Wednesday, December 7, 2016

On "HeroClix: Undead"

Last night, it was announced that a new 19 figure gravity feed for HeroClix would be released, titled "Undead".

Some are hailing this announcement as the long awaited return of HorrorClix. I have long stated that I do not believe WizKids will ever revive HorrorClix. In this case, I stand by that statement. HeroClix: Undead, as far as I can tell, is not HorrorClix. There will likely be no victim tokens, no Cabals, no hourglasses. Some glimmer of hope does exist in the one individual character named in the announcement: Dr. Jekyll. Indeed, Dr. Henry Jekyll was an LE in the original HorrorClix set, but what are the chances that we will actually get to see this beautiful sculpt once more?

Okay, so it's not their crowning achievement....

The fact is, as some other commenters have pointed out, HorrorClix was pre-NECA and pre-digital sculpting. Furthermore, nothing in the announcement suggest that the figures will come with HeroClix cards. The Mage Knight set got dual dials so as to be playable in both games, but that set was clearly branded as a revival and the compatibility was touted as a main feature. From what we can see, this is a spiritual successor at best.

Long ago, in the early conceptual stages of HorrorClix, it was intended to be fully HeroClix compatible. For all we know, HeroClix: Undead could be the very same thing that HorrorClix was originally envisioned to be. Now your vampires and demons (and, let's pray, slashers) can go toe to toe with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. That's pretty rad, I guess, but I didn't fall in love with what HorrorClix was almost going to be. I fell in love with what it turned out to be, and what it could have been in the future.

Modern HeroClix is far more complicated and power heavy than the HorrorClix of the mid 2000s. In some people's eyes, that's part of what made it a better experience. Even when you factor in all the crazy custom content people have come up with over the years, some of which has incorporated ideas directly from HeroClix, it still feels very different.

That custom content, I might add, is fantastic and probably a lot more fun an interesting than anything a team of responsible, professional designers at WizKids could give us. Because its a hobby and not a business, custom creators are free to take risks and approach the game in some very unique and innovative ways without fear of losing money on an unpopular "product", and because it's fan art, they are not restrained by licensing issues and we are able to play with fan-designed versions of everything from Chucky to Pyramid Head.

I will be pleasantly surprised if they give us even the slightest nod to HorrorClix in HeroClix: Undead, but to be honest, I'm not sure what I'm hoping for. Part of me is afraid of what will happen to HorrorClix if WizKids does pick it back up. I doubt that will stop the talented minds of IWF2 from designing their own customs, but it would be kind of a shame to lose the feeling that the game's future is solely in our hands as fans. But if it means more little plastic vampires fighting across tabletops around the world, I suppose it's pretty fucking cool.

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