WotC WotC to power other IPs with D&D and M:TG

In Hasbro’s recent conference call, a few things were mentioned.
  • Using D&D and Magic ‘play systems’ to power other IPs via their ‘Universes Beyond’ initiatives
  • Using D&D Beyond as a hub
  • Other physical and digital tie-ins
The Universes Beyond initiative has been running since early 2021 for Magic: The Gathering, and initially featured a The Walking Dead expansion (grandfathered in from 2020), and a Stranger Things set (2020). 2022 will see Warhammer 40K, Fortnite, and Street Fighter; and a Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle Earth set is going out in 2023.

In addition, properties like Godzilla and Dracula have featured as MtG sets, but not as part of the Universes Beyond initiative; and in 2019 there was a My Little Pony crossover. There have also, of course, been D&D/MtG crossovers in both directions.

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Wizards of the Coast and Digital Gaming segment President Cynthia Williams said:“You'll see us continue to expand the number of formats and reach new customer segments by expanding our Universes Beyond initiatives, which brings IP from outside of Magic into the Magic play system, We've talked a lot about universes beyond in Magic, which is this concept of thinking about Magic as a play system and bringing in outside brands or outside IP into that play system. We see potential for that with D&D as well."

She also talked about other tie-ins: "And then we see a lot of e-commerce and direct opportunities working in partnership with our Hasbro Pulse team to have physical digital tie-ins that are unique to the platform".

Hasbro’s Chris Cocks mentioned the recent D&D Beyond acquisition: “And then we’ll add on top of that the 50th anniversary of Dungeons & Dragons in 2024, where that entertainment, consumer products, and gaming momentum will continue. So, we see a lot of growth vectors and a lot of lifts for D&D with the D&D Beyond platform being central to that.”

IcV2 has a good summary.

 

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

Urriak Uruk

Gaming is fun, and fun is for everyone
One note on this... I'm actually really surprised how much IP already has a TTRPG set up already. The number of established proprties that have made something in the past few years has sped up in what seems like an exponential way.

The ones I can list off that have something, and something announced/produced fairly recently, are;

  • Star Wars
  • Marvel Super Heroes
  • Lord of the Rings
  • Warhammer Fantasy, 40k, Age of Sigmar
  • Dark Souls
  • Dr. Who

I took a brief look at the highest-grossing media franchises, and the ones that stood out to me as not having TTRPGs recently (that I know of), are Pokemon, Mario, Harry Potter, Dragon Ball, and DC Super Heroes. Although two of those are Nintendo which is kind of famously protective of its IP, and considering Nintendo manages the 2nd best-selling trading card game (it's Pokemon TCG) I bet they're loathe to partner with MTG (and maybe by extension D&D) on anything.
 

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Urriak Uruk

Gaming is fun, and fun is for everyone
Fair enough: I would be surprised if Universes Beyond coming to D&D is a tomorrow announcement. My read of this is thst the new WotC President see expanding that into a Big Thing as her chance to make a business impact, so we may see it in the next year or two.

Maybe! I'm wondering which property both sort-of makes sense to work as a D&D crossover, is big enough to generate excitement, and makes sense in a business perspective (the company holding the property doesn't mind lending its IP to the big toy company).

The big ones that stand out to me are Blizzard/Microsoft (World of Warcraft, Diablo) and maybe Harry Potter. Latter is a stretch on some levels but I think it's possible.
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
I took a brief look at the highest-grossing media franchises, and the ones that stood out to me as not having TTRPGs recently (that I know of), are Pokemon, Mario, Harry Potter, Dragon Ball, and DC Super Heroes. Although two of those are Nintendo which is kind of famously protective of its IP, and considering Nintendo manages the 2nd best-selling trading card game (it's Pokemon TCG) I bet they're loathe to partner with MTG (and maybe by extension D&D) on anything.
JK Rowling has also stated previously that there would be no Harry Potter RPGs, which is why there isn't one. If she would have allowed it I suspect it would already be on its 3rd edition.

Pokemon is a little bit different in that Nintendo doesn't manage it directly anymore - Pokemon is run by the Pokemon Company now, of which Nintendo is IIRC the majority owner (along with Game Freak and another company I don't remember). I'd love to see both a Mario and a Zelda tabletop game (though I've stolen enough ideas from Zelda over the years for my own games), and Hasbro has licensed Mario from Nintendo for boardgames in the past...

The lack of a DC game is not as weird as we might think - the license is really expensive and the only reason that there's a Marvel game coming out is because Marvel is developing it themselves rather than another company having the license. But I suspect that if Marvel is successful with their new game, DC will decide to do another one. The history of the two companies is a perpetual follow-the-leader where who is the leader and who is the follower changes from time to time.
 

The lack of a DC game is not as weird as we might think - the license is really expensive and the only reason that there's a Marvel game coming out is because Marvel is developing it themselves rather than another company having the license. But I suspect that if Marvel is successful with their new game, DC will decide to do another one. The history of the two companies is a perpetual follow-the-leader where who is the leader and who is the follower changes from time to time.

It was not that long ago when there was a DC RPG, when Green Ronin had the license and Mutants & Masterminds 3rd Ed started as the DC Heroes RPG. It lasted a few years at the beginning of the 3rd Ed life cycle and then it expired or Green Ronin lost it and they had to pull all the non-DC stuff out of the books to make the new 3rd Ed Heroes Handbook.
 

Undrave

Hero
I actually do think that's a niche that Wizards could exploit - boxes that contain a complete game with enough scenarios to have fun for a few different sessions. Like the Essentials Kit, but geared towards different properties rather than being a D&D all-in-one box, instead of doing an entire hardcover book line for a game.

They did actually do that back in the day - as in before 3e came out. I still have the "Dungeons and Dragons Diablo" boxed set on my shelf based on 2e AD&D and there was a StarCraft Alternity-based boxed set as well. I think there was also a 3e revision of the Diablo game after 3e was released. But for whatever reason they never went farther with it (Maybe because they got acquired by Hasbro and the plans changed?)

There's room for that kind of game, depending on how much effort they'd need to put in to developing the classes to match the setting. But the How to Host a Murder games sold single scenarios with little replay value in a box for years, so I suspect a regular cycle of that kind of game could actually work.
Feel like it would be more suited to a Legacy game.
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
It was not that long ago when there was a DC RPG, when Green Ronin had the license and Mutants & Masterminds 3rd Ed started as the DC Heroes RPG. It lasted a few years at the beginning of the 3rd Ed life cycle and then it expired or Green Ronin lost it and they had to pull all the non-DC stuff out of the books to make the new 3rd Ed Heroes Handbook.
I remember that a bit differently - they had the DC license only for 4 books and always intended to release a new edition of the core game, but they waited to do it because they didn't want to bigfoot books they were releasing under the DC license. And IIRC the reason for the "only 4 book license" was because it was really expensive to have a perpetual license so they negotiated a much smaller one - IIRC Chris Pramas talked about this on the GR blog at the time and I probably have some details wrong, but I clearly remember that 4 books were all we were ever going to get and the expense of the license was why.
 

Disney' princess as a D&D setting? Possible, the mirrorverse, but this time I suspect Disney wants to publish its own TTRPGs, not only Marvel.

Halo d20 is possible, even by fan players, but the challenge is to create sci-fi totally compatible with the rest of D&D multiverse because sci-fi tech breaks the power balance.

There is a project of Batman TTRPG using 5e.

A monster-pet-trainer/tamer is possible in D&D but it would need a lot of playtesting. It would be better to start from zero with total control with their own IP.

A crossover Harry Potter's children/Stryxhaven?

Hasbro could dares to publish crossovers as Terminator-Transformers or Ghostbuster-Transformers as TTRPGs. Other companies could accept a licencing deal to recover the value of a forgotten IP.

M.A.S.K. could be a line within Gamma World, about two factions fightings for hidden treasures with special vehicles designed to be camouflaged as allowed technology for civilians in a postapocaliptic dictatorship. Or maybe those vehicles were created with reverse engenering based in cybertronian biology.
 

Undrave

Hero
This is the last post I can find on the subject, last October; Edge Studio to Create Star Wars Roleplaying Games

Edge I think releases products pretty slowly, but the production quality and art looks really superb. They're releasing Midnight pretty soon, looks like it may be good.
How many Star Wars RPG games are we at by now? How do they expect people to invest in a franchise that is so famously flaky and demanding of RPG company?
I mean, I can see a D&D tie-in being part of future Hasbro merchandising package deals: material doesn't need to be niche gaming or even Fantasy franchises. Pokemon D&D, Halo D&D, Disney Princess D&D (which could be awesome, actually)...
Back when WotC handled the Pokémon trading card game, they did release a Pokémon 'proto-RPG' for little kids! The Pokémon Jr. Adventure Game!
The big ones that stand out to me are Blizzard/Microsoft (World of Warcraft, Diablo) and maybe Harry Potter. Latter is a stretch on some levels but I think it's possible.
The Harry Potter franchise is basically unraveling as we speak, with the prequel movies just crashing and burning and JK being a despised TERF... I don't think Hasbro wants to team up with the license in any big way that would draw negative attention their way. It's not the sure money-making franchise it used to be.
Pokemon is a little bit different in that Nintendo doesn't manage it directly anymore - Pokemon is run by the Pokemon Company now, of which Nintendo is IIRC the majority owner (along with Game Freak and another company I don't remember). I'd love to see both a Mario and a Zelda tabletop game (though I've stolen enough ideas from Zelda over the years for my own games), and Hasbro has licensed Mario from Nintendo for boardgames in the past...
the third company is Creatures inc.

A lot of fans have tried to make a Pokémon TTRPG, including one based on 5e, but I've found that all of the ones I've seen get mired in numbers and complex formulas and trying to reproduce the video games way too accurately, with giant move lists for every Pokémon, each with their own individual PP, and long list of held items.

There's one where each Pokémon, and humans (because those games insist on keeping the concept of humans being able to fight) using the six D&D ability scores (despite the fact those scores don't work for what is needed in a Pokémon game) and THEN calculate the game's ability (Attack, Defense, Special Attack, Special Defense, Speed) for each Pokémon based on those! It's BONKERS.

It's like asking a player to have up to juggle up to seven characters at a time... yikes.
 

Urriak Uruk

Gaming is fun, and fun is for everyone
JK Rowling has also stated previously that there would be no Harry Potter RPGs, which is why there isn't one. If she would have allowed it I suspect it would already be on its 3rd edition.

Pokemon is a little bit different in that Nintendo doesn't manage it directly anymore - Pokemon is run by the Pokemon Company now, of which Nintendo is IIRC the majority owner (along with Game Freak and another company I don't remember). I'd love to see both a Mario and a Zelda tabletop game (though I've stolen enough ideas from Zelda over the years for my own games), and Hasbro has licensed Mario from Nintendo for boardgames in the past...

The lack of a DC game is not as weird as we might think - the license is really expensive and the only reason that there's a Marvel game coming out is because Marvel is developing it themselves rather than another company having the license. But I suspect that if Marvel is successful with their new game, DC will decide to do another one. The history of the two companies is a perpetual follow-the-leader where who is the leader and who is the follower changes from time to time.

Huh, I looked up Rowling on this... apparently Games Workshop pitched her a miniatures Quidditch game and even made mockups, but she rejected it. The rumor says she doesn't like the idea of anyone quanifying what is/is not possible in the Wizarding World (which sounds like something she would extremely believe). But considering how there is an upcoming HP video game RPG, I wouldn't count this out entirely.

Yeah, Pokemon again I find extremely unlikely because of the TCG. Mario and Zelda, much less so, and Nintendo seems to be loosening up a bit on licensing. Zelda actually makes a bit of sense for D&D.

Yeah, I could see DC jumping on TTRPGs. The same company, IDW made games for Avatar (the cartoon) and TMNT. DC isn't too shy about sharing the license.

1650483367078.png


I'll add, I forgot Avatar and the Witcher are also taken for TTRPG licenses recently. Game of Thrones technically is too but it's way back in 2012 so I think that one may actually be available.
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
A lot of fans have tried to make a Pokémon TTRPG, including one based on 5e, but I've found that all of the ones I've seen get mired in numbers and complex formulas and trying to reproduce the video games way too accurately, with giant move lists for every Pokémon, each with their own individual PP, and long list of held items.

There's one where each Pokémon, and humans (because those games insist on keeping the concept of humans being able to fight) using the six D&D ability scores (despite the fact those scores don't work for what is needed in a Pokémon game) and THEN calculate the game's ability (Attack, Defense, Special Attack, Special Defense, Speed) for each Pokémon based on those! It's BONKERS.

It's like asking a player to have up to juggle up to seven characters at a time... yikes.
Wizards actually made a Pokemon RPG for kids back when they had the CCG license. I have a copy and played it with my kid and their cousins when they were all younger. It's super simple and fun for 6 year olds, but it's not something to build a game for older players off of.

For Pokemon RPG mechanics I've always liked the mechanics in the S John Ross game "Pokethulhu", which was a parody game mixing Pokemon and Cthulhu but mechanically I liked it and always thought with some tweaks it could make a good "straight" Pokemon game. (And it uses d12s which I appreciate.)
 


Urriak Uruk

Gaming is fun, and fun is for everyone
How many Star Wars RPG games are we at by now? How do they expect people to invest in a franchise that is so famously flaky and demanding of RPG company?

Back when WotC handled the Pokémon trading card game, they did release a Pokémon 'proto-RPG' for little kids! The Pokémon Jr. Adventure Game!

The Harry Potter franchise is basically unraveling as we speak, with the prequel movies just crashing and burning and JK being a despised TERF... I don't think Hasbro wants to team up with the license in any big way that would draw negative attention their way. It's not the sure money-making franchise it used to be.

the third company is Creatures inc.

A lot of fans have tried to make a Pokémon TTRPG, including one based on 5e, but I've found that all of the ones I've seen get mired in numbers and complex formulas and trying to reproduce the video games way too accurately, with giant move lists for every Pokémon, each with their own individual PP, and long list of held items.

There's one where each Pokémon, and humans (because those games insist on keeping the concept of humans being able to fight) using the six D&D ability scores (despite the fact those scores don't work for what is needed in a Pokémon game) and THEN calculate the game's ability (Attack, Defense, Special Attack, Special Defense, Speed) for each Pokémon based on those! It's BONKERS.

It's like asking a player to have up to juggle up to seven characters at a time... yikes.

Well, on Star Wars... it's like printing money, who wouldn't want the license? I get their strategy is all over the place, but it's hard to imagine anyone saying "no" to it.

I very much agree on Harry Potter, it's in rough straits. But again, the business folks may think it means money. I still don't think this is a great match for D&D anyway though.

I think Pokemon is a tough sell for many dimensions, mechanically and from a business perspective.
 


Yeah. My expectation is, if the games prove popular, they will either not renew and publish their own version, or like DnDBeyond, buy it outright. However, as all three feel like niche products, I can't really predict what will happen. That said, how many books would you want of any of these properties?
That won't be an issue, the Power Rangers one in particular was incredibly rough and didn't read well. I hear the G.I. Joe one fares a bit better, but the PR one didn't even have stats for NPCs! Plus it only really covered the first few seasons lore-wise, which isn't surprising since those are the most popular but it's weird that it almost sits in its own self contained bubble.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
This might come as a surprise, considering my avatar, but I would dearly love to see Final Fantasy (especially FFVI) adapted to D&D. Mystara (and later, Eberron) get pretty close, if you squint, but still...no cigar.
FFXIV feels like the best fit for a FF adapation, considering its overall scope and current popularity.
 

Urriak Uruk

Gaming is fun, and fun is for everyone
This might come as a surprise, considering my avatar, but I would dearly love to see Final Fantasy (especially FFVI) adapted to D&D. Mystara (and later, Eberron) get pretty close, if you squint, but still...no cigar.
FFXIV feels like the best fit for a FF adapation, considering its overall scope and current popularity.

Well, I'd argue that VII is arguably the most popular Final Fantasy... but it's got a lot of things (firearms chiefly) that make it not as great a fit for D&D.

I'll add, Castlevania also seems like a good fit for D&D.

And I suppose I should mention Street Fighter as it is getting the MTG crossover. I don't think that could support a full sourcebook by itself, but who knows?
 


FFXIV feels like the best fit for a FF adapation, considering its overall scope and current popularity.
DM: "So, what kind of character are you playing this campaign?"

Me, a GNB main: Smiles and pulls out a Gunblade

~Later~


DM: "And that's a crit."
Me: "I use Superbolide as a reaction."
Cleric: Eye twitches
 
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Urriak Uruk

Gaming is fun, and fun is for everyone
I should also mention... although World of Warcraft (and Diablo I suppose), and League of Legends seem like great D&D supplements to me (and both have actually done limited crossovers before)... both compete with Magic the Gathering Online with Hearthstone and Legends of Runeterra. So they may be pretty unlikely too.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Maybe! I'm wondering which property both sort-of makes sense to work as a D&D crossover, is big enough to generate excitement, and makes sense in a business perspective (the company holding the property doesn't mind lending its IP to the big toy company).

The big ones that stand out to me are Blizzard/Microsoft (World of Warcraft, Diablo) and maybe Harry Potter. Latter is a stretch on some levels but I think it's possible.
I'm thinking they night not be selling this as "do a D&D for your IP!" so much as a package deal: " do Magic cards, and an RPG, and [fill in the blank] for your IP!".
 

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