7th Sea is a fondly remembered title from the late 90s. Written by John Wick, the title fell into unfortunate obscurity over the last decade. That is, until, it was recently revived in a highly successful kickstarter.
I recently got a chance to talk to John Wick about the title, his kickstarter, and his fans.
I’d like to thank you for agreeing to this interview. I’m certain you’re, no doubt, busy with your kickstarter. I’d like to start off with something that might be an obvious question: why now? We know that it just came back into your hands, but why is that? Why did you feel like buying 7th Sea back and doing a new edition?
7th Sea is the game I get asked about most. More than Legend of the Five Rings, more than Cat, more than Houses of the Blooded. I knew the interest was still there, the fan base was still interested. I just didn’t know how interested until after the Kickstarter launched.
To turn things back a bit from the modern day, what brought 7th Sea about? Of course, as you say yourself, you were inspired by works like the The Three Musketeers, but what made you decide to put pen to paper and write the game way back when?
It was a lot of things. I’m a huge Alexandre Dumas fan. I’ve read all his books. But I’m also a huge fan of pirate literature and movies like The Princess Bride. When I saw the scene where Inigo Montoya confronts Count Rugen for the first time and kills four guys without batting an eyelash, I said, “I want an RPG where I can do that!” So, we set about designing 7th Sea.
It’s not far off to say that 7th Sea vanished back in the day. While your other excellent work, Legend of the Five Rings, continued to get more editions, 7th Sea did not. Is it possible for you to mention what lead to that decision?
I wasn’t part of AEG at the time, so I honestly don’t know.
Moving back to the modern day, your kickstarter has been immensely successful. It has earned more in one day than any other traditional games kickstarter on its first day. It must be rather a good feeling. What would you say is driving this success?
It’s because of the fans. Mainly, the fans. We also have a great team. I mean, this wouldn’t have worked without Mark Diaz Truman putting the project together the way he did. We have a fantastic art director, Marissa Kelly, who got us Shin Fei’s incredible art. Mark Richardson is making brilliant maps for us. It’s really like a perfect storm.
As it’s a new edition, there are bound to be some changes. You alluded to a series of additions that incorporate innovations from the last 15 years of gaming. Any backer who backs $1 can check the quickstart for more details. But, what do you think is the biggest and most important change in this new edition? What are you happiest to see?
Character creation is all different. Back in the day, there was a huge push from the AEG office to make characters start off at “first level.” We accommodated that, but it meant characters really didn’t feel like heroes. Now, with the new system, your brand new character really does feel heroic.
One of our readers wanted to ask you a question about swords school. He was curious how you envisioned them and how the action economy will look for them?
Sword schools are still in the game, but they work completely differently. We’re still making changes—even as I type this!—so I can’t say what they will finally look like, but I want everyone to know that fencing is going to be dramatic, fast and fun.
The New World book suggests you’re willing to leave Theah and explore new territories. One of the already hit stretch goals involves a fantasy Middle East-like setting. Are you willing to drop any hints to some new nations or regions that you personally hope make it into the kickstarter?
Before we reach our last question, as a tangential question, 7th Sea used to have a corresponding card game. It is currently out of print. Do you have any plans on bringing it back or has that, excuse the pun, ship sailed?
I don’t, but AEG does. They’re licensing the card game from us.
As our last question, I’d like to know if you want to say anything to fans of your games, especially 7th Sea, who owe countless fond memories to your title.
Oh… maybe a big, fat THANK YOU is in order.
Seriously, we had no idea this was going to happen. It’s changed my life in real ways and I can’t find words to properly express my gratitude.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank John Wick and Mark Diaz Truman for agreeing to this interview. At the time of this writing, 24 days remain on the kickstarter. If you are interested in 7th Sea, I highly suggest checking out the kickstarter and seeing the title for yourself: it looks like it’s going to be a solid successor to the original.
This interview was done for the purposes of helping promote and advertise for the listed product/developer and should be regarded as such when making purchasing decisions.