Interview: Ivan Van Norman Briefly Chats About Darrington Press

Last month, Critical Role announced they were starting their own tabletop wing of the company with Darrington Press. As part of the launch of this new endeavor, the company brought on Ivan Van Norman to help get things going as they ambitiously announced four new tabletop games will be coming throughout 2021. All of them themed in some way around the show and its brand. We had a chance to briefly chat with Norman about him coming on board and the plans moving forward.

A look at the logo for Darrington Press, courtesy of Critical Role.
A look at the logo for Darrington Press, courtesy of Critical Role.

Ivan Van Norman

Credit: Tyler Curtis / @tyliner
Credit: Tyler Curtis / @tyliner

BC: What made you decide to work on Darrington Press and what was the biggest appeal of the gig?

IVN: Because I really like the people! It sounds like a cheeky answer, but it's true. If you want to find happiness in your work, you have to love the work, as well as the people who you share that work with. Creating games, and helping others bring their concepts into the world is something I love – and I can't think of anything else I'd rather do more. I also can't think of a better place to do that work.

Did they already have ideas for all the games, or was this more of a collaborative effort of ideas?

This was absolutely a collaboration of our team. There were a few 'items on the table', but most of the lineup came about after I was brought on board. I am so lucky to have our creative advisor Matthew Mercer to discuss, explore, and research some great concepts.

You've announced four games for 2021. That's an ambitious schedule for a company just starting out. Are you confident you'll meet the schedule, or will this be something that will require crowdfunding and playing it by ear?

Having done this for a while now, I feel pretty confident about spinning up multiple projects at the same time in order to make the deadlines. If there are any delays, it will be simply because the game is not ready – and we don't want to rush any of our releases just for the sake of making a quarter and risk coming out with a sub-par product. Making sure we deliver a quality product is priority number one. Also, we're not looking at utilizing any crowdfunding platforms for any of our games at this time.

Do you plan to follow-up with these games by adding expansions and other content to them, or will the focus be on making them self-contained?

I am a huge advocate of exploring the long-term potential in a game from its inception, so while some are currently stand-alone titles (such as Uk'otoa), others in the lineup will gain additional support down the road.

About Gavin Sheehan

Gavin is the current Games Editor for Bleeding Cool. He has been a lifelong geek who can chat with you about comics, television, video games, and even pro wrestling. He can also teach you how to play Star Trek chess, be your Mercy on Overwatch, recommend random cool music, and goes rogue in D&D. He also enjoys hundreds of other geeky things that can't be covered in a single paragraph. Follow @TheGavinSheehan on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Vero, for random pictures and musings.
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