Talking With Starfinder Creative Director At Gen Con


While at Gen Con, I had the opportunity to briefly meet with James Sutter, the Creative Director for the new Starfinder game from Paizo Publishing, as well as the co-creator of the Pathfinder role-playing game. We met in the first hour of the con, before Starfinder sold out, when the press of bodies at the convention was trying to get to the Paizo booth and grab their copies of the game. Moving along the line of people waiting to pay for their copies was Sutter, moving along the line with a pen in hand to sign the copies of anyone who wanted a signature. He talked with everyone, and laughed with many.

The first day of Gen Con 2017 was a busy one for everyone, but no one publisher felt that quite like Paizo. This wasn't the first time that Paizo dominated a Gen Con and sold out their new core rules, either. I was at the Gen Con, nine years ago, when Pathfinder debuted and sold out then. This Gen Con had a similar feel to it. Not far from the booth, Paizo had a demo area where they were running Starfinder games for those attending the convention.

When I asked about Sutter what he thought about the reception that Starfinder was getting from Paizo fans he said "This is crazy. This is great." He said that neither he nor the company expected lightning to strike twice like this. "We knew that people were excited and engaged" but until seeing the crowds at Gen Con and interacting with them they didn't know just how excited that people were about Starfinder.

In fact, the best part of working on the project for Sutter was the audience's reaction to it as they launched previews and reveals of the game. He said that the work in getting the game together and out to the people was hard, but seeing the excitement of the fan base made all that hard work worthwhile.

Sutter said that his favorite race in the game were the ratfolk. He lobbied for their inclusion because he know that Starfinder groups would have people in that would love the race as much as he did.

As a big fan of science fiction, you could see some of the early threads that would lead to Starfinder in earlier Pathfinder works by Sutter, like Distant Worlds. Writing about space elevators and particle accelerators in the Pathfinder game excited him, but he (and his editors) knew that they had to pull back on the more overt science fiction for that game. But it laid the ground for what would end up being the Starfinder game.

We talked about those people who weren't happy about the disappearance of Golarion, and the idea of The Gap. Sutter said that this was "crucial to Starfinder succeeding" so that Pathfinder campaigns and adventures wouldn't have their agency removed, or have things spoiled by Starfinder being the future of Pathfinder.

The next big product for Starfinder that Sutter was excited for was the upcoming Pact Worlds Campaign Setting hardcover. This will give expanded information on the core setting of the Starfinder game. The book was designed with their goal of pushing content that would benefit both GMs and players, having new equipment and gear, races and options for characters and players.
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Comments

dave2008

Hero
Interesting and thank you for posting it Christopher!

However, I find it really hard to believe that The Gap is crucial to Starfinder succeeding. If that is the case, then I think it is likely to fail

To clarify, I don't think Starfinder will fail and I don't think the Gap is crucuial. If I run a Starfinder game it will not be a part of our campaign at all.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Interesting and thank you for posting it Christopher!

However, I find it really hard to believe that The Gap is crucial to Starfinder succeeding. If that is the case, then I think it is likely to fail

To clarify, I don't think Starfinder will fail and I don't think the Gap is crucuial. If I run a Starfinder game it will not be a part of our campaign at all.
Weren't you just in a thread where you were surprised to find that there were people who only used canon stuff in D&D, and only bought stuff that was canon? Same applies here. There's lots of folks who do that. If it's in the book, it's part of their campaign.
 
Likewise. Golarion disappearing...ok. But if we are talking about thousands upon thousands of years between Pathfinder and Starfinder, the Gap really isn't necessary. think about how murky our own past even a few hundred years ago is. And computers do not make this much easier, with digitally-stored data degrading after a couple of years if not constantly being refreshed and copied onto better storage devices...
 

dave2008

Hero
Weren't you just in a thread where you were surprised to find that there were people who only used canon stuff in D&D, and only bought stuff that was canon? Same applies here. There's lots of folks who do that. If it's in the book, it's part of their campaign.
Yes, but that also explains my perspective ;) Maybe Pathfinder/Starfinder is different, but I believe for D&D the vast majority of people play in their own worlds/campaigns (i remember seeing that in news thread at some point). So I thought my view was shared by the majority, of course I guess that doesn't preclude Starfinder from needing that minority to make it a success
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Sutter overstates the "need" for the Gap. I find it incredibly lazy of them.
You think that the people who spent months producing a gorgeous several-hundred page full-colour book are "lazy"? Not just lazy, but "incredibly lazy"?

Tough audience.

God I hate the internet sometimes. It successfully parodies itself so often.
 
You think that the people who spent months producing a gorgeous several-hundred page full-colour book are "lazy"? Not just lazy, but "incredibly lazy"?

Tough audience.

God I hate the internet sometimes. It successfully parodies itself so often.
Oh so full of yourself this morning I see. Yes I find them not dealing with Golarion lazy and the excuse a poor one.

The internet allows you to have this forum so don't :):):):) on it.


Sent from my iPhone using EN World mobile app
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
then don't insult me, please.
*Sigh*. You've been here since 2002. You know the rules. Don't use profanity. Don't argue in-thread with moderators who are telling you to watch your language. Especially don't use moderator red-text when you're breaking *that* rule. Disagreement doesn't give you sudden license to start breaking all the rules or to start cursing at moderators. You can find those rules here. And finally, please do not post in this thread again.
 
*Sigh*. You've been here since 2002. You know the rules. DOn't use profanity. Don't argue in-thread with moderators who are telling you to watch your language. Especially don't use moderator red-text when you're breaking *that* rule. Disagreement doesn't give you sudden license to start breaking all the rules. You can find those here. And finally, please do not post in this thread again.
More power abuse. Gotcha. ::thumbs up::


Sent from my iPhone using EN World mobile app
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
More power abuse. Gotcha. ::thumbs up::
How can this *possibly* end? It was just a little request from a mod not to use profanity, and you've escalated it to this? Why? After 15 years, this is the hill you choose? Bye. :(
 
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ddaley

Explorer
I did not know anything about this Gap previously. But, it is sounding a bit corny. I hope it is possible to use their Starfinder AP without acknowledging the Gap. I am now a bit concerned about Starfinder :(

If they wanted Golarian to be excluded, why couldn't the Starfinder universe simply be totally distinct from the universe which included Golarian? I have received the core rule book for Starfinder, but have read very little of it yet... maybe as I read more, it'll become more clear why they needed this Gap.
 
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lyle.spade

Explorer
You think that the people who spent months producing a gorgeous several-hundred page full-colour book are "lazy"? Not just lazy, but "incredibly lazy"?

Tough audience.

God I hate the internet sometimes. It successfully parodies itself so often.
Morrus just put a spotlight on all that's wrong with social media. I am with you completely - whether it's gaming, sports, politics, movies...whatever. People are nasty, judgmental, and they pick at any nit they can find or fabricate.

I will, instead, focus on the good, the interesting, and the useful, and will do my best to simply overlook the things that fall outside my preferences. After all, this is all made up...so if you want, you can have 12 gaps, one for each moon of Eberron! (oh crap...world mixing...waiting for the backlash).

Enjoy, people! And thanks, Morrus.
 

dave2008

Hero
Oh so full of yourself this morning I see. Yes I find them not dealing with Golarion lazy and the excuse a poor one.
I think it would be less "lazy" of you to explain why you think it is lazy, rather than simple restate your previous post.

To be clear, I think I see your point.

EDIT: Probably should have read the whole thread before I posted. Oops - to late now!
 
I think it's just that they used an overused trope in fiction - amnesia - and applied it to their whole universe....which I simply find jarring, given how creative these people can be normally.
Not a fan of that. Also, either there is a divine conspiracy at work as every god seems to ignore questions about the Gap, despite the fact that the evil gods, especially the likes of Norgorber etc. would have a field day with a potential vulnerability of their hated rivals, or the gods have had amnesia as well.
In the latter case, I wonder why they are not all racing to figure out what happened....because anything that could erase the memories of a divine being is bad news indeed.
 

TwoSix

Lover of things you hate
I think it's just that they used an overused trope in fiction - amnesia - and applied it to their whole universe....which I simply find jarring, given how creative these people can be normally.
Not a fan of that. Also, either there is a divine conspiracy at work as every god seems to ignore questions about the Gap, despite the fact that the evil gods, especially the likes of Norgorber etc. would have a field day with a potential vulnerability of their hated rivals, or the gods have had amnesia as well.
In the latter case, I wonder why they are not all racing to figure out what happened....because anything that could erase the memories of a divine being is bad news indeed.
Given that Golarian has a fairly detailed history, I don't think inventing several millennia of even more history that becomes irrelevant in the space era AND constrains Pathfinder development is the best use of their time. They probably would have been better off with a brand new setting. Of course, setting-obsessives are great for book sales, so I can see the rationale for keeping the Golarian tie.
 

rknop

Explorer
Here's the thing about the Gap -- it's 300 years ago. The Pact Worlds have moved on. If you want to ignore it, you can.

I like there being a Big Cool Unexplained Mystery in the setting. What happened to Aroden? Nobody knows. And, very little of the followup Pathfinder material dealt with that, but a lot of it dealt with the fallout. (Cheliax and devils, Molthune/Nirmathas, Worldwound, Eye of Abendigo, etc.) However, a lot of it also didn't really depend on the death of Aroden for what mattered. I anticipate that the Starfinder setting will be the same way. They will never explain the Gap. Some things will arise from the Gap. Some groups will be trying to figure out what happened during the Gap. But lots of things could run just the same as if the Gap weren't there.

There are many pitfalls that have hit big game worlds in the past. One of them is the Oppressive Metaplot, where things move on and major changes happen in the world that your characters have no control over, and that contradict what has happened in people's games. Paizo has done a careful job of not falling into that pit. While several of the Adventure Paths have world-changing outcomes, they don't make any of them canon. (It'll be interesting to see if they finally break that rule with War for the Crown.)

If they wanted Starfinder to be in the same setting as Pathfinder, but they didn't want to commit to saying what major world changes happened after 4708, they had to do something to make that history either go away, or become unimportant.

(The PFS Metaplot has advanced. But, there, you don't have individual GMs and players making their own stories; it's a campaign, not a setting. Still, it's sometimes awkward playing early-season scenarios where, say, the Shadow Lodge is an emerging threat. The first time I played a Shadow Lodge scenario, my character was a member of the Shadow Lodge faction.... the GM explained that there were two different Shadow Lodges to make sense of it.)
 

JeffB

Adventurer
If they wanted Starfinder to be in the same setting as Pathfinder, but they didn't want to commit to saying what major world changes happened after 4708, they had to do something to make that history either go away, or become unimportant.
This is where I am at, as regards "The Gap". I don't think it was Paizo being "lazy", but finding the best work around so as not to create massive headaches/design problems in the fiction for both PF and SF now, and down the road.

I'm also a big proponent of "Questions" and not "Answers" when it comes to Campaign Settings/"The Fiction", so I also like "the gap". I wish WOTC would approach things this way with their settings on a regular basis.
 

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