5E is coming: Fans will help shape new edition of Dungeons & Dragons game

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Dungeons & Dragons

Here we go again.

Wizards of the Coast has confirmed — in a big, big way — that they are working on the 5th Edition of the iconic Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game.

The Hasbro subsidiary announced Monday that open playtesting for the revised rules would begin in spring 2012, indicating that the gaming community would have a seat at the table in shaping the future of the D&D game. First, the D&D Experience convention later this month will showcase ideas that are already in development.

From the statement by D&D R&D manager Mike Mearls:

With your feedback and involvement, we can make D&D better than ever. We seek to build a foundation for the long-term health and growth of D&D, one rooted in the vital traits that make D&D unique and special. We want a game that rises above differences of play styles, campaign settings, and editions, one that takes the fundamental essence of D&D and brings it to the forefront of the game. In short, we want a game that is as simple or complex as you please, its action focused on combat, intrigue, and exploration as you desire. We want a game that is unmistakably D&D, but one that can easily become your D&D, the game that you want to run and play.

D&D updates have always been divisive, and the latest incarnation — 4th Edition, released in 2008 — was no exception. Many disaffected fans preferred to stick with the 3.5 revision, leading to the rise of challenger Paizo Publishing and its Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, which was based upon those open-source D&D rules. In some circles, it’s whispered that Pathfinder sales have tied or even exceeded those of D&D, and releases of Fourth Edition supplements have slowed to a trickle somewhat.

News of D&D’s transformation quickly made headlines, with some of the country’s largest and most prestigious media organizations devoting in-depth coverage to the new game and its implications:

Mearls’ statement puts a focus on capturing the imaginations of old-school gamers as well as the new generation:
We seek to reach as many people as possible, from the gamer who just started with D&D last week to the gaming group that has been together since the early-1970s. For this process to work, we want to give a voice to all D&D fans and players of all previous editions of the game.

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