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Wildfire LLC – the “Firefly” of RPG makers

I’m feeling a little disappointed from news I’ve seen about Wildfire LLC, the makers of Cthulhutech and The Void.

Sadly, from discussions I’ve seen on the Wildfire forum, it looks very likely that they are heading away from RPGs, and plan to focus on boardgames and card games. There’s only going to be a few books to wrap up the line of each in all likelihood. Cthulhutech and The Void are both among my favourite RPGs, lavishly illustrated and with a great setting. You can read my review of The Void here, and information on running Cthulhutech here. The books (at least the later ones, not the Mongoose one!) are excellent quality with amazingly evocative illustrations.

There’s always been problems with Wildfire bringing out their products, not necessarily as a result their own actions. It seems like they’ve been cursed, and suffered a catalogue of misfortune:

  • They have parted company with a number of publishers over the years – Mongoose Publishing, then Catalyst Game Labs, then Sandstorm. They seemed to have the worst luck with publishers. Of course each time they changed it would delay print runs, royalty payments, legalese, and of course the take-down of PDFs on sites like DriveThruRPG while the change took place. Not their fault though.
  • The Cthulhutech website is never updated, likewise their Twitter feeds. Why isn’t there a link to their PDF products on DriveThruRPG or RPGnow? It isn’t difficult to have a news feed. There’s been no activity on the website for ages.
  • The Wildfire Forums moved from yuku.com, but because there was nothing to engage the community (like news or a new product) the forums are largely inactive. There used to be dozens of posts daily, now its more like once a week.
  • A miniatures game, mecha book and other products were talked about then apparently shelved, even in the current Kickstarter culture. Like vaporware.
  • Staffing changes at Wildfire LLC pretty much left the community hanging. Fair enough.
  • Wildfire saying that they are running Wildfire as a “hobby”, not as a business. That doesn’t really impress the fans like me. They could be a little more professional, or perhaps take the lead from other companies.
  • No new product pretty much killed the fanbase, not just on the forums. There was nothing for us to be excited about.

I might be wrong of course, but I’ve got the strong feeling that I’m looking at the end of both games. If so, it should be a lesson to all “hobby” companies. Neglect your fans at your peril.