Critical Role separates from Geek & Sundry to create new shows
Hit roleplaying web series Critical Role is going solo.
The show, which sees a regular cast of professional voice actors play an ongoing campaign of Dungeons & Dragons DM’d by Matthew Mercer, started in 2015 and has aired on Geek & Sundry since it began. It has also spawned a spin-off discussion show – Talks Machina – podcast, comic book and RPG sourcebooks based on the campaign.
The first campaign, Vox Machina, came to a conclusion late last year, before a new storyline with new characters began this spring. As well as the regular cast, guest stars have included Wil Wheaton, Felicia Day, Patrick Rothfuss, Christopher Perkins and more.
In an announcement video, Mercer, Marisha Ray and Travis Willingham revealed that Critical Role would be separating from Geek & Sundry to more fully take the reins of its creative direction. The show has been completely owned by its creators from the beginning, making this split more of a production-related decision.
As part of the move, Ray has stepped down from her position of creative director at Geek & Sundry, to take up the role of creative director for Critical Role’s new independent YouTube and Twitch channels.
However, Critical Role and Talks Machina will continue to air on Geek & Sundry and Alpha for the time being, with After Dark remaining an exclusive to Alpha.
With no major shake-ups to Critical Role’s broadcasting for now, the team’s new independence will let them produce brand new shows that will air on their own official channels, with Ray taking the lead on the creative side. The team has moved into a new studio that will serve as the home of both Critical Role and these other projects.
With the main Critical Role shows continuing to debut on Alpha – Geek & Sundry’s premium channel – the team said that it was still exploring options for subscription-based content on its own outlets to avoid fans shelling out multiple times.
Critical Role has amassed tens of millions of views since it began, with over half a million people regularly tuning into its livestreams. Its popularity spearheaded and influenced the Actual Play movement of livestreamed tabletop gameplay, which was recently recognised with a nomination for this year’s Diana Jones Award.
We spoke to Mercer and Critical Role co-creator Liam O’Brien about the show’s legacy and future in the April issue of Tabletop Gaming magazine, which can still be purchased and read online.