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New Digital Games Studio announced by the president of Wizards of the Coast

L R Ballard

Explorer
GTA's prices are not the best yardstick since a LOT of that goes to voice acting (and casting celebs) and licencing an eff-tonne of music.

$4 mil is pretty low for a AAA game. But it's a lot for a new studio, even one backed by WotC. Heck, D&D the RPG probably barely pulls in $4 million each year.

Wizards has a recognized brand with the Forgotten Realms. R. A. Salvatore's novels, for example, regularly have hit the NYT bestseller lists. But when it comes to video games, Wizards routinely underperforms with a well-known brand.

By contrast, previously unknown brands like Star Citizen set modest crowdfunding goals: one of their stretch goals was over $4.2 million. They hit that goal.

https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link/transmission/12792-Unlock-Hades-System

Then, earlier this month, the designers reported they had surpassed $141 million in funding. It's the most crowd-funded game of all time, and it came out of nowhere.

http://www.gamespot.com/articles/star-citizen-passes-141-million-as-dev-teases-2017/1100-6446716/

Four million dollars isn't that much money to put into a game to build a world that routinely has novels appear on the bestseller lists. Wizards simply needs to have more faith in the FR brand and try to realize a game that competes with Activision's or Bethesda's AAA releases.
 

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It took three years, a $3,900,000 on Kickstarter, and an established team of experiences game designers to make that happen.
I doubt WotC is going to throw that much money at a completely untested group of people to make a D&D game in the hopes it turns a profit...

Well if you want to go cheaper, then an 8/16 bit JRPG thing? Mobile? Video games aren't cheap you know...
 

Curmudjinn

Explorer
I'm absolutely fine with them started from phone apps and moving up. The president needs to see returns to make a push, I understand, even if he has a D&D background. They'd have a hell of a kickstarter if they licensed it to Obsidian, InExile or Harebrained Schemes.
 

ArchfiendBobbie

First Post
I'm absolutely fine with them started from phone apps and moving up. The president needs to see returns to make a push, I understand, even if he has a D&D background. They'd have a hell of a kickstarter if they licensed it to Obsidian, InExile or Harebrained Schemes.

If they licensed it to Harebrained, we'd get a hell of a game by the end.

Knowing them? They'd pitch something like the amount of content Sword Coast Legends was supposed to get, and by the time the stretch goals were exhausted we'd end up with something around twice the content of Neverwinter Online.
 

I think that one thing I'd love for D&D would be an app that is expressly designed to be a companion to the APs. So you could buy a thing on it to activate, say, Storm King's Thunder, and it will not only have all the combats pre-built as combat encounters with initiative tracking and whatnot, but will also add all of the monsters and magic items to an internal database, and even have story notes and images ready to go for the campaign, so you could use it as a crib sheet and easily show the NPC images to the players. That, I think, would genuinely be a valuable addition to the D&D experience.
...
This has already been done. Go watch a video of Fantasy Grounds. I think Roll20 does it ok too.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
GTA's prices are not the best yardstick since a LOT of that goes to voice acting (and casting celebs) and licencing an eff-tonne of music.

$4 mil is pretty low for a AAA game. But it's a lot for a new studio, even one backed by WotC. Heck, D&D the RPG probably barely pulls in $4 million each year.

D&D used to average 25 million a year. Even when TSR was dying they got 40 million a year and 5E is supposed to be doing better than 3E according to the developers.

You can make a game for less than 4 million but graphics will be basic. Sins of a Solar Empire and Europa Unversalis IV were apparently cheap (think 1 million).

For under a million expect 2D graphics or 16bit graphics. I would rather have a decent 16 bit D&D game thats good than a PoS game trying and failing with modern graphics.

The old Sega Shining Force games were almost D&D and were awesome. Phantssy Star III and IV were great.

See something like Sundew Valley and the reviews for it as a cheap and good game. Modern 16 bit graphics do not look to bad.
 
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ehenning

Explorer
I think that one thing I'd love for D&D would be an app that is expressly designed to be a companion to the APs. So you could buy a thing on it to activate, say, Storm King's Thunder, and it will not only have all the combats pre-built as combat encounters with initiative tracking and whatnot, but will also add all of the monsters and magic items to an internal database, and even have story notes and images ready to go for the campaign, so you could use it as a crib sheet and easily show the NPC images to the players. That, I think, would genuinely be a valuable addition to the D&D experience. /QUOTE]

They could also just purchase an existing tool, like Lion's Den Game Master 5e, and build a marketplace (DM's Guild) onto it. That would cover iOS devices. Or they could do an HTML 5 solution for this like Orc's Pub.

Lots of people working on this. If this is their goal, it should be doable and affordable. Much more so than a AR game or new online RPG
 

L R Ballard

Explorer
This has already been done. Go watch a video of Fantasy Grounds. I think Roll20 does it ok too.

I like the direction Fantasy Grounds is taking. In 2015, they announced that they'd hired a designer to port their platform to the Unity Engine.

http://www.fantasygrounds.com/press/

I hope the port allows FG to address one of my criticisms of online D&D games. D&D has to do with interactivity: creating a character and taking the lead role in bringing the character to life. Part of that creative process involves envisioning one's character. A virtual tabletop still lacks the tools to allow players to visually represent their characters.

I'm no artist, so, if I want to put a picture of my character on the map, I have to use stock art.

Or maybe I can hire Devin Night to draw a custom token of my character.

http://immortalnights.com/tokensite/?page_id=388

I've long admired Night's tokens.

But I won't be able to hire Larry Elmore or Aaron Miller to draw my characters. There's a limit to just how close one can realize a vision of one's character in a virtual tabletop. But that's such an important part of D&D.

That's one reason why I like video games like Skyrim, which distribute their creation kits to modders. The Creation Kit allows modders to expand the character creation abilities of the base game. So, for example, a talented modder introduces sliders in Race Menu:

http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mod...mods.com/skyrim/ajax/modfiles/?id=29624&pUp=1

Along with improved facial texture mods, Race Menu gives nonartists like me a virtual palette to use to "draw," even "paint," their characters. Skyrim's mods now produce nearly photorealistic graphics. It has been a thrill for me to sit down with Race Menu and make such beautiful portraits of some of my old characters.

That's where I'd like to see FG take its tools. And that's where Wizards' actual video game offerings need to go--the stories are great, but give players the tools to see their characters in them. Otherwise, the WotC video game experience of your character becomes passive, take-what-they-give-you. And that's the antithesis of D&D.

For that reason, fellows like me will take adventures like Skyrim over video game offerings from WotC.
 

Since WotC is owned by Hasbro, I think that it's only natural that they branch out more digitally, since the amount of enabling media such as mobile devices and pads continues to spread across the world. The corporate mandate to earn profits will drive this harder than if WotC were solely an independent company.
 


This has already been done. Go watch a video of Fantasy Grounds. I think Roll20 does it ok too.

Well, no. Those are VTTs, which won't work on my ipad at the table, cost a fortune for every AP, and are full of features that I absolutely don't want like, you know, the VTT part of them. This is like me saying, "I want a mountain bike to go cycling in the woods", and someone replying, "Buy a Ducati motorbike, it is really good on motorways".
 



Corpsetaker

First Post
They could probably do a good DnD game if they subcontracted. BeamDog is proving adept at handling the Baldur's Gate series, and Harebrained Schemes is increasingly proving capable of delivering games massively above the quality standard you'd expect from a studio so small and has proven themselves adept at using Kickstarter to fund their projects.

I would definitely suggest they add Harebrained and do more with BeamDog.

But if I were them, I'd definitely nix their own games department. Hasbro just doesn't understand video game development.

The problem with subcontracting now a days is that studios mainly use their own IP because they get to keep all the money they make. Most companies don't subcon anymore.
 

Curmudjinn

Explorer
I'd be thrilled with something like Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance. The fantasy gaming community is large and ripe currently, the most robust it has ever been.
 

ArchfiendBobbie

First Post
The problem with subcontracting now a days is that studios mainly use their own IP because they get to keep all the money they make. Most companies don't subcon anymore.

That's why I suggested the two companies I did. BeamDog's DnD games are advertised on the DnD website, and Harebrained Schemes is currently finishing their fourth video game using IP owned by Catalyst.
 

Corpsetaker

First Post
I think a Fallout 4 style D&D would be great. I want an open world that contains quests but also let's me just explore and go where I want.
 

Plaguescarred

First Post
We will bring our characters and worlds to other games and experiences. What would it be like to throw fireballs as a Planeswalker in an MMO, or quest for treasure with your friends in a D&D augmented-reality game? We want to play games like this too, so we hired David Schwartz, an industry veteran with 25 years of experience leading projects at Microsoft, Electronic Arts, THQ, LeapFrog Enterprises, and Midway Games. He is building a publishing team to explore partnerships and collaborations that will bring Magic and D&D to unexpected settings, genres, and platforms
I am looking forward to see what D&D augmented-reality game is about and to what unexpected settings D&D will be brought for sure!!


Yan
D&D Playtester
 
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Von Ether

Adventurer
All other things aside, at this CEO sounds like he was a gamer at one point and knows what studio names to drop.

On that alone, I wish them the best.
 

BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
Well, no. Those are VTTs, which won't work on my ipad at the table, cost a fortune for every AP, and are full of features that I absolutely don't want like, you know, the VTT part of them. This is like me saying, "I want a mountain bike to go cycling in the woods", and someone replying, "Buy a Ducati motorbike, it is really good on motorways".

Roll20 has a tablet app. I quite like it.
 

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