Today, Wizards of the Coast announced it’s working on the next edition of Dungeons & Dragons, with an expected launch date of next year. A companion Forbes article described the new system as “a modular, flexible system, easily customized to individual preferences.”
The announcement emphasized that the public will have input on the design (indeed, this is something the EN World articles hammered into the ground). Now, to be clear, this doesn’t mean throwing the rules on a wiki and letting anyone change them; it means public playtests of the 5E design, with plenty of opportunities for player feedback after those sessions.
Which is how indie games are designed. The designer comes up with an idea, playtests it with friends, refines the rules, playtests it at a con or two, refines the rules more, and publishes it.
Okay, okay, before I hear howls of protest: D&D 5E will not be an indie game. But its designers have clearly learned at least one lesson from indie designers: get your game into the public, and let people talk about it and tweet about it, before it’s even released. Get public player feedback early on.
Here’s hoping it’s a clean new system that gets more people playing, and helps us tell more deep, involving stories.