Purple Duck Games and 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming have just announced an acquisition; Purple Duck will be buying 4 Winds Fantasy. In a press release, Mark Gedak, owner of Purple Duck, made it clear that the 4 Winds brand would remain, as would all 4 Winds products and any in-the-works projects that get published will be dual branded. 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming’s founder and publisher, Robert Thomson, will be staying on for in-the-works projects.
Geek Native managed to grab some time with Mark Gedak to ask about the deal.
What was the reason for the deal? Why buy 4 Winds?
Robert (4WFG) approached me in late December with the proposal to divest himself of 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming. Robert and I have had a good working relationship as 3rd party publishers, often sharing new releases with each other and using each other’s’ open game content. I have always liked the products that Robert and his crew have managed to put together and all of their major releases have rested on my game shelves in print form.
How would you describe 4 Winds’ work to-date and their catalogue of products?
4 Winds’ products were some of the first 3rd party publishers products that I bought for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. They were also the first ones that I saw in print and purchased in print. The work of Robert, Connie and crew has greatly influenced the games that I prepared for my weekly Pathfinder session. One of the nicest things about 4 Winds’ Pathfinder products is that they did not simply seek to fill in gaps in Paizo’s creations or add more options for what Paizo created, but instead took risks exploring new areas and sometimes developing very niche products with writers who were passionate about the material. Beyond Pathfinder they also have a number of system-less supplements to support any campaign, and have in-the-works projects that add to the Mutants and Masterminds system and are launching CJ Ruby’s Exploding Aces system. It seems to me that 4 Winds has always strived to create the kind of thing that they are passionate about, and the things that they want to share with others’ tables.
We know that the 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming brand will appear for “in-the-works” projects but does that mean any new, not yet started, projects will be entirely Purple Duck?
It really depends on the sort of project we are looking at. If it is the sort of a project that developed naturally out of the existing work of 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming then it most likely will continue to carry that branding. For instance, if we decided to do a Book of Arcane Magic II sometime in the future it would carry the 4 Winds branding. I want to support and extent the work that Robert and his crew have started well into the future. 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming has been a constant at my game table since I started playing Pathfinder and I want to ensure that its brand endures.
What does your new release schedule look like?
Robert and I are still hashing out the details on some of this. There are a number of products that are “done” from a writing standpoint and once the transition is complete, I will be looking to get them moving into editing and layout. With Robert remaining on as a developer we will be working closely together to finalize those details over the next month or so. I know that both the crowdfunded Exploding Aces and Deus ex Historica are high on the priority list.
Lastly, what do you think about the state of the RPG industry? Do you think we’ll see more deals between publishers?
I don’t consider myself to be an industry insider and think I’m far from the pulse of the industry. But, from what I’ve seen recently there seems to be a lot of transition occurring in the way that games are produced and financed by publishers. I see a lot of people passionate about the games they play and passionate about the things they create for others to play.
Publishers make deals with other publishers, if a benefit exists for them. 4 Winds’ was looking to divest their work and have it continued. Purple Duck Games was more than happy to see that it occurs. With many smaller and indie publishers out there is not real ‘need’ to sell a company, it can just fade away in the Rpg market. Robert didn’t want that to happen, and I wouldn’t want that to happen to 4 Winds so we made a deal.