The role-playing game of all role-playing games is more relevant today than it’s ever been. Dungeons & Dragons had humble beginnings as the fantasy-centric brainchild of Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson in 1974. The game has had a bumpy road since its incarnation, with its many controversies pertaining to misguided moral panic linking D&D to antisocial behavior, Satanism, and suicide. There was also the stigma of being considered a nerd in the public eye for playing such a game during leisure time. This stigma has since been obliterated out of existence as nerdom has been widely accepted and is considered mainstream in popular culture.
D&D’s recent spike in popularity is due to the fact that a significant majority of current content creators have grown up playing the game, and the influence of D&D seeps into their work. The role-playing game has been referenced in shows such as Stranger Things, The Simpsons, The Big Bang Theory, Community, and countless others. An array of public figures from Stephen Colbert to Vin Diesel have admitted to extensively playing the game.
D&D has also become a dominating force among the streaming community. Shows such as Critical Role have been able to capture the attention of 10 million viewers all tuning in to watch people play D&D. More and more people are beginning to realize that D&D is more than fantastical escapism. It is a rewarding mix of storytelling and social bonding.
The video game industry has taken note of the fun that D&D provides and it shows in popular RPGs such as the Elder Scrolls series, the Dark Souls series, and basically any game considered an RPG. D&D has been translated into video game form since the late 80s with a list of games set in Forgotten Realms. Besides the Baldur’s Gate games, these adaptations weren’t considered much of a success. This year it was announced that D&D for the first time will get a high budget treatment as a “triple-A, third-person, open-world fantasy RPG.”
This news comes from an announcement from Hidden Path Entertainment, which tweeted that they’re looking to hire people to become a part of the development team for an upcoming Dungeons & Dragons project. The company is responsible for the Defense Grid series and had previously worked with Valve to develop Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Fans are sure to raise their eyebrows when they think of this company developing a large scale role-playing game in Faerun. But fans should be content knowing that there won’t be any shortage of D&D video games in the next decade.
According to the president of Wizards of the Coast, Chris Cocks, there will be about “seven or eight” D&D video games ranging in size and scale in the coming years. In anticipation for this bright future, fans can continue to crack open their handbooks, throw their polyhedral dice, and adventure with their friends in the comfort of their own homes.