Kyle Brink (D&D Exec Producer) On OGL Controversy & One D&D (Summary)

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...

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
  • 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.
One D&D
  • 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.
Inclusivity
  • 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'.
Virtual Tabletops (VTTs)/Digital Gaming
  • 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.

 

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Parmandur

Book-Friend
Pretty sure it was a solution to a different and more present and dangerous problem than the Meta or Disney concern. They were solving for an immediate crises of a revolt. They're accepting the risk now of a Meta or Disney taking advantage of the IP. It was part of their surrender for the more immediate revolt problem.
Well, it may also address the threat in a different way: instead of putting up fences to keep their IP distinct, now it's tempting for any big fish that Swiss along to just use the open source option, same as the 3rd parties currently developing 5E clones.

Then WotC can rely on the Skaff Effect keeping them central.
 

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Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
For those saying they think this Meta issue is silly, let me offer a different perspective.

Everyone agrees there is a meaningful component to the "playing in the same room" with your group. You can play online (and I do) but there is something lost without the in-person aspect.

But because of the pandemic, a whole lot of people had to go online that used to game in person.

Meta, through the Quest 2, is already adapting tabletop games to their VR. You can play these tabletop games as if you're in the same game room together. You hear each other talk, you use you hands to move stuff around, you have a board you can move stuff around, you can roll dice, etc.. Here is an example of Settlers of Catan played using the Quest 2 with your friends:


And here is VR tabletop dungeon crawl available on Quest 2 to play with your friends:


The sense that Meta could use the OGL to adapt D&D to the Quest 2 in this same manner is a genuine possibility. I think it's inevitable somebody, at some point, makes this happen. I am not sure it's Meta that would do it. It may well be Hasbro digital has such an adaptation already in the works. It could be an unannounced third phase of what they're already working on with the VTT. I wouldn't be surprised if that were the case, and one potential trigger for all of this in the first place. Maybe they want to make that game to sell on the VR gaming platforms out there - and not let Meta make it directly.
 
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mamba

Legend
Meta, through the Quest 2, is already adapting tabletop games to their VR. You can play these tabletop games as if you're in the same game room together. You hear each other talk, you use you hands to move stuff around, you have a board you can move stuff around, you can roll dice, etc.. Here is an example of Settlers of Catan played using the Quest 2 with your friends:
interesting, but I would much rather have the Catan board as my game to which others join than this Meta approach. Like this


I feel the Meta approach has it backwards, but maybe that is just me

Well, since WotC is now relying on us to defend them, I can say with certainty that I have zero interest in the Meta version of playing D&D at a table

Interesting nonetheless
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Well, it may also address the threat in a different way: instead of putting up fences to keep their IP distinct, now it's tempting for any big fish that Swiss along to just use the open source option, same as the 3rd parties currently developing 5E clones.

Then WotC can rely on the Skaff Effect keeping them central.
Right. Go ahead and publish a D&D clone Disney! Spend a billion dollars on it, why not?

Who doesn’t want a Disney game where you can play within all of Disney’s worlds, right?

It’ll be awesome for wotc when this new “D&D but Disney” comes out. 🤷‍♂️
 


Jadeite

Hero
If Meta would want to create a D&D metaverse, they won't need the SRD for that. The cost of a total rewrite would be neglectable compared to the technical costs. They could even claim D&D compatibility.
 

teitan

Legend
My own employer is going through this right now. Get the wrong folks at the top, and they can absolutely take the ship in the wrong direction, and it can happen with surprising speed.
Looks at stock, looks at this comment, looks at stocks, looks at comment. Looks at tax statement from broker and losses… yup.
 

teitan

Legend
Right. People who fundamentally do not understand IP fretting about their IP and torpedoing their own IP...to protect their IP.

It would be like Marvel worrying about comic books as a medium or films as a medium. Sorry, no. The medium isn't the message.
marvel in the 90s would like to talk to you so they can avoid almost crushing the comic book industry and going into bankruptcy in 4 months. 😆🤣😂
 


Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
And while to us in the TTRPG hobby, the idea of Disney edging in on Hasbro's turf might seem silly...well, let's keep in mind that the decision makers at WotC are responsible for Dungeongs & Dragons and Magic: the Gathering...and look what's dropping later this year from Disney:

Maybe there will be a digital component, I'm sure people in Renton are actually losing sleep over this. Also, bigger companies than Hasbro, namely Nintendo and Activision-Blizzard, have made serious plays on the TCG industry...and Nintendo is actually the market leader witj Pokémon, not Magic.
Disney getting into gaming isn't a silly idea. Them wanting or needing to be a free rider off of WotC is the silly thing. (And the really silly idea is Facebook having a D&D metaverse area, when they can't even manage to do online conference spaces anyone wants to use, to say nothing of something more complicated.)

They have the IP and finances to do it right and would. If Disney wanted to make a Kingdom Hearts ttrpg tomorrow, it'd be a huge hit and they'd make damned sure to have it be their own proprietary system they had locked down and monetized to the nth degree.
 

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