Paizo announced yesterday that they will be sticking with their own re-branded version of Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 for their popular (and well made) Pathfinder series. The Pathfinder RPG will serve as the core book, which will update the 3.5 D&D Rules. You can even download the nice-looking Alpha document from Paizo’s site now. After looking through the rules, they incorporate what I consider some “no brainer” updates to 3.5, and nothing that struck me as brilliant game design. It’s also not nearly complete, since they just offer a selection of updated classes and such, still having the expectation that it’s an add on to the PHB.
I personally am not happy about this because I loved the first Pathfinder series, but I’m definitely moving to fourth edition, which means I won’t have a Pathfinder in the new edition. (I am glad to see that Necromancer Games, a Paizo partner, will be publishing an adventure path for 4e. I just hope it’s up to the same standards.)
Looking at it from a business perspective, however, this makes a lot of sense. WotC is behind in offering the big third party publishers the new license and rules to use 4e. Paizo is uniquely positioned with the existing 3.5 market. Judging from the divisive reaction to 4e (and those who just don’t want to pay money to switch rules) there will be a market for 3.5 for at least the near future. I’m not sure they had a choice.
Still, I hope they produce high quality accessories and adventures for 4e, even if they don’t switch for Pathfinder. The truth of the matter for me is that no one else is making products up to their level except Wizards.