Chris Pramas, of Green Ronin Press, wrote about the new license that will accompany Wizards’ 4e AD&D franchise. While I lost my desire to play the old warhorse of a system when they transitioned to 3rd Edition, I realize that the OGL that went along with the rule set essentially opened the landscape for a myriad of smaller design houses.
Shortly after Chris’ post, Scott Rouse (WoTC’s Brand Manager) posted about the changes on ENWorld, stating:
First and foremost, we are trying to design the license to best support our business, the business of selling 4e products. We want third party publishers to support 4e. We want them to move forward with us. We’ll have two licenses, one that supports fantasy genre gaming and one that acts as a bit of a catch all to support everything else (modern, sci-fi, super-hero etc). In the end this license may not be for everyone but we are designing it to be good enough for most. Regardless of what we do with the license and system, on the spectrum of fully closed to fully open, there will be alternative viewpoints and opinions and they all have a level of validity.
Based on this statement, it does sound like Wizards’ is attempting to leave 3e behind and shackle everyone to 4e. I have to say, I’m not all that surprised.
Assuming that WoTC does simply dump the use of the OGL in favor of a new license, I can only imagine the kind of backlash we’ll see, at least in the short term. As Chris pointed out in his entry, it may well result in a trove of d20 products being dumped for pennies on the dollar.