Back in 2013, I chose the name ’Ice Water’ to evoke two images: a glass of cold water, simple and refreshing, daily, light, and a frozen ocean, vast, terrible, sublimely beautiful.
Our first game, Eidolon, had two thematic threads: firstly, a dense fictional world - human stories, lore - and secondly, a lonely natural world, fodder for self-reflection.
After Eidolon, IWG members started to work on two very different games: Viridi, and the then-unnamed Tenderfoot Tactics. At the time both were mostly interested in the natural world. Viridi also tended to lean towards the more lighthearted nature of Ice Water, where Tenderfoot tended toward the vast and weighty. And then we released Viridi, and it got a tremendous amount of attention, and, Tenderfoot being put on hold, Viridi somewhat defined the trajectory of IWG titles thereafter.
Ice Water came to mean to me: light, refreshing, quiet, thoughtful. And so I dropped Tenderfoot from the label. Civilization-scale stories, touches of the mysterious or fantastical, these things have poked in here and there, but nothing has veered too far from the personal scale of Viridi, definitely the label’s never done anything with the dense lore of Eidolon since.
But I think big stories are in us anyway. Tenderfoot's certainly in me anyway, it's in who I am and what I want to be making. And after some rumination, the Tenderfoot team has decided to stay independent and shoestring with it, and the body of label members have agreed to represent us while we self-publish it through the label.
For now this just means you'll be hearing a lot more about Tenderfoot from IWG. But for me it's also a major decision that IWG can stand for tactics games about wizards and goblins as much as it stands for succulent sims. So, for fans of this kind of thing, look forward to more big, fantastical stories from us in the future!
I see this as going back to our roots and shooting out a new sprout, rather than as a next step forward on a path - a botanical metaphor is more appropriate to IWG than a journey metaphor anyway. The label is a seasonal creature and long lived, spreading and multiplying, blossoming and going through periods of fallow. It’s got branches.