W20 Writer Jess Hartley Interview

Here is a transcript of W20 writer (and all-around WW word-smith par excellance) Jess Hartley‘s interview on the Charisma Bonus blog for those of you who might have missed it. Some really interesting questions and answers about classic WoD and new WoD, particularly in regards to Werewolf, and working on W20 and its supplements,  including the Deluxe W20 Kickstarter. Here’s the link if you want to check it out on the CB site: http://charismabonus.com/cha/2012/10/14/fund-it-werewolf-the-apocalypse-20th-anniversary-edition/


Here’s the interview:

Hey, Jess! Thanks for joining us! Care to introduce yourself for anyone who might not have heard of you yet?

Thanks for inviting me! Well, let’s see – My name is Jess Hartley, and for the last ten years, I’ve been a novelist, editor, writer, and game developer working predominantly in the RPG industry. I’ve had the good fortune to be part of the team that created White Wolf’s award winning Changeling: The Lost, and have contributed to 40+ other products spanning both the New and Classic Worlds of Darkness, Exalted, Scion and more…

You’re here today to chat with us about the Deluxe Werewolf the Apocalypse 20th Anniversary Kickstarter Project from Onyx Path. What can you tell us about the project?

I’m really excited about this Kickstarter! I’ve loved W:tA since I was first introduced to it, and have played with the setting in everything from tabletop, online gaming, and LARP to collectible cards (Rage). This Kickstarter is going to allow Onyx Path to do some really amazing stuff with the 20th Anniversary edition – A Storyteller screen, an “Art of Werewolf: The Apocalypse” product, at least two new Garou novels – it’s just really amazing. I think one of the things I like best is that there’s a level for everyone interested in the game to participate, from pledging a buck to be listed as a supporter, all the way up to having Ethan Skemp run a Werewolf session for you and your friends over Skype, or being able to be “in the know” as a Consulting Developer for the project. It’s just got a little bit of everything in there!

Werewolf the Apocalypse is the “Classic” World of Darkness Werewolf game, which some fans of the “New” World of Darkness line might not be familiar with. What are some of the key differences between Classic Werewolf and New Werewolf?

Classic Werewolf is Werewolf: The Apocalypse. In it, werewolves are warriors for Gaia, fighting against the forces of the Wyrm (a corrupted destroyer spirit) to stop the destruction of humanity and the entire world as we know it.  New Werewolf is Werewolf: the Forsaken. In it, werewolves are guardians of the spiritual curtain between the human world and the spirit world, tasked with ensuring that humanity doesn’t go wandering off into the Spirit Wylds, and that the spirits who would like to take advantage of humanity stay on their own side of reality.

W:tA focuses more on a larger werewolf population in a given area, which leads to political and personal roleplay between those who have different ideological viewpoints but recognize that they must rely on each other in the up-coming Great War. W:tF focuses more on pack-sized groups, with each pack being the ultimate authority in its own territory—and being ultimately responsible for everything that happens therein.

This project is re-launching the game in honor of it’s 20th Anniversary. What’s changed with the game since it’s initial release?

Any game that has undergone revisions and extended development over the period of two decades will find that its focus has spread out a bit over that time. The 20th Anniversary edition was a great opportunity for the team to look at what was really the best bits to come out of that 20 years of development, and distill it into what we hope will be seen as the epitome of Werewolf: The Apocalypse. It’s survival of the fittest, where only the strongest ideas make it into the final product!

Can you tell us a little bit about the team that’s behind this project? What sort of work have you been doing for it?

Well, overall, you’ve got Rich Thomas, the owner and head of Onyx Path. For those who don’t know Rich, he’s been one of the creative forces behind… well, just about everything White Wolf for as long as I’ve known there was a White Wolf, and his company now owns the licensing for all the Classic and New World of Darkness properties. I’ve worked with Rich in the past, and it’s always a pleasure. The developer for W20 was Ethan Skemp, and those who know anything about Werewolf will recognize that name right away. Ethan’s great to work for, and he brought on folks who were really a dream-team for Apocalypse. I’m not going to list them all out, because I’m sure I will forget someone, but let’s just say there was not a soul on that team that I wasn’t thrilled to be working with.

White Wolf – and now Onyx Path – has been paving the way for the RPG Industry in many ways, including using Kickstarter previously for the Vampire the Masquerade 20th Anniversary edition. What is it about Kickstarter that keeps you coming back?

Well, I’m definitely not in charge of saying what goes to Kickstarter or what doesn’t, but as an interested observer, I have definitely noticed that Kickstarter really lets a company gauge interest before committing to a project. One of the biggest dangers, in the past, in game publishing has been – What if it doesn’t sell enough to cover costs, or to lay the foundation for the next project? Kickstarter lets a publisher throw a product idea out there, and not only see if there’s enough interest to make it financially feasible to product that product, but also to see what sort of accompanying products (in the form of different backer levels, or stretch goals) the public is most interested in. That’s feedback that just didn’t exist until after a product was printed, shipped, and sold, previously.

What are some of the rewards backers can expect to receive for supporting this project?

Well, I mentioned a few before, but there’s also some great group-levels that would be awesome for a gaming group, college gaming club, or even a small game store owner. Oh, and what avid Werewolf fan wouldn’t love to get a chance to do a 30 minute phone interview with either Ethan or Bill Bridges—and a custom nickname based on the conversation? That’s epic. I’ve been working in this industry for ten years, and I’ve never been given a cool nickname from them!

Right off the bat the project soared past its initial goal – what sorts of stretch goals have been hit so far? Are there any further goals in store in case the funding really goes above and beyond?

Well, I mentioned the two novels, the Storyteller screen and the “Art of” product. Those have all been unlocked already, along with a PDF adventure done by Ethan Skemp. I’m really excited about another fiction stretch goal that hasn’t (as of the time I am writing this) been unlocked quite yet – that’s a fiction anthology of short stories all set in the Apocalypse setting. I’d really love to see that one get unlocked!

Once the new game is released, will we be seeing any additional supplements for it?

Oh yes! Onyx Path has already announced that Changing Breeds 20th Anniversary Edition is in the works, and I’m on the team that’s putting that together. A 20th Anniversary Edition of Book of the Wyrm is also in the works, according to the press releases! So it’s really an Apoca-rific period for Onyx Path!

Say you were a Werewolf in the W20 universe – what would your tribe be and why?

I’d probably be either a Fianna or a Child of Gaia. I love the Fianna’s creativity, passion, and fire. But I’m also a diplomat and a bit of a pacifist at heart, so the Coggie speak to me as well.

Where else can we find out about Werewolf the Apocalypse on the web? 

Onyx Path’s site is: http://theonyxpath.com/ That’s where you can find information about what’s coming up from Onyx Path, get links to their social media pages, see upcoming events and more.

The direct link to the Werewolf: the Apocalypse 20th Anniversary Edition Kickstarter page is at : http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/200664283/deluxe-werewolf-the-apocalypse-20th-anniversary-ed

  3 comments for “W20 Writer Jess Hartley Interview

  1. October 16, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    Way to to Jess!

    Also, glad that the W20 Development blog has a mention and link to the W20 Kickstarter now. :D

  2. Blue Fox
    October 18, 2012 at 9:45 am

    Yeah it was about time :)

  3. Blue Fox
    October 21, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    Over 230 000$ and more than 1300 backers so far and we still have 10 days to go.
    I think it’s safe to say that KS is a success and there will be W20-special edition.

    Even the super expensive special special has almost a hundred out of 200 pledges.
    So I’ll keep my fingers crossed for it.

    Without any further Rambling; I thank everyone who have contributed to this project whether at OOP or here or through KS.

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