It's been a popular rumour for ages: Monte Cook working for WotC on D&D 5th Edition. Compounded by his handing over of daily work on dungeonaday.com a year ago with no clear major (public) replacement in his schedule, WotC's seemingly reduced release schedule in terms of 4E D&D rulebooks, various rumours floating around Gen Con about cancelled announcements, the tenor of Mike Mearls' Legends and Lore column over the last few months on DDI, and now:
Starting next week, I'm turning this column over to acclaimed game designer Monte Cook. Monte should be familiar to D&D fans for his work on the Planescape campaign setting, Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil, Arcana Unearthed, the mammoth Ptolus city sourcebook, and, of course, Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition.
I've spent the past several months talking about D&D's past and how that relates to its future. It's now time to focus much more on the future of the game. Monte has an unmatched design pedigree in the RPG field, and for that reason we've brought him on board to work with R&D in making D&D the greatest RPG the world has seen. Over the next few weeks, Monte will use this column to share his thoughts about the game. As we look to chart D&D's future course, this column will continue to be a place where we share our ideas and listen to yours, and we hope you'll keep reading, discussing the contents, and sharing your feedback and thoughts with us and the larger D&D community.
Still nothing resembling an official confirmation, and Monte's not yet said a word, other than a tweet:
Thanks to everyone for the well-wishes, kind words, and congratulations. Fun and interesting times ahead!
And a Facebook post:
Yes, I am working for Wizards of the Coast again. It's no big deal. They had some wastebaskets that needed emptying, floors that needed sweeping... that kind of thing. We're still haggling over some things in the contract, though. I don't do windows.So it could be that he's just joined WotC for future 4E development (but he's not written for 4E before to my knowledge, even in a third party capacity) or - he could be working on D&D 5E as the rumours have been suggesting for so long; or it could be something that they decide not to refer to as a "new edition". Our guess is that he's been involved for quite some time - what else could he have been doing for the last year?
Speculation on a potential 5E is generally regarded as nonsense and gossip by many people, which is why I tend to refrain from (publically/publicly/depending where you are) speculating about what's going on. But at this point, we know something's going on. And absent any further information, given this latest development, I think 5E speculation has moved from "conspiracy theory" territory to "a possibility worth speculating about". Maybe it's wrong, but it's sure as hell not a ridiculous theory any more, especially given all the previous "clues" I mentioned at the beginning of this article.
More as, when, and if we hear it!
[Updated 2nd Oct 2010: Yes he is! Margaret Weis says: "I've talked to friends of Monte's who are friends of mine and they all say, Yes, he's working on 5e!"]