By now, pretty much everyone knows that WotC laid off a number of their staff this month, two include two game designers (good ones, from all accounts) and a hefty portion of those involved with the digital side of things. Some people are predicting WotC gets done in by Hasbro within the year (Ryan Dancey makes a similar prediction here), many others are using this as an opportunity to point out (tee off on?) the shortcomings of the Digital Initiative, and the rumors start about D&D 4e underperforming, but most of us are just sad some good folks lost their jobs, regardless of if we play 4e or not.
But perhaps one of the most interesting comments I've seen is by Monte Cook:
"Not that I have any illusions about what would have happened had I stayed. I've no doubt that I would have been laid off. From a larger perspective than just yesterday, it's become clear that WotC's become a company that not only doesn't value experience, it avoids it. (And looks at least somewhat disdainfully, rather than fondly, upon its own past.) You have to stretch your definition of "old guard" to even apply to anyone there anymore. (This is likely a bottom line issue, since the longer you stay, the more you get paid.) When I was there, I worked among people like Skip Williams and Jeff Grubb--with that kind of perspective at hand, I was always the new guy. Which was fine by me. I had much to learn and always appreciated the perspective they could provide. Now, most of the people working on D&D weren't even there when I was there. That's how much turnover and change there's been. There's a real danger of losing continuity with these kinds of layoffs. Dangers involving making old mistakes and not remembering what was learned in old lessons.
It's a foolish and shortsighted management that lets people like Jonathan, Julia, and Dave go. Foolish. And a cold-hearted one that does it at Christmas. But this is not new outrage, it's old, tired outrage. This is the company that laid off Skip, and Jeff, and Sean, and other people of extraordinary talent and experience. It's par for the recent course.
Before I end this bitter ramble, let me just add that it's hard not to laugh at the shocking and perhaps pitiable ineptitude of a company that makes role playing games that would lay off Jonathan Tweet, very likely the best rpg designer, well, period.
I wish all of them the best, and have not a shred of doubt that they'll all go on to do bigger and better things."
So, what are your thoughts--is Monte pretty close to the mark here, or way off base?
Me? I think Paizo would be well-served to see about adding Jonathan Tweet to their roster.