D&D 5E Chris Perkins and Ray Winninger Interview Discussing Spelljammer and Product Development

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Chris Perkins and Ray Winninger discuss the product development process in this interview about Spelljammer;

“All of these processes basically span about 12 to 15 months of time. Plus all that upfront time I was talking about earlier, plus the actual printing time at the end, that gets you in the range of about 18 to 24 months [for the complete project],” Mr Perkins said.

 
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Kurotowa

Legend
A lot of it isn't new, but this quote did jump out at me. "Other factors we consider are things like ‘Do we have an idea to sufficiently differentiate this experience from the other worlds?’"

See that? That's why every setting book they put out has a hook or gimmick to make it unique, and that's why there's no Greyhawk book on the release list.
 


A lot of it isn't new, but this quote did jump out at me. "Other factors we consider are things like ‘Do we have an idea to sufficiently differentiate this experience from the other worlds?’"

See that? That's why every setting book they put out has a hook or gimmick to make it unique, and that's why there's no Greyhawk book on the release list.
It also is probably why not ever character will start with a Feat. Not every one of the modern settings do. Just the ones that need that tool to increase the definition of the world-space.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
This quote, and quotes like it, make me think that we'll not see Greyhawk anytime soon.

"Do we have an idea to sufficiently differentiate this experience from the other worlds?"

As much as you can push the Game of Thrones angle or the blank map angle...there's nothing stopping you from doing that in just about any setting. Those aren't uniquely Greyhawk.
 

lkj

Hero
With regard to Greyhawk. Eh. We'll see. The 50 year anniversary might be enough of a hook for a slipcase release. And, as has been argued at great length in other threads, I think they could find a story/theme that takes advantage of Greyhawk's flavor in a way that differentiates it substantially from FR. But, obviously, this is all in the realm of subjective assessment. So those who think it's possible will be sure it can be done, and those who think it isn't will be convinced that none of the suggested hooks are different enough. In the end, it'll come down to the market research and subjective opinions of WotC.

And one other important factor mentioned in that article-- whether folks on the design team have a passion for the setting and hook. That, I think, might be what sinks or puts it over the top (presuming their market research hasn't told them it is definitely a bad idea).

I, for one, will keep my sliver of hope alive (while also not being surprised or upset if nothing comes of it).

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DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
Their biggest stan for Greyhawk in the company seemed to be Mike Mearls... so they'd have to be okay with bringing him back into the department as a contractor (if nothing else) if they wanted that "we have people who are motivated to work on at any given time." They of course could try and work on it without him, but if they really wanted "the best people for the writing and editing team", it'd seem kind of silly not to. So if they don't want to bring him in based on the big kerfluffles several year ago... they probably just won't do Greyhawk.

The questions of course are whether WotC would want to bring Mike back in at all anyways... if they could bring Mike back, knowing that a segment of the playerbase would automatically crap on it for what happened way back when... whether Mike could or would apologize (in any form or fashion) for any mistakes he made and whether than would be accepted by the playerbase who are still po'd over the situation... and whether Greyhawk is worth opening up that potential can of worms in the first place.

Personally... I just don't seem them looking backwards in that way and trying to skirt around the end of Mike tenure just to get Greyhawk into production. It doesn't seem worth it to me. Yeah, the old guard would love to see the "original" setting brought back for the 50th anniversary, but if you alienate all of the new generation to do so that just seems counter-productive to moving D&D on into the next 50 years.
 

glass

(he, him)
The questions of course are whether WotC would want to bring Mike back in at all anyways... if they could bring Mike back, knowing that a segment of the playerbase would automatically crap on it for what happened way back when... whether Mike could or would apologize (in any form or fashion) for any mistakes he made and whether than would be accepted by the playerbase who are still po'd over the situation... and whether Greyhawk is worth opening up that potential can of worms in the first place.
Hardly "way back when"; it was a few years ago, not the late seventies. And what he did is not "mistakes" or a "situation", it was aiding and abbetting a known abuser to further abuse his victims. Frankly I am alarmed by the implication that there is a segment of the playerbase that would not be naughty-worded off about bringing him back.

_
glass.
 
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Nikosandros

Golden Procrastinator
One nice thing (IMHO, of course) that WotC could do for the 50th anniversary would be to open all the old settings on DM's Guild. Most of them won't ever be published again by WotC and, despite my "partisanship", I see that the chances for Greyhawk are also quite low. Let others publish for those setting and WotC can get a cut...
 


Birthright was not one of the most popular lines, but now we are in the age of internet, online virtual tabletops, electronic tablets, and mobile apps. The setting is perfect for a strategy videogame, but it would need a lot of playtesting. What do you choose, to buy a healing potion or to hire more archers, a magic weapon or two catapults more for the siege of enemy castle? Other space in the market to be explored is the fantasy literature about romance and palace intrigues, the classic "magical girl in the fae king's court surviving conspirancies". Birthright deserves other opportunity in the future, but not yet in this phase.

Some times in the past I have suggered a strategy of divided licencing, for example FR with Paramount, Dragonlance with Disney, Greyhawk with Warner and Mystara with Capcom. But there may be some risk and it could become too complicated.

Of course the 50 Anniversary is too good to publish nothing about that, at least something for collectors, for example an updated edition of most popular modules, or sequels.

Other point is but FR all the metaplots are frozen, and possible plans to be continued, or rebooted, are too linked to multimedia projects.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Hardly "way back when"; it was a few years ago, not the late seventies. And what he did is not "mistakes" or a "situation", it was aiding and abbetting a known abuser to further abuse his victims. Frankly I am alarmed by the implication that there is a segment of the playerbase that would not be naught-worded off about bringing him back.

_
glass.
In tentative defense of Mearls, Z had an amazing ability to get people to defend him, Mearls was not the only one so manipulated.
 


Mercurius

Legend
A lot of it isn't new, but this quote did jump out at me. "Other factors we consider are things like ‘Do we have an idea to sufficiently differentiate this experience from the other worlds?’"

See that? That's why every setting book they put out has a hook or gimmick to make it unique, and that's why there's no Greyhawk book on the release list.
To address this, let's look at the 5E settings so far, and what--in a word or two--differentiates them from other worlds:

Forgotten Realms: kitchen sink galore
Ravenloft: gothic horror
Eberron: magitech/steampunk
Ravnica: mega-city
Theros: ancient Greek themes
Wildemount: Critical Role/contemporary themes
Strixhaven: magic school
Spelljammer: space fantasy
Dragonlance: meta-story focus

Now let's look at some past settings that haven't received 5E treatment:

Dark Sun: post-apocalyptic/sword & sorcery/desert-focused
Planescape: planes
Birthright: kingdom building
Council of Wyrms: dragon-focused
Mystara: bearded elves
Nentir Vale: points of light

Comparing the two lists, one can see how any of the first three options would offer something significantly "new" to 5E, though Birthright is obviously far less likely than the others.

So what would set Greyhawk apart from, say, the Forgotten Realms? Well, we can start by saying what wouldn't: doubling down on yet another kitchen sink setting, including both "every real world pre-modern culture has an analogue," but also "every aspect of D&D lore finds its way here, as written in the PHB and splats."

Greyhawk could differentiate itself by emphasizing its old school qualities, being more sword & sorcery than epic/high fantasy, and being a "twist" on kitchen sink, aka "themed kitchen sink." Meaning, it could take an approach similar to Eberron rather than the Realms: quasi-kitchen sink and strongly thematic.

So while I agree that GH doesn't have a clear and obvious hook or gimmick that sets it apart, D&D settings aren't only about gimmickry, but creating a themed context for adventuring and/or reading. So if anything, that quote implies that if they were to publish GH, they'd emphasize its "Greyhawkian" (and thus, Gygaxian) elements.

That said, we can only speculate so far on whether or not WotC will publish Greyhawk--not to mention Dark Sun or other classic settings--until we know more about the "new settings." I mean, if one of those settings has strong sword & sorcery and pulp elements, then Dark Sun, Nentir Vale, and Greyhawk might be seen as superfluous. Or if they take a completely different approach to the planes, then Planescape would be off the books. It may even be that one or both of the settings takes elements from certain classics and remixes it in a modern idiom. For instance: A post-apocalyptic, points of light setting involving pushing back monsters and building micro-kingdoms, set in a setting modeled after Persian and Indian myths. Meaning, touches of Dark Sun, Nentir Vale, and Birthright, yet in a non-Western context.
 



Would be possible a licencing deal for the return of Gord the rogue? It would work as a crossover.

Mystara is also Hollow World (Conan the barbarian + Jurasick Park) and Red Steel/Savage (pirates and mutants).

Maybe before Dark Sun we will see something like a "spiritual brother" (and potential spin-off), a setting with a tribal-punk look.

GH has got space for potential spin-off, not only other worlds within the crystal sphere or solar-system, but also the "twin worlds", and one of these could be a fictional version of Gamma World. Other point is if Hasbro wants a crossover between D&D and other franchise, but in FR could cause troubles with the canon or the lore, the risks would lower with GH, for example an classic isekai story.... with the characters from Fornite, for example, or a nerfed version of superheroes from comics.
 

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