White Light, White Heat tracked Jared and Freddy down to a seedy bar in lower Downtown. Our intrepid reporter spoke to them about thier views on life, the universe and Role-Playing.....

WLWH: SLA has a very 'English' feel to it. Slayer has been seen as a parody of our former premier Thatcher, and the WOP reflects much of what was wrong in the 80's. Was this intentional, and did you fear that foreign readers would not take to the game for these reasons?

JE: "I'd say British as opposed to English. What with the Scots in the Glasgow office and Dave Allsop's very Scottishness. The World of Progress is a nihilistic view of Dave's fears. We all added our own stuff to his mix and got a very British game. This game could not have been written in the US".

FL: "English"? When most of the company were Scottish! Don't you mean British dear child? I suppose this is because that was the era in which we grew up and you write from what you know. The 80's were a dark and tumultous time and i suppose this is reflected in our work. Foreign gamers tell us they like the game for it's dark British feel, we are very proud of this".

WLWH: A major theme in SLA is that of self-compromise for financial gain. Is that how you felt after leaving GW? And how much damage do you think GW have done to the hobby?

JE: "I'd rather not comment. Far be it from me to say anything libellous."
At this point an evil grin came over Jared's face (or was the Guiness to warm?)

FL:"SLA is set in a harsh reality, that in a way is a distorted mirror of today's world when you think about life. Life isn't fair and SLA takes this to the extremes. Most companies want you to sell your soul to the corporate dream, in SLA they don't ask, they take".

WLWH: Some gamers have a dislike for the major players in the RPG market. Attacks on TSR, GW and now WotC are common place on the various RPG usenet groups. Do you feel that these are justified, and do you think that this will damage the future of the SLA title?

JE: "I think a lot of people feel that a successful companies are sell-out companies. Why are so many people resentful of success? I would say the TSRs of this world are getting flak because they are successful not because of the products they release. The public outcry against WotC is the most ridiculous of these flame-wars. Magic may have saved their local shop but because WotC is trying to let everyone just play their games, speculators call them cut-throats with no sense of decency. Wizards of the Coast are one of the nicest bunches of people I have ever had the pleasure of working with. Why do you think we chose them? WotC will make SLA into a successful game. People will hate that because it will lose the 'cult' feel of a close-knit band of fans. How dare we forsake the old players? Well, we're not. Do you want more supplements? I think so. Sheesh! I could go on for hours on this one..."

FL: "Large game companies tend to look at the larger market which includes, those of a younger persuasion and those of a more staunch point of view, whereas games Like SLA appeal to a certain portion of the market. The companies want to appeal to most of the market and you can't really blame them for this i suppose but sometimes they lose sight of what really matter in doing this and people get annoyed at this. God what am I talking about? I feel that the attacks are justified in certain respects, as a lot of these large companies are losing track of what matters to their public in the pursuit of profit. Does this make sense?

WLWH: SLA seems unashamed about it's source material. The Shaktar seem to be taken from the 'Predator' films, and even parts of the game system look to have been taken from older games (the combat phases/actions for example). Was this deliberate?

JE: "Well, the background and darkness was more important than the system. Oh, a quick aside: Shaktars predate Predator!"

FL: "Writing a roleplaying game can be like re-inventing the wheel, you think you have created a new, fresh idea and in you eagerness to let everyone know about it you forget things like influences. Most influences of SLA were what you could call 'happy accidents', they just happened, yes I know you can draw comparisons between parts of SLA and other things, but most weren't meant, they just happened. Have you ever written something only to find it's already been done?"

WLWH: Do you feel that the system is as important as the background in RPGs. The trend seems to be towards a more 'generic' system base, with game background taking up most of the bulk of the game book. Do you think that these 'generic' rules systems are strong to work with every background?

JE: "I've always preferred to work with rich backgrounds as opposed to clever systems. Systems are the first thing to get changed by any group of gamers. If they're going to mutilate the system, give them something easy to work with!"

FL: "A good background will support a bad system but a good system doesn't support a bad background, I really don't care about systems, as long as they don't interfere with the game, the game, storyline, and the enjoyment of all involved is paramount, nothing else matters. When GMing SLA at a convention i was once criticised for not using all the rules. Everyone else at the table told him to shut up as they were enjoying the game, he was upset at the lack of observation of the rules!"

WLWH: What do you see as the future direction of RPGs. Castle Falkenstein seems to be moving games away from the table top and into the parlour. Is this the direction you are going to go in the future?

JE: "If games like Vampire and Falkenstien attract more diverse people into the hobby, who am I to complain? As for our future, no comment".
Another evil smile...this time the bar-tender looks nervous!

FL: "I have never seen games as 'table games' as such, but as a story created and told by a group of people. I run games with a film anolgy, it makes people understand situations better. I don't think systems matter to much as long as the storyline works. I have seen magic weaved in a darkened room with no dice, no books, just paper, pencils and the right mood music and of course a good setting."

WLWH: How do you see the future for you personally? What new projects are you working on, and what is your dream project/RPG.

JE: "I am currently no longer directly involved in RPG design... I'm kept too busy on other things. I would love to get back into it but I have a few things higher priority than that at the moment. Dream project? I don't know..."

FL: "I am unsure, I would still like to work on SLA, this would be my dream again, one I hope never to lose."

WLWH: Jared, are you telling me the truth? Do you expect me to believe all this. I don't think you're lying, but none of this makes any sense.

At this point Jared and Freddy left, leaving us to pick up the tab!

SLA was dropped by WotC shortly after this interview took place. Jared wrote to me...

From: Jared_Earle@UK.wizards.be (Jared Earle)
Reply-To: Jared_Earle@UK.wizards.be
To: gentloser@tcp.co.uk
Subject: my interview
Date: 08 Dec 1995 14:25:24 GMT
Organization: Wizards of the Coast Belgium

Well, I think my interview text shows how little we knew about this decision.
I'm going to go down in history as someone who didn't see shit coming.

Don't remove my interview, I need to be reminded.


Oh, I like the wlwh page*