We want to publish new and innovative OGL products with an Old School approach (defined for the moment as rules-light, very dependent on DM quality, heavy on innovation & enjoyment), addressing many different OGL-based game systems, including BFRP, Savage Worlds (Pinnacle), Hackmaster (Kenzer), Castles & Crusades (Troll Lords), and Pathfinder (Paizo).If you wanted to alleviate my concerns about the wisdom of "getting the band back together," this is precisely the way not to do it. I realize that Mr Mentzer's post was, essentially, speaking off the cuff and so shouldn't be expected to be flawless, but attributing OSRIC to Ronin Arts suggests a lack of awareness about even the most basic history of the old school revival. Similarly, the scattershot approach -- "addressing many different OGL-based game systems" -- is, if handled poorly, a recipe for disaster, especially since many of the games cited are very different from one another, both mechanically and esthetically (not to mention the fact that several of them aren't in fact "OGL-based" at all). Any definition of "Old School approach" that encompasses both Savage Worlds and Pathfinder is, I fear, so broad as to be meaningless.
We would like to include OSRIC (Ronin Arts), Labyrinth Lord (Goblinoid) and RuneQuest (Mongoose) but haven't talked with them yet about permissions. The first two are very probable; we'll see about Mongoose.
Mr Mentzer is also looking for investors, stating that "Realistically we'll need at least a quarter mil" to get this company off the ground. That's a lot of money and it reminds me of an old joke about the RPG biz: "What the best way to get a million dollars by founding a RPG company? Start with two million." Far be it from me to criticize anyone for wanting to build a well-capitalized new company dedicated to producing old school materials, but, when you consider how much the old school renaissance has achieved over the last few years, and on nothing more than a shoestring budget, one wonders what Mr Mentzer has in mind here. Obviously, he and his partners have high hopes for creating something long-lasting and influential and, if he can raise $250K for a venture like this, I'll be most impressed. That suggests that this little revival has stronger legs than most of us realize.
I hope I can be forgiven for being somewhat skeptical about all of this, though. Much as I respect the contributions Mentzer, Ward, and Kask have made to the hobby over the years, I'm not sure how much they really understand the current resurgence in interest in old school gaming. That's not to say they can't be brought up to speed fairly quickly, but Mr Mentzer's initial post, which lumps together a whole bunch of games under a very broad rubric, doesn't immediately inspire confidence in me. Likewise, "reunion tours" in this hobby are often disastrous, as anyone who remembers various post-TSR projects by its ex-employees can attest.
My attitude might change as more substantial information is released. I certainly want something like this to succeed, as it'd be a good indication that the old school movement is more than just a fad amongst a small sub-set of weirdos on the Internet. Right now, though, I'm greeting this simply as "interesting." Whether it'll be change-the-hobby interesting or car-crash interesting is something we'll have to wait some time to discover.