Infogrames, which acquired the rights to produce electronic versions of Wizards of the Coast games as part of its purchase of Hasbro Interactive (see 'Game Sites No Fun'), has announced D&D-based electronic games for PS2, Xbox, GameCube, and Game Boy Advance.
Dungeons and Dragons Heroes will be released for the PS2, Xbox, and GameCube platforms this fall. Design team leader Brenda Brathwaite said they are, 'designing a game...that will be easy for even a new player to grasp but will immerse the seasonsed D&D player in an authentic D&D adventure that will give them the same feeling they experienced with the classic tabletop roleplaying game.' Among the D&D features that will be adapted to the electronic version are the ability to play as Fighter, Wizard, Cleric, or Rogue; monsters from the third edition of the D&D Monster Manual; and feats and character-building from the third edition of the Player's Handbook.
Dungeons and Dragons -- Eye of the Beholder will be released for the Game Boy Advance this fall. This is actually an adaptation of the Strategic Simulations PC game from the early 90s, updated with new dungeon layouts, challenges, and expanded story, and additional side-quests not included in the original game. It will be explicitly based on the third edition of D&D.
This has a number of implications for the world of paper D&D products. First is the additional exposure that the console games will bring to the properties, presumably cultivating some potential customers for the paper games. Second and perhaps more important is the exposure the Game Boy Advance games will bring to young consumers, which may have an even greater impact. And last is the question of whether Infogrames will execute the games in such a way to expand the value of the brand. There were rumors that the sale of the electronic rights to D&D was a source of conflict between Hasbro and WotC management at the time; these releases will be a first indication of whether that rights sale will be a problem for those selling the WotC products.