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https://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/356367/Fantasy_Flight_Interactive_to_close_after_companywide_layoffs.php

Obviously the Fantasy Flight Interactive department only affects you if you use the Die Roller app.

But I'm also very concerned about the last line in the story - the 'update' - "A source close to the situation estimates that over 10 people have been let go from Fantasy Flight Games, and that the customer service department and tabletop RPG department are also expected to shutter as a result."

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One of the laid-off people said on reddit the RPG department is pretty much gone. So either they use freelancer work (not unusual in RPG business) or we are looking at the end of FFG RPGs.

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Posted (edited)

From Reddit: "Mods have confirmed the OP to be former employee Sam Bailey and he has now confirmed 14 layoffs. He believes any future RPG titles will be done through freelance work rather than an in-house team."

Welcome to Shadow of the 5 Rings Run 6th Ed.

I had a good time, thanks to  everyone that was involved.

Edited by alotapotato

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I'm not sure what proportion of the current content was produced by freelancers and what was produced by FFG employees directly*, but I would suggest that even if the writers were all freelancers, there's a question what they would be in a position to do without the in-house management support to co-ordinate things like layouts, graphic design and publishing.

If I was a cynical man I'd note that mid last year (about the right timing for beginning a 6 month consultation/Voluntary Redundancy period - I'm not sure about equivalent rules in the states) the Genesys Foundry popped into existence, essentially canonising open-source publications under something not a million miles from the D20 or Traveller SRD licenses.  They have just announced the Crucible sourcebook for Genesys, though, so they are still producing stuff.

 

*the only name I know to summon who might be able to shed more light on what the freelancers provide versus what's added in-house is @GM Hooly, who I gather was involved in writing The Scroll or The Blade, and hence probably Winter's Embrace since they're a paired story.

They may or may not be in a position to provide any more insight. I know on the LCG Lore forum some of the writers do post fairly frequently but will often state that they can't discuss subject X Y or Z for fear of shinobi lawyers.

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Posted (edited)

I send good vibes and strenght for everyone involved in the layoffs.

I have been a critical, mean, and inhuman customer, and I never really saw eye to eye with the devs of the rpg beyond launch.

But this is not cool, layoffs are always painful. I hope they all get back on their feet quickly and get out of this experience even stronger than before.

That said, regarding L5R rpg, I think it will be almost business as usual for them. Most of the work is freelance, and now they will probably make it almost all freelance. FFG only need one person acting as in-house IP manager to coordinate everything.

Also, the game's system is already quite, hmm, shaky and busted? So at this point they are not risking much in releasing things without too much testing. And we know the lore/writing/setting/art will be top notch because of the long time L5R contributing freelancers and story team which are nothing short of amazing when it comes to bringing L5R alive.

What it bodes for other future FFG rpgs though, one cannot say. They have some good base with the Star Wars narrative system and it wouldn't be too far fetched to imagine them making a Marvel version of it in the near future. With updated rules and new blood coming in to make it more modern and stream friendly.

tdlr: L5R will most certainly keep trucking and be what it is. It is niche anyway and as long as it stays afloat, they will keep producing sourcebooks with lore for it.

Edited by Avatar111

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Magnus Grendel said:

I'm not sure what proportion of the current content was produced by freelancers and what was produced by FFG employees directly*, but I would suggest that even if the writers were all freelancers, there's a question what they would be in a position to do without the in-house management support to co-ordinate things like layouts, graphic design and publishing.

If I was a cynical man I'd note that mid last year (about the right timing for beginning a 6 month consultation/Voluntary Redundancy period - I'm not sure about equivalent rules in the states) the Genesys Foundry popped into existence, essentially canonising open-source publications under something not a million miles from the D20 or Traveller SRD licenses.  They have just announced the Crucible sourcebook for Genesys, though, so they are still producing stuff.

 

*the only name I know to summon who might be able to shed more light on what the freelancers provide versus what's added in-house is @GM Hooly, who I gather was involved in writing The Scroll or The Blade, and hence probably Winter's Embrace since they're a paired story.

They may or may not be in a position to provide any more insight. I know on the LCG Lore forum some of the writers do post fairly frequently but will often state that they can't discuss subject X Y or Z for fear of shinobi lawyers.

I cannot say much about the process other than what I experienced - which was nothing but an amazing experience each time.

We would recieve a contract for one or more sections of a book, or an entire adventure. When it came to a book, we would share that with other writers. Once completed, the entire manuscript would be assembled by the FFG RPG Department including any additional in-house produced content. I know that there are freelance editors, and proofreaders as well who exists to support this machine. In other words, the freelancers produce the content, as do the developers.

The art department then create the layout of the book, but all has to go through final approval via the RPG Department.

In essence, the Developers could do all the work, but they outsourced to freelancers.

Does that answer the question?

Edited by GM Hooly

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23 minutes ago, GM Hooly said:

I cannot say much about the process other than what I experienced - which was nothing but an amazing experience each time.

We would recieve a contract for one or more sections of a book, or an entire adventure. When it came to a book, we would share that with other writers. Once completed, the entire manuscript would be assembled by the FFG RPG Department including any additional in-house produced content. I know that there are freelance editors, and proofreaders as well who exists to support this machine. In other words, the freelancers produce the content, as do the developers.

The art department then create the layout of the book, but all has to go through final approval via the RPG Department.

In essence, the Developers could do all the work, but they outsourced to freelancers.

Does that answer the question?

I don't know if it answers their question, but I appreciate the view from someone "on the inside".  Makes it easier to understand the hold-ups on product when you share your experiences.  Keep up the good work, btw!

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At this point, we can only wait to see who FFG will appoint as the L5R rpg coordinator.

I am almost certain the product line will not be cut. Only done differently. Which might (or might not) be a good thing, depending on your opinion.

I personally think that mechanically, it cannot get much worse that it currently is. Especially since the latest sourcebooks and erratas.
Regarding Lore/Art/Adventures and such, I am 100% confident in the freelancing team to pull it off, they are amazing.

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2 minutes ago, Avatar111 said:

At this point, we can only wait to see who FFG will appoint as the L5R rpg coordinator.

I am almost certain the product line will not be cut. Only done differently. Which might (or might not) be a good thing, depending on your opinion.

I personally think that mechanically, it cannot get much worse that it currently is. Especially since the latest sourcebooks and erratas.
Regarding Lore/Art/Adventures and such, I am 100% confident in the freelancing team to pull it off, they are amazing.

What are your greatest concerns with the system mechanically?

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Posted (edited)
25 minutes ago, GM Hooly said:

What are your greatest concerns with the system mechanically?

I just think that knowing the flaws of the system, the design of the newest techniques or mechanical abilities have not been really solid. Barely anything really interesting or balanced (especially Courts of Stone)

The latest errata was also disapointing. Very disapointing.
Everywhere people are confused with how intrigues should be run, how combat works, how many small interactions work. How many podcasts I watched in which the players hardly had a grasp of the system, at its most basic level.
Sure, the pipeline needs to go on, but a much more solid F.a.q and Errata should have come out.

They had a hard time updating the PDf on their website... The Mantis PDF still suffer from the school "redundancies" issue that were fixed for the corebook.

I know it is just a "game". And everybody knows how inhuman and critical I am. sorry.

But yeah, on that front, I honestly think it cannot get worst.
On everything else (lore, art, adventure, setting) I have total faith in the amazing freelancers.

Edited by Avatar111

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Avatar111 said:

I send good vibes and strenght for everyone involved in the layoffs.

A good point, and seconded for what it's worth.

1 hour ago, Avatar111 said:

On everything else (lore, art, adventure, setting) I have total faith in the amazing freelancers.

On that I'd agree wholeheartedly. The settings and stories are great and the artwork is truly jawdropping.

Edited by Magnus Grendel

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2 hours ago, Avatar111 said:

I just think that knowing the flaws of the system, the design of the newest techniques or mechanical abilities have not been really solid. Barely anything really interesting or balanced (especially Courts of Stone)

The latest errata was also disapointing. Very disapointing.

But yeah, on that front, I honestly think it cannot get worst.

I'd just like to say that I completely disagree with Avatar111. Just so that that is not taken as a general consensus.

I of course join in the praise in art style etc. But I also really like the combat system.

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Posted (edited)
15 minutes ago, Harzerkatze said:

I'd just like to say that I completely disagree with Avatar111. Just so that that is not taken as a general consensus.

I of course join in the praise in art style etc. But I also really like the combat system.

I don't think that it is exactly what I meant... I do like the combat system

Edited by Avatar111

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3 hours ago, Magnus Grendel said:

On that I'd agree wholeheartedly. The settings and stories are great and the artwork is truly jawdropping.

I like most of the artwork as well and is a major part of why I bought into this version.

My only issue, and this is a VERY MINOR one is that the cover of the core rulebook (and hence also on the L5R RPG main page) is that the guy and the girl look too European rather than Asian(he has blue eyes while her eyes are too round and she has a nose bridge).  But again, that is a minor issue.  The artwork of the Kaito family characters is amazeballs!

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It isn't a question of the game not being fun, otherwise I wouldn't be here anymore lol.
It is a question that it was not properly handled post launch so I am not really surprised by the turn of events. AND I am actually hopeful that the future will be better for the game. I really am.

jeez... block this, block that... I am seeing the good things in the bad news. Full positivity right here!

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Posted (edited)

The vast majority of the RPG stuff is written by freelancers--as in, almost all of it, especially in the supplements (I think more of the core rulebook was done in-house). And, from my experience as a Brand Lead and Project Manager with AEG, I can also attest to the fact that editing, graphics and layout can all be contracted out. At AEG, we had no in-house graphics or layout people. Basically, for L5R, there was me, and there was a lead developer for the CCG. There was also an art director, but he did all the art for all AEG games. My job on that, and subsequently on Love Letter, was to coordinate all of it, including playtesting (which was also farmed out). But all of the actual work was contracted out. It's not an unusual way to do this in the industry, not at all.

So, if I had to prognosticate, I'd say that the consumers of the L5R RPG are likely going to notice little, if any difference (and I'd emphasize that IS prognostication. I am not in a position to say anything authoritative, not being inside the company; I've just worked with them a lot). 

That said, I feel DEEPLY for the folks who lost their jobs. I've done a lot of work on the RPG, and have got to know these people really well. I've also been laid-off myself, so I know what a wrenching experience it can be. 

Edited by DGLaderoute

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, DGLaderoute said:

The vast majority of the RPG stuff is written by freelancers--as in, almost all of it, especially in the supplements (I think more of the core rulebook was done in-house). And, from my experience as a Brand Lead and Project Manager with AEG, I can also attest to the fact that editing, graphics and layout can all be contracted out. At AEG, we had no in-house graphics or layout people. Basically, for L5R, there was me, and there was a lead developer for the CCG. There was also an art director, but he did all the art for all AEG games. My job on that, and subsequently on Love Letter, was to coordinate all of it, including playtesting (which was also farmed out). But all of the actual work was contracted out. It's not an unusual way to do this in the industry, not at all.

I really enjoyed the d20 materials you guys made at AEG.  Granted it was under Hasbro's Open Gaming License, and the whole buhahah over Book of Erotic Fantasies which effectively killed that line.  I still find myself using your materials for my own East meets West, Samurai vs. Knights Templar(or Knights Knights Hospitaller) games.

Edited by neilcell

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10 hours ago, Myrion said:

For me, Francesca Baerald's maps are the best bit because those are sweeeeeeet but really all of it is gorgeous.

They are, though I think I'm not alone in getting downloads of 'originals' off her website to sit alongside the FFG published version due to FFG's irritating tendency to mark "secret room" or similar on the labels....

 

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I posted about this in Genesys, but with Hooly popping in here, I copied my thoughts and hopes of what will happen going forward with the FFG RPG's:

Quote

 

If the RPG line ends, would it not be smart for whomever ends up owning Genesys to keep it up on the Foundry? They could continue selling PDF's of Genesys, Terrinoth, Keyforge, and Android. Then, fans could keep new stuff coming out which gets some more money for the owner without any work at all. The only hiccup I see is the dice. BUT, the boardgame line has not been dumped. The game company will still be spitting out loads of dice. So, they keep churning those out. So, maybe one person on staff, who possibly has other duties, who promotes the Foundry and keeps an eye on violations in new materials.

This seems like a win, win for everyone? Something I'm not considering?

They could even go so far as to hire a freelancer from time to time to put out official PDF stuff they already have rights to (Tannhauser, etc). Or to someday go through Genesys and put out a 1.2 PDF edition. 

 

Then later in another post at Genesys forums:

Quote

 

If the Foundry is kept up and running and the PDF's are at Drivethru or can be ordered directly from FFG/Asmodee/FutureCompanyName, I don't see a problem. The boardgame division has not been sunk. They make tons of dice. Most FFG boardgames I own have their own special dice. So, the company should be able to churn out new packages of dice if they intend to keep selling PDF's of the Genesys line. 

We just need to make them see the light to do this. :) As I said above, win-win for us and them. Small profit, but it's nearly a 100% profit and it's hardly any work on their part.. The Foundry's work will be done by others and the game company gets their cut while doing nothing except promotional adds from time to time?  The official Genesys products already have PDF's and if you aren't printing books, they are nearly 100% profit. The company will continue to make custom dice for boardgames, so spitting out the Genesys dice should be easy enough and not require any new overhead or staff that aren't already on hand.

 

 

Edited by Sturn

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It's hard not to feel worried.  Also I'm very sorry for anyone who lost their job.  That's always tremendously stressful.  I hope they know that the work they did was tremendous.  The product quality of all FFG's RPG books are ridiculous and I've been really happy with the new edition of L5R as well as Gensys. 

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