Wizards of the Coast and Resolution Games have joined forces to embark on an exciting new venture: bringing the beloved Dungeons & Dragons franchise to the world of virtual reality.
The classic tabletop roleplaying game, which has been captivating players for decades, has experienced a surge in popularity in recent years. This is largely due to the efforts of third-party content creators, such as Critical Role and Dimension 20. These talented groups craft compelling stories for their viewers by playing Dungeons & Dragons with an ensemble cast. The franchise also gained renewed attention this year with a Hollywood film and the highly successful video game Baldur’s Gate III, which obtained the official Dungeons & Dragons IP license.
Resolution Games, known for their immersive game Demeo, will be taking on the task of translating the tabletop gaming experience into the virtual realm. This can be accomplished using a VR headset, such as the Meta Quest or Apple Vision Pro, or simply on an iPad.
The specific details of this partnership have yet to be revealed. It’s unknown whether Wizards of the Coast is simply licensing their IP or working directly with Resolution Games. However, this collaboration continues Wizards’ trend of branching out from the traditional tabletop format and embracing digital media. It remains unclear if this endeavor will serve as a platform for players to connect and play D&D through VR with their friends, or if it will present a brand new story experience, like the recent film “Honor Among Thieves.” Based on the trailers for Demeo, it appears that players are able to use VR hand-tracking to manipulate cards and paint virtual miniatures. This suggests that the collaboration may result in a virtual tabletop rather than a single-player narrative game.
It’s not uncommon for people to use platforms like Foundry and Roll20 to play D&D remotely with friends, and Baldur’s Gate III was a hit. However, the question remains: are we really ready to cast an eldritch blast spell at our enemies in virtual reality? D&D sessions typically last for two to three hours, or even longer for those dedicated to the game. Even when having a great time with friends, it’s natural for one’s attention to wander. Is it realistic to expect players to wear a VR headset for an entire D&D session?
The news of this collaboration comes shortly after Hasbro, the parent company of Wizards, announced significant layoffs. While the digital gaming division that oversees Wizards has seen a 40% increase in revenue year over year, generating a $203.4 million operating profit from sales totaling $423.6 million, overall Hasbro’s revenue is down 10%. Unfortunately, even with Wizards’ success, the company’s department at Hasbro was not spared from these layoffs.