News Digest for the Week of July 29

Hello everyone, Darryl here with this week’s gaming news! More details about Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, new previews for Spelljammer: Adventures in Space, Wizards launches a new video game studio with another ex-BioWare developer, Hasbro Q2 2022 earnings report, and more!

For a quick summary of the week’s news, Jessica Hancock will bring you up to speed with EN Live's This Week in TTRPG every Friday.

Don’t forget, you can keep up with all the week’s gaming news in detail with Morrus’ Unofficial Tabletop RPG Talk. This week, Morrus, Peter, and Jessica talk about the San Diego Comic Con previews for Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves!


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In case you missed it elsewhere on EN World this week:

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As I mentioned last week, the trailer for Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves came out of San Diego Comic Con. In fact, I posted my own analysis of the trailer, dusting off my film school education to give it a bit of use. But there was more to the announcements coming out of the convention than just the trailer. Rob Wieland was lucky enough to attend the press event “tavern experience” and wrote about his adventures in a mock-up of one of the taverns featured in the film. And now that the marketing machine is gearing up, details are starting to emerge about the film.

In an interview with Collider, Chris Pine described the film as “Princess Bride meets Monty Python meets the size and scope of Game of Thrones” with Michelle Rodriguez interrupting to add “Without the sex.” Pine agrees, “Without the sex. With lusty, earnest, virgin hearts”. He continues to say that it’s “Fun and light and kenetic, and that has a lot of levity, but really great heart, and great earnestness, and it’s not cynical, and it’s not meta, and it’s not any of that. It’s just good, old-fashioned fun storytelling.”

In a separate interview with Collider, writer/director team John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein confirmed the film has already gone into test screenings and gave an update on the current state of the film. According to Daley, the edit is “basically locked” (meaning they don’t expect many changes to the editing of the film from this point) but “we still have a lot of VFX work coming in, music we need to conform and stuff.” (Note: “Conforming audio” is a step in the editing process where the temporary audio track used by the editing team is used as a guide to edit the full multitrack mix of audio, sound effects, music, etc. to the final edit of the film)

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If you’re worried about how closely Wizards of the Coast was involved in the film, not only did the previously-linked Colliader interview quote producer Jeremy Latcham as stating they worked closely with Jeremy Jarvis, current Sr. Creative Director of Wizards Franchise Development at Wizards of the Coast who has worked in the art department in various capacities at the company since 2005 on both Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering, in developing the art direction of the film, but Buzzfeed also covered the panel from Hall H in one of their trademark listicles with a bit more information about how closely, quoting co-director Jonathan Goldstein in the #14 slot,

"We worked every step of the way with Wizards of the Coast, who were an invaluable resource to us when we were writing the script all the way through production. So I think for hardcore fans, hopefully they'll see the reality of the game reflected in there, and for those who don't know the game very well, it'll still work because it's a fun movie."

And John Francis Daley in the #15 entry,

"There are absolutely a ton of Easter eggs that we loaded in there, [including] some things that we weren't even aware of that the Wizards of the Coast were helpful enough to help out with, but upon multiple watches, [I think] you'd see many of them. Obviously, if I gave them away, though, it wouldn't be an Easter egg — it'd just be an egg!"

Screenrant also quotes star Chris Pine from the panel stating his reasons for signing onto the film: His nephew is a huge D&D fan and Pine played with his nephew and family. Pine stated:

"If there's one game in high school that should be played in every single school across the nation, it should be D&D. Because you can get [everyone] all in a room and within 20 minutes, no one will remember which class they came from or who their friends are or who the 'dork' is — they'll just want to get together and have a laugh."

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Of course, the trailer wasn’t the only footage screened at the convention. Collider has a summary of the scenes previewed for Hall H crowds that haven’t made it to the public yet (at least not in any official capacity). In one scene, the five members of the party are attempting to locate a magic helm and seek the advice of skeletons in a graveyard, using speak with dead to ask five questions before the spell’s effects wear off and they can never be revived again. A second scene features four of the five party members (minus Regé-Jean Page’s paladin Xenk) in a shifting maze-like arena fighting several monsters (including more than one displacer beast) presided over by Hugh Grant’s Forge Fitzwilliam. The @DnDMovie official Twitter account posted a screenshot from this scene with the quote “they roll deep”, possibly implying the fan guess that this is the Field of Triumph from Waterdeep may be correct.

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves will be in theaters March 3, 2023, in the United States, Canada, and much of Europe including the UK.

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In more D&D news, one movie tie-in product has already been announced with the Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves Gelatinous Cube toy. The toy will be large enough to fit the six-inch scale D&D action figures inside and will come with 14 accessories to snap onto the side as objects “floating” inside the cube. Wait, what six-inch D&D action figures? So far, no other entries in the line have been announced but this seems to indicate there will be a full line of toys from Hasbro. So far, the only hint we have as to what will be included is the image of Chris Pine’s bard character Edgin on the box. No price has been announced yet, but it will come out in March 2023 along side the release of the film.

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So with all the movie news, did you know there’s also a tabletop RPG for Dungeons & Dragons? We got a few looks at material on the way from the upcoming Spelljammer: Adventures in Space. First is a look at the playable race Astral Elves from D&D Beyond. While they don’t give full stats, the preview does talk about the abilities of the 5e version of astral elves including the ability to cast misty step and some divine spells like sacred flame as racial abilities and they will get the ability to obtain one proficiency by tapping into the knowledge of the infinite multiverse once per long rest. We also got a look from the Dungeons & Dragons YouTube channel at the Hadozee, a monkey/ape inspired race which the video points out originated in Star Frontiers as the Yazirian. Insert nervous cough here. Their homeworld is heavily forested with skyscraper-sized trees, so they have flaps of skin that allow them to glide through the air along with nimble feet that are as dexterous as their hands. The Spelljammer: Adventures in Space boxed set is scheduled for an August 16 release with a retail price of $69.99.

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Modiphius announced the upcoming release of Star Trek Adventures: Utopia Planitia Starfleet Sourcebook (thought the linked ICv2 article misspells the title as “Plantia”). Like the titular construction site from the Star Trek franchise, this sourcebook will allow players to design their own Federation starships, space stations, and small craft like shuttles. The book will also cover the history of the Federation from the 22nd to 25th centuries and give a glimpse into the day-to-day life of those Starfleet personnel and civilians who live onboard the vessels. Star Trek Adventures: Utopia Planitia Starfleet Sourcebook is scheduled for an October release with a retail price of $61.00.

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Hasbro’s hobbyist board game imprint Avalon Hill has opened preorders for HeroQuest: The Frozen Horror. This expansion is based on the one from the classic board game meets RPG originally released in the 1990s which expands the game with more monsters, tiles, accessories, a new alternate figure for the Barbarian player character, custom frost-themed dice, and a questbook with ten new adventures. Like the original expansion, this one will have a series of solo adventures for the Barbarian character alone before the rest of the party is able to join them. The pre-order is available for $44.99 with an estimated shipping date of September 1, 2022.

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Wizards of the Coast has hired its third ex-BioWare executive with the announcement of the creation of Skeleton Key with Christian Dailey as the Head of Studio. Dailey has over 20 years of experience in video game development at Blizzard and Electronic Arts, but was most recently the Executive Producer of BioWare’s Dragon Age franchise and overseeing the development of the fourth mainline title in that series, Dragon Age: Dreadwolf. The new studio will be based out of Austin, TX, and already has job openings available on their website along with a philosophy statement that emphasizes “Transparency, Respect, Empathy, and Fun”. Skeleton Key’s site also states that the company plans “to create immersive gameplay, unique stories, and thought-provoking moments of suspense and horror that guide players to have fun while facing their fears.” This is the second studio Wizards of the Coast founded in Austin featuring ex-BioWare staff after studio Archetype Entertainment with developers James Ohlen and Drew Karpyshyn from Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Mass Effect.

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Wizards of the Coast is still doing well for Hasbro according to the quarterly earnings report for Q2 2022. While Dungeons & Dragons isn’t mentioned in the report from ICv2 linked above, they do state that tabletop gaming overall is up 15% from Q2 2021 while Magic: The Gathering only increased sales by 11% across platforms, which seems to indicate yet another quarter of growth for the RPG line even if they didn’t get a specific mention in the article. The Digital Gaming segment of Wizards of the Coast only had a 3% growth over Q2 2021 attributed to tough comparisons with the release of Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance during that quarter in 2021. Magic: The Gathering physical sales are up 10% and the report indicates this is the first time that every major set released for the game in the year so far has sold over $100 million. While the $146.3 million acquisition of D&D Beyond is included in this quarter’s report, the revenues generated from the newly owned platform won’t show up until the Q3 report.


That’s all from me for this week! Don’t forget to support our Patreon to bring you more gaming news content. If you have any news to submit, email us at news@enpublishingrpg.com, and you can get more discussion of the week’s news on Morrus’ Unofficial Tabletop RPG Talk every week. You can follow me on Twitch to get notifications when I go live, subscribe to Gamer’s Tavern on YouTube for videos on gaming history, RPG reviews, and gaming Let’s Plays, or you can listen to the archives of the Gamer’s Tavern podcast. Until next time, may all your hits be crits! Note: Links to Amazon, Humble Store, Humble Bundle, and/or DriveThru may contain affiliate links with the proceeds going to the author of this column.
 

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Darryl Mott

Darryl Mott


Abstruse

Legend
"There are absolutely a ton of Easter eggs that we loaded in there"

I read one of these was the kids from the D&D cartoon are in it.
There are people in the arena scene that are a rival team to the film's protagonists who resemble closely adult versions of the character designs of the 1980s D&D cartoon according to reports from those who saw the Hall H footage that hasn't been made public.
 


Abstruse

Legend
Not sure if its been reported on or not but Level Up Advanced 5E was listed in Kotaku's "The 10 Best Tabletop Roleplaying Books Of 2022"
There hasn't been a front-page article on EN World, but it's definitely been talked about on EN Publishing's social media accounts and on the Discord. I also figure it'll get a mention on the podcast on Saturday as well.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
There hasn't been a front-page article on EN World, but it's definitely been talked about on EN Publishing's social media accounts and on the Discord. I also figure it'll get a mention on the podcast on Saturday as well.
Well, none of that is the actual Internet for those of us that avoid social media like the plague, so...

Kids today are too lazy to read actual written articles with punctuation and completed sentences. Now get off my lawn!
 


Abstruse

Legend
I've not gone through Hasbro Pulse before, but is the $33.99 pre-order listing not the final price?
If that's the price listed there, it's likely the retail price. I checked several distributors who had solicitations up and they didn't have prices yet and I didn't see it on Pulse when I checked (though I didn't look too far and was only there because of the HeroQuest expansion).
 


fba827

Adventurer
There are people in the arena scene that are a rival team to the film's protagonists who resemble closely adult versions of the character designs of the 1980s D&D cartoon according to reports from those who saw the Hall H footage that hasn't been made public.
(Begin rampant speculation) Well if you combine that with the fact that the cube mini has items on it that seem to resemble items held by the d&d cartoon characters, we may well know of their fates! ;-).
 

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