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!