Is Monte Cook working on D&D 5th Edition?

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Is Monte Cook working on D&D 5th Edition?
20th September 2011 - by Morrus


It's been a popular rumour for ages: Monte Cook working for WotC on D&D 5th Edition. Compounded by his handing over of daily work on dungeonaday.com a year ago with no clear major (public) replacement in his schedule, WotC's seemingly reduced release schedule in terms of 4E D&D rulebooks, various rumours floating around Gen Con about cancelled announcements, the tenor of Mike Mearls' Legends and Lore column over the last few months on DDI, and now:
    Starting next week, I'm turning this column over to acclaimed game designer Monte Cook. Monte should be familiar to D&D fans for his work on the Planescape campaign setting, Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil, Arcana Unearthed, the mammoth Ptolus city sourcebook, and, of course, Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition.

    I've spent the past several months talking about D&D's past and how that relates to its future. It's now time to focus much more on the future of the game. Monte has an unmatched design pedigree in the RPG field, and for that reason we've brought him on board to work with R&D in making D&D the greatest RPG the world has seen. Over the next few weeks, Monte will use this column to share his thoughts about the game. As we look to chart D&D's future course, this column will continue to be a place where we share our ideas and listen to yours, and we hope you'll keep reading, discussing the contents, and sharing your feedback and thoughts with us and the larger D&D community.


Still nothing resembling an official confirmation, and Monte's not yet said a word, other than a tweet:

    Thanks to everyone for the well-wishes, kind words, and congratulations. Fun and interesting times ahead!


And a Facebook post:

    Yes, I am working for Wizards of the Coast again. It's no big deal. They had some wastebaskets that needed emptying, floors that needed sweeping... that kind of thing. We're still haggling over some things in the contract, though. I don't do windows.


So it could be that he's just joined WotC for future 4E development (but he's not written for 4E before to my knowledge, even in a third party capacity) or - he could be working on D&D 5E as the rumours have been suggesting for so long; or it could be something that they decide not to refer to as a "new edition". Our guess is that he's been involved for quite some time - what else could he have been doing for the last year?

Speculation on a potential 5E is generally regarded as nonsense and gossip by many people, which is why I tend to refrain from (publically/publicly/depending where you are) speculating about what's going on. But at this point, we know something's going on. And absent any further information, given this latest development, I think 5E speculation has moved from "conspiracy theory" territory to "a possibility worth speculating about". Maybe it's wrong, but it's sure as hell not a ridiculous theory any more, especially given all the previous "clues" I mentioned at the beginning of this article.

More as, when, and if we hear it!

Sources
http://www.enworld.org/forum/news/311816-monte-cook-working-d-d-5th-edition.html
http://wizards.com/DnD/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4ll/20110920
http://dungeonaday.com/
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I don't think it's a ridiculous theory. I think it's a forgone conclusion. The question is time frame. At the very least, I think Monte's return is related to WotCs concerns over the success of Pathfinder. At the most, I think they're getting ready to move away from 4E. I think the truth is somewhere inbetween. I love speculation and I'm fearless when it comes to new editions (If I like it, I say release it tomorrow! If I hate it, I'll keep playing the games I'm playing now). There's really no downside IMO. But I realize I'm not the norm and lots of people will have panic attacks if they think 4E will be replaced after only 5 years (thats the earliest they could hope to get 5E out).
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I like the way you think.

Regards
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Ha! Thanks. That's a very different reaction than I get on the WotC forums. They jump all over me over there. It's bedlam I say, BEDLAM!
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I basically agree. I remember the debacle of releasing 3.5 so soon after releasing 3rd edition. WotC will be hesitant to repeat that.
That said, anyone thinking that they are NOT working on 5th edition is naive. I'm certain that WotC has been at least thinking about 5th edition since the day after 4th edition was released (if not earlier). They may not have had a huge team dedicated to 5e development, but that's probably starting to change. The re-hiring of MC is probably the first sign of that change. It's still probably a few years out, of course.
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The writers and game designers gotta do something with their time... And WOTC needs new products to sell. A players handbook can only saturate the market so far before everyone's got one.
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It is a mess on the WotC boards, between edition wars and the DDI mess I do not visit very often. It is nice and calm here with very open and different view points.

Michael
Ha! Thanks. That's a very different reaction than I get on the WotC forums. They jump all over me over there. It's bedlam I say, BEDLAM!

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I know one thing I am a big Monte Cook fan and he ussualy release high quality work. So I hope he either steps up the current quality of the 4E brand or spearheads the launch of 5E.

I am good with either direction as long as the quality is present. I mean one of my favorite setting, Darksun. They releases the Mauraders module with a stock map in it featuring horses and a stream of water. Two things you do not find in Darksun! I mean this is basics of the world.

Regards
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Yeah, they dropped the ball on Marauders of the Dune Sea. And while I actually quite liked the Desert of Athas Dungeon Tileset, I found it quite odd that 6 of the 12 sheets had a water feature on it. First, it's not very desert-y when there's a lot of water and second, Athas is supposed to be even MORE nasty than a typical desert. But, to be honest, I've bought of TON of the 4E material and that was not the norm. Most all the hardbacks are actually really high quality. The modules have been very hit or miss with Marauders being a particular rush job. I don't see Monte changing things like that but maybe he will inject some new ideas into the game design. Even though I'm not a big fan of 3.5, I'm still very interested to see what he has to offer.
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Monte Cook's facebook post
Since a lot of people seem to be enjoying speculating on my current job, I'll throw this out there. I was very comfortable before the WotC offer came along (you'll see the fruits of some of those labors soon enough). WotC's very attractive, generous, and downright fun offer was enough to get my attention, but if someone there wanted me to do something I didn't want to do, or that I feel is wrong for the game (or for gamers), I walk away. It's that easy.

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