An official digital D&D tabletop experience powered by Unreal Engine 5 is in development


Something to look forward to: Video games based on Dungeons and Dragons titles have been around since the 1970s, and efforts to transfer classic tabletop experiences directly into digital ones have taken off in recent years. Now fans of multi-sided dice and names with too many consonants can look forward to what might be the most authentic D&D virtual recreation ever – and it comes from proprietary Wizards of the Coast.

As part of its Wizards Presents stream, Wizards of the Coast unveiled a virtual table in early development that is currently called D&D Digital. You can see it from the 7 minute 20 second mark in the video embedded below.

D&D Digital mirrors the tabletop experience beautifully by using Unreal Engine 5 to give it a dope look. Users will be able to create 3D environments filled with their favorite minifigures, which can be moved just like the physical versions. Characters will also be customizable with changeable features.

Wizards announces that it will release pre-made environments and campaigns as play sets. Players can then reuse 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 some glimpses of what’s to come: virtual dice rolls, character health bars and, one of the most interesting elements, showing metrics when moving characters, an aspect of tabletop gaming that can lead to many arguments.

Much of the focus is on a camera technique called tilt-shift. This gives users the effect that they are playing on a virtual table with miniatures, rather than an actual video game like Planescape: Torment, for example.

D&D Digital is in its early development stage, so it may be a while before we can experience Wizards’ virtual tabletop experience. It could launch alongside D&D’s next major rules update, which is slated to arrive in 2024. It will certainly be interesting to see how this official release stacks up against similar third-party alternatives such as the excellent Roll20.

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