Friday, April 08, 2005

White Wolf changes d20 approach

from http://icv2.com/articles/home/6686.html

April 07, 2005

Calling the d20 market "volatile," White Wolf is adjusting its Sword & Sorcery line to concentrate on its best-selling titles. Citing the "economic necessity" of dealing with the tough market for RPGs, the company will not release any new Scarred Lands or Gamma World products this year.

The last Scarred Lands product was in December, and the final Gamma World product was also late last year. White Wolf expects its strongest d20/OGL lines this year to be its licenses, Ravenloft, Warcraft, and EverQuest, and Monte Cook's Malhavoc Press.

In the Everquest line, the connection to the online game is being emphasized this year. The just-released Everquest II RPG Player's Guide was designed to look like a videogame "strategy guide." In June, the Everquest II RPG Spell Guide ($34.99) will feature lots of full color screen shots.

Like the Everquest products, the Warcraft products are also being brought closer to the source material. World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game is scheduled for July at $39.99. This will be an OGL game, not d20, which will allow the design to take players closer to the online experience. This will also allow more cross-marketing with Blizzard, the marker of the videogame. White Wolf is also doing an ad swap with Tokyopop, which publishes the Warcraft manga.

Two Ravenloft products are scheduled for the next few months. Dark Tales and Disturbing Legends will be released in May at $22.95, and Von Richten's Guide to the Mists in August, also at $22.95.

Malhavoc's big release for 2005 is Iron Lore, due out this summer (see "Iron Lore from Monte Cook"). "Malhavoc has weathered the d20 storm," White Wolf's Philippe Boulle said.

White Wolf will also continue to work with three other studios: Necromancer, Paragon, and Goodman (for its Dragonmech line). Necromancer is bringing back Grimtooth's Traps via The Wurst of Grimtooth's Traps in May, at $34.99. And Necromancer and Judge's Guild are bringing out The Wilderlands of High Fantasy in August, a $69.99 box set with the first major campaign setting for fantasy roleplaying. The box will contain two 250-page manuals and nine double-sided full-color maps.