In the face of increased publisher, customer, and public concern over the reports that the new license for the Fourth Edition of Dungeons & Dragons contains a “poison pill” provision that prevents any licensed company from also producing open source games under the Open Gaming License, Wizards is staying quiet. Scott Rouse, D&D Brand Manager, had originally promised clarification of the issue on Monday the 21st after the news broke. Then on the 21st they said “No…” and asked ENWorld to come up with a list of interview questions for them to answer. ENWorld got the list together (in the requested 1 hour span!) and sent them in, but Wizards upon seeing them said “Um… I think we’ll go with a Q&A on the Wizards site instead… We’ll send you some ‘exclusive’ answers of course, because what you care about is site hits, not the truth getting out…” Now, even that is stretching out. The Wizards community liaison indicates that a response will not come this week, and maybe not next week either.
Even though this arguably legal but certainly unethical move isn’t confirmed yet by WotC, it’s amazing that they still feel like they can stay silent in the face of the news breaking to much public hue and cry on mainstream sites like Slashdot and BoingBoing.
Are they just trying to keep from officially confirming the worst until after the game comes out on June 6 and all the distributor orders and customer preorders are fulfilled? Are they frantically trying to get some Hasbro suit to change their mind on the license before they say something? Are they just arrogant enough to think that they don’t need to respond? Wizards has stayed silent about the future of open gaming since they announced 4e. Even when they announced there “would” be a license, they didn’t reveal it – first saying any publisher who wanted an early look at it to pre-sign up would have to pay a $5000 fee, but later rescinding that offer and just sitting on their hands. So really, we’re not talking about weeks of silence on the topic as the core issue, but the preceding months as well.