Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Scott Rouse leaves WOTC

Being the PR guy for WOTC these past few years must have been like being the guy back in the 90's who had to make sure Bill Clinton didn't get in trouble with women while President.

That WOTC was a PR nightmare of their own making can't be disputed.  That it was Rouse's fault though is another question.  How much input he had in choosing the direction of 4e, or deciding to pull pdf's we don't know.  How much his hands were tied in dealing with WOTC's messes we don't know either.

The situation could have been as simple as:

WOTC Suit who never played D&D before:  "We need to make a new version of D&D that effectively destroys most of the 3pp market with a very restrictive token "partnership" license only a fool would sign onto because it puts all the power back in our hands, gets kids who play MMORPG's to play D&D, and changes the game mechanics and language drastically for the sole purpose that no one can legally make anything for it via the OGL.  After that, we need to do everything we can to make sure no one plays any version of the game other than our latest one, so we need to stop selling anything for any other version of the game."

Rouse:  "That will piss a lot of people off."

WOTC Suit who never played D&D before:  "Who gives a shit?  All that matters is that every buck that people spend on RPG's goes to us.  It's your job to put the best face on whatever we do. Just don't tell the truth about anything.  Spin Spin Spin.  Deny 'till you die.  Give vague non-specific glimpses of the new game. Get the suckers excited. That will hurt the 3pp's, as people stop making or buying for the old system, just like in the 3.0 switch to 3.5 days."

Rouse: "Once the truth is out about what we did, I'll look like a liar, and so will the company."

WOTC Suit who never played D&D before:  "Who the fuck cares. At that point, there will be no real competition anyhow (and I'll likely have gotten a promotion and be out of this Hasbro backwater division anyhow, for my cost cutting profit increasing measures of firing half the division after the new version is released.)  If people play old systems, they likely won't spend a buck on anything new anyhow.  So fuck 'em.  We need to get the people who still delude themselves into thinking they can't make up better shit than the piss-poor waste of paper we put out every month.  After all, it's not like some company is going to keep the old system alive, revamping the old rules, and still publish quality material for it.  Besides, people are too stupid to believe the truth that this was our plan all along, even when the truth is obvious, staring them in the face."

Rouse:  "Ok.  Sounds good.  I'm on board with the plan.  Brilliance!"  (goes to polish up his resume.)

Good Luck Scott.