|This article relies on references to primary sources. (June 2011)|
Hans Joachim Alpers
Fantasy Productions Medienvertriebsgesellschaft GmbH (aka FanPro) is a German publishing company based in Erkrath.
The company was founded in 1983 by Ulrich Kiesow, Werner Fuchs and Hans Joachim Alpers to produce small metal miniature figures. When the Droemer Knaur Verlag and the Schmidt Spiel & Freizeit GmbH published Kiesow's role playing game "Das Schwarze Auge", Kiesow organised the editorial work at FanPro. After the bankruptcy of the Schmidt Spiel & Freizeit GmbH in 1997, FanPro published Das Schwarze Auge by itself.
In 2001, when FASA closed, FanPro founded a sister company based in Chicago, although most of its employees worked remotely. This sister company was named FanPro LLC, and is sometimes referred to as FanPro USA or Fantasy Productions USA, although neither title is correct. FanPro LLC initially licensed the rights to produce English-language Shadowrun books in early 2001, and by the summer of 2001 had also signed an agreement to publish Classic BattleTech in English.
From 2001 to 2005, FanPro LLC released over a dozen original Shadowrun titles and reprinted core titles that FASA had originally released. In 2005, FanPro LLC released Shadowrun, Fourth Edition. Likewise, FanPro LLC continued to release new Classic BattleTech books in English, and in 2006 released Total Warfare, the first in a series of revised full-color books for Classic BattleTech. FanPro GmbH continued to translate these books into German, along with German-only Shadowrun books. FanPro LLC also published an English translation of The Dark Eye, but it did not fare well in the marketplace.
Until early in 2007 FanPro was a publisher for fantasy books and various role playing games. The company owned licensing agreements with WizKids to produce the German-language versions of Classic BattleTech, Shadowrun, Pirates of the Spanish Main, and the "Clix" games of Mage Knight and HeroClix.
In 2007, the company gave up first the RPG license of Das Schwarze Auge (the license went to Ulisses Spiele), then all game licenses. Since then the company focuses on publishing novels only, although it continued its preexisting novel series for Das Schwarze Auge; the Shadowrun and BattleTech series ceased publications in 2008, following disagreements between WizKids and Fantasy Productions concerning the German licence for those properties.