Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Another (Sucky) Christmas Tradition

It's time for the annual Christmas Layoffs at Wizards of the Coast!

And this time the cheerful elves at WotC have given coal in the stockings of two guys who should be well-known to the OSR. Steve Winter and Rich Baker.

Steve Winter's been with TSR/WotC for 30 years. His credits include editing Star Frontiers, co-creating Marvel Super Heroes, editing the gold World of Greyhawk boxed set, editing the original Oriental Adventures book, and a slew of other excellent stuff. I'm sure he doesn't remember me, but I met him when I was brought out to TSR in the late 1980's for a job interview (I didn't get the job, obviously).

Rich Baker is another long-timer who was with the company when it was still TSR, and has such credits to his name as co-designer of Alternity and Birthright, developer of the 2E "Player's Option" line of books, a mess of Dark Sun and Forgotten Realms products, and a dozen novels. He also designed Axis & Allies: War at Sea and was a developer on Risk: Godstorm.

I know there's all sorts of things that go into layoff decisions, and in some scenarios seniority is actually a bad thing (because it means you're packing a high salary, which is easy to pick off compared to some newcomers who might be making half what you're making). But damn, this seems like an especially bad choice for Wizards.

I like one fellow's idea over at ENWorld; Paizo should scoop these guys up.

(Sad hat tip to Joethelawyer)


Rich Miller said...

Ugh. I hadn't heard this yet. Steve Winter & Rich Baker? I'm right there with you in thinking Paizo should snatch them up. Steve especially.

p1r8z0r said...

Alternity is one of the coolest games of all time. ever.

grodog said...

Steve's a great guy---I got to meet him in June at the North TX RPG Con (where he graciously signed my miniature Greyhawk box set), and we had breakfast one morning too. I wasn't able to get into one of his games, but they were all well-received from the folks who played.

It's a horrible time of year to be laid off, on top of a horrible economy to be laid off in. Hopefully Steve and Rich (and any other WotC victims) will find jobs quickly.


mortellan said...

Great Gygax! That bites big time. WotC D&D just further slips into obscurity for me with the old guard falling away.

Mystic Scholar said...

WotC has obviously become infected with . . . senility!

I agree, Paizo should snatch these two right up!

Chris said...

The more I look at WotC, the more I'd swear they're sabotaging themselves in the hopes that Hasbro sells them off.
Obviously that's not the case... but it looks that way.

Hamlet said...

I don't know, Chris, I think you're reading into it. WOTC has a tradition of doing this from long ago. The turnover rate at that place is unreasonably high, and I honestly don't know why.

Sucks to be laid off, but if Baker and Winter can get scooped up by Paizo, or maybe go into business for themselves without violating prior agreements, then more power to them.

Barrataria said...

I know Birthright isn't every grognard's cup of tea, but I thought it was some of the best stuff modern TSR/WOTC put together, and that was Rich Baker's thing. Hope he lands on his feet.