Rick Lane looks at how one of the most eminent pen and paper RPG publishers is being reborn for a new, virtual generation.
If you’re unfamiliar with White Wolf, then let us introduce it through one word – Bloodlines. The 2004 Vampire RPG, still regarded as one of the most ambitious role-playing games of all time, was based on the Vampire: The Masquerade setting created by the pen-and-paper RPG publisher.
In many ways, Bloodlines and White Wolf’s stories closely mirror each other. Bloodlines was an almost superb game force dout the door early by its publisher Activision. The game let you play as seven different types of vampire, took place in a large, semi-ways to open world with dozens of explore it, and sported an incredible dialogue system that made Deus Ex look primordial. But it was left buggy and unfinished by its developer Troika, after it was forced to wrap up theproject.Bloodlinesisstillregarded as one of the top RPGs in existence, but it’s also one of the great ‘what ifs?’ of PC gaming, and not the only one that White Wolf has left hanging either.
After dabbling in video game RPGs by licensing its Vampire: The Masquerade series, in 2006, White Wolf was acquired by Icelandic game developer CCP, the creator of EVE: Online. Together, their goal was to create a massively multiplayer online game set in the World of Darkness, WhiteWolf’s overarching RPG setting that formed the basis for Vampire:The Masquerade and several games. Known simply as World of Darkness, CCP’s MMO was one of the most exciting PC games in development at the time, but the project was sorely mismanaged by CCP.
Expensive features and advanced technologies were built for the game before being unceremoniously dumped, with two versions of the game reaching Alpha before being abandoned. Moreover, the World of Darkness development team was frequently co-opted to help out with problems on EVE Online, meaning months could go by with little work done on World of Darkness at all. After eight years of development, the project was cancelled in April 2014.
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