Thursday, October 10, 2013

[Atomic Robo] "It's In Layout!"


"It's in layout!"

That's been my stock answer for the past few months whenever someone's asked me what's up with Atomic Robo: The Roleplaying Game. And it's the truth, and it's been the truth, but honestly, that's all I knew until... well. Suffice it to say, there's a little more to it than that, and I think it's high time you fine people who've been waiting so patiently for its release (I am one of you, BTW) were let in on some of the details. Fortunately, Fred Hicks agrees, so we actually get to open up a bit about it.

Now, Fred wrote this and posted it on the Evil Hat website, but I'm going to repost it here because it's, uh, just, like, a lot easier than paraphrasing it all.
So, we've been saying that the Atomic Robo RPG is in layout for a while now, and that's still true. The reality runs a little more complicated than that once you get into the details, though!  
The editing and layout process has been intricate. We're looking to present a number of our examples visually, sourcing them straight from the events of the comics, and that can be slow going. We've had to rework chunks of text, a little bit here, a little bit there, over the course of it all, in order to make sure it all fit best with the layout.  
Probably our biggest speed-bump, however, has been imposed upon us by life. Our editor/layoutist found that the freelancing lifestyle wasn't paying the bills on its lonesome and, completely understandably, got himself a job to address that concern. This involved a move to a different state (time consuming), and then a focus on that new job that's kept him busy a good 72 hours a week. Due to the aforementioned intricacies of the layout, the layout wasn't done in time for these events to befall him, but it all added up to there being no more time to work on the book except for a few hours squeezed in every Sunday.  
We recognized this as unsustainable, and brought in a replacement layoutist, the incredibly talented Adam Jury. Adam has been vigorously coming to terms with the layout files as they stand (which is always rough; it seems no two layout folks do things the same way, so it's akin to getting tossed into a foreign country and asked to speak the language with no prior experience), and he's moving it forward as quickly as he can. 
The bottom line is that with the speed bumps we've had, and the spin-up time necessary to bring on new talent, we're likely to miss the end of year/Novemberish publication date that was our goal, and instead launch in early 2014. 
This isn't all bad, though. The fourth quarter of the year (October through December) is usually a very weak time for a company to launch a new game. Sales tend to be down significantly across the board. We believe a launch in early 2014 is going to give us a much stronger performance for the Atomic Robo Roleplaying Game than we would get if the time fairy waved his magic wand and made the book suddenly ready to publish in 2013. Ultimately this will all make for a stronger, better game without all that much more waiting (December's coming up fast)! 
Thanks to everyone for their time, talent, and patience in bringing the Atomic Robo RPG to fruition. We're past the rockiest part of the road, and just need time to cross the remaining distance.
So the bad news is, obviously, that the release date has been pushed back to 2014. None of us is happy about that, and I'm especially bummed about it, but it is what it is. The good news is that forward progress is still being made. Things are happening. I'm helping Adam source more art from the comics and I feel privileged to work with him, so despite the delays, the old cliche of "but the book will be better off for it!" is absolutely true.

Anyway, there you have it. It's in layout!
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