Monday, January 9, 2012

Wizards remakes D&D?

According to the NY Time Hasbro/Wizards is going to announce a new edition of D&D.

NY Times article (login required).

Brief Twitter Mention

UPDATE: It official.

Your Voice, Your Game.

The article and even the twitter post mention that player input will be solicited. The NY Times articles was surprisingly astute in it's analysis that the the D&D fan base is fractured among the different editions. Another thing I noticed is that whoever fed the NY Times the information was emphasizing a more inclusive message.

As much as I love the OSR, I have to admit that it was the good folks at Paizo with their excellent Pathfinder game that made Wizards wake up. For several months now the few bestselling game lists we have access too has Pathfinder topping D&D 4th edition. 

One though off the top of my head is that Wizards is going to have a tough time reconciling the work done on 3.X and older with 4th edition. As games like Castles & Crusade, and the retro clones show it possible to make a game that functions like older D&D using the 3.X rules as a foundation. 4th edition in contrast is very much it's own game.

Clark Peterson of Necromancer Games thought he could create a "classic 4e". My impression is that the project failed because of changing life circumstances and the GSL license rather than for any technical reason over the mechanics. So it may be possible for a imaginative person to create a version of 4e that has the simplicity of older edition D&D and works with the older material.

From my experience with the OSR and watching Pathfinder grow, I have to say that fans of various editions want to play that edition,  not something like it. The clones with the most appeal are the ones that stick close to their parent ruleset, (Pathfinder, Swords & Wizardry, OSRIC, Labyrinth Lord, etc).

Wizards can take advantage of this by release again pdfs of the older editions. Expanding DDI to encompass all editions of D&D. For the 5th edition of D&D I would focus on three things. A evergreen simple game to sell in Target, Walmart, etc. Something like the Holmes boxed set, or the Pathfinder Beginner's set. An Advanced version that covers pretty much the same range of stuff (classes, monsters, etc) as older edition. It should have generic support of a variety of play styles. Finally every year come up with a theme to use for organized play (game stores and conventions), and a handful of products to sell to these players. They use the advanced version as the foundation but it is understood they don't extend core game but rather implement it for some particular theme, plot, idea.

If and when Wizards make their announcements I will post some further thoughts.


Anonymous said...

Sensible suggestions there to grow the game for the future. The whole D&D blog scene makes very interesting reading at the moment!

Time will tell I guess.....

Scott said...

Closer to being done with 4E-lite is the Classic Fantasy Role Play game -

I like your product ideas and hope (but hold out little hope) that they will bring back the old editions.