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Encore un interview de Mr Wilson, part one... MAJ : ouiz parte tou !

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Booggy:
... à propos des Iron Kingdoms RPG, ce coup-ci... c'est un peu long, et évidemment en anglais. Peut-être qu'une bonne âme qui a du temps traduira pour les anglophobes.. pour les autres, voici le texte :

Part one of the interview with Matt Wilson, Creative Director of Privateer Press

   Hail Adventurers,

    Yesterday I was privileged to speak with Matt Wilson, the Creative Director for Privateer Press. Here’s part one of the interview, where we get right down to the details on a new Iron Kingdoms RPG, and then back track a bit to see where it all started for Matt and the company.

Dan: So before we get to the rest of the interview, what can you tell me about the new Iron Kingdoms RPG?

Matt: It will come out at some undetermined time in the not too distant future, and it will be a proprietary system that will be tailored for the Iron Kingdoms IP. The most logical thing is for the new system to be an outgrowth of the WARMACHINE battle system. What we want is something that will let us create an RPG experience that emulates the mechanics of the world that we created.

Dan: So a player familiar with WARMACHINE can step into the new Iron Kingdoms RPG and say “Oh, ok I’m familiar with this.”

Matt: Right, and that’s always been the challenge with the D20 stuff. For example, we were trying to create a warcaster that didn’t just break the whole system. Because at the end of the day, warcasters are superheroes when compared to everyone else. If you’re not careful, you run into the jedi problem, right? I mean who wants to be a noble-

Dan: Or a stormtrooper-

Matt: Right, or a stormtrooper, when you can be a jedi master?

Dan: I played in an Iron Kingdoms campaign years ago, and I learned just how awesome a warcaster could be when the party’s level 5 Warcaster blew up a train in three rounds.

Matt: Yeah, and that’s really the key to the system. We always try to give those super heroic levels and abilities to everything, but because of the limitations of the d20 system, it made it more difficult to do so than it really needs to be. Once we are able to dive into this and work out our own proprietary system, we’ll be able to create a balanced RPG experience that makes it level across the board, while still accurately depicting how we imagine spell casting and things like that would work in the Iron Kingdoms. To me, that’s where the d20 system and Iron Kingdoms have always had a mismatch.

Dan: Do you have a development timeline or a release date picked for this new release?

Matt: As far as timeline, it’s a ways off. We’ve got a very heavy publishing schedule this year with the MK II release of the WARMACHINE and HORDES books. Once that’s done at the end of 2010, then that gives us more bandwidth to start on new projects.

Dan: So the developers who would be working on Iron Kingdoms are working on the MK II WARMACHINE and HORDES releases instead?

Matt: Yeah, with MK II, we’re relaunching WARMACHINE and HORDES. As part of that relaunch, we’ve consolidated 6 years worth of material for each of the factions into their own force books. In order to try and get all the players up to speed as soon as possible, we have a publishing schedule that requires that we knock out a new book every single month this year.

Dan: Oh my God.

Matt: Yeah, and that effort is tapping every single one of our resources from development through design, editing, production management, and the whole nine yards just to meet that publishing schedule. Then, once that’s done, then we can take a breather and start working on new product development

Dan: Sounds like you’ll be busy for the rest of this year.

Matt: 2011 will bring a lot of new and different kinds of challenges.

Dan: Do you think that 2011 will be an easier year for Privateer Press?

Matt: Well we’ve never really let up since we started. I wouldn’t say that we’ve ever had an ‘easy’ year. We tend to make each year harder on ourselves by being so ambitious with what we’re trying to do. But this year, we’ve buried the needle on all the pressure that we can apply.

Dan: Nice steampunk reference.

Matt: Now that I think of it, 2011 will be an easier year in terms of internal production schedule. There is a maximum amount of material that you can shove through any pipe, and that’s where we’re at this year.

Dan: Where did you get your start in the table-top games industry?

Matt: My first job with the industry was working with AEG in 1995, and I came on when they were still just a fledgling company. I think at the time their only products were Shadis Magazine, and some CCG box holders with some elaborate art work on them.

Dan: Were you doing the art work on any of the boxes?

Matt: No. Well actually, I think… I think I did one small werewolf box. But that was after I was with AEG for a little bit. Prior to that I had been working in comic books. I owned a small comic book company that, at the time, wasn’t doing too well. So I approached AEG about doing a serialized comic in Shadis magazine. While that comic never got off the ground, they hired me just a few days later to come on as an art director.

So I immediately started doing art direction for the magazine, and that was new for me. I was an artist and a writer, but never a director. Later I learned that they brought me on because they were planning to come out with the Legends of the Five Rings CCG, and I was the guy they wanted to do the art direction for it. I ended up doing a whole lot more than that though. I started with the magazine, and then I found myself involved in pretty much every aspect of the game as it was being developed; from design to marketing. I also did a lot of the initial world building where I basically created the world and the clans and then designed the look and feel for each of them.

Dan: I had no idea you did that. That’s a big deal!

Matt: Yeah, it was cool that I got to help lay the foundation for that setting. So I was there with AEG for two years before getting drafted by Wizards of the Coast to Art Direct magic for a while. Then I was drafted by FASA for two years after that. Then I went back to Wizards of the Coast where I worked in their illustration department for three years as the lead concept artist for Magic the Gathering.

Dan: So, at some point around there did you say to yourself “To hell with this I’m going to start my own company again!”?

Matt: Not really. I’d say it was more of a really fortunate planetary alignment. While I was at Wizards of the Coast, that’s when the d20 open game license launched and there was this huge boom of d20 companies. Around that time I was sitting with a friend one day and we talked about how we could start our own d20 company. We were both artists, and I had done some writing and we were both into games, so we thought we’d try and just through one out there.

That’s how The WitchFire Trilogy came to be. I did the world building and plotted the story that we built those modules around. Then Brian Snoddy and I did the artwork for it while Matt Staroscik wrote and did all the d20 mechanic work that went into those modules. Little did I know that this was all happening towards the end of my employment with Wizards of the Coast because they had just started downsizing. Soon after they cut all (or at least a great majority) of the artists they had employed at that time.

This worked out really well for me because we had Privateer Press ready to go. Actually, by the time I was let go by Wizards of the Coast, we had already done several RPG books. So I was able to transition right into working on Privateer Press full time, and in fact it was just a few months before we launched WARMACHINE.

Dan: That is a nice planetary alignment.

Matt: It was a really smooth transition from one to the other, and I didn’t have to scramble too much.

Dan: So on to Privateer Press, where did the name for the company come from?

Matt: I was trying to think of that when I saw your question. We went through a whole bunch of different name ideas. I want to say that it was a suggestion from Matt Staroscik, but it’s hard to say because we had a very long list with dozens of different names. We were trying to figure out what our identity was going to be. But as soon as ‘Privateer Press’ came up it stuck. All the other ones were thrown away because we knew that we had it. We liked the sound of it, and we felt that it embodied an attitude we wanted. That we were going to strike out on our own and do things our own way.

Dan: It definitely has a bit of a rebellious feel to it.

Matt: Yeah, but it’s not like we have anything to rebel against, you know? It’s not like “Hey! We’re the game industry and we’re going to take down THE MAN!” That wasn’t what we intended, but there was definitely a sense of empowerment that came with the name. It gave us an instant symbol to rally behind. Really, it became something universal for other people in that they understood and expected that from us.

I’ve always been glad that we chose that name and symbol for our company because it has been a guiding factor in how our company has developed. We’re independent, we try to be at the forefront of everything we do, and we like to try and set trends instead of follow in the footsteps of another company. Plus it’s always given us something to fall back on when we needed to give someone or some company the bird.

Jalikoud:
Merci pour la transmission de l'info.

En résumé :

L'année 2010 est extrêmement chargée pour PP avec la réédition de ses deux systèmes de règle phare ainsi que des force books pour chaque factions. Ils pensent donc s'atteler à la réédition du JDR dans un avenir pas trop lointain (en filigrane, on peut comprendre deuxième moitié de 2011, mais je m'avance peut-être ;)).

Le système subira une refonte complète avec abandon totale du système d20 actuel donc. Il s'agira d'un dérivé/prolongement de celui du jeu de figurine, en beaucoup plus étoffé sans doute : le coeur de l'interaction entre les figurines à Warmeuch/Hordes étant 'je jette 2d6, j'ajoute ma carac et je compare à la tienne' + quelques rares jets de dé en opposition + test de compétences qui se résume à ' je lance 2d6 et se je fais en dessus de la valeur concernée, ça passe'.

L'argument avancé par M.Wilson pour justifier ce changement étant que le système d20 ne parviendrait pas à retranscrire l'aspect épiquement bourrin de leur univers. ' Leur système est bancal, on ne peut pas y jouer de warcaster de manière satisfaisante' laisse pantois : quel intérêt de jouer un caster à temps plein mise à part en tant qu'augmentation pénienne rôlistique ? Surtout que la gestion des steamjacks est à peine contraignante à la longue ( les joueurs que se sont trimballés un au train pendant une certaine partie de la trilogie witchfire comprendront...). Sans parler qu'en terme de background ce sont des individus assez rares. La mise en avant du côté 'munchkin/ gros bill' du JDR dans son commentaire me gène un peu car témoignant d'une vision très 'étriquée' pour ne pas dire puérile de ce loisir.

Argument assez spécieux à mon sens sur plusieurs tableaux :

-> Si Warmachine est un jeu 'bourrin', le background n'a pas cet aspect brut de décoffrage : on peut tout à fait mettre en place de subtils scenarii de type enquête ou investigations, vu qu'il y a pléthores de faction différentes. Le supplément Five Fingers encourage d'ailleurs amplement cette approche.
-> Violer du pangolin draconique sanguinaire à coup de lame vorpale anisée +27 faisant critique sur 17-20 avec les bonnes compétences en d20 couplée à une bonne connaissance du système. Le système a ses défauts comme tous les autres, sans en être perclus.
-> L'aspect 'high fantasy/steampunk' serait très bien passée sous D&D 4 pour peu que les éditeurs fournissent un paquet de pouvoirs différents + introductions de compétences 'civiles'. Mais il aurait alors fallu verser sa dîme à Wizard of the Coast ::).
-> Quid de toutes les aides de jeu qui seront alors caduques une fois le système sorti ? Un compendium reprenant le contenu 3.5 des No Quarter serait la moindre des choses.

Bien entendu, personne ne force la main à qui que ce soit ( on peut rester sur l'ancien système avec aménagement maison) et le maître de jeu demeure seul décideur à sa table ;).

SHWTD:

--- Citation de: Jalikoud le 10 mars 2010 à 21:38:00 ----> L'aspect 'high fantasy/steampunk' serait très bien passée sous D&D 4 pour peu que les éditeurs fournissent un paquet de pouvoirs différents + introductions de compétences 'civiles'. Mais il aurait alors fallu verser sa dîme à Wizard of the Coast ::).

--- Fin de citation ---

Et je crois que c'est bien la réelle cause de ce choix.

Booggy:
Et voilà la suite :



Dan: What products do you have out and available now?

Matt: Well we have the two compatible wargames WARMACHINE and HORDES. We have the Iron Kingdoms RPG products, currently available as PDF downloads, primarily. We have the Collectable miniatures game MONSTERPOCALYPSE. We have the sports-hybrid game of steam-powered robot arena action, GRIND. And we have Scrappers, a Bodgers game.

Dan: Bodgers?

Matt: Bodgers is our family friendly line of games. We’ve always wanted to have a diversified catalog. We’re not just an RPG company or a miniatures company. We’re game designers here at Privateer Press and we have a lot of things we want to do. Sometimes you need a good beer and pretzels game, or something you could play with the whole family, and that’s where Bodgers originated.

We are actually quite good at making these big, epic, time consuming games. Games with well developed mechanics and worlds. We wanted to produce a line of products that would be accessible to people who were not quite ready to jump into all of that. That’s where Bodgers came in. Bodgers is more family oriented IP, and when I say ‘family oriented’ I mean it’s not a game all about guys going to war against each other.

All the Bodgers games revolve around a cast of goblin mechanic characters, and they are Iron Kingdoms inspired because that’s just sort of our aesthetic. The Bodgers games are all about building crazy contraptions and getting into mischief in this weird fantasy industrial environment.

The first Bodgers game, the Infernal Contraption card game, was all about trying to build a machine that would run your opponent out of resources. It and its expansion Sabotage did extremely well for us, so last year we introduced a new game, a board game under the Bodgers label which was Scrappers. In Scrappers, what you’re trying to do is grab parts off of a conveyer belt to assemble your widget all the while navigating this factory floor and competing with the other Bodgers for parts. It’s a lot of frenetic fun.

Dan: Let’s go back to MONSTERPOCALYPSE for a moment. That’s my favorite. I spend hours every weekend playing MONSTERPOCALYPSE with the boy at home.

Matt: Yeah! That one actually fell between Bodgers and WARMACHINE. WARMACHINE is a hobby/lifestyle game. You’re going to eat, sleep, and live that game while you’re into it. MONSTERPOCALYPSE is something you can approach more casually, right? But there’s still that hobby collector element to it. MONSTERPOCALYPSE isn’t as fleshed out in terms of the setting and the world because we deliberately kept it a bit more open so we have the opportunity to do things like guest star Voltron.

Dan: Speaking as a child of the 80s, I’m super excited about that.

Matt: We did that because, you know, in the Iron Kingdoms you can’t say-

Dan: “Hey Voltron, go get that Warjack!”

Matt: Haha, or Conan, you know? “Conan, come visit the Iron Kingdoms!” But you can say something like that for MONSTERPOCALYPSE and part of that is the genre we’re working with but part of it was making sure we kept the IP kind of open to those guest appearances.

Dan: What do you think is your most successful Privateer Press product? You can define ‘successful’ however you like.

Matt: Lucky for us, they’ve all done pretty well. It’s hard for me to pin this down, but I say that we’re probably best known for WARMACHINE. It’s our most developed property in terms of the setting, how long we’ve been working on it, the size of the audience we have, the longevity of the game, and what we can expect from it in the future.

With Mk II for instance, we launched that in January and we’ve seen explosive growth from the community with lots of new people coming to the game and a resurgence of people who might have set it aside a few years back reinvigorated. Based on this, I’d say that WARMACHINE is a linchpin title for us. I’d go so far as to say that the identities of both Privateer Press and WARMACHINE are intertwined.

Dan: Which Privateer Press product was your favorite to make? Which is your favorite to play?

Matt: That’s a tough question. It’s hard for me to pick favorites because I’ve been in a lucky position for the last… nine years now? A position where I can really indulge in my creative game design and world building whims. We started off with Iron Kingdoms, that lead into WARMACHINE, and then HORDES. Then I had the time and frame of mind to come up with a new property and that’s how MONSTERPOCALYPSE was born. Which was a great deal of fun-

Dan: -Because you got to sit around and watch Godzilla movies for a few weeks?

Matt: Yeah, I did tons of ‘research’, and it was GREAT. It was fun to have a chance to sort of… mine my childhood for all those things I had grown up on and had been inspired by as a kid. As a kid, I had been exposed to Japanese monster movies and Anime a long time before I discovered fantasy settings and Dungeons and Dragons.

Dan: I spent some formative years in Japan myself, so I hear you on that.

Matt: Well, there you go. But what was my favorite? I don’t know. I just love it all. I enjoy the world building and the story telling so much. To have all these worlds that I can play in whenever I feel like it… it’s a thrill.

Dan: Where do you see Privateer Press 5 years from now?

Matt: I get asked this a lot. I always say that I hope that we’re doing the same stuff now, just more of it. One of the things I’m looking into right now for Privateer Press to have within the next five years is for our properties into other mediums. We’re working with a lot of people down in Los Angeles working on different media projects.

Dan: Are you guys doing a MONSTERPOCALYPSE movie? J.J. Abrams presents: The Terrasaurs!

Matt: You never know. We’ve talked to a lot of people whose names might surprise you who are interested in that kind of thing. And we’ve got a video game in development with a company called WhiteMoon Dreams for WARMACHINE. We’re really hoping to do some novelizations and more graphic novels so that authors and readers can explore the worlds that we’ve created. All in all, we’ve developed properties that people are interested in using in other avenues, and that’s exciting!

Dan: Speaking of movies, you have a movie coming out soon. Tell us about Wolfsbane.

Matt: Wolfsbane is a steampunk re-imagining of the Little Red Riding hood story. It’s definitely a more grown up, serious take on the story, with a horror twist. Instead of a forest, Red is traversing a seedy urban environment. It’s a short film with just under 15 minutes of running time.

Dan: Why make a movie?

Matt: Film making is something I’ve always wanted to be involved in. Over the past few years, I’ve been working on getting our properties into other media including film, and while doing that I decided that it was time for me to make the plunge and get my ‘First time director’ achievement. I wrote a few screenplays, and Wolfsbane struck me as the first one I wanted to take on. I also directed the movie. I’m now in the process of editing.

Dan: So filming is done for Wolfsbane?

Matt: Yeah, we shot back in January. We shot about 80% of it here on a soundstage at the Privateer Press warehouse.

Dan: Really?

Matt: Yeah, We built the sets in the warehouse, much to the chagrin of our shipping department. We shot on the weekends, so we managed to stay out of the way of the business that was taking place here at Privateer Press, but we did have pallets sitting in the middle of the set environments during the week. Our shipping department was very patient with me.

Dan: Where and when can we see Wolfsbane?

Matt: Hopefully we’ll be ready to start taking it out to film festivals in the next few months. Once we have the film done, we’ll start submitting it to film festivals. With any luck, if there’s a film festival in your town, you’ll be able to see Wolfsbane. We’re planning on having a screening locally that we’ll announce once we figure out the logistics.

Dan: Is there a site where we can follow along on all the Wolfsbane news?

Matt: Yeah! There’s the website www.Wolfsbanefilm.com and people can sign up for the mailing list there. There’s the Facebook fanpage for the film too. Unfortunately I’ve gone dark for the past month since I’ve been editing the film, but I’m getting ready to update with a bunch of behinds the scenes photos. Once the edit is locked, and we do a few other things, we’ll kick out a trailer for the film along with some cool teaser stuff. It’s a fun project.

Dan: Are you planning on doing more film work after Wolfsbane comes out?

Matt: Absolutely.

Dan: These next few questions came to us from our Users. A lot of them asked the same kinds of questions, so we distilled them into the following 3.

Matt: OK

Dan: Are you playing in, or running any RPG games right now?

Matt: I’m not running anything right now, but when I get the chance I like to play in the office here. Every year we have an event which is called the Privateer Press Invitational. During this event, we invite all of the Press Gang, friends, and people that we’ve worked with over the years and we have a big three day event here at Privateer HQ. That’s usually my big annual gaming blitz.

Dan: What else can you tell us about the upcoming WARMACHINE video game?

Matt: WhiteMoon Dreams is hard at work on this game. Every couple weeks I get an update from them. We’re planning on a cross console release plus PC. The style of game they’re working on is probably not what you’d expect.

Dan: So it’s like Cooking Mama?

Matt: Yes. Exactly. No, it’s not going to be an RTS. It’s a much more action oriented game. It’s going to be real-time and immersive where you take on the role of a Warcaster and you get to experience what it’s like to be in the middle of the action with those 10 ton Warjacks at your side.

Dan: Sounds a bit like Dynasty Warriors.

Matt: Yeah, a very similar kind of view point where you see your character in third person and you can command you Warjack and cast spells in the heat of battle. You really get to experience the dynamic qualities of the Warcaster. This is great because we really get to change the point of view for the whole WARMACHINE experience, to see what it’s like to be on the battlefield at eye level. We’ll be seeing more on that in the future.
Right now the plan is –and you’ve heard it heard first- at GENCON this year, we’ll have a whole bunch of stuff to unveil. We’ll be showing off all the development that WhiteMoon Dreams has done over the past year, and then shortly thereafter we’ll find out where we’re going to take this to have it published.

Dan: Last question for you: Is Privateer Press hiring?

Matt: Um. At the moment? I don’t think so. I don’t think we have any open positions that we are hoping to fill.

Dan: Well that does it for us. Thanks so much for taking the time to let us interview you.

Matt: No problem, thanks so much!

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