Tuesday, 18 March 2008

A WFRP Conspiracy Theory

I recently stumbled across something perusing the internets that metaphorically had me grabbing a pencil and drawing conclusions. And yet there could be something to the theory that I'm about to posit. No one else, to my knowledge, has drawn this conclusion, so this might be a blogging scoop. Pay attention, then comment, call me a kook if necessary, but I think you will come to the same conclusion I did.

Games Workshop lined up Fantasy Flight Games for WFRP development at least six weeks in advance before announcing the closing of Black Industries, throwing Green Ronin and Chris Pramas under the bus.


On February 22, 2008, GW and FFG made joint announcements (here and here) revealing the licensing deal. Four weeks, almost to the day, after the GW announced the closing of Black Industries on January 28, 2008.

On February 23, 2008, Chris Pramas—who called WFRP "one of my favorite RPGs of all time"; the second edition a testament—candidly revealed what was happening at Green Ronin in those four weeks. Pramas said of Green Ronin's good faith inquiry to GW about the WFRP licensing and the FFG deal:

...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 negotations were handled in this way.

I now believe that GW and FFG had inked a confidential deal as early as December 2007! Whether anyone at Black Industries knew this is unknown, but I would find it highly unlikely. You're asking, "what is the evidence of this top secret deal?"

Evidence by Accident

Michael Hurley, "one-of-the-new-editors-technically-the-senior-editor," at FFG posted an innocent "rant" on December 12, 2007 on the FFG "Rant" page about iChat status options and FFG projects. Michael included the shown screen grab of his "entire iChat status menu" as Exhibit A.

Note one status is greeked and stamped "Top Secret." WTF?

It is this innocent post, but conspicuous attention grabbing mark up of the screenshot that started the cog works of my mind chewing up inputs over the last 2 months and producing the thesis of my conspiracy theory. The "Top Secret" mark is boastful in some ways. Encoded in the boast, almost like a three-letter agency hack posting a Word document and not scrubbing it for change tracking data, is "hindsight" information. Just what would have been "Top Secret" leading up to a bombshell announcement such as Black Industries is closing its doors and WFRP is going dark... again? Even the effort to hide the project would raise questions. FFG could take away the importance of internal project code names (avoiding such possible leaks)?

I put this out there for your examination. But it is my belief that FFG had WFRP, and much more, locked up well before the announcement and had started working on proposals and books. It backs up too how quickly the deal was made, explaining to Pramas, who believing the GW licensing lead, "would take [GW and Black Industries] several months to sort [licensing inquiries] out."

For Green Ronin and Chris Pramas emails would bounce and everything would "happen to quickly."

It's easy to connect the dots. ~o)

meta-photo-album-thumbnail=topSecretThumb.gif meta-photo-album=hurley-ichat.jpg
Posted by caffeinated at 10:46 PM in d10
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