John Wick Presents Lays Off 7th Sea Staff
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  1. #1
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    John Wick Presents Lays Off 7th Sea Staff

    A couple of years ago, John Wick's 7th Sea 2nd Edition smashed tabletop RPG Kickstarter records by raising a phenomenal $1.3M - a record which has only been surpassed once since, by Matt Colville's $2.1M Strongholds & Streaming. Unfortunately, it seems that the company is running into financial difficulties.

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    The company had some sad news to share in a Kickstarter update to backers yesterday. John Wick Presents has just laid off all of its employees. Wick himself says that this will not prevent the rest of the line being released, but that it will slow down. He's trying to bring on board other companies to help with printing, board game production, and fulfilling his 7th Sea obligations.

    "After reviewing the company finances in August, I discovered JWP was not making enough to sustain its current work force. And so, in the ugliest and hardest day of my life, I had to lay off all the JWP employees.

    What this means is the 7th Sea lines are going to slow down. I cannot maintain the release schedule we promised before GenCon. That doesn’t mean books aren’t going to happen, it just means they’re going to be slower than expected."


    The campaign has delivered plenty of rewards already (I'm a backer myself and received my core rulebook long, long ago). The core rulebook released on time, and various stretch goals have been met, with updated production schedules announced monthly -- the latest production schedule was announced in August (the company posts one each month to keep backers updated), but Wick says that that schedule cannot be maintained now. So far 7 of 12 sourcebooks have been released.

    A second Kickstarter, 7th Sea: Khitai was launched last year, which raised $200K. The latest update on that Kickstarter doesn't delve into any of the company's problems, but does say:

    "I’ve been talking to various companies about partnering with JWP to continue printing 7th Sea as well as expanding it into territories JWP couldn’t. We tried doing board games (twice) and both times failed. Another company, with a stronger reputation for making board games, could make War of the Cross fly in a way I couldn’t. That’s why I’ve been talking to other publishers about partnering up to fulfill our 7th Sea obligations.For Khitai, I anticipate a May-June release. This may be sooner depending on a lot of factors. As soon as those projects are done, I can let you know where everything else stands. I'll have a better idea of the entire release schedule once negotiations are done with our potential publishing partners.

    2018 has been an awful year for everyone, myself included. Let's hope for a better 2019."


    The company cancelled its War of the Cross boardgame Kickstarter back in August.

    John Wick Presents has done a good job of keeping backers updated. While unfortunate for the employees who were laid off, it only points to a slowed release schedule rather than a full stop.

    It's not the first report of financial speedbumps at RPG companies recently. Last month, Evil Hat Productions announced a scaling back of the 2019 publication schedule, and some departing employees.
    Last edited by Morrus; Tuesday, 6th November, 2018 at 02:57 PM.

  2. #2
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    This is a harsh headline, but sadly, the reality was not an ideal outcome, especially for some staff who left work at other companies to join John Wick Presents.

  3. #3
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    This seems to be a recurring theme with these huge money Kickstarters: It all starts out with dreams and promises, but the day to day realities of running a sustainable game company seems to be the thing that trips them all up. Sounds like we need a Kickstarter to pair good business managers with game designers to allow some more of these companies to last beyond the initial blush of the Kickstarter rose.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anthro78 View Post
    This seems to be a recurring theme with these huge money Kickstarters: It all starts out with dreams and promises, but the day to day realities of running a sustainable game company seems to be the thing that trips them all up. Sounds like we need a Kickstarter to pair good business managers with game designers to allow some more of these companies to last beyond the initial blush of the Kickstarter rose.
    John Wick Presents actually delivered all the original products of the Kickstarter (new core rules and The New World sourcebook) and even many stretch goals.

    Sadly, the initial recruitment went into overdrive after the Kickstarter instead of smaller sustainable teams.

  5. #5
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    Isn't this the guy who claimed that running Tomb of Horrors destroyed all his childhood friendships and blamed Gary?
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffB View Post
    Isn't this the guy who claimed that running Tomb of Horrors destroyed all his childhood friendships and blamed Gary?
    But that was a private statement that still has nothing to do with the 7th Sea role playing game nor the publisher.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffB View Post
    Isn't this the guy who claimed that running Tomb of Horrors destroyed all his childhood friendships and blamed Gary?
    I believe so. He also wrote an article a few years ago about how most editions of DnD are not RPGs.

    He has also failed to deliver some materials on an earlier KS, the work towards which was seemingly eclipsed by the success of 7S. A friend of mine is still waiting on that one, and has actually asked Wick in person about it. Wick gave him a shabby dodge of an answer and sent him on his way.

    Wick shows up at my local con every year (I live in the same state as he does), and he's an odd duck: friendly enough, but also very strident in his views and seems to take pleasure in rubbing people the wrong way if they disagree with him. He's quite certain that he's right all the time, or at least that's how he comes across. I found his comment about how "awful" 2018 was for everyone strange, too - because he seems to imply the gaming industry. If so, he's way off, although there are some smaller companies, like Evil Hat, that have struggled (due to their own mistakes, in that latter case).
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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Anthro78 View Post
    This seems to be a recurring theme with these huge money Kickstarters: It all starts out with dreams and promises, but the day to day realities of running a sustainable game company seems to be the thing that trips them all up. Sounds like we need a Kickstarter to pair good business managers with game designers to allow some more of these companies to last beyond the initial blush of the Kickstarter rose.
    That's why I'm more leery when I get a "For gamers, by gamers" vibe from a company.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by imagineGod View Post
    But that was a private statement that still has nothing to do with the 7th Sea role playing game nor the publisher.
    It says a lot about the owner and his ability to deal with life. No matter what game we are talking about.

  10. #10
    On one hand its sad for the staff and also I generally like the idea of Age of Sail era RPGs. But the 7th sea names are simply too cringe worthy for me to actually consider it.

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