As a Mutant Chronicles licence old timer, I feel it my duty to tell you the rumors saying that the licence is cursed.
Hear! Hear! Ol' tHe_MaN's gonna tell you all the tale of the rise and fall of the MC licence.
Once upon a time, Mutant Chronicles was a compelling universe which first got to be known through a roleplaying game, soon thereafter through a miniature game (Warzone) and a CCG (Doomtrooper). That was in the mid-90s, and to the Swedish company behind it everything seemed possible, even to take on the mighty Warhammer licences. At the image of the drawings from Paul Bonner displayed everywhere, it was a time of hubris.
Proof that everything seemed to be destined to glory, MC RPG got a second edition in the late 90s, as well as Warzone, which also received enhanced minis. Three novels and four comics in the MC universe went to the market. There were even talks of a Hollywood movie.
But then it all crashed down. In 1998, Target Games was closed. All games on the MC licences were abandonned. The licence was purchased by Paradox, another Swedish company, which was known only to a handful of hardcore computer-wargame players. To many in the MC community, this is when the curse fell on our beloved game.
Paradox first tried to relaunch the licence through video games. There was first Mortificator, an infiltration game quickly cancelled. Then Warzone Online, a massively multiplayer tactical game, which was shown through gorgeous screenshots at the time, to be later cancelled. And last but not least, Mutant Chronicles Online, a MMORPG developed by a small team in Dubai, which also got to be cancelled.
In parallel to Mutant Chronicles Online, Paradox handed the rights to the Warzone miniature game to a small American company named Excelsior. With its CEO a big fan of the MC universe, they undertook with their very limited means to first issue the missing army books for the Second Edition, and ultimately to build a whole new edition. The project was huge, and after 3 years of delay it lead to a huge book, called Ultimate Warzone, which also came to be the downfall of Excelsior. Too big was the task at hand, especially since 90% of the work was done by Excelsior CEO, who simply could not keep up with the community expectations - and worst of all, with his own commitments. Excelsior lost the rights to Warzone in early 2005, and closed soon thereafter.
Where it should have been a new time of grief for the MC universe, the community actually got the excitment of three almost simultaneous announcements in 2005: first, a successful professionnal gaming company, Fantasy Flight Games, was to publish a MC collectible miniature game. Second, an unknown Swedish company, COG Games, was to develop and release a new edition of the RPG. And, last but not least, a full scale Hollywood movie was on track, with a 22M$ budget, and starring heavy weights such as Ron Perlman and John Malkovitch. Once again, hope was in the heart of the MC fans. Once again, these hopes were to be dashed.
The movie was completed in 2007, released in some countries in 2008, leaked to peer-to-peer networks the same year, and was one of the worst sci-fi-horror movie on earth. And with only the remotest link to the MC universe of the original RPG. Release in the US finally planned in late April 2009... in only two cinemas. A disaster.
The third edition of the RPG is, as of today, officially still on track. However, it has already been delayed several times, and the development team does not seem to be willing to announce a release date any more. Some rumors say that, as with Excelsior, the project undertaken was too big for the company, and that they got completely overwhelmed by the task. If anything is ever released one day, it is very likely to be the swan's song of COG.
As for the collectible miniature game, after several delays and a change in distribution mode, it is widely acknowledged as a great min game, original, fun to play and tactically deep. But still, it came to naught. The game was quickly stopped. The curse had striken again.
So now what? This short summary proves one thing: even if all projects based in the MC universe came to be failures after the original ones, the Mutant Chronicles licence is surprisingly resilient. There is no doubt others will, in the future, undertake to propose new games in the world of the Cardinal and the Dark Apostles. That most will fail, there is little doubt. But each project, even when it fails, is a tribute to the undying love of some for a universe that is both deep and catching. For despite all those failures and dashed hopes, if individual games fail and are forgotten, in the end the Mutant Chronicles live and even thrive!
As a conclusion, it appears quite obvious that as for most politicians and generals, hubris was the main reason why most MC projects failed. And while "official" licenced games rose and fell, slowly but surely a mind was at work, with small ambitions but sure results. Indeed, unknown to the large majority of humans, between 2005 and 2007 was released "Mutant Chronicles 2.5", an updated version of the RPG, in French, correcting most shortwoming of the second edition and proposing a slight evolution of the background. Then, after Excelsior failure, the same mind offered to the world "Warzone 3", a French translation of Ultimate Warzone also correcting most bugs. And now, rumor says the supernatural being behind those productions is working on a new project... This "being" (because no one knows for sure how much of him - it? - is human and how much is machine) is well-known of both US and French forums, under the nickname Coral Beach.
Whatever can be said about the contested background evolutions proposed in MC 2.5, Coral Beach work has achieved something no recent "official" MC project has: to deliver clean, professional products in the timeline committed on. And to keep working on improving and animating the MC licence. This is the best lesson for the next companies to try to take on the MC licence: better to aim for the top of the hill and eventually reach the sky, than the other way around.
Long live the Mutant Chronicles licence!