Video games based on Dungeons and Dragons titles have been around since the 1970s, and efforts at directly transferring classic tabletop experiences into digital ones have taken off in recent years. Now, fans of many-sided dice and names with too many consonants can look forward to what could be the most authentic virtual D&D recreation ever made—and it comes from property owner Wizards of the Coast.
As part of its Wizards Presents stream, Wizards of the Coast unveiled an early-in-development virtual tabletop that’s currently being referred to as D&D Digital.
D&D Digital beautifully mirrors the tabletop experience by using Unreal Engine 5 to make it look “dope.” Users will be able to create 3D environments filled with their favorite miniatures, which can be moved around just like the physical versions. Characters will also be customizable with changeable features.
Wizards says it will be releasing pre-built environments and campaigns that come in the form of playsets. Players will then be able to re-use these assets for their own creations. D&D Digital will also work with existing D&D Beyond digital tools and the future ruleset.
The video offers a few glimpses of what’s in store: virtual dice rolling, character health bars, and, one of the most interesting elements, showing measurements when moving characters, an aspect of tabletop gaming that can lead to many arguments.
Much of the focus is placed on a camera technique called tilt-shift. This gives users the effect that they are playing on a virtual tabletop with miniatures, rather than an actual video game like Planescape: Torment, for example.
D&D Digital is in its early development phase, so it might be a while before we get to check out Wizards’ virtual tabletop experience. It might launch alongside D&D’s next major rules update, which is set to arrive in 2024. It’ll certainly be interesting to see how this official version compares to similar third-party alternatives such as the excellent Roll20.