Tag Archives: World of Darkness

A New Home for World of Darkness

Together, we will create the industry’s most innovative games leveraging both online and offline systems.

-White Wolf president Mike Tinney, November 2006

The ongoing tale of CCP Games, White Wolf, and the World of Darkness IP.  A story as old as this blog.

Back in 2006, during the heady days of MMO glory, when every virtual world idea seemed like a good one, CCP bough White Wolf with the express desire of turning World of Darkness into an MMO.  We had heard that by 2009, during the growth years of EVE Online, that CCP was had a team actively working on that project.

World of Darkness

World of Darkness

And then fortunes changed.  There were layoffs in 2011 and again in 2013 that directly affected the team working on the project.

Then there was the mysterious asset derecognition in the company books in March of last year that later turned out to be World of Darkness.  Then, finally, in April of 2014, the 56 people still working on the project were let go and the project was officially terminated by CCP.

After that, some tales of the project leaked out to the press, with stories of hitting alpha a few times only to be rejected and a large amount of “borrowing” of assets from the WoD team to support other projects, especially EVE Online.

And that is where things were left.  It has been well over a year since we have heard anything substantial.  And then yesterday there was finally some news.  Paradox Interactive, the Swedish King of computer strategy games, is buying White Wolf from CCP.  On the Icelandic side of things, this unburdens CCP some and provides them with some additional cash in the bank.  But we already knew that they were concentrating on the EVE Online universe and related VR titles like Valkyrie and Gunjack.  (What fate awaits DUST 514 though, the only “not in space” game in the set?)

What Paradox will end up doing with White Wolf is less clear.  The phrase “…will pursue development opportunities across relevant categories of game…” is as open ended as one would expect at this stage of things.

Does that mean a World of Darkness MMO some day?  That still seems pretty doubtful to me.  The age of “MMO all the things!” has passed.  I am not sure “WoW with vampires!” would do any of us any credit. (And hopefully nobody is thinking “LoL with vampires!”  We’re past that too now, right?)

But we might get a decent computer RPG some day.  We shall see.

The press release from Paradox Interactive is below.  There was no press release from the CCP side of things, but then they cannot even seem to keep up with EVE Online expansions there.

Paradox Interactive Acquires White Wolf Publishing from CCP Games
New Paradox Subsidiary will Operate Independently and Manage All White Wolf Properties, Including World of Darkness and Vampire: The Masquerade

STOCKHOLM – Oct. 29, 2015 – Paradox Interactive, a global games developer and publisher, today announced the acquisition of White Wolf Publishing from CCP Games in an all-cash deal. Now a subsidiary of Paradox Interactive, White Wolf Publishing is a licensing business that owns and manages intellectual properties including World of Darkness, Vampire: The Masquerade and Werewolf: The Apocalypse. Led by CEO Tobias Sjögren, former EVP of Business Development at Paradox, White Wolf Publishing will operate as an independent entity with a dedicated team.

White Wolf Publishing has a long history of producing gaming universes that span mediums, including tabletop and collectible card games, PC games and books. Paradox Interactive acquired all of White Wolf’s brands, and its new subsidiary will pursue development opportunities across relevant categories of games under the White Wolf Publishing name.

“Like Paradox’s games, White Wolf’s properties have dedicated, passionate communities. While there are similarities in spirit, White Wolf’s IPs have very different themes than Paradox’s titles, and deserve their own brand and team,” said Fredrik Wester, CEO and President of Paradox Interactive. “We have great respect for White Wolf’s gaming worlds and see big opportunities for their expansion in the future under our new subsidiary.”

“Over the last 20 years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with beloved studios like DICE and Paradox on the business management side of games, and as a developer earlier in my career. I look forward to bringing my experience to bear as we pursue new ways to interact with White Wolf’s universes,” said Tobias Sjögren, CEO of White Wolf Publishing. “The White Wolf IPs are well suited for all kinds of media and we see great potential to expand them in the future.”

“At CCP, we have great admiration for the White Wolf brands and communities, and it was extremely important to us that the acquiring company share the same respect and understanding,” said Hilmar Veigar Pétursson, CEO of CCP Games. “With Paradox, we know we are leaving the brands in good hands.”

For more information about White Wolf Publishing, please visit www.whitewolf-publishing.com.

Quote of the Day – World of Darkness, World of Chaos

Sources report that, over the nine-year period, the game effectively reached alpha – the stage at which all the major features have been implemented – three times, only for each version to be scrapped.

-The Guardian, World of Darkness – the inside story on the death of a game

We all know that the World of Darkness MMO, which CCP had been working on since it acquired White Wold back in 2006, was cancelled earlier this year.

World of Darkness

World of Darkness

But what actually happened, how things reached that state of affairs… all of that has been somewhat murky.  There are rumors and lots of speculation about what happened, but few details.

Well, that just changed.  Over at The Guardian, there is an article up attempting to detail exactly what happens.  The piece depends heavily on the word of Nick Blood, a former CCP staffer who is unhappy about how things played out.  But even if you allow for a certain level of disgruntled spin… and Blood is clearly angry… it does lay out a tale of woe, of lack of direction, of poaching WoD resources to support EVE, of being disconnected from the reality of the situation.  There are lots of EVE Online tidbits in the article… since WoD staff apparently spent a good deal of time working on EVE… including a bit more dirt about the Incarna expansion.

There is one quote from Nick Blood that certainly rings true for the bitter vets,

CCP has an extensive track record of promising to return to features and never doing so.

I would have agreed with that quite readily before Incarna.  Afterwards though, CCP seemed to have changed.  They have returned to old features and have spent a lot of time of things that had otherwise been left alone for years.  Maybe Incarna was the shock to the system that CCP needed.

And maybe letting go of World of Darkness was the better course.  It is certainly disappointing to those who wanted to see that IP come alive as an MMO, but it doesn’t sound like CCP was doing well at juggling two very disparate game worlds.  Sticking to EVE and its derivatives is probably for the best.

Anyway, there are certainly a few insights to be gleaned from the article.

Meanwhile, CCP has announced even more layoffs, this time in Iceland.

Not a good day for CCP, with dirty laundry out for all to see and more people losing their jobs.

Hat Tip: Neville Smit

World of Darkness Goes Dark

CCP Games today announced that they have cancelled the World of Darkness massively multiplayer online (MMO) game project in development in their Atlanta, GA studio.

As a result of the change, 56 employees of the Atlanta studio have lost their jobs.  Some team members have been offered roles on other projects inside the company, and CCP has provided severance packages and job placement assistance for those affected.

The remaining team in Atlanta will focus on games in the EVE Universe, which will mark the first time since 2006 that the entirety of CCP will be working on a single universe.

-CCP Press Release

Well, that about wraps that up I guess.  This is the third and final cut, the World of Darkness team having faced layoffs back in 2011 and then again last year.

World of Darkness

World of Darkness

CCP bought White Wolf, the creators of World of Darkness, back in 2006, and had been working on an MMO version of the IP seriously starting in 2009.  Since then though, little has surfaced about the project aside from bad new.

I suppose this answers the question from earlier this year about what software was “derecognized” as an asset by CCP as part of their 2013 financial report.

CCP is solely focused on EVE Online and spin-offs such as DUST 514 and EVE Valkyrie.  We won’t get to see what CCP could do in the realm of fantasy now.

In the gaming world Zombies continue to rule, while vampire fortunes seem to be in a downward spiral.  I blame Stephenie Meyer.

Addendum: But CCP is still thinking about what to do with World of Darkness.

Quote of the Day – CCP Layoffs and World of Darkness

CCP today made strategic adjustments to the staffing on the team working on the World of Darkness project in Atlanta that resulted in the elimination of approximately 15 positions at the company.  The change was due to our evaluation of the game’s design and ongoing development needs.  While this was a difficult decision, CCP remains committed to the franchise and our promise to make a compelling, rich, and deep World of Darkness experience.

Ned Coker of CCP, following rumors of layoffs

Not much to be said except that there is no “good” time to be laid off.  I have been down that path a couple of times myself, though never right in the teeth of the holidays.

The move was focused on the World of Darkness team, which also faced a cut back in October of 2011.  The 2011 cut reportedly reduced the team working on the project to 60, and now 25% of that group has been cut.  No matter what mollifying phrases are used, this cannot be seen as a positive spin for the future of a game based on the franchise.

World of Darkness

World of Darkness

CCP bought White Wolf, the creators of World of Darkness, back in 2006, and have been working on an MMO version seriously since 2009.