Starfinder's Sutter Leaves Paizo; Butler Joins (In A Different Role)
  • Starfinder's Sutter Leaves Paizo; Butler Joins (In A Different Role)


    I don't normally report on staff changes at RPG companies unless it's something major. I feel like a couple of Paizo staff updates are worth mentioning though. First, James Sutter, co-creator of Pathfinder, and creative director of Starfinder, is leaving Paizo to write full-time (although he says he will still freelance for Paizo). Don't worry - it's all amicable, as he reports in a blog post at Paizo's website. Secondly, I'm informed by Paizo staff that Paizo has hired TSR's Jim Butler, who helped spearhead Alternity, and ran Bastion Press in the early 2000s, as Vice President of Marketing and Licensing.



    Comments 41 Comments
    1. JeffB's Avatar
      JeffB -
      I think Jim was in charge of D&D too for awhile, IIRC.
    1. kenmarable's Avatar
      kenmarable -
      I don't recall him running D&D, but I know he was in charge of a lot of the outreach when 3.0 launched. He headed up the Official Fan Site program. Also, I remember him running the initial "scanning the old books to make PDFs" effort. Awesome to see him involved! He's a great guy and knows this industry well.

      It's too bad Sutter won't be all Paizo all the time, but good for him making that leap! Glad that he will still be freelancing at least - and reading his post, I guess it makes sense that we might see more writing from him since he'll be doing less editing and directing.
    1. Emirikol Prime's Avatar
      Emirikol Prime -
      Wes Schneider now Sutter. Sorry to see the band start to part ways.
    1. JeffB's Avatar
      JeffB -
      Hmm. I thought for sure I saw Jim's name as a Brand Manager in one or more of my old 3.0 books. Before the ESD program and Bastion Press.

      I don't have anything but the core 3.0 books to reference these days. Maybe the FRCS?

      I don't recall what I had for breakfast yesterday either, so...:shrug:
    1. Vampyr3's Avatar
      Vampyr3 -
      With Paizo's rumored money problems..this does not shock me at all....
    1. Jer's Avatar
      Jer -
      Quote Originally Posted by JeffB View Post
      Hmm. I thought for sure I saw Jim's name as a Brand Manager in one or more of my old 3.0 books. Before the ESD program and Bastion Press.

      I don't have anything but the core 3.0 books to reference these days. Maybe the FRCS?

      I don't recall what I had for breakfast yesterday either, so...:shrug:
      Yup. My FRCS lists Jim Butler as "Brand Manager". Not sure which brand (D&D or FR or all of it).
    1. Azgulor's Avatar
      Azgulor -
      Quote Originally Posted by Vampyr3 View Post
      With Paizo's rumored money problems..this does not shock me at all....
      Unless you can cite a source, this just seems like trolling. Paizo just had their largest release/launch success at Gen Con with Starfinder. They brought the most product they had ever brought to a Gen Con and it sold out before the end of the first day. Pathfinder continues to sell well and based on what (admittedly anecdotal) info is available, is still the steady #2 RPG on the market.
    1. JeffB's Avatar
      JeffB -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jer View Post
      Yup. My FRCS lists Jim Butler as "Brand Manager". Not sure which brand (D&D or FR or all of it).
      Ha! Vindication!

      Though I still don't recall yesterday's breakfast
    1. Kelanen -
      Quote Originally Posted by Azgulor View Post
      Unless you can cite a source, this just seems like trolling. Paizo just had their largest release/launch success at Gen Con with Starfinder. They brought the most product they had ever brought to a Gen Con and it sold out before the end of the first day. Pathfinder continues to sell well and based on what (admittedly anecdotal) info is available, is still the steady #2 RPG on the market.
      I don't think he is trolling. It's nice that Starfinder sold well but the Paizo stuff at a couple local FLGS has almost completely disappeared since 5th edition arrived. The shelf space has been taken up by 5th edition, Monte Cook and some smaller companies, which is nice.

      For the record my group currently plays Pathfinder.
    1. kenmarable's Avatar
      kenmarable -
      Quote Originally Posted by JeffB View Post
      Ha! Vindication!

      Though I still don't recall yesterday's breakfast
      That's what I get for going from memory. Either way, he's a great addition to Paizo!


      Quote Originally Posted by Kelanen View Post
      I don't think he is trolling. It's nice that Starfinder sold well but the Paizo stuff at a couple local FLGS has almost completely disappeared since 5th edition arrived. The shelf space has been taken up by 5th edition, Monte Cook and some smaller companies, which is nice.

      For the record my group currently plays Pathfinder.
      Keep in mind that "shelf space at a couple local FLGS" isn't exactly solid data. Even if 5e is doing great, that could go either way for Paizo. On the one hand, they are competitors, so one can easily pull customers from the other. On the other hand, being the flagship brand in a niche industry, as D&D's sales boom, it lifts the entire industry up in bringing in more customers, not all of whom will stay with 5e. So 5e doing great could easily go either way, and the shelf space at a couple stores isn't going to inform us either way.

      Besides the anecdata of the shelf space at my local stores runs counter to that with Paizo products still well stocked and selling. I could just as easily assume that is evidence that Paizo is doing great! That's why just looking at a couple stores is pretty much useless, especially given other sales venues like Amazon and Paizo's own online store not to mention their heavy pushing of subscriptions (any of which I'd think is a safe bet are far more sales than all the FLGS sales combined - but that's just me thinking it's a safe bet, not actual data either, so make of that what you will.)
    1. Kramodlog's Avatar
      Kramodlog -
      Do lead developpers on special project like Starfinder get more money and thus can leave and work on something else? Monte Cook left WotC not long after 3.0 was released and I think some of the guys who came up with 4e.
    1. rknop's Avatar
      rknop -
      Yeah, shelf space at one or two FLGSes does not count as "rumors of money problems". It means nothing.

      The FLGSes I've been to have lots of shelf space for Paizo. That also means nothing.

      All of this is rampant speculation. Pay no attention to it.

      What we know is that the first run of Starfinder sold better than they expected it to. I talked to some Paizo folks at GenCon. They were thinking that they might sell through their stock by the end of the con... they didn't expect to sell all of it in six and a half hours on the first day of the con. I also talked to Amanda Hamon Kunz briefly at the Paizo area in the vendor room ("room" -- more like "town") at GenCon. She told me that they had increased the size of the original print run a few times. Distributors were coming to them with orders much larger than they were expecting.

      All outward indications are that Paizo's doing fine. Sure, lots of people play 5e, but lots of people still play Pathfinder too. And, Paizo had the largest single space dedicated to one company at GenCon. That has to mean something.
    1. Sunsword's Avatar
      Sunsword -
      Quote Originally Posted by Azgulor View Post
      Unless you can cite a source, this just seems like trolling. Paizo just had their largest release/launch success at Gen Con with Starfinder. They brought the most product they had ever
      brought to a Gen Con and it sold out before the end of the first day. Pathfinder continues to sell well and based on what (admittedly anecdotal) info is available, is still the steady #2 RPG on the market.
      I think it has also sold out at several distributors, but it has not sold out on their website.

      However, the difference between the #1 selling spot in RPGs and the #2 has ALWAYS been an order of magnitude. Paizo, however has always been strong at keeping sales direct with their customers.
    1. billd91's Avatar
      billd91 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Kramodlog View Post
      Do lead developpers on special project like Starfinder get more money and thus can leave and work on something else? Monte Cook left WotC not long after 3.0 was released and I think some of the guys who came up with 4e.
      WotC, after being bought out by Hasbro, is long-suspected of cutting longer-time writers/designers and hiring newer people, probably as a cost-saving measure. After all, hiring someone for a starter salary is cheaper than continuing to pay someone who has years of raises under their belt. Paizo has never been accused of doing so to my knowledge.
    1. Derulbaskul's Avatar
      Derulbaskul -
      Quote Originally Posted by Vampyr3 View Post
      With Paizo's rumored money problems..this does not shock me at all....
      There are no rumours of money problems at Paizo.

      There is a certain passive-aggressive, dog-whistling schmuck who trots out vague allusions to this without any support. Of course, I am not calling you a passive-aggressive, dog-whistling schmuck....
    1. Kramodlog's Avatar
      Kramodlog -
      Quote Originally Posted by billd91 View Post
      WotC, after being bought out by Hasbro, is long-suspected of cutting longer-time writers/designers and hiring newer people, probably as a cost-saving measure.
      Yeah, that was obvious for some time. They still could give a gib bonus or royalties to lead designers on core books.

      Paizo has never been accused of doing so to my knowledge.
      Time are a changin'.
    1. kenmarable's Avatar
      kenmarable -
      Quote Originally Posted by Kramodlog View Post
      Do lead developpers on special project like Starfinder get more money and thus can leave and work on something else? Monte Cook left WotC not long after 3.0 was released and I think some of the guys who came up with 4e.
      Being creative types, it could also be common to feel that after spearheading the launch of a major new line (keeping in mind that even if it's just coming out now, they have been working on it for a long time already), they have reached a peak there and want to explore new options.
    1. Morrus's Avatar
      Morrus -
      Quote Originally Posted by Derulbaskul View Post
      There are no rumours of money problems at Paizo.

      There is a certain passive-aggressive, dog-whistling schmuck who trots out vague allusions to this without any support. Of course, I am not calling you a passive-aggressive, dog-whistling schmuck....
      Namecalling is completeky unacceptable here. Please express your disagreement without calling people names.
    1. MichaelSomething's Avatar
      MichaelSomething -
      Quote Originally Posted by Vampyr3 View Post
      With Paizo's rumored money problems..this does not shock me at all....
      Indeed. I hear Lisa Stevens had to settle for a medium sized jacuzzi.

      Sent from my VS990 using EN World mobile app
    1. rknop's Avatar
      rknop -
      Quote Originally Posted by Sunsword View Post
      I think it has also sold out at several distributors, but it has not sold out on their website.

      However, the difference between the #1 selling spot in RPGs and the #2 has ALWAYS been an order of magnitude. Paizo, however has always been strong at keeping sales direct with their customers.
      I do not believe the "always". This was true until the 4e/Pathfinder years, but it hasn't always been true since then.

      For a couple of years in there, Pathfinder was the top-selling RPG. There will have been transition periods, at the end when 4e was on its way down and Pathfinder was on its way up, when the two were not an order of magnitude apart from each other.

      Also, I am not convinced we know enough right now to absolutely know that D&D is selling an order of magnitude better than Pathfinder. Does anybody have data or a source that would shed light on this?
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