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.