The new era of role-playing games led by Gen Z, and building game community with Elle Dwight

Feb 1, 2024

On this episode of Story Mode, the weekly interview series featuring the compelling narratives of the people who shape the world of video games, we talk to Elle Dwight, Co-founder and CEO at Role. 

Learn more about the world of tabletop role-playing games (RPGs) and how the Role platform is creating community and tools around playing and creating RPGs. Discover the latest trends in the RGP industry driven by a new type of Gen Z gamer who values connection and discovery over anything else. Hear Elle’s take on the importance of authenticity when it comes to developing a community for a game, and the right way to deploy an early access release. This episode is a must for any gamer or gaming executive in the RPG space. 

About Elle Dwight 

Elle is Co-Founder and CEO at Role, a next generation online platform for tabletop role playing games and the communities around them. Elle is a designer turned founder. She spent the first decade of her career as a game, production, UX, and brand identity designer - including time at Kabam’s game studio in San Francisco where she designed their first ever mobile game. She co-founded her first company in 2014, The Soap Collective - a multi-media technology innovation agency with clients like Meta, Google, & Unity. In 2019, she co-founded Role to give people a better way to play their favorite tabletop RPGs online. 

In this episode, you’ll learn about:

01:01 - How Elle’s background in design & product have shaped her path as a founder and CEO.

02:25 - Elle’s background in animation and the study of why all living things play games.

03:40 - Her POV on the psychology of play and its effects on storytelling, communication, learning, connection, and overall society.

05:56 - What Elle is building at Role and the marketplace, tools, and community created for creating and playing RPGs.

08:44 - How the Role platform works and how people are using it, including the role of their community and the trends Elle is observing there.

10:15 - Role’s process for attracting quality RPG creators and content and the lack of restrictions they try to place on them to foster creativity and community.

11:52 - The RPG user profile and how it differs from other genres like casual games and what RPG players value and embrace.

13:45 - What Gen Z and Gen Alpha care about in gaming and the importance of gaming social experiences and deeper connection through games.

16:21 - The importance of community in gaming and the guidance that Elle would give any gaming company who is looking to build a genuine community around their games. Including the learnings from Larian Studio and Baldur’s Gate and how to do early access the right way.

19:39 - One big tactical change that any gaming company needs to make if they value building a good game community - hiring senior talent to lead that community effort.

22:41 - Elle’s POV on the changes that need to happen in the world of game monetization and how gamers are craving simplicity more and more these days.

25:55 - What Elle is excited about for the future of gaming and the stage of innovation and pioneering that is beginning in the industry, with Palworld as a key recent example.