Im thinking a core set initially...something akin to the MCM B/X sets in one hardback or box. Enough for everyone to get started and whet the appetite. Along with a couple modules. 2014 will see the "advanced" PHB, MM, and DMG
Their first deadline is likely before, so everyone has the books for GenCon and the big release for the Con can be something else, like the Realms. And that way they can talk about what's next rather than 5e still being news.
But GenCon itself is the fall back date if they aren't quite done. They might ave a preview at GenCon and release after.
Hard date is prior to Thanksgiving. No way they go into a second holiday season without books.
We know the big con release will not be the Forgotten Realms. That's coming [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Greenwood-Presents-Elminsters-Forgotten-Realms/dp/0786960345/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1342500832&sr=1-4&keywords=forgotten+realms"]this October[/ame].
The FORGOTTEN REALMS is the most successful and widely known DUNGEONS & DRAGONS campaign setting ever created, and it owes its existence to creator Ed Greenwood.
This 160-page hardcover book describes the campaign setting as it lives and breathes in the imagination of its creator. Through the alter ego of Elminster, Archmage of Shadowdale, Ed Greenwood presents the Realms as a setting where companies of crazed adventurers are born and have rich lives, and where they get to call the shots. In this book, Ed presents a world where friendships are forged, endless intrigues unfold, and heroes wage war against the monstrous inhabitants of famous dungeons and untamed wildernesses.
For the FORGOTTEN REALMS fan, this book provides a rare glimpse into the setting as imagined by its creator, with new information on its visible and clandestine rulers, various merchant and trade princes, the churches and mercenary companies of the Realms, renown magic-users and secret societies, adventuring companies, and the web of alliances and enmities that connect them. The book is aimed at all Forgotten Realms enthusiasts, including players of every edition of the DUNGEONS & DRAGONS game.
That looks less like the 5e Forgotten Realms campaign setting and more like an edition-neutral filler product. A fluff piece for FR fans letting Ed Greenwood wax historically about his Realms games and the changes from official canon.
I don't think that would count as "lucky" - to release early next year, they basically have to have it ready to print round about now. Unless the playtest is one huge smokescreen, there's no way that that could be the case and for 5e to be at all good.
Problem is that the D&D business unit is currently bringing in negligible sales to Hasbro, and is investing very heavily in R&D. Now that's fine, provided it's part of a plan. But if it becomes late, and indeed if it becomes too late, then there may come a point at which they declare "enough", and shelve it entirely. (And this is especially true if D&D is a borderline product in the first place, which seems to be the case.) I would be very surprised if WotC did not have a very firm release date that they have to hit - publish, or perish.
So, I agree that "late but great" would indeed suit us. But "so late it doesn't arrive at all" certainly does not.
Greg Tito: How far away is the release of D&D Next? Mike Mearls: I think a better question would be, "How long will it take to make the playtesters happy?" We don't have a date in place yet, primarily because so much of our work will be dependent on how people react in the playtest. We're definitely not making any assumptions on how things will work out.
I thought I read/heard him say it one other time (like in an interview where someone asked him "if the next round won't come out until end of summer, how long will the playtest take?" and he says "as long as it needs to take"), but this was all I could find with a few minutes' googling.
Problem is that the D&D business unit is currently bringing in negligible sales to Hasbro, and is investing very heavily in R&D.
There's also Menzoberranzan, the 1e reprints, Ed Greenwood's Forgotten Realms, the Dungeon board game, the 3.5 reprints... That's just the next few months, and all of those are pretty highly anticipated. I don't think they'll have trouble paying the bills any time soon.
CH: Do you have a plan on how many playtests are coming, and where it’s going?
MM: We mapped out a plan for playtesting that covers 6-8 months of playtest content. We have flexibility built in, so if for example the tactical rules go over like a lead balloon, we can loop back to it and do some more work there. We have a schedule to go from the beginning to the end, if we have more work to do, we’ll work it in.