The YouTube channel 3 Black Halflings spoke to WotC's Kyle Brink (executive producer, D&D) about the recent Open Game License events, amongst other things. It's an hour-plus long interview (which you can watch below) but here are some of the highlights of what Brink said. Note these are my paraphrases, so I encourage you to listen to the actual interview for full context if you have time.
OGL v1.1 Events
OGL v1.1 Events
- There was a concern that the OGL allowed Facebook to make a D&D Metaverse without WotC involvement.
- Re. the OGL decisions, WotC had gotten themselves into a 'terrible place' and are grateful for the feedback that allowed them to see that.
- The royalties in OGL v1.1 were there as a giant deterrent to mega corporations.
- Kyle Brink is not familiar with what happened in the private meetings with certain publishers in December, although was aware that meetings were taking place.
- When the OGL v1.1 document became public, WotC had already abandoned much of it.
- The response from WotC coinciding with D&D Beyond subscription cancellations was a coincidence as it takes longer than that to modify a legal document.
- The atmosphere in WotC during the delay before making an announcement after the OGL v1.1 went public was 'bad' -- fear of making it worse if they said anything. The feeling was that they should not talk, just deliver the new version.
- Brink does not know who wrote the unpopular 'you won but we won too' announcement and saw it the same time we did. He was not happy with it.
- 'Draft' contracts can have dates and boxes for signatures. Despite the leaked version going to some publishers, it was not final or published.
- There were dissenting voices within WotC regarding the OGL v1.1, but once the company had agreed how to proceed, everybody did the best they could to deliver.
- The dissenting voices were not given enough weight to effect change. Brinks' team is now involved in the process and can influence decisions.
- The SRD release into Creative Commmons is a one-way door; there can be no takeback.
- The intention is that all of the new [One D&D] updates they are doing, "the SRD will be updated to remain compatible with all of that". This might be with updted rules or with bridging language like 'change the word race to species'.
- Anything built with the current SRD will be 100% compatible with the new rules.
- Brink does not think there is a plan to, and does not see the value, in creating a new OGL just for One D&D. When/if they put more stuff into the public space, they'd do it through Creative Commons.
- WotC doesn't think of One D&D as a new edition. He feels it's more like what happened with 3.5. They think 5E is great, but coud be better and play faster and easier with more room for roleplay, so there is stuff they can do to improve it but not replace it.
- WotC is leaning on the community to discourage bad actors and hateful content, rather than counting on a legal document.
- They are working on an adaptable content policy describing what they consider to be hateful content which will apply to WotC's work (no legal structure to apply it to anybody else).
- They now have external inclusivity reviewers (as of last fall) who look over every word and report back. They are putting old content through the same process before reprints.
- Previously cultural consultances were used for spot reviews on things they thought might be problematic, but not everything (e.g. Hadozee).
- The problematic Hadozee content was written by a trusted senior person at WotC, and very few people saw it before publication.
- 'DnDShorts' video on the internal workings and management culture of WotC is not something Brinks can talk on, but it is not reflective of his team. Each team has its own culture.
- In the last couple of years the D&D team hiring process has made the team more inclusive.
- When asked about non white-CIS-men in leadership positions at WotC, Brinks referred to some designers and authors. He said 'guys like me, we're leaving the workforce, to be blunt' and 'I'm not the face of the hobby any more'. It is important that the creators at WotC look like the players. 'Guys like me can't leave soon enough'.
- Goal is to make more ways to play ('and' not 'instead') including a cool looking 3D space.
- Digital gaming is not meant to replace books etc., but to be additive.
- The strategy is to give players a choice, and WotC will go where the player interests lie.