4 Winds Fantasy Gaming released this press release two weeks ago, announcing they’d been acquired by Purple Duck Games. The Private Companion spoke with Mark Gedak of Purple Duck Games to get more details.
Private Companion: Purple Duck Games is best known to Pathfinder enthusiasts for multiple short, to the point PDF, like Random Encounters Remastered, and Items of Power and Ambition. What was the appeal of 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming, a company better known for larger, published products like Luven Lightfinger’s Gear & Treasure Shop?
Mark Gedak: 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming has always been one of my favourite third party publishers. I have each of their print releases on my gaming shelf and have used open game content from their products in a number of our own releases. As Purple Duck Games has been growing and learning, Robert was always open to questions and sharing of information. It has been common practice to share our new releases back and forth for the last year or so. So we have always had a good working relationship.
PC: How will this acquisition affect the future of Purple Ducks Games releases?
MG: There will likely be some delays initially in Purple Duck Games’ releases as we work to integrate the work from both companies. I expect we will see a greater integration of 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming’s content into our products including the Porphyra campaign setting. There may also be an upswing in the frequency at which we are able to bring some larger products to market as our writer base is likely to expand as well as we welcome many of the writers of 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming to continue to work on the dual brand products as well as on Purple Duck products.
PC: What about the 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming projects that were announced but not yet released, like the much hyped The GOLD Guide to Competitive Gaming?
MG: The GOLD Guide to Competitive Gaming, is one of the products listed as “in-the-works” that has been transferred to Purple Duck Games in the deal. It is one of the big projects in the deal that we are looking forward to completing.
PC: How would you summarize Purple Duck Games, both to a Pathfinder enthusiast and to a general gaming audience?
MG: Purple Duck Games is the natural outgrowth of Mark’s years of gaming, reviewing products, participating in playtests, and hobbylancing. We publish the kinds of products we want for our games, the kinds of products our writers are passionate about, and the kinds of products that support the games we love to play like the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Dungeon Crawl Classics, ICONS, and 4C Superheroes. Purple Duck is about putting out products that you can use, no matter what type of campaign you want to run. We want to help people expand their games.
For Pathfinder players, the setting we are developing (and have shared early work on with Gods of Porphyra and Godmetals of Porphyra) rejects the standard fantasy settings formula in favor of a setting that embraces the multitude of flavors, play styles, and character choices available to players who have played since the red box to players just getting started.
Porphrya’s strength is the ability to allow for any sort of player with any sort of interests to benefit from the setting/source/character option materials provided by our games.
PC: In the press release, you mentioned that you would maintain the 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming name as a brand. Why?
MG: Robert worked very hard to establish 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming as a brand. I have enjoyed their products for many years. 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming means a lot to Robert, it means a lot to me as a gamer, and it means a lot to the fans of 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming. All of the original 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming products that remain in circulation will continue to credit the hard work of Robert and his company. New works that Purple Duck Games have contributed to but are outgrowths of Robert’s work will be dual branded to recognize our contribution as well.
PC: You also mentioned that Robert Thomson, former owner of 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming, will stay on with Purple Duck Games as developer of the 4 Winds “in-the-works” projects. Can you elaborate on Robert’s future with Purple Duck Games?
MG: Robert is going to be working on actively writing some of the “in-the-works” projects. He is still going to be designing material for 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming products and is welcome to contribute to any Purple Duck Games products as well. The big difference is that Robert will not need to worry about the day-to-day management and planning of the companies’ works. From a writing standpoint, Robert is coming along to make sure that things he has committed himself to write will be written. Purple Duck Games is handling the other publishing aspects (editing, art, layout, printing).
PC: What do you feel it says about the current state of the market for third party Pathfinder material that one of the original third party publishers for Pathfinder was not able to sustain itself?
MG: I do not think the acquisition of 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming says anything about the state of the third party Pathfinder market because the idea that 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming was unsustainable is not the case. From my conversations with Robert, the 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming company was something that he no longer wanted to run, not that he couldn’t run. Over time, people’s lives change and they need to make the decisions that they feel are best for themselves. Robert wished to divest himself of 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming and Purple Duck Games was happy to acquire its assets.
PC: When does Purple Duck Games expect to announce the first new release under the dual Purple Duck/4 Winds branding?
MG: The first product to be released under the Purple Duck /4 Winds branding will be a small book of barbarian, bard, and cleric NPCs written by Robert Thomson called GM’s Options: NPCs 1 – Barbarians, Bards, and Cleric. It should be available on February 1st. Beyond that release, most of the Purple Duck energy for the dual brand will be focused on completing the Deus Ex Historica, Exploding Aces, and The Gold Guide to Competitive Gaming projects.
PC: Thank you for your time, Mark. We look forward to what Purple Duck Games does in the future, both with the 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming brand, and it’s own lines of Pathfinder RPG compatible products.