Where’d We Go?!

For the impatient, let me say it up front and early: The Dresden Files RPG will be published, and is still under active development effort. Our timetable has slipped, and we’ll probably see it coming out towards the end of this year. We’re very sorry about this delay, but we appreciate your patience.

Now as to the details…

I’m going to echo some of what’s been said over on The DFRPG Chat Group on Yahoo.

Development of the Dresden Files RPG is aggressively back on track. The reasons for the delay are manifold, but it boils down to this: We have had some core system issues that our local “in the lab” alpha-testing had proven to be pretty fundamental. So we nuked the damn system from orbit.

We’re now at a point where the core system issues with “nouveau Fate” have been sorted out, and we’re contemplating the impact this has on our spellcasting implementation. We’ve got some proposals currently on-deck that are pretty exciting, and that we have a strong feeling will make it out of the lab this time around.

We still don’t know when (or, honestly, if) we’re going to be able to make a go with some beta-testing with the public at large. We do want to do this, but we also want to hit our adjusted deadlines.

The “artist of the month” updates stopped in large part because we have put a hold on acquiring new art just yet. We’ve done about as much prior-to-typesetting art acquisition as we can possibly be comfortable with. We need to get all of the authoring and editing stuff out of the way before we can start seeing what our remaining art gaps are.

We do plan on releasing previews of the new material soon, but we aren’t there yet.

Was the Dresden Files RPG project ever on the “back burner”? Yes and no.

The Dresden Files were on the back burner inasmuch as anything from Evil Hat was on the back burner while we ripped apart our core engine and turned it into something we were much happier with. That core engine’s been resolved and retuned, and is purring like a kitten with a big saucer of milk. It’s good stuff.

This has allowed us to proceed with more specific development on two projects — Spirit of the Century, and The Dresden Files RPG.

Spirit of the Century is likely to see publication before the Dresden Files stuff is done. We’ve gotten all of the writing for Spirit done;it’s in the editing and art acquisition phase, which we’re hoping will be done sometime around June. Then, typesetting, and publication — which we’ll likely do solely Print on Demand through Lulu.com. Right now, it’s looking like a roughly 350-400 page game in a compact 6×9 format, which we’ll try to price at a good pricepoint to take advantage of what print on demand offers us and the consumer.

The reason Spirit of the Century is particularly relevant to DFRPG fans is simple — that “core engine” I was talking about us ripping apart and putting back together is featured there too. In fact, you’ll probably see some material repeated across both products — the “here are the basics of the rules” stuff, and some of the GM advice, for example — so if you want to get a rough handle on the game experience we’re looking to create, Spirit’s going to be of real interest to you. Plus, if you don’t mind us saying so, it’s a rockin’ little game.

That said, Dresden will be different from Spirit in some pretty fundamental ways, too. The idea of what a fair fight is is different between Spirit and Dresden; in Spirit, we’re looking to match the spirit of the pulp era, where dashing science heroes can face down an army of 50 ape-men without too much trouble. In Dresden, taking on three guys by yourself is pretty hard. The idea of how to present supernatural abilities is also going to be significantly different between the two products. Plus, Dresden’s really all about emulating the feel of the novels — and that’s going to subtly and overtly alter how everything’s presented, in the end.

Finally, a side-project has been under development and should be close to publication in the next couple months: Don’t Rest Your Head. The game’s all about insomniacs whose exhaustion and madness gives them superpowers as they try to survive another night in the Mad City. It’s a strange, wonderful sort of game, that doesn’t use the core system for Spirit and Dresden, but it’s got a wicked dynamic that should produce an exceptionally tasty blend of urban fantasy, modern fairytale, and horror gaming. Keep an eye out for it!

2006 looks to be an exciting year here at Evil Hat, and we appreciate everyone’s patience while we finish sorting out our self-induced derailment!