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Why did World of Darkness die? New sources tell all

Thursday, 5 June 2014 12:22 GMT By Dave Cook

World of Darkness was cancelled by EVE Online’s CCP Games this year, but its almost-decade long transition from an intriguing idea to doomed project is shrouded in mystery. New sources have come forward to give their account of what happened during the MMO’s slow death.

world of darkness
Image credit: Idiocracy.

The last we heard of World of Darkness was this leaked manual and screen selection from CCP’s final play-test in March.

Sources speaking with The Guardian have depicted a troubled and volatile atmosphere surrounding the project, along with the revelation that the MMO entered alpha phase on three separate occasions, following big changes.

CCP purchased tabletop gaming firm White Wolf in 2006 ad immediately put it to work on World of Darkness, a game that was said to feature the same open sandbox hallmarks of EVE. However, former CCP employee Nick Blood said, “On many different occasions throughout the years I was there, CCP would often ‘poach’ WoD staff for expansion projects,”

“There were plenty of developers who would get redirected to create Eve content for three to six month cycles… During these times, World of Darkness development was significantly slowed down. I remember the upper management often exasperatedly trying to figure out what to do with the remaining staff for a six-month period while their artists and programmers were busy elsewhere.”

This shifting of resources caused World of Darkness development to stutter many times over the years, which led to revisions and those three separate alpha versions.

Blood said of the tests, “I tested it myself, on two different occasions out of those three. With the first playtest, I was amazed at how little of the core game was there – at this point the game had been in development for over half a decade. I mean, there was just nothing, literally nothing, for someone like me, a complete outsider to the WOD IP, to appreciate.

“Other testers who were familiar with it thought it was great that they could finally see their avatars ‘diablerise’ – or consume – other player’s corpses, for health, or something. I just kind of shook my head and wondered how this would ever draw in anything other than die-hard fans.

“On the second play test, quite some time later, I was struck by how much had changed – and yet remained unfinished. The flagship achievement was a new movement system, made after scrapping the old one, which was similar to the Assassin’s Creed gameplay – with mantling walls, etc. But it was very basic in comparison. CCP was quite self-congratulatory on achieving this much, and the internal propaganda was that this kind of movement system would revolutionise MMO gaming.”

The Guardian’s report goes on like this, covering everything from coders having to discard reams of work, developers being unable to answer basic gameplay questions and more.

Have a read and share your thoughts with us below.

Via Eurogamer.

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6 Comments

  1. YoungZer0

    Jesus that really sounds bloody awful.

    #1 8 months ago
  2. Tormenter

    This is tragic.

    Eve holds absolutely no draw for me at all, this I would probably have played. Ah well, looks like CCP don’t get any of my munnees

    #2 8 months ago
  3. Sylrissa

    @2
    My thoughts exactly, this is a real shame to happen to some I likely would of spend a good amount of time with.

    #3 8 months ago
  4. Darkfield

    They scrapped a project with wide appeal around the gaming community to focus on EVE Online that in it finest moments never had more than 500k active subs which a lot of them are dual or multi accounts. Now this is the moment I should rage quit and slam the door behind me so hard that entire building collapses behind me.

    #4 8 months ago
  5. TheWulf

    They were basically just trying to make something to challenge The Secret World by the sounds of it, but failing badly. What they didn’t get is that Vampire, the part they focused on, is both popularly and nichely considered to be the most boring part.

    Vampire has a tiny cult following, yes, but everything does. White Wolf players will tell you that the more interesting settings are very different from Vampire, they’d cite Changeling, Promethean, Geist, Mage, and even Werewolf. All of those had genuinely interesting things going on for them, Vampire just felt like an afterthought, it was almost too Twilight for my tastes. No, I’m not joking, you should have read some of the White Wolf books.

    And vampires aren’t just that popular, either. And the people they are popular with wouldn’t be interested in playing a game like this, anyway. If they’d created a Promethean MMO, or one of any of the others, it would have been something to actually look forward to. But they did a dumb.

    And the end result is that management had a floundering project, one which they likely knew wasn’t popular, but they wanted to see if anything could come of it due to all the money they’d already wasted on the project. If it were me, I’d have been merciful and put it down in the earliest stages of its conception, so that the people toiling with it wouldn’t have to suffer.

    Another element is that, honestly, unless you’re going to embrace the Malks, there’s not much you can do with Vampire that’s imaginative. And I can’t see an MMO having an entire dialogue tree for the Malks in the way that, say, Bloodlines did. If you weren’t playing a Malk in Bloodlines, you were doing it wrong. Very wrong.

    Also, if you weren’t using a Malk’s seduction power with the intent to fail the rolls, you were doing it wrong.

    So a lot of what made Bloodlines so fantastic was contextual to the humour, and a lot of that humour really didn’t exist within the setting itself. That’s something that was brought to it by Bloodlines. If you play the earlier Vampire game for comparison, you’ll understand. The earlier one is quite dry, serious, and stereotypical. Bloodlines revelled in a sort of goofiness that wasn’t Vampire.

    That’s what made Bloodlines so great, it wasn’t Vampire. It was Vampire: The Malkavian Sitcom. It’s similar to how The Wolf Among Us just isn’t Fables.

    But Bloodlines is singular, and for an MMO, it’s just not an interesting setting. The lore is enough to induce sleep in insomniacs, the canon characters are flat and uninteresting, and the so-called ‘burdens’ they have and their nemeses are dreadfully uninspired. I guess that’s why some of the books went with an overly dramatic Twilight approach, because they had to do something to make Vampire interesting.

    I think they should have gone with how Bloodlines approached it, just being comical and goofy. That was great. In fact, when Bloodlines got serious, everyone disliked it! Go figure. Toward the end of the game, there was a lot of combat and seriousness (at least, before the entirely goofy, silly ending), and what I hear all the time is is that that’s the worst part of the game. No one wants to play that part of the game. They want to play the Malkavian Sitcom part of the game.

    Bloodlines was exemplified by its stealth, puzzle, and talky moments. And people seem to hate that in MMOs, despite those elements being strong in one of my favourite MMOs (The Secret World, which I still can’t believe became one of my favourites after the horrible marketing made me so leery, but it did).

    So, basically, this would be dry and serious, and an overly simplistic parkour action game. With the drivel that passes for lore in the Vampire setting sprinkled on top.

    ABORT! ABORT! ABORT!

    It’s funny, I mean, the only way I hear of people really having fun with Vampire is by playing a Malkavian, and playing him in a way that’s goofy insane, rather than evil insane. I’ve heard of so many instances of friends cancelling a Vampire game to ‘just play Changeling instead, or something.

    I just… I guess I don’t know why people would want that as an MMO?

    It’d get a month, maybe, with some Twilight/Bloodlines fans poking it out of curiosity, then it would die. It’d be too much action for the Twilight fans, and not enough amusing and clever for the Bloodlines fans.

    Why didn’t you go with Promethean or something, CCP? Gah.

    It still bugs me. Of course, if they had been making Vampire: The Malkavian Sitcom, I would have been so on board with that, but it seemed like the drivel that Bloodlines was based off of but wasn’t at all faithful to.

    Sigh.

    I actually feel genuinely bad for the people who were forced to work on that, they should have quietly had it put down as an act of kindness for everyone involved. I’m glad, though. I actually like White Wolf ending on a gaming high note with Bloodlines.

    It occurs to me that CCP probably just didn’t understand why Bloodlines was so popular, and erroneously believed ‘because vampires.

    I think they could have been space aliens with that writing and people would have still eaten it up. I miss Troika because of their goofy and spectacularly good writing. They made oWoD a little less dark, and it benefited from it.

    #5 8 months ago
  6. Kenri

    TheWulf, you mixed everything up, you’re talking about Vampire: The Masquerade and Vampire: The Requiem like both games were the same, but they’re not. In the new WoD, other games are more popular than Vampire: The Requiem, but that’s a different crowd, some classic WoD players moved to the new WoD and the new one brought more people. You’re just one of those preaching the new WoD is better, but both settings are different, classic WoD has a deep and extensive lore, where you can get immersed, while new WoD is a sandbox game, where you don’t need background stories, just RPG tools to create your own, both things are great. For those who enjoy to create their own things, new WoD fits them well, those who loves reading and being part of a great story, then classic WoD is for them.

    Those who don’t like the endings in VTM Bloodlines, it’s because they don’t understand why it had such conclusions, VTM is mostly about politics, moral decisions, manipulation, backstabbing and deception, with that ending you get all of that. Most games are about winning at the end, VTM, it’s not, what it’s important is the story, in the tabletop game your character can get the Final Death, but you still feel good about it, because of the things your character did and contributed to the chronicle.

    A lot of people says their chronicles hardly have combat on them, they’re mostly about politics and player interaction, that’s why in VTM Bloodlines they say the final part of the game feels different, because, there’s no more politics and the game turns more action centred, in the rest of the game, you can play in a stealth mode, you don’t need to kill every NPC. VTM Redemption, the other PC game based on VTM, has an epic vampire chronicle from dark ages to modern nights, unlike Bloodlines which lets you being part of the vampire politics, its gameplay is centred in doing dungeons and combats, even if you can see the vampire politics and manipulation through the story, you can’t be part of it, it’s linear, just some moral decisions change your ending, that’s the reason VTM Redemption didn’t achieve the same cult following than VTM Bloodlines, which also is an excellent RPG
    .
    If the Clan Malkavian was all that Bloodlines had to offer, there weren’t a lot people playing the game several times and doing different things, choosing different paths and Clans. Now, what about newcomers? Those Bloodlines fans who don’t even know the tabletop game, they bought a vampire game, they wanted to play an RPG about vampires.

    Your comment is just a compilation of your own frustrations and nothing else, You don’t like Vampire: The Masquerade, good, you wanted a Promethean: The Created MMO, good, you prefer the new WoD, not the classic one, that’s okay, just say that. You just were overreacting, because they weren’t making a game you wanted, that’s why you’re bashing all the things you don’t like.

    Finally, whether you like it or not, Vampire: The Masquerade influenced the vampire genre and revolutionized the gaming industry, there’s a lot of people and articles which’ll give you the reasons, also, if it wasn’t for it, you wouldn’t have Promethean: The Created and the new WoD.

    #6 8 months ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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  • You can now catch Emboar and Serperior in Pokemon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire

    Two new Pokemon are now available for Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire through the official Pokemon website’s special event. You can pick up the fire, fighting type Pokemon Emboar from January 28 – November 30, per IGN, using the special code POKEMON500. Enter it into the Mystery Gift section from the main game menu to […]

  • Fight demons, save the world in The Awakened Fate Ultimatum this March

    A new set of videos for The Awakened Fate Ultimatum have been released by NIS America, showing off the roguelike RPG coming to PlayStation 3. In the game, player will guide a high school student named Shin Kamikaze as he comes to term with being a god. After having a dream featuring a girl talking […]

  • You can now pick up Heroes of Might & Magic 3 HD Edition on PC, tablets

    Heroes of Might & Magic 3 HD Edition is now available on PC as well as Android and iOS tablets. The fifteen year-old title has been revamped in full HD and includes the seven original campaign scenarios and 48 skirmish maps. Local multiplayer mode, a map editor and a Steam lobby are also included.

  • 50 finalists for Bohemia Interactive’s Make Arma Not War contest announced

    The 50 finalists for Bohemia Interactive’s €500,000 Make Arma Not War contest have been announced, after the firm combed through over 250 entries. Finalists chosen in the single-player category were chosen by Arma 3 players, and the add-on and multipkayer entries were selected by Bohemia Interactive. Winners for the next round will be evaluated by […]

  • Here’s a new batch of gruesome Killing Floor 2 screenshots

    Tripwire Interactive has released a new batch of screenshots for Killing Floor 2. The screens show various weapons as well as a variety of Zeds ready to tear you to shreds. Killing Floor 2 is slated for release this year on PC and PlayStation 4. It will also be made available for SteamOS.

  • Hatred is now available for pre-order, new video released

    Hatred is now available for pre-order through the game’s official website. There are two editions to choose from: Digital version with the official game soundtrack for €16.66; or the Digital version with the game soundtrack and a T-shirt for €36.66. The second edition is limited to 1,485 units. Hatred, which was handed an AO rating […]

  • This The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D TV spot is sort of creepy

    With The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D arriving on the first Friday the 13th of the year, it’s only fitting Nintendo would release a slightly creepy TV spot for it. The game’s concept is rather dark, and while it the commercial isn’t too creeptastic, for as short as it is the message is conveyed […]

  • GTA 5 “documentary” chronicles the life of a Tennis Pro

    Here’s another user created video featuring footage from GTA 5, but this one is a documentary instead of crazy stunts, mayhem and face-plants. Created by Bombastic Gamer Films, the documentary delves into the life of Tennis Pro Andreas Schmovakovic, who is both the “greatest player in the world, and the worst.” It’s rather good honestly. […]

  • World of Tanks Xbox 360 updated with console exclusive Pacific Island map, JapaneseChi-Nu Kai tank

    World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition has been updated with a new and exclusive console-only map called “Pacific Island”, which also comes with a Japanese tank. Players will be able to wreck havoc in their very own Japanese Chi-Nu Kai tank, which ca be picked up through the in-game store for Tier 5. It tank […]

  • Here’s the first trailer for OlliOlli 2: Welcome to Olliwood

    Roll 7 has released the first trailer for OlliOlli2: Welcome to Olliwood. Gameplay in the second outing will include ramps, jumps and hills, allowing for plenty of air and split level routes. It comes with a deeper combo system with Manuals, Reverts, Revert Manuals and Grind Switching. The ‘Tricktionary’ has also been updated with new […]

  • Learn all about the single-player mode in this Evolve video

    A video showing off the single-player portion of Evolve has been released by 2K and Turtle Rock. All content in the game can be played in either online multiplayer or offline in single-player. The video below contains two matches of Defend mode played from both the Monster and Hunter perspective. AI obviously takes on the […]

  • Super Smash Bros. Wii U update comes with 15 extra stages

    An update for Super Smash Bros. Wii U has been released, and it comes with 15 new stages for the 8-player mode. The update, version 1.0.2., is 316MB in size and the stages are split with nine normal stages and six Omega stages. Here’s the list: Regular stages Animal Crossing – Smashville Animal Crossing – […]

  • Nintendo US eShop update includes Metroid Prime Trilogy, Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. demo

    Nintendo has updated the North American end of the eShop with the Metroid Prime Trilogy, Shadow of the Ninja on Virtual Console and a demo for Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. Here’s your update: Metroid Prime: Trilogy – Wii U Rock ’N Racing Off Road – Wii U Frenchy Bird – Wii U Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. – […]

  • Battlefield Hardline open beta takes place next week on all systems

    Details and dates for the Battlefield Hardline open multiplayer beta were announced by EA and Visceral Games today. From February 3-8, the beta will be available to all players worldwide on Origin for PC, PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. You’ll notice that the dates coincide with the Microsoft slip up earlier in […]

  • Transistor, Yakuza 4, Thief headline February PS Plus offerings

    Sony has announced your free PlayStation Plus games for the month of February. Come February 3 in North America and February 4 in Europe, Plus members on both side of the pond will be gifted with the following: Transistor (PS4) Apotheon (PS4) Yakuza 4 (PS3) Thief (PS3) Rogue Legacy (PS Vita|PS4|PS3) Kick & Fennick (PS […]

  • Life is Strange launch trailer and final dev diary released

    With the first episode of Life is Strange releasing tomorrow, Dontnod Entertainment has released the last developer diary for the title as well as the launch trailer. Titled Creating Arcadia Bay, the video provides more information on the licensed soundtrack as well as the voice actors behind Max and Chloe. It also touches upon how […]

  • LEGO Jurassic World and LEGO Marvel’s Avengers out this year

    LEGO Jurassic World and LEGO Marvel’s Avengers have been announced by Warner Bros., the former was outed by Toys R Us and then teased at the end of LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, if you recall. LEGO Jurassic World encompasses all four Jurassic Park films and will be made available in June for 3DS, PC, […]

  • Pokemon, Super Smash Bros. top Nintendo’s million units sales list for Q3

    Nintendo has posted a list of titles which have sold millions of units as part of its quarter three earnings release. Global unit sales of 3DS titles for the nine months ending December 31, 2014: Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire: 9.35 million (life-to-date, same) Super Smash Bros.: 6.19 million (life-to-date, same) Tomodachi Life: 2.11 […]

  • How to take a screenshot on Xbox One: a lesson in frustration

    Trying to do just one simple thing seems to have 360 steps with Microsoft – why is the Xbox One’s functionality such a car crash? “The Xbox One’s definition of usability is in fact the exact opposite – this is a console designed to make life inconvenient for its players unless they sign up for […]

  • Game of Thrones’ Westeros is being made in Minecraft by 125 people

    WesterosCraft, the project dedicated to creating the entirety of Game of Thrones’ Westros has resurfaced. There are more than a few ambitious Minecraft projects, but hardly any as impressive as WesterosCraft. We first came across it all the way back in January 2013, but it looks much better now. “I would say the world is […]

  • Dying Light exploit gives you unlimited money and items

    Dying Light has been out for just over a day and an infinite money and item exploit is already out there. A simple exploit has been discovered in Dying Light that lets you duplicate weapons, all of which you can sell for profit. Win/ win. YouTuber PowerPyx lays out the steps in the handy video […]

  • Sunset Overdrive concept art is as jovial as the game itself

    Sunset Overdrive is a colourful game which is partly due to its concept art. The concept art featured below is created by Vaughan Ling, one of the concept artsists who worked on Sunset Overdrive. Anyone who’s played the game will immediately recognise the locations, weapons, character designs and general atmosphere of the game through these. […]

  • Get an extended look at the PS4 version of Project CARS

    The PlayStation 4 version of Project CARS has been shown in 1080p 60fps. The video below is captured by racing game enthusiasts Team VVV from a preview build. You can see different racing disciplines being demonstrated here, on different circuits. The game’s impressive visuals get even better when the weather gets worse.

  • Battle Pod is the Star Wars arcade game you’ve waited your whole life for

    Star Wars: Battle Pod is an arcade game that lets you replay the battles of the original trilogy, and features an incredible cockpit. If you’ve never played a game at an arcade before, Star Wars: Battle Pod will definitely be the one to change your mind. It’s an arcade cabinet out of a classic Star […]

  • CoD Exo Zombies: how to unlock the Ride of the Valkyries Easter egg

    To no one’s surprise, Exo Zombies mode in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare has some Easter eggs. The first Exo Zombies Easter egg, of surely many more to come, has been discovered. It’s a musical one that involves Richard Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries. How you unlock it is not as convoluted as you might […]

  • Dying Light is sub-1080p on Xbox One, full 1080p on PS4 – report

    Early analysis of Dying Light on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One has revealed a few technical details about both ports. Digital Foundry has produced some analysis of both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One ports of Dying Light based on some early testing. Both versions manage a solid 30 frames-per-second, only dipping below that in […]

  • Battlefield 4 Second Assault DLC free to all EA Access members

    EA is offering Battlefield 4′s Second Assault expansion free to anyone with an active EA Access subscription. Anyone with an active subscription to EA Access can download the Second Assault expansion pack for Battlefield 4 starting January 29 and through February 28, free of charge. All you need to do is find it on the […]

  • The Witcher 3 is getting optimised, but no visual downgrade

    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is in the final stages of development and developer CD Projekt RED is making sure optimisation work doesn’t impact the game’s visuals. The Witcher 3 art producer, Michal Stec, spoke to Eternity in an interview and was asked whether the team will downgrade the visuals to get better performance. “No. […]

  • Can’t download Dying Light on PS4? Here’s a fix

    If you’ve bought Dying Light on PS4 and you’re having trouble downloading it, you’re not alone. Here’s how to beat the bug. Techland’s Dying Light is stumbling out of the blocks a little this week, with many PS4 users experiencing problems with their full-game downloads. A bug’s to blame. Your console thinks you’ve already installed […]

  • What The Witcher 3 owes to Skyrim – and how it surpasses it

    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt owes more than a nod to Bethesda’s Skyrim. I went to see The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and had a great time. I went in a fan of the books but not very experienced with the first two games. I came out with The Witcher 3 top of my gaming […]

  • Dragon’s Dogma Online has great monsters

    Dragon’s Dogma Online looks pretty rad – an undesirable quality in a game unlikely to come west, from our perspective. The first Dragon’s Dogma trailer was released this afternoon; admire its beauty below. The free to play online RPG was announced for PC, PlayStation 3 and PS4 overnight, but Capcom doesn’t intend to bring it […]

  • Xenoblade Chronicles X map about five times the size of last game’s

    Xenoblade Chronicles X is not a small game. This week’s Famitsu has a feature on Xenoblade Chronicles X giving some details on Monolith Soft’s next RPG and first Wii U game. According to Siliconera‘s translation of reports on the feature, the game’s map is about five times the size of that in Xenoblade Chronicles. The […]

  • Take on Mars expected to hit beta in April

    Take on Mars, the space sim from Bohemia Interactive will soon be reader for wider consumption. According to a new Take on Mars development roadmap, the sim will go into beta at the start of April, with full release expected in June. The project is currently available via Steam early Access, but between now and […]

  • Can you guess the next Mortal Kombat X character reveal from this fatality audio clip?

    Mortal Kombat X will have at least one very liquid-sounding fatality. NetherRealm is revealing Mortal Kombat X’s cats one character at a time, and has promised a new reveal during a community Twitch stream tomorrow. It also provided the following teaser video – it’s audio only, and apparently taken from a fatality sequence. What’s your […]

  • Nintendo Creators Program now recruiting YouTubers – PewDiePie, others weigh-in

    Nintendo has opened a Creators Program designed to ensure creators get a slice of ad revenue from videos featuring Nintendo assets, and some prominent YouTubers aren’t pleased with the company. Update “What Nintendo are missing out on completely is the free exposure and publicity that they get from YouTube,” wrote Felix Kjellberg (PewDiePie) on his […]

  • Xbox Live issues under investigation

    Can’t sign into Xbox Live? Microsoft is on the case. Xbox 360 and Xbox One users report being unable to sign in to Xbox Live. Microsoft is already aware of and working on the problem. “Our team is hard at work right now trying to get this resolved. Thank you for staying patient while we […]

  • Make money from your non-Valve mods with Steam Workshop

    Valve has opened the money-making side of Steam Workshop to third-party titles, giving enterprising modders more ways to make money. Steam now hosts curated Workshops for Dungeon Defenders: Eternity and Chivalry: Medieval Warfare, the first non-Valve games to support the scheme. What that means is that community members can create, vote on and eventually even […]

  • Check out DmC: Devil May Cry’s new manual lock-on

    DmC: Devil may Cry developer Ninja Theory has released a video showing off the new, controversial lock-on mode. The new manual lock-on is causing quite a stir, although its reception is probably better than the white-wigged Dante who makes fans even more upset than the original makeover. “The primary purpose of this video is to […]

  • Dragon Quest Heroes looks pretty fun

    Dragon Quest Heroes is yet another Omega Force take on an existing property – like Hyrule Warriors or the One Piece games. And it looks pretty sweet. We haven’t heard much from Dragon Quest Heroes here in the west because it hasn’t been confirmed for release outside Japan. This isn’t terribly surprising as we still […]

  • Square Enix to reveal new PS4 game this weekend

    Square Enix is doing something pretty mysterious right now. The Final Fantasy publisher is teasing something called Project Code Z. The project, which Square Enix is tweeting about in Japanese, English and German, is due for reveal at Tokaigi 2015 on Saturday. It’s a PS4 game, but that’s all we know. There’s a website you […]

  • Tetris has crowned its first known western Grand Master

    Tetris fans have a new western champion. Tetris is one of those gaming obsessions that goes much deeper than you might expect. For example, did you know that some versions of the game assess your performance and over you the chance to become a “grand master”? Turns out that’s a thing, and according to Polygon […]