Philip Athans has put together a lengthy article contrasting the development of the intellectual property that comprises the Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms settings. Extensive discussion with Tracy Hickman and Ed Greenwood provide a great deal of high-quality insight. For example, Hickman writes:
Story is the universal conveyor of meaning. Properly deployed story in game settings extends the game experience beyond the rules and the setting into the realm of change, growth and life application. I think it is a mistake to fixate on the specific and more tangible elements of the setting; one needs to have a grasp of the overall tone and message that a ‘property’—whatever that is—conveys to the reader. Dragonlance isn’t meaningful to readers because it has dragons and lances. It’s meaningful because it conveys a certain attitude, viewpoint, promise and meaning.
The article is a good, insightful look at IP—as opposed to game, or story—devlopment. Check it out.