Critical Role’s D&D dungeon master Matthew Mercer would love to make a videogame ‘should all those stars align’, though I think it’s a little more likely than that

Critical Role is pretty much the biggest livestreamed D&D campaign, by sheer popularity and volume alone. Starting halfway through the group’s home game in 2015, to call the game’s rise to popularity ‘meteoric’ is an understatement.

It’s gone from an experiment by Geek & Sundry to its own enterprise with heaps of merch, a charity foundation, officially-sanctioned D&D settings, board games, its own unique systems like Candela Obscura, and a very solid animated series with two seasons and counting. And, according to a recent interview with Dicebreaker, we could get a Critical Role videogame, too.

Responding to a question as to whether he’d like to make the leap to a digital world, Critical Role’s DM Matthew Mercer responds with a bit of caution, saying it would “require the right idea, the right development studio and the right budget.” However, he goes on to say that he’d “love to see that in the future, should all those stars align”.

Coming from anyone else, saying ‘sure, we’d love to make a game’ wouldn’t even register on my radar. Everybody with a world and characters they care about would love to make a game, it’s just that games are both extremely difficult and wildly expensive to make. Looking back on Critical Role’s history, though, I think it’s very possible. If Critical Role as a company sets its mind on it, it’s even likely.

Back when The Legend of Vox Machina animated series was being funded, Critical Role put up a kickstarter with a humble goal of $750,000. It beat that goal, raising $1 million. Sorry, correction—it raised $1 million in its first hour. In total, the Kickstarter for The Legend of Vox Machina broke $11.3 million in funding, which is about 1,500% of the original goal.

Not only would a Critical Role video game be able to easily get a huge wad of Kickstarter cash to get things started, it’d sell like hotcakes if it was even a little bit good. It also helps that Critical Role already has good ties to the industry, on account of the fact its entire cast are self-described “nerdy-ass voice actors.”

Mercer, for example, voiced Minsc in Baldur’s Gate 3—and you’ve likely heard his voice in a thousand other places before. Overwatch, Fallout 4, Pillars of Eternity World of Warcraft, League of Legends, The Legend of Zelda—he’s been in the industry since 2002. If I went through the whole cast’s portfolio (like how CEO Travis Willingham is Kingpin in Marvel’s Spider-Man and Thor in like, most things that need voice acting for Thor, or how Ashley Johnson is Ellie from The Last of Us, or how Laura Bailey is Jaina Proudmoore) I’d be here all day. 

(Image credit: Larian Studios)

But that might also be what’s holding them back. You shouldn’t make assumptions about strangers, but Mercer was one of the minds behind a 2009 Super Smash Brothers noir film parody (yes, really) called There Will Be Brawl. I think it’s pretty safe to say he likes videogames. Which means the last thing he’d want to do is make a bad one.

There’s also the point that—yeah, $11 million is a lot of money, but plenty of games far exceed that in terms of production costs. For contrast, Baldur’s Gate 3 had a budget of over $100 million. And while BG3 may be the first thing to come to an excited fan’s mind when they think ‘Critical Role D&D video game’, it’s also a mega-ambitious project from a large studio at the top of its game, so even a well-funded CR game wouldn’t be anything that titanic. Smaller-scale stuff isn’t out of the question, though.

Critical Role’s first season actually got me into tabletop gaming to begin with, so my opinion on this might be coloured by nostalgia. But I was there, man. I watched the chain reaction of Season 1 into Season 2, into the Live Shows, into the animated series, into Critical Role becoming its own dang company. If Mercer and his friends want to make a game, they’ll make a game, I have no doubt about it.

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