Brand New D&D Video Game from WotC's New Acquisition Tuque Games

Tuque Games has announced it's working on a brand new D&/D video game. "We're developing a brand-new game based in the widely celebrated, enduring, and immensely popular Dungeons & Dragons universe. This yet to be announced title is steepled in classic D&D lore. We aspire to push this game to new heights for the genre. It’s an honour and a privilege to begin a new chapter for Dungeons & Dragons video games."

Logo_Tuque_Color_invert.png

Not only that, but the company has been purchased by WotC! The press release went out earlier today:



RENTON, Wash., Oct. 29, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Wizards of the Coast, a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ: HAS), today announced that it has acquired Tuque Games, a digital game development studio based in Montreal. Tuque is led by veterans of the game industry with experience working for leading publishers. Tuque will continue the development of games for Wizards of the Coast's best-known brands, beginning with Dungeons & Dragons.

"At Wizards, we're continuing our commitment to creating new ways to bring our fan favorite brands to life," said Chris Cocks, President, Wizards of the Coast. "Our unique approach of connecting fans around the tabletop as well as through our expanding portfolio of digital games is redefining what it means to be a games company."

Founded in 2012 by Jeff Hattem, Tuque Games released their first title, Livelock, to critical acclaim in 2016. Now with over 55 full-time employees, Tuque will focus on the development of digital games based on the popular Dungeons & Dragons franchise.

"Tuque is thrilled to have the opportunity to be part of the Wizards of the Coast team," said Jeff Hattem, Founder, Tuque Games. "By working more closely together, we can accelerate our joint vision and bring to life new games, characters and worlds in Wizards of the Coast's roster of franchises."

"In Tuque, we believe we have found a unique partner that pairs the nimbleness of an indie studio with the veteran leadership and scale required to deliver complex AAA games for our largest franchises," said David Schwartz, VP of Digital Publishing, Wizards of the Coast. "We are excited to bring Jeff and the Tuque team to the Wizards of the Coast family, which we believe will allow us to continue to meet the needs of our fans while enabling us to scale our digital games development capabilities even faster."



It seems there's a bit of a D&D video game renaissance going on. Baldur's Gate 3 is coming, as is Solasta: Crown of the Magister.
 
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Russ Morrissey

Comments

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
"We're developing a brand-new game based in the widely celebrated, enduring, and immensely popular Dungeons & Dragons universe. This yet to be announced title is steepled in classic D&D lore."

Steepled? Really?

Does no one proofread anymore?*

Insert obligatory "Take me to church" joke here. Seriously though, STEEPED. Steeped in classic lore. Not steepled.



*Yes, I checked the website, and it's in the original.
 

jaycrockett

Explorer
I have Livelock, it's an ok sci fi twin stick shooter. Maybe they'll go for a diablo type game? Of course that was already tried with the wretched Daggerdale. We'll see.
 

Ruin Explorer

Adventurer
Uh-oh. :(

Looks like we might be back to the Bad Old Days of WotC digital decision-making. It seems like this might prove that the smart decisions on D&D Beyond, and deciding to work with Larian might be a fluke, as WotC once again links up with a total no-name developer with no experience of RPGs and no particularly impressive games under their belt.

Press Release said:
"In Tuque, we believe we have found a unique partner that pairs the nimbleness of an indie studio with the veteran leadership and scale required to deliver complex AAA games for our largest franchises,"
Jeeeeesus. Really? You've picked a studio with 55 people, one mediocre game under their belt, and you're expecting them to deliver a "complex AAA game"? Seriously?

This is exactly what is wrong with WotC and their digital strategy. It's been wrong for most of a decade now, and I thought maybe they'd learned. Maybe picking Larian showed them smartening up. Apparently not. They're going to have to at a minimum double, and probably nearly quadruple the size of the studio to have a team large enough to deliver an actual AAA game. That's going to cost millions if not over ten million, just to upscale the studio. And then to actually work on an AAA game? $20-40m minimum. That's bananas. There's literally no way this is going to be more profitable than licensing out the D&D license to someone who knows what they're doing, and is willing to let WotC take a cut.

I mean, I hope to god I'm wrong, but nothing about this sounds like a smart move. Even if they'd at least picked a studio with some experience and success under their belt, or a sensible number of employees, this might make some basic sense. We'll be lucky - very lucky - if this studio delivers anything at all before getting shuttered. Most likely they'll deliver some total junk like Sword Coast Legends, then WotC will divest them, having dumped $30m+ of profit into them.

I'm sorry to be a downer, I was expecting an exciting announcement like them acquiring, I dunno, a studio that had at least made an RPG, but this is perverse. What next, they buy a small studio, which has made one dubious TV movie or short-lived show, and give them tens of millions to make D&D TV, instead of say, working with established studios and so on?
 
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Well, Livelock was okay but my son and I both lost interest quickly. On the plus side, it shows that Tuque Games can make and complete a video game, so .....yayyyyy?

That said, world-weary pessimism aside, I am excited at the notion of another D&D video game! I mean, if we can have 1,000 spin off Warhammer 40K games, I can only look on with envy at those 40K fans and their cornucopia of products to pick from. Sure, I bet 90% of them are stinkers, but that still leaves like 100 good prospects.....
 

Ruin Explorer

Adventurer
Well, Livelock was okay but my son and I both lost interest quickly. On the plus side, it shows that Tuque Games can make and complete a video game, so .....yayyyyy?
That seems to be what WotC are going for - it's like employing someone on the basis "Do you have a pulse? Are physically capable of arriving at work? Yes and yes? YOU'RE HIRED! No, no put your CV away, we don't need to an interview!". I mean I suspect this was a "Is your studio incredibly cheap?" like, they probably bought them for next-to-nothing, but that's so short-sighted, because it's going to cost many millions to just get them up to AAA numbers, and tens of millions more to actually make an AAA game, and it doesn't look like anyone at Tuque has ever made an AAA game.

I mean god, it looks like they didn't even have a website prior to this announcement (surely this cannot be true, but there's nothing from before it!).

Looking through their LinkedIn (a surprising number of them are distantly linked to me, that's weird!) it looks like they have maybe three people who have LinkedIn up and visible who have AAA experience - and none of it is particularly lengthy. One of them was an Executive Producer at THQ for a year and a bit. Another was the Lead Writer on Batman: Arkham Origins (no idea how the writing was on that). That's about it.

I was expecting some kind of gaming superstar to be in there to warrant WotC's confidence, but er, I guess not.
 

Beleriphon

Totally Awesome Pirate Brain
I was expecting some kind of gaming superstar to be in there to warrant WotC's confidence, but er, I guess not.
Or, you know they're doing additional development for Magic: The Gathering games, and D&D games are a side effect. WotC does make more than D&D, and it is very likely the studio was purchased on the basis that they work primarily on Magic projects, such as maintaining or updating whatever online version is available now.
 

Ruin Explorer

Adventurer
Or, you know they're doing additional development for Magic: The Gathering games, and D&D games are a side effect. WotC does make more than D&D, and it is very likely the studio was purchased on the basis that they work primarily on Magic projects, such as maintaining or updating whatever online version is available now.
Nope, buddy, sorry, their website has "D&D" mentioned frequently, and never just "WotC products" and Magic isn't mentioned at all. So that's definitely not the case.




I don't think it gets any clearer than that. Also :ROFLMAO: @ the fact that they're already calling themselves an AAA developer. It's like, guys, until you have AAA numbers, and maybe an AAA game under your belt, you aren't actually an AAA developer.

Oh christ and I see they had 12 (!!!) employees last year, so the 55 they are currently at is a massive expansion. And given they're going to have to get to around 100, at a minimum, they're going to have grown in size by like 800% in a year or so. That's definitely not going to create an unstable environment where no-one knows anyone and teams have trouble working together and so on!

This is such a WotC thing to happen.
 
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"We're developing a brand-new game based in the widely celebrated, enduring, and immensely popular Dungeons & Dragons universe. This yet to be announced title is steepled in classic D&D lore."

Steepled? Really?

Does no one proofread anymore?*

Insert obligatory "Take me to church" joke here. Seriously though, STEEPED. Steeped in classic lore. Not steepled.



*Yes, I checked the website, and it's in the original.
Pehaps it's a very cleric-centric game?
 

Undrave

Adventurer
Nope, buddy, sorry, their website has "D&D" mentioned frequently, and never just "WotC products" and Magic isn't mentioned at all. So that's definitely not the case.
I know a guy who works for a studio who maintains the Fortnite shop and it's basically an industry secret... so it's not exactly indicative of anything that Magic isn't on their site. Just sayin'. Still looks bad though.

Steepled!
Can we make this a thing? Please let's make 'Steepled' a thing!
 

Prakriti

Hi, I'm a Mindflayer, but don't let that worry you
Jeeeeesus. Really? You've picked a studio with 55 people, one mediocre game under their belt, and you're expecting them to deliver a "complex AAA game"? Seriously?
Bioware did it in 1998. They were a small studio with a single (mediocre) game under their belt. The lead developers didn't even have fancy computer science degrees. They had medical degrees and continued to practice medicine while making Baldur's Gate.

Believe it or not, this isn't uncommon in tabletop video game licensing history. It's the small untried studios that license established IPs, not the big proven ones. That's because the big studios make more money by inventing their own IP, and only lose out on the deal by using someone else's (because then they have to pay a license fee, among other things). Larian Studios wanting to make a D&D game is a huge fluke, and not likely to be repeated unless the D&D brand experiences a huge explosion in popularity, putting it on the same level as Marvel and Star Wars.

Until then, it's going to be small untried studios asking for D&D licenses, and WotC has no reason to deny their request, because every now and then the gamble pays off in a huge way (see, again, Baldur's Gate).
 

Parmandur

Legend
Bioware did it in 1998. They were a small studio with a single (mediocre) game under their belt. The lead developers didn't even have fancy computer science degrees. They had medical degrees and continued to practice medicine while making Baldur's Gate.

Believe it or not, this isn't uncommon in tabletop video game licensing history. It's the small untried studios that license established IPs, not the big proven ones. That's because the big studios make more money by inventing their own IP, and only lose out on the deal by using someone else's (because then they have to pay a license fee, among other things). Larian Studios wanting to make a D&D game is a huge fluke, and not likely to be repeated unless the D&D brand experiences a huge explosion in popularity, putting it on the same level as Marvel and Star Wars.

Until then, it's going to be small untried studios asking for D&D licenses, and WotC has no reason to deny their request, because every now and then the gamble pays off in a huge way (see, again, Baldur's Gate).
Well, in this case, the small studio convinced Chris Cock to buy them outright. While skepticism is warranted, comparisons to WotC even five years ago are tenuous, given the changes in leadership.

So, Tuque has a long term goal of being AAA studio, but they haven't said this will be a AAA game out the gate. D&D is an RPG, but this isn't necessarily an RPG in development. Time will tell.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
Well, in this case, the small studio convinced Chris Cock to buy them outright. While skepticism is warranted, comparisons to WotC even five years ago are tenuous, given the changes in leadership.
They used to say the best way to lose a lot of money was to invest in a restaurant.

Now, I think it's faster and easier to buy a small video game studio.
 

cbwjm

I can add a custom title.
Cool, I'm looking forward to more DnD games, I've recently run through icewind dale and have now restarted NWN2. I always thought it was a little sad that 4e didn't have a decent game, the mechanics were perfect for a turn based game, but I'm glad 5e is getting a few.
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
I'm incredibly leery of modern AAA titles right now.

The good ones tend to be the exclusives designed to sell systems or software, and I know that Hasbro and especially WotC aren't getting into the console making or game launcher markets any time soon.

edit: A bit of clarity.
 
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