On Tuesday, Critical Role surprised fans with an announcement that their zany spin-off project Narrative Telephone would return for a second season starting October 20. The announcement came to audiences via Critical Role’s Twitter account, which promised more “chaotic twists and turns” would await fans in season two.
Join us on October 20th for Narrative Telephone Round 2! Each episode features a tale packed with chaotic twists and turns that our champion storytellers must recount…from memory. 👀 pic.twitter.com/jysJJcj3VR
— Critical Role (@CriticalRole) October 13, 2020
When Critical Role, adhering to COVID-19 health and safety mandates, halted production of their weekly Dungeons & Dragons Twitch livestream in the spring, there was a scramble to fill the Mighty Nein-sized void with content that could be produced remotely. Where other popular Dungeons & Dragons campaigns, such as The Adventure Zone, can sustain with virtual gameplay, the streaming element that makes Critical Role unique would have been difficult to replicate over Zoom. “The magic of our game is best when we’re all in the room together,” player Marisha Ray (Critical Role) told Forbes in spring “in the meantime, there [are] ways we can bring our narrative fortes to the audience.”
Two elements that make Critical Role unique are its cast, consisting of top-tier voice acting talent, and the storytelling prowess of Matthew Mercer (Critical Role, Overwatch), the show’s Dungeon Master. Narrative Telephone blended these strengths of Critical Role into a chaotic game of telephone, which made the series a standout amongst Critical Role’s other COVID programming that included series such as Critter Hug and Yeehaw Off the Ranch.
In Narrative Telephone, a player records a story set in Critical Role’s fictional realm of Exandria and passes it along to a cast mate. Performers can only watch the video one time before attempting to repeat it from memory, including character voices, songs and impressions of one another. The mishearing, misremembering and general mishaps that occur as the story gets passed along from player to player create a comical chain of events.
According to Game Rant, Critical Role Foundation president Ashley Johnson’s (The Last of Us: Part II, Critical Role) attempt to do an impression of Laura Bailey’s (Critical Role, Avengers Assemble) beloved character Jester is “one of the most hilarious Ashley Johnson moments in Critical Role history.”
Season one of Narrative Telephone featured eight episodes, that continued to air after Critical Role’s long-awaited July 2 return to studio. Though the series became a quick fan-favorite and references to a second season were made while recording the show, there had yet to be a formal announcement on when Narrative Telephone would return until Tuesday’s Twitter announcement.
A majority of the Critical Role cast shared Tuesday’s Narrative Telephone announcement on their person social media accounts. The sentiment of embarrassment rang in collective conscience as Liam O’Brien (Critical Role, Carmen Sandiego) mentioned the German concept of schadenfreude in his tweet regarding the show’s return and Bailey simply asked “why are we doing this to ourselves” (Twitter).
Why are we doing this to ourselves 😂 https://t.co/TcSFo4KMhj
— Laura Bailey (@LauraBaileyVO) October 13, 2020
A little embarrassment on the part of the Critical Role cast has proven a lot of fun for the show’s fans, who can look forward to a return of Narrative Telephone on Tuesday October 20 on Twitch.