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Hasbro senior vice president of digital strategy and licensing Eugene Evans says there are two core elements any licensed D&D game must possess.

Bryant Francis, Senior Editor

March 7, 2024

2 Min Read
A paladin rides a horse and holds a magical proclomation.
Image via Wizards of the Coast/Hasbro.

At a Glance

  • Hasbro wants to partner with more developers on Dungeons & Dragons games after the success of Baldur's Gate 3.
  • Dungeons & Dragons isn't a franchise solely defined by characters or locales—so what should developers be adapting?

Dungeons & Dragons is big. VERY big. The popularity of the decades-old tabletop role-playing game is bigger than ever, and after Baldur's Gate 3 became one of the biggest games of 2023, other developers may want to jump in and make games based on the series most affiliated with D20s, character sheets, and the phrase "roll for initiative."

After canceling a number of Dungeons & Dragons games in early 2023, it appears Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast are now soliciting pitches from outside developers. In a conversation at DICE last month, senior vice president of digital strategy and licensing Eugene Evans explained to Game Developer that the studio is open to a wide variety of pitches, so long as they adhere to the "pillars" of Dungeons & Dragons.

It was worth asking—what exactly are those pillars? D&D is not a brand defined by any one character, monster, setting, or even set of classes. According to him, Hasbro wants developers pitching Dungeons & Dragons game to keep these two elements in mind:

First, Dungeons & Dragons is almost always "party-based" in one way or another—"soloing is not what D&D is about," Evans said.

Second, Dungeons & Dragons is not just about combat—it's also about "puzzle solving, collection, and exploration."

From there, the conversation shifts to what kinds of games developers want to make. Evans seems keenly aware that there's a wealth of opportunity in capitalizing on Dungeons & Dragons's status as what he described as "the original UGC" (user-generated content).

The D&D OGL debacle spotlights what makes D&D a challenging license to adapt in games

Our discussion drifted over the 2023 debacle over Wizards of the Coast's updates to the Open Gaming License—a legal document that was altered last year with the aim of making it more difficult for rival companies like Paizo to build multi-million dollar competitors for their intellectual property—but provoked a backlash from its player community about the amount of control Hasbro may have been able to assert over fan creations.

Evans was conciliatory about the affair ("What we didn't do at the time was listen to our community and celebrate the fact that it is such a collaborative IP," he mused) but also eager to discuss that Dungeons & Dragons is so much about what players create, not just the fantasy worlds they create it in.

"People play their own content more than they play ours," he pointed out. "D&D is a set of rules, a set of guidelines, a set of principles for how to play in this fantasy setting."

If you're a developer with strong ideas about how to help players play their own content—and can adhere to the aforementioned pillars—you might want to give Evans a ring. "That combination of passion and authenticity to the brand is what we're looking for," he said. "That's how we're going to end up creating great games that fans are going to love."

About the Author(s)

Bryant Francis

Senior Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Bryant Francis is a writer, journalist, and narrative designer based in Boston, MA. He currently writes for Game Developer, a leading B2B publication for the video game industry. His credits include Proxy Studios' upcoming 4X strategy game Zephon and Amplitude Studio's 2017 game Endless Space 2.

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