We see more games with TTRPG-inspired mechanics and settings
2020 was an adrenaline shot for the tabletop roleplaying community, especially Dungeons & Dragons. Online tools like Roll20 and DnDBeyond created approachable and accessible ways for folks to jump into the culture and play with their friends virtually, welcoming thousands of new players looking for something to do with their friends that didn’t require meeting in person. Actual-play shows saw a huge rise in popularity too–lots of people found themselves with bucketloads of free time after quarantining away behind locked doors, making it easy to binge through and stay up-to-date on the likes of Critical Role’s Campaign 2 or Dimension 20’s Fantasy High and A Crown of Candy.
Tons of video games already pull inspiration from TTRPG settings or mechanics–Dark Souls, Pillars of Eternity, The Witcher, XCOM, and Dragon Age, just to name a few–but as we head into 2023, the game industry finds itself with an audience that’s suddenly far more versed in the mechanics and settings of TTRPGs than ever before. And that fanbase is only going to grow as a second season of the wildly popular animated retelling of Critical Role’s Campaign 1–The Legend of Vox Machina–comes to Amazon Prime this January, Paramount Pictures’ live-action movie Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves releases in March, and Larian Studios’ long-awaited Baldur’s Gate 3 leaves early access and launches in 1.0 later this year.
After exploring time loops, Greek mythology, Viking and Norse-inspired stories, and space horror these past few years, the gaming industry is bound to eventually move on to some other big trend. I predict TTRPGs–especially D&D–will be that next big influence for gaming, and we will see the beginning of that in 2023 with announcements and trailers for upcoming AAA games that feature the kind of narrative hooks, combat mechanics, action economy, monsters, and gameplay loops that will appeal to people who want more tabletop-like experiences from their video games. — Jordan Ramée