Chaosium’s ‘new’ version of RuneQuest will not be based on RuneQuest 6. Instead, it will be a modified version of RuneQuest 2. Thus there has been a divorce, so to speak, between Design Mechanism, which will continue to publish and support RQ6 (albeit eventually under a different name), and Chaosium.
I’ve known about this for a few weeks now, but had to keep my lips sealed until an official announcement was made. (Ironically, I received initial news of the split the day after my post on the bright future for RuneQuest 6 with Chaosium.)
Here is the official announcement from Design Mechanism:
As you may have heard following announcements and comments made at Dragonmeet today, it appears that the next version of RuneQuest (to be published by Chaosium) will be based on a new version of Basic Roleplaying using RQ2 as its underlying core, with some adaptations made by the Chaosium team. Pete and I cannot say anything ourselves about these developments, except to note that Chaosium’s RuneQuest will not use RQ6 to anywhere near the extent originally envisaged following the GenCon announcements back in August.
We are delighted however, to announce that RQ6 will continue under a new name. We will be announcing that name in due course, but the game system you have grown to care about will live on – as will all the supplements we have created so far, and the ones we intend to release. Pete and I have no direct involvement in RuneQuest’s future per se and so will be devoting our energies to Design Mechanism products.
I’m sure this news will raise many questions, and some we will not be able to answer – a fact that is simply beyond our control. However we can talk freely about the next printing of our rules and will be very happy to do so.
We wish Chaosium every success with both BRP and RuneQuest.
Loz and Pete
This is, in my view, an absolutely horrible decision on the part of Chaosium.
Why would they want to split the RQ fanbase yet again? And why would they think it wise to go back to RQ2?
Now, I could see Chaosium opting to use the Call of Cthulhu 7th edition rules as its base for BRP and the new re-Glorantha-ized RQ (even though it's not as good a system as RQ6, and has been somewhat controversial amongst longtime CoC players). That at least would 'unify' all their RPGs under one system. But what they're doing instead is baffling.
I will continue, of course, to play and support RQ6. And while I prefer a setting-neutral version of the RQ6 rules, and so am happy that that version will continue in the future (with a new name), I do regret that RQ6 will not enjoy the additional exposure and distribution that it would have had it been part of Chaosium's line.