still sell well (I'll refrain from making a joke about SWTOR here). But the system looks streamlined and exciting.
I like the components of WFRP. I believe I will also like the component-less play of EotE. With that in mind, I have two questions.
1. I'm wondering how much of the slowdown in WFRP releases can be attributed to EotE. I'm not sure how long EotE has been in development, but it has presumably taken at least some resources away from FFG's other roleplaying lines. Assuming the Star Wars line is a success, it may continue to take up a decent amount of FFG's roleplaying resources (time, developers, money). At the very least, they've committed to two further books. Could this dropoff just be a natural consequence of this, meaning we'll continue to see WFRP support, albeit at a reduced rate? Further, there is still plenty of ground to cover in WFRP 3e, but FFG has done a considerable amount of work on the universe so far. Some slowdown seems inevitable.
2. WFRP is obviously not selling like hotcakes, and I wonder if FFG can use the Star Wars line to drum up some interest in the system again. I know you can play without the components, but how does the game actually run using only the books? My understanding is that it's a bit of a shoehorned concession to component-haters at best. Could FFG revise the non-component rules to capitalize on some of the new ideas from EoTE while still maintaining compatibility with 3e as it was originally intended? I don't see WFRP as a clunky proto-EotE, but maybe there's a way to filter some parts of the new system back into WFRP for those who weren't interested the first time around.
In the end, of course, it all comes down to numbers. If WFRP continues to sell, they'll sell it. If it doesn't, they won't. It's a great system, and I hope it can get its second wind.