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Alright this is a long one so let’s get started
CEO IS GONE:
So we’ll start with the big news. This is something we were waiting for confirmation of (but hoping it proved wrong), which is Eiji, the Founder and CEO of Force of Will is no longer with the company.
This was confirmed in a post on his personal page (which I won’t share here, but was shared in the US Facebook group), where he talked about his love for the game, and how sad he is to leave it. But he wishes nothing but the best for it and everyone.
While we don’t know the specifics of why he is no longer with the company, you can hear our thoughts and Jeff Finnigan’s thoughts in the first part of our interview with him HERE, or read the article summary of the interview HERE.
This is very sad and troubling, as Eiji was not only the creator and head of the game, but he was very personally involved it seemed in a lot of what the game did. This includes the new better direction the game took recently. I hope the best for him, and we’ll see what impact (if any) this has going forward on the game.
GP INVITES REVOKED:
So this is quite a few different events that happened here, so we’ll go over them in order one by one.
So the first one was in Europe. They were informed that all their remaining GP’s, including the GP that was (at the time) 2 weeks from occurring would no longer have paid invites. This was not only unfortunate, but extremely short notice for such an announcement (still with no word from the company itself). People already are planning on attending, booking trips, etc expecting the larger prize.
The second instance of this happening came up in Australia, this time the information that there would be 1 less unpaid invite came just 2 days before the event! Here is the full post from Australia:
People were worried so naturally asked if the remaining GP’s were still happening in the comments, FOW Australia confirmed they were. However, all of them would be reduced unpaid invites. This is equally unfortunate. And another revelation that came from this comment section from Australia is that the Worlds Event Venue has been reduced in size, which is the reasoning for the sudden drop in unpaid invites as you can see below:
As you can see, FOW was going to take away the paid invite initially, but Australia’s Distributor had to negotiate and pay half just to keep it (half that they are doing simply to help players essentially). Comments like “the negotiations were not easy and did not go according to plan” do make the situation seem not that great.
Lastly we move over to Taiwan, who posted on their Force of Will page. You can check it out below, though it is harder to follow since it is shown using Google translate.
To sum up, they said most of the operating team at FOW is still at the company. The main thing said is the number of invited contestants will be reduced (as per what we mentioned earlier about a much smaller venue for Worlds). The number of spots for Taiwan, Hong Kong, mainland China may all see reductions (China for sure).
So we are basically seeing a global reduction in invites due to the smaller Worlds event now. This is all happening, once again, with no statement, Facebook post, or anything from the company itself. We’ll keep you updated on anything else regarding this.
As a side note, but also still related, Jim from ARG posted in the Circuit Series shouting out everyone who attended Vegas ARG and letting us know he is working on the Easter ARG events and invitational for Force of Will! This is awesome, however one thing he mentioned is that Charlotte GP (the GP happening mid-March) he is waiting to discuss things with the FOW company before reposting and hosting it. Not sure exactly what that means or entails but felt it was important to include.
GP DATES ANNOUNCED:
So GP dates were announced! (Again..) This time it obviously does not include GP Richardson or Collinsville (and no replacements as of yet). You can see the full list of events, including prizing, HERE
All the events are New Frontiers, which is really good at least. A lot of people were hoping for a Wanderer event, but nothing this year it looks like.
An interesting note is that all the events are $30. This is $10 more than any GP’s last year, even though these are all smaller and not one single event includes a paid invite to Japan. The reason for the price increase is unclear and we will probably never know why specifically.
So an interesting thing happened, Force of Will released a schedule of their entire product lineup for the rest of the year. This has never been done by the company before, so that’s really great to see. You can see this product list HERE
If you don’t want to look, the note able things are:
The first 2 sets each include starter decks. We don’t know if this is 10 starters total, reprints, some starter decks in set 1 and the rest 2 (similar to Caster Chronicles). So we’ll have to wait and see on this.
The entire lineup of product has been pushed back. Starting with the next set, every single product release has been pushed back from when they have been released for the past several years. How this will impact things like World’s format and date is yet to be seen.
Because of this push, the pre-release for the next set in March lands on the exact same weekend as a MTG pre-release. Because of this unfortunately we are already seeing stores that won’t be hosting a FOW pre-release that usually do since MTG is what pays the bills. Why this decision was made is unknown, or if there is a way to remedy it.
But yeah it’s cool to at least see all the product and know when to look out for it!
The last thing I’ll mention is that we still have no statement from the company. As Jeff said in his interview, he no longer was able to make a scheduled statement, and it has been 2 weeks since the company was going to release a statement the ‘Next Day’ in response to Robert Hebert’s official statement.
I bring this up because it is starting to become quite silly that we are approaching a month since Jeff and Eiji left the company, yet we have yet to hear word back. We have almost had every single GP cancelled, paid invites in the US stripped, unpaid (and some paid) invites stripped around the globe, Worlds shrunk, US head of tournaments step down, Judge program frozen, pre releases cancelled because of poor planning, and more.
Yet through all this, not even a 1 sentence Facebook post saying “Hey guys, don’t worry we will come up with a statement in the coming weeks”. It’s unfortunate. And I don’t mean to sound pessimistic, but it’s important to be honest about what is (in my opinion) sheer lack of awareness for any players and stores outside of the bubble where the company resides. I sincerely hope they fix this, and they still have time to before more damage happens. But it’s important for everyone to be informed about these situations.
That about does it for today, thanks for reading and see you next week.