The Gazebo gazes into his Obsidian Orb of Opinionated Portents and recites to you what it sees forthcoming for this, the 2013th year of our polyhedral lord.
- Now that Dungeon World is finally finished and floating around in the wild, more people will become aware of it. There will be some great content put out for it by bloggers and small press, but ultimately the game will remain polarizing for lots of gamers. Its old school charm and mix of new game design will probably make for some heated discussion.
- Speaking of Dungeon World, indie games as a whole will continue to rise this year – across all platforms, not just tabletops. With our ever increasing desire to reminisce of simpler times in everything that we do, having less time (and money) to game, we’ll see more people continue to take up the reigns of ‘game designer’. The wide array of available tools and advice for creatives I think we’ll see a lot of great stuff made by people we’ve never heard of this year.
- D&D Next will continue to be play tested throughout the year and won’t be released until 2014 to coincide with the game’s 40th anniversary. The design team will release more classes and content for play testing at a slow pace. Gencon 2013 will bring the announcement of D&D Next’s release date, or at least a projected one. (I’ll be making small sacrifices to Asmodeus throughout the year in hopes that they don’t actually title the game “Dungeons & Dragons: Next”.)
- Wizards of the Coast will continue to release top notch D&D branded products and board games such as the “Scoundrels of Skullport” expansion pack for Lords of Waterdeep, more system neutral books like Ed Greenwood’s Forgotten Realms, and of course more back catalog stuff either in print, digitally, or hopefully both. This all in hopes of tiding us over until 5e is released and increasing the overall relevance and visibility of the D&D brand.
- The new Star Wars RPG will be a huge hit for a lot of old (and new) Star Wars junkies but will also put people off because of its non-standard dice and Fantasy Flight price tag. It will revitalize those who used to run d6 Star Wars and possibly bring in some new blood, but the franchise itself won’t be taking over the RPG-verse by any means.
- Neverwinter will finally be released, most gamers with any recollection or exposure to the previous titles or those who have any semblance of appreciation for games which aren’t blatant gimmicky WoW clones will probably abhor this game. Die hard Neverwinter fans may revolt due the the game’s distant departure from what it was critically acclaimed for and being reduced to a watered down MMO. Fans of 4e, Forgotten Reams, and your average PC gamer who comes across the title in a review, banner ad, or Steam feature will give it a whirl and probably like it. Designing your own dungeons, slick graphics, and sweeping visual representations of the D&D world are all reasons for lots of PC gamers & D&D fans alike to check out the game. Its staying power will be limited though, and it will probably pull a glut of players from DDO over into its clutches.
- The FATE Core Kickstarter will end with a bang and lots and lots of great things will spawn forth from this rule set. Only time and the creative geniuses of our industry will tell us what those things are.
- Speaking of Kickstarter, I think we’ll see a juxtaposition of projects this year. There will be less projects put out that fail or fall flat because our industry is learning the DO’s and DON’T's of crowd funding and will be more cautious before launching Kickstarter campaigns. At the very least they’ll hopefully have more realistic goals and time tables from learning from others mistakes. At the same time I think we’ll keep seeing continued misuse and misunderstanding of what Kickstarter is and what its for by huge companies who have no business asking for people’s money.
- The Iron Kingdoms RPG will release more books and supplements, more people will take notice of its flavorful and unique setting and mechanics. Hopefully more wargamers will cross over into RPG’dom and vice versa.
- More youth oriented RPG’s will be released. The ever increasing desire and prevalence of gaming with kids will come to a head this year. I think we’ll see a lot of DIY projects and updates to previous games (perhaps an update or 2.0 of RPG Kids from NewbieDM) along with some bigger names in the industry catering to this ever increasing demographic of mom & dad gamers like myself.
- If Nintendo gets their act together they might leverage some sort of D&D inspired (though I doubt actually licensed) game for their new WiiU console. Leveraging the unique gaming possibilities of their new controller is somewhat more of a hope than a prediction.
- I think we’ll see a resurgence of enthusiasm for extremely well written single player video games. Call me optimistic but Baldurs Gate Enhanced Edition is turning heads and reigniting passions for the days when video games, particularly RPGs, were the best of the best. This game, though dated and probably foreign to younger D&D players is and was largely seen as the apex of D&D video games. This is something our tiny industry needs to keep pulling people toward it, because if not for this game I never would have had much interest in rolling dice, buying books and graph paper, and going out on a limb to ask my friends if they wanted to pretend to be elves with me. A good video game can do more for D&D than any reboot of its rule set right now. Pen and paper RPG’s are competing with multi-million dollar video game franchises for the attention spans of our young people, and without them our hobby will die with us. So without any doubt, I do hope that out of all my predictions that this one comes true the most.
[info_box]I’ll be revamping the site over the next week or so, if you show up and things look wacky, consider this my apology in advance.[/info_box]