In a move kept relatively quiet, Farsight Studios flagship game, The Pinball Arcade, has seen a major change to its table line-up recently. At the end of June 2018 their license agreement ended with table manufacturers Williams and Bally which resulted in all of the tables from both manufacturers being removed from sale from the end of June. For gamers who had already purchased any of those tables, these are still available to play and re-download if needed at any time, but from now on the only tables available to purchase are from the other pinball manufacturers working with Farsight namely Gottlieb, Stern and Alvin G.
What happens next?
Farsight have stated that they are continuing to support the game and work to license more tables but the reality is that this is a devastating blow to the game. The game is certainly less appealing than before as the range has dropped to just 25 available tables and has lost all but one of the “big hitters”. All but one of the film and television based tables have gone and if this was something that drew you to pinball in the first place it could be a deciding factor in purchasing the game as a newcomer.
Where are the tables?
The license has been picked up, unsurprisingly, by Zen Studios and they are bringing recreations of Bally and Williams tables to their Pinball FX3 platform. While it means that these tables will still be available for pinball fans, it does mean that Vita owners (and PS3 owners) will miss out, especially when it comes to new tables that never made it to the Vita that were in the works. It will be interesting to see how Zen fare at bringing real world tables to their platform. Whether their track record in creating original tables is enough to prove that they can duplicate existing tables is another matter altogether.
Zen are releasing the first batch of tables later this year starting with Fish Tales, Junk Yard, Medieval Madness® and The Getaway® High Speed® II and we assume the more high profile tables will follow later to join the wider Pinball FX3 line-up. It is a move that Zen Studios are excited about though.
“Most of our developers grew up admiring Williams and Bally pinball machines, and we at Zen are devoted to treating these beloved tables with the respect they deserve for years to come in digital form,” said Zsolt Kigyossy, Zen Studios’ Managing Director. “We have a grand vision for what we can add to these amazing tables on gaming and mobile devices. We are dedicated to providing an amazing experience and new challenges for all players around the world!”
“The classic Williams and Bally tables have always been the reference in designing and creating pinball tables. Having the opportunity to work with these is a dream come true,” said Peter Grafl, Pinball Designer at Zen Studios.
Zen has continuously innovated and evolved what is possible on a pinball table, perfecting physics, polishing gameplay, and – perhaps most importantly – building a pinball universe that connects players across the world. It is the studio’s mission to unite pinball players across the world, as well as help drive awareness of physical locations that still offer real-world gameplay. Zen welcomes players to visit its studio headquarters in Budapest, Hungary, where players can take a studio tour and check out the rotating selection of pinball games in the office, as well as meet the team behind the games. At the conclusion of the tour, players will be presented with a ticket to the Budapest Pinball Museum, home to Europe’s largest collection of pinball machines.