Interested in learning what's next for the gaming industry? Join gaming executives to discuss emerging parts of the industry this October at GamesBeat Summit Next. Register today.
Critical Role is, well, on a roll, growing from more than just the adventures of a group of adventurers. In addition to two completed shows, this actual play RPG group-turned-media company also has a Dungeons & Dragons campaign book, a line of miniatures, and an animated show coming to Amazon Prime.
And now it has a third group of adventurers to follow in its upcoming show, Exandria Unlimited.
Critical Role made the announcement today. Exandria Unlimited launches at 7 p.m. Pacific on Thursday, June 24, on the company’s Twitch and YouTube channels (it’ll also be available as a podcast a week later). This mini-campaign of 8 episodes takes place 30 years after the first, Vox Machina, and 10 years after Mighty Nein. This new crew meets in Emon, a city in Exandria that’s still recovering from events of the Chroma Conclave attack nearly 30 years earlier.
Actual play broadcasts have become a major force in tabletop gaming and in streaming. According to measurement firm StreamElements, in 2019 viewers watched an aggregated 19.5 million hours of such shows on Twitch and YouTube, a 1,142% increase over 2018. And 2020’s numbers are likely higher. It’s helped D&D publisher Wizards of the Coast sell more books in 2020 than in any year before (even when the game belonged to original publisher TSR and was a phenomenon in the 1980s).
To show just how popular Critical Role is, StreamElements says it had 9.6 million hours watched in 2019 and 9 million in 2020. In 2021, StreamElements said it had “some strong, consistent numbers” of 1.05 million in March, 1.2 million in April, and 1.09 million in May, but has “yet to set a new milestone since July 2020 of 1.5 million.”
The cast includes a number of actors, both newcomers to and veterans of Critical Role and other actual shows.
- Aimee Carrero (Princess Elena in Elena of Avalor, Princess Adora in She-Ra). She’s a newcomer to Critical Role.
- Robbie Daymond (Tuxedo Mask in the upcoming Sailor Moon, Peter Parker in the 2017 Spider-Man animated series). He’s also a newcomer to Exandria.
- Ashley Johnson (Ellie in The Last of Us Part I and Part II). She’s a Critical Role veteran who’s played characters like Pike Trickfoot and Yasha Nydoorin.
- Liam O’Brien (a veteran voice actor for animation and games). He’s played Vax’ildan Vessar in previous Critical Role shows.
- Matthew Mercer is Critical Role’s longtime Dungeon Master, but this time, he’s playing a character.
- The storycrafter and game master for Exandria Unlimited is Aabria Iyengar, who’s worked on games like Happy Jacks RPG, Saving Throw, and Hyper RPG.
GamesBeat's creed when covering the game industry is "where passion meets business." What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you -- not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy engaging with it. Discover our Briefings.