Paizo Publishing has announced that it will launch a Pathfinder Roleplaying Game as "the anchor for the company's...Pathfinder adventures, sourcebooks, and campaigns."  The rules will be based on the 3.5 rules currently available under Wizards of the Coast's Open Game License.  The system will evolve, but will remain backward compatible, so that, as the company puts it, "players will continue to enjoy their lifelong fantasy gaming hobby without invalidating their entire game library."


The Pathfinder RPG will go through alpha and beta testing periods before it's released as a hardcover book in August of 2009.  The first release is an alpha test version, released in PDF form, and based on 3.5 rules.  Comments from gamers will be solicited and incorporated into future releases.  Various other PDF products will also be released in the coming months. 


The first product for retailers, Pathfinder RPG Beta, will be released as a $24.99 softcover in August, at the same time as a PDF is made available free on the Paizo Website.  This will be Paizo's first attempt at an update of the 3.5 rule system. 


After further playtesting, a hardcover Pathfinder RPG will be released in August of 2009.  Until that time, all Pathfinder products will be based on the current 3.5 rule set, with future products (after August of 2009) based on the updated Pathfinder system but backward compatible to 3.5.  Paizo also hopes to provide online fan-created 4.0 conversions for the game.


Paizo will also support 4.0 through a complete line from partner company Necromancer Games, which will produce a 4th Edition version of its Tome of Horrors monster encyclopedia, plus other player and gamemaster support products. 


Paizo has hired Nicolas Logue, who co-founded the Living Greyhawk organized play campaign during his tenure at Wizards of the Coast, to run its organized play program for Pathfinder, a mega-campaign that will kick off at this year's Gen Con.  Convention, in-store, and home play events will be supported with online scenarios available from Paizo. 


Paizo launched the Pathfinder brand in the form of a monthly release last year in the wake of the end of its licensing agreement for Dragon and Dungeon magazines (see "Paizo Launching Pathfinder").