So Much for That Then

So when GW announced the closure of Black Industries a few weeks ago, I contacted them about the possibility of licensing WFRP and Dark Heresy. Since Green Ronin had created just about every product in the WFRP 2nd edition line, this was of course a natural move. The licensing lead at GW told me that many other companies had expressed interest, which was no real suprise. He also said that things were a bit chaotic over there and that it would take them several months to sort it out. However, if I wanted to put together a proposal, they’d be happy to consider it.

The following week we had some big internal debates at GR about what to do and how this could impact the company. A German publisher then contacted me to talk about the possibility of a joint venture. Since they were interested in the board games and we were more interested in the RPGs, this seemed like a good fit. However, one does not set up an international business deal in a matter of days. Nicole and I met with a friend who’s an executive at Microsoft to get some advice on the situation and then last Sunday I flew to SF to attend the Game Developers Conference. Since I had been told that this process was going to take months, I thought it would be OK to submit the proposal after I was back from GDC. I e-mailed my licensing contact at GW from SF mid-week and got a message saying that its delivery had failed. That was curious, but I was not unduly concerned.

Today GW announced that they had signed a deal with Fantasy Flight for all the board, card, and RPG rights. No one at GW warned me that a deal was going to happen this fast. I wasn’t give a deadline for the proposal, or a heads up that they were close to signing with FFG. After having had a close business relationship with GW for over three years, I was surprised that the negotiations were handled in this way.

I’m sorry that GR wasn’t able to make this work, and particularly disappointed that we won’t be able to continue what we began with WFRP. That said, if it had to go to another company, I’m glad it was Fantasy Flight. They are good folk and with Jeff Tidball on staff they have the know how to do the RPGs justice. I wish FFG the best of luck but they should be warned: it’s a grim world of perilous adventure!

10 thoughts on “So Much for That Then

  1. Well, that’s a shame. Given you guys wrote it and this was the most consistent and comprehensive WFRP period ever, I would have liked to have thought you’d be first choice.

    It’ll be interesting to see how they handle the RPG and if it becomes a hogshead situation where everything sets so tied up in approval it never comes out.

  2. WFRP seems to have commitment issues, doesn’t it? Now moving to its 5th publisher…

    Anyway, thanks for the low-down. I was wondering where GR stood in this whole business. You guys did a fantastic job overall, and FFG’s work will be much easier thanks to GR solving many of the tricky mechanical & IP challenges of updating v1. If FFG ends up making a kickass v3, it will be largely thanks to the trailblazing work GR/BI did on v2.

    Strange that GW made such an abrupt decision.


  3. Well….crud. I really dislike ffg, they are very unprofessional (at least in all of my dealings with them), and I believe GR is a superior company. I’m sorry you didn’t get this license, you guys deserved it. GR is a pleasure to deal with.

  4. I can’t say I agree that FFG is unprofessional, though my dealings with them have concerned their boardgames & CCGs and not RPGs. Aside from their release date management, I see little to indict them.

    I will be very curious to see the results of their stewardship.

    I am very surprised that GR wasn’t approached by GW in the first place. It seems to me that would have been a natural extension.

    Thank you Chris (and by extension, GR) for all of your hard work and creativity. You brought WFRP out of the grave, and did so with an obvious reverence for the prior material but also offering a new, excellent take on the system. A thousand thanks for that.

  5. Can’t help but be disappointed reading that you fellows at GR made a bid but didn’t get it.

    As has been said here already, you would have been the natural home for the rpgs to go to given the amount of effort you’ve expended on it so far.

    For what it’s worth, thankyou for that effort.
    It was done with an impressive degree of aptitude and a genuine ‘feel’ for the games you tended back to life/into existance.

    I’m gonna try and not let this taint my exitement about the line being continued all the same.
    Give the folks over at FFG a good chance.
    I’d have loved to have seen where you’d have taken it all.

  6. From my consumer’s viewpoint… Games Workshop treats their RPG products like a family living off a hooker. They don’t like what it is the hooker does but they like the money. I’m happy that Dark Heresy, specifically, isn’t dead in the water but it’s BS that GR wasn’t given a fair shot at it. GW: Great ideas & games, baffling business practices.

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