First, this might be the first time we've used the term "system20", rather than "Modern20" to refer to the line, at least in public.
If you think this signals a shift in direction, you'd be right.
I didn't make a huge deal out of it, but when I was asked about future directions for Modern20 early in its life cycle (as in- what about fantasy? sci-fi?) I made it clear Modern would stay modern for awhile.
If pressed, I would then usually say "at least a year".
One thing that has pleased me is that we stuck to that. It was tempting to blow the doors off with another core book, devoted to sci-fi or whatnot. It certainly would have been profitable, at least short-term.
But I thought it would be better for Modern20 (the actual core book) to get a good long time in the sun as THE core rules for a time. Along the way, we honed and improved that core book a couple of times, delved into psionics, martial arts, supers, science fantasy and alternate history and really got the machine running at a fine, well tempered pace.
In short, barring a couple of minor exceptions, to the point where I felt the game, on the modern side of things, was more or less complete.
We had stayed Modern for more than a year (Modern20 debuted in October of '07).
So, with the machine running smoothly, '09, it was decided, would be the year to explore a different corner of the gaming world. Sci-fi was an early favorite and it's still something I can't wait to tackle.
But ultimately, it was "defeated" by a setting, one I'd only briefly explored in some online "webisodes" I wrote called the Hellstrom Voyage.
It's a gritty sword and sorcery fantasy setting, set in a high age of sail. It combines exploration, naval combat and espionage into a fantasy setting that (assuming I can pull it off), won't be quite like anything on the market.
In short, 2009 will be a year of Discovery. The Voyage of Discovery.