Hmmm, Well that's not so good.
I just hope that this "delay" is not the prelude to the end of Birthright and
that it actually is just a delay.

- ----------
From: owner-birthright@lists.MPGN.COM on behalf of Ed Stark
Sent: 10 April 1998 18:26
To: birthright@MPGN.COM
Subject: [BIRTHRIGHT] - News about Relaunch

Hello, folks. I have some not great, but not really bad news. It concerns
the new BIRTHRIGHT hardcover and the relaunch of the line. Here's the press
release we're sending out to retailers and distributors. It's going out
now, and I didn't want any of you to hear of it third-hand:

BIRTHRIGHT® Campaign Relaunch Delayed

The planned relaunch of the BIRTHRIGHT® Campaign has been delayed from this
summer until next year to allow the product to take advantage of an
exciting new format.

"We think that the BIRTHRIGHT setting and rules variations are exceedingly
cool and add a new dimension to the AD&D® game," said TSR Product Group
Director Bill Slavicsek. He credits the re-design team with hitting upon
the unique relaunch plan. "The new format opens up all kinds of
possibilities," he said.

Moving the relaunch to the 1999 schedule year will allow for additional
development and assure that the product's quality and presentation are of
the highest standard, Slavicsek said. "I want to make sure we do it right,
so I've given the team the time they need."

So, what is this new format? Stay tuned to this column for details as
development continues. Until the new product ships sometime next summer,
the original BIRTHRIGHT Campaign boxed set will remain in print.

I can give you a few clues about the nature of the delay and the new
format, but only within certain parameters. Here's what I've got so far:

Bill Slavicsek, one of our best designers and, later, brand managers, took
over the reigns of the TSR division of Wizards of the Coast late last year.
One of his mandates was to review the product release schedule and make
sure that (1) everything we were going to do was going to go over well in
the marketplace and (2) all his designers and editors would have enough
time to do everything WELL and RIGHT.

Well, as you know, BR has not had the sales figures we would've wanted for
the last year or so, and the relaunch was directed and boosting those
numbers. Bill was behind the idea (in fact, he contributed heavily to the
ideas for the relaunch--if you remember, he wrote some of the first product
for the BR line).

However, when Bill looked at the task in front of us (the relaunching of a
premiere line) and the staff involved (myself, on staff, and Carrie Bebris,
as a freelancer, and that was about it after the move), he just couldn't
see how we could do an A+ job with the time and resources we
had--especially with so many other big projects (such as ALTERNITY,
STAR*DRIVE, and a few others) launching around the same time.

Bill also questioned us about the value of some of the first projects we
had planned for right after the relaunch and made us think about how new
players would react to the SHADOW WORLD arc right off the bat. He argued,
and I think rightly, that even though you, our fans, would like the
material, any new fans we attracted with the relaunch would be very confused.

So, rather than release only a couple of products this year or go ahead
with a less-than-stellar relaunch (I, Carrie, and Bill all think the HC
would've been good, but the marketing support wouldn't have been what we
wanted), we put it on delayed status. Thomas Reid, the brand manager for
the AD&D line, will be helping to direct the relaunch for 1999 (meaning it
will get A+ attention from the AD&D core as well as the BR team) and we
hope this really kicks things off well.

In the meantime, I have talked to Dave Gross and Chris Perkins about DRAGON
and DUNGEON material for BR. I personally have written a few new articles
for DRAGON, and Chris is soliciting BR material for DUNGEON. Even the RPGA
and POLYEDRON are behind keeping BR material in people's minds--the RPGA is
still releasing HOGUNMARK as a special promotion and has contracted Sean
Reynolds to write BR material for the magazine.

I am currently lobbying the book department to let us release FALCON & THE
WOLF (Rich's novel) online, and I want to publish at least some of the
SHADOW WORLD material I've written online. I am, currently, working on an
ALTERNITY project, but I will keep up with the BR mailing list and continue
to help shepherd the relaunch along.

Ed Stark
Game Designer, Wizards of the Coast/TSR Division
Asst. Brand Manager
TSR Website: