Many have noticed, Rick Priestly grandfather of Warhammer 40k is back with new game and Kickstarter. You also may have noticed, Rick Priestly is making the media rounds to promote the new game. You can find interviews on iTunes, Blogs, and Forums pimping Beyond the Gates of Antares.
In the end no one really cares about his new game, what everyone wants to do know is, why did he leave Games Workshop and if there was any drama. Well like a faithful GW employee Rick Priestly has been tight-lipped, that was until about a month ago when he did an interview for the great blog Realm of Chaos.
The Realm of Chaos blog is devoted to Rogue Trader and 80s era Warhammer Fantasy, so in the Rick Priestly interview much of the conversation revolves around the “good old days”. Buried in the nostalgia fest is a VERY telling zinger as it applies to today’s GW.
Here is the question and full text…
RoC80s: Having interviewed other people involved in GW during this period, they describe the atmosphere in the studio as being very creative and supportive, as well as being very loosely controlled when it came to design. Is this a view that you share?
RP: Erm… well the RoC books extend over such a long development period that the atmosphere in the studio probably went through some changes to be honest. But when we were in Enfield Chambers (prior to 91) the studio was a very easy going creative environment to put it mildly. We were left to our own devices for much of the time, and Bryan Ansell (owner and boss) pretty much kept the creative part of the business separate from the manufacturing and sales part. Bryan was a very creative and ideas driven man – I don’t think he’d mind me saying that – he always wanted to make great games with interesting mechanics and stimulating ideas – and he didn’t mind investing in creative staff. He was a real patron of the studio and took a real interest in all the models and artwork. Bryan always said that if the studio ever had to mix with the manufacturing and sales part of the business it would destroy the studio. And I have to say – he wasn’t wrong there! The modern studio isn’t a studio in the same way; it isn’t a collection of artists and creatives sharing ideas and driving each other on. It’s become the promotions department of a toy company – things move on!
Notice the last couple lines…
Bryan always said that if the studio ever had to mix with the manufacturing and sales part of the business it would destroy the studio. And I have to say – he wasn’t wrong there!
And the real sucker punch follow-up…
The modern studio isn’t a studio in the same way; it isn’t a collection of artists and creatives sharing ideas and driving each other on. It’s become the promotions department of a toy company – things move on!
Wow, wow, and triple wow.
Things moved on indeed.
Rick’s story really isn’t a new story: company starts as creative entity, then money gets involved, then creative minds can’t handle money or change and move on. Still, the best creative teams in any endeavor are only as good as their independence (as many tech companies are learning) keeping your hands off the creative geniuses produces better results than those micro managed.
All this begs the million dollar question?
Was Rick Priestly forced out?
Either way, it does seem like Rick can say whatever he damn well pleases and I hope someone will eventually ask the question.
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