While we’re not quite to the point of strapping on a Meta Quest and looking directly into Astarion’s face, Dungeons & Dragons’ new partnership is paving roads into virtual reality.
Wizards of the Coast has licensed its massively popular tabletop RPG to Demeo developers Resolution Games in order to create the first official VR video game to take place in the Forgotten Realms. We don’t know much more beyond the fact that Sweden-based Resolution is actively building the title - a press release simply said it is “slated for a future release” - so we will need to console ourselves with dreams of dual-wielding digital salami, for now.
VR gaming remains a cost-prohibitive hobby inside the already expensive gaming culture, but Resolution Games has a proven track record creating successful titles within a high fantasy pastiche. The studio’s 2021 RPG dungeon-crawler Demeo is their most popular release and has garnered plenty of critical and fan acclaim. Demeo (and competitive offshoot Demeo Battles) even looks like a proof-of-concept for translating tabletop antics to a Playstation VR2 headset and those rapier guard-looking controllers.
That’s not an accident, according to Resolution Games’ CEO Tommy Palm: “As anyone who’s played Demeo can guess, we’re incredibly huge fans of tabletop roleplaying games,” he said in a press release. “Dungeons & Dragons offers one of the richest fantasy worlds that has ever been created, and it only gets bigger with every new sourcebook and adventure. We’re beyond humbled to have the opportunity to work with such an incredible IP and look forward to sharing the first details of this new project in the future.”
Dungeons & Dragons announced plans for an in-house virtual tabletop (VTT) last year, and early builds certainly resembled the omniscient, overhead view of Demeo and other tactical dungeon crawlers, e.g. Gloomhaven’s digital translation. WotC’s corporate owner Hasbro announced in 2022 that it wanted to develop more video games in-house using the four studios it currently owns - Skeleton Key, Atomic Arcade, Archetype Entertainment and Invoke Studios (formerly Tuque Games), but Larian’s success with Baldur’s Gate 3 likely spurred more interest in third-party licensing.
“Resolution Games has a clear understanding of how to bring players together and capture the fun of tabletop gaming on digital platforms in an accessible way,” said Eugene Evans, senior vice president of digital strategy and licensing at WotC and Hasbro. “They are an ideal partner to bring a new D&D video game to life in VR and beyond.”