In an age where the video game sector dominates the entertainment industry, does classic tabletop roleplaying--where participants let dice and a dungeon master's imagination, not a CPU, lead them on an epic journey--have a place? Wizards of the Coast, the current owners of the venerable Dungeons & Dragons brand, thinks so. The company announced Monday that it will be play-testing a new version of D&D this year in anticipation of bringing a new product to shelves.
Mike Mearls at Wizards of the Coast, a division of Hasbro, made the announcement yesterday that the company could commence open play-testing in the spring of this year, allowing fans of the game a chance to give feedback on new rules before they are committed to print.
Dungeons & Dragons has gone through many iterations since being created by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson at TSR in 1974. While the game has spawned many tabletop competitors over the years, its influence can also be seen in the massively popular fantasy-themed roleplaying games available on Xbox, Wii and Playstation consoles, as well as PCs. Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, for instance, was released Nov. 11, 2011 and already has enjoyed $620 million in sales.
While an immersive and vast experience, games such as Skyrim may not be able to compete in terms of storyline and rules flexibility and expansion -- really, the human element -- that classic tabletop roleplaying potentially offers. As Mearls wrote:
"In short, we want a game that is as simple or complex as you please, its action focused on combat, intrigue and exploration as you desire. We want a game that is unmistakably D&D, but one that can easily become your D&D, the game that you want to run and play."
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