2011 was one wild ride! In January, Eddy and I started up CCP Transmedia as he and I wanted to devote more time to all the other possible ways that CCP’s properties could get out to the fans beyond sitting in front of the computer immersed in EVE (or waiting for news on WoD). Of course, a large part of our efforts were a renewed push for our paper RPG projects, and a large part of that were our combined efforts on Vampire the Twentieth Anniversary Edition. These were great projects to work on, particularly when it was clear that finally, at last, DriveThruRPG was ready for our PDF books to become actual books through the miracle of Now in Print- which is DTRPG’s term for Print on Demand. This was the culmination of plans I’d put into play eight years earlier in terms of making our books, both new and our huge back library, eternally accessible and which Eddy had been valiantly trying to make a reality since he joined WW, so we were pretty excited.
We spent the winter setting up books for the spring- Mage Noir was one near and dear to both our pulpy-noir hearts- and the spring and summer getting those out and moving into full steam ahead with V20. There’s no way to underline how amazing it was to work on V20 in the way we did. Early on, Justin was tapped as the developer (with Eddy as back-up and Russell Bailey and Matt McFarland as writers) and one of Justin’s key points was that he wanted the development process to be out there in the open where we could get immediate fan input, and where any changes would be seen immediately as well. The response to that Open Dev Process combined with a general tidal wave of support and love for VtM from the fans made V20 a true paradigm shifter on multiple levels, not the least of which was how engaged the oWoD fans still were after so many years without any new books. It is said that our Grinchy hearts grew three sizes that day. Of course, then Justin caused trouble, as is his wont, and left CCP and unfortunately V20 part-way through due to contractual obligations, but Eddy girded his loins and took up the huge task of bringing the book home. Considering that our team was one sixth the size we would have put on this kind of project in the old days at WW, doing the largest full-color book we’d ever done for one of our own settings, it was an exhausting effort. But we were continually energized by the responses we heard from all around. Even after the WW blogs and site crashed, we still had folks talking via Twitter and Facebook and regular old emails.
Summer was convention season where Eddy and I talked and talked and talked. It was great to actually be able to present a strong schedule that encompassed a revving of the motor for nWoD and Exalted, but that also included cWoD (as I just wanted “classic” instead of “old” as our differentiator). It was a leap of faith from CCP that cWoD projects would be viable- but we pushed hard to get them OK’d: the Onyx Path and Werewolf 20th Edition were added the night before we left for GenCon. And of course, from there on until September it was Grand Masquerade 24/7, culminating in another fantastic GM, but this time with the added wonder and thrill of V20 releasing there. Sitting there with the guys, the models, Tim Bradstreet- it was like we could just swap stories and hear great things from fans from all over the world all day.
Of course, for all that goodness, there must be rottenness and October delivered that. CCP needed to refocus on EVE, their flagship MMO, and the extremely difficult decision was made to cut positions throughout the company; unfortunately a significant amount were in the Atlanta office as most of the folks there were not directly working on EVE. Frankly, Eddy and I are still dealing with the fallout from so many of our closest friends and co-workers losing their jobs, but for the two to three weeks after the decision was implemented we were both stunned ourselves and scrambling to find the words to console our friends. It threw our schedule off track (although we’re catching up) and resulted in some major decisions on my part, at least.
I’ll talk about that next time, where we look at the incredibly promising projects we’re looking at doing in 2012, most of which are familiar- but there are some awesome additions, some of what lies in store for 2013 if I can get OKs from above to reveal things, and I answer the question : “What is the Onyx Path”.
Thanks to all of you who made 2011 so amazing-