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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 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 months ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    Final Fantasy: Record Keeper will be released in the US on iOS and Android this spring, DeNA and Square Enix today. The mobile titles allows players to “relive favorite moments” across all Final Fantasy installments and build a team of classic characters from across the entire franchise. If you sign up for email updates, you […]

  • Battlefield Hardline now available for pre-order, pre-download on Xbox One

    Battlefield Hardline is now available for pre-order and pre-download on Xbox One. You can pre-order it now from the Xbox Store and once you have paid for it, you can start your pre-download. Battlefield Hardline releases on March 17, and will be made available to pre-downloaders come 12.01am EDT. Check pricing and availability for your […]

  • Dying Light interactive video allows you switch between day and night

    A new video for Dying Light has been released, which allows you to hit the Z key to change between day and night. Titles Life and Death in the Quarantine Zone, the interactive story video showcases how the game changes between day and night. Daytime and nighttime are shown side-by-side but the z key allows […]

  • Havoc DLC for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare out on PS3, PS4; PC delayed

    The Havoc DLC for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is now available for PlayStation 3 and PS4. Havoc contains the four multiplayer maps Core, Drift, Sideshow, and Urban along with the AE4 directed energy assault rifle, its custom variant, and the Exo Zombies cooperative mode. You can purchase the DLC separately or pick up the […]

  • Here’s a teaser for Resident Evil Revelations 2: Episode 2

    A teaser video for the second episode of Resident Evil Revelations 2 is available, so if you’ve yet to play the first episode, you may want to skip this. Resident Evil Revelations 2′s first episode is out now. Thanks, GamesHQMedia.

  • North American eShop update is full of Donkey Kong games

    Nintendo has updated the North American end of the eShop with Titan Attacks, Donkey Kong Land, Donkey Kong Country and more. eShop on 3DS Ironfall Invasion Titan Attacks! Donkey Kong Land – Virtual Console Donkey Kong Land 2 – Virtual Console Donkey Kong Land 3 – Virtual Console Luv Me Buddies Wonderland Around the World […]

  • Venture into the Valley of the Yetis next week in Far Cry 4

    The next batch of Far Cry 4 DLC, Valley of the Yetis, releases in March and Ajay Ghale will be tasked with surviving violent cultists and the mythical Yeti. Apparently the cult is looking for a secret hidden in the valley, and Ajay has discovered their motives. The DLC features co-op with a friend taking […]

  • The Butcher’s AK/CAR Mod Pack out for Payday 2, has dino masks

    The 19th DLC pack for Payday 2 title The Butcher’s AK/CAR Mod Pack is available on Steam from today. The pack will run you $4.99/€4.99 and features: 11 new weapon modifications for the AK rifles in the game 11 new weapon modifications for the CAR rifles in the game Four new masks together with their […]

  • Battle Chasers slated for PC, consoles; comic picks up where 2001 storyline left off

    Darksiders creator Joe Madureira and Vigil co-founder Ryan Stefanelli have confirmed a Battle Chasers game and a new comic are in the works at their new studio Airship Syndicate. Speaking to Polygon, Madureira and Stefanelli wouldn’t provide details on the the game, but did divulge it will be an adventure RPG with player-controlled Battle Chasers […]

  • Shovel Knight, Hotline Miami 2 discounted for Sony’s annual Spring Fever Sale

    Sony is hosting its annual Spring Fever Sale which runs for eight weeks and features a new title each week. The sale starts next week on March 3 with the launch of Helldivers. Here’s just a few items included in the sale: HELLDIVERS (PS4/PS3/PS Vita) March 3 Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number (PS4/PS3/PS Vita) March […]

  • The gold Super Mario amiibo is a Walmart exclusive

    The Super Mario Gold amiibo which surfaced via a CPSIA certificate earlier this month will be a Walmart-exclusive, Nintendo has announced. The gold-colored Mario amiibo will be released the same day as the Mario Party 10 game for Wii U and will run you $12,96 at 3,000 participating Walmart stores in the US. Along with […]

  • Here’s an overview trailer for Final Fantasy Type-0 HD

    As new gameplay overview trailer for Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, culled from the Active Time Report, stream has been sent over by Square Enix. The video provides a look at the history and environments of the Kingdom of Orience; the 14 memebers of Class Zero; the battle system with customizable magic spells; and the ability […]

  • Final Fantasy 15 video gives you a look at the game’s wildlife

    A new video shown by Final Fantasy 15 director Hajime Tabata during the latest Active Time Report, contains a look at the game’s wildlife and ecology. You can watch the full stream two hour stream through here, or a smaller clip courtesy of GamesHQMedia below.

  • Lionhead ventures into the free-to-play space with Fable Legends

    Fable Legends will be free-to-play when it launches on PC and Xbox One. According to Lionhead, the one versus four cross-platform title borrows from MOBA games such as Dota 2 and League of Legends as it will contain free, rotating heroes which will be added to a roster for a two week period. Once the […]

  • Win! 5 pairs of tickets to the Call of Duty European Championships

    We have five pairs of tickets to giveaway for the Call of Duty European Championships, taking place in London this weekend. The event takes place this Saturday February 28 and Sunday March 1 at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. Winners can watch teams will go head to head for a $10,000 prize pot […]

  • Republique Remastered has released on Mac and PC

    Republique Remastered, which was announced earlier this month, is now available for Mac and PC. The game is 20% off through Steam, GOG and the Humble Store for $19.99 until March 4. Thereafter, it will run you $24.99. The Remastered edition contains all five episodes of the game, with 1-3 available now and the remaining […]

  • LA Cops coming to Xbox One in March

    Isometric shooter LA Cops is coming to Xbox One on March 13. Already on Steam Early Access, the game looks like it’s been heavily inspired by Hotline Miami. Walk into a room, open fire, leave bloody puddles in your wake. It’s being published by Team 17. Check out the video below for some 70s cop […]

  • We have $500 of Steam Wallet funds to giveaway!

    We’re giving away 10 Steam Wallet prizes worth $50 each to VG247 readers, courtesy of Bundle Stars. All you need to do to be in with a chance of winning $50 Steam credit is to enter your details below. Join the Bundle Stars Steam group for entry in the sweepstake, and gain extra entries for […]

  • Lapsed Final Fantasy 14 players tempted back with 10 day freebie

    Square is offering lapsed FF 14: A Realm Reborn players a chance to come back to the game for 10 days worth of free adventuring. Provided you’ve already bought and registered an account you’ll be able to play free of charge from Feb 27 to March 9. Square wants you to sample the new content […]

  • Advanced Warfare: Sledgehammer looking at “opportunities” to recreate classic Call of Duty maps

    Sledgehammer Games has told VG247 it’s looking at opportunities to recreate classic Call of Duty maps in Advanced Warfare. According to co-founder Michael Condrey, players of the latest Havoc DLC are asking how Exo abilities and verticality can be added to classic franchise maps. “We’re taking a look at some opportunities to really highlight the […]

  • GTA Online reader playlist week 7: and the winner is…

    Stuff was shot. But only one player emerged victorious. GTA Online player e031271 won last night’s VG247 reader playlist, beating myself, Matt and regulars solidorwot and Revolting. Congratulations, Mr e031271. A deserved victory. We play a GTA Online playlist in an open session every Wednesday on PS4, because it’s both funny and fun. Anyone’s welcome […]

  • Leaked screens reveal The Reef as Destiny’s new “social space”

    A handful of leaked Destiny screens seem to confirm that The Reef location will be the new social space in Destiny. The new addition is likely to be revealed as part of the upcoming House of Wolves expansion. Reddit user Megamanexe4 dropped the screens on the site earlier this morning, along with grabs that reveal […]

  • Darksiders creator teases Battle Chasers game

    Joe Madureira, creator of Darksiders, has released art that strongly suggests a Battle Chasers game is in the works. Battle Chasers was a comic book from the late 1990s that suffered notorious production problems between issues and was never finished. Madureira formed Airship Syndicate after the collapse of THQ, where he co-created Darksiders. His latest […]

  • Infamous video nasty Axe recreated in GTA 5

    The trailer for notorious horror movie Axe has been recreated in GTA 5. The shot for shot remake is the work of gigerbrick who has previously recreated exploitation flicks like Machete and Hostel using Lego. The original Axe movie was banned in 1984 in the UK but passed with cuts in the late 1990s. Movie […]

  • Payday 2 for PS4 and Xbox One includes “a year’s worth of paid DLC” for free

    Payday 2: Crimewave Edition will include a year’s worth of paid DLC from the PC version of the game for free. The new-gen version of the game will be available June 2015, and includes almost all of the paid and free DLC released so far for Overkill’s popular first-person shooter. That DLC includes The Big […]

  • Yes, Mortal Kombat X will require Xbox Live Gold or PS Plus

    Mortal Kombat X won’t bypass Microsoft and Sony’s premium online play requirements. Reports that Mortal Kombat X wouldn’t require PS Plus or Xbox Live Gold started circling earlier this week thanks to a communications error. Answering fan questions on Twitter, producer Shaun Himmerick accidentally gave the impression that premium console subs would not be required […]

  • This is what Destiny players most want next

    Destiny patch 1.1.1 has resolved or at least addressed a number of complaints voiced by the community, but there are plenty more. des Destiny community manage David “Deej” Dague has put out a call for Guardians to share their concerns – or rather, what they think the community is most concerned about. “Set aside your […]

  • Google AI can play games now, so we’re probably all going to die

    Google has brought us one step closer to our inevitable slaughter or enslavement by machine overlords. Google has developed an AI that can learn to play video games and devise brand new strategies. Let me just rephrase that: Google has created an AI that can teach itself new skills, including how to play video games. […]

  • First footage of Renowned Explorers: International Society surfaces

    Renowned Explorers: International Society is a turn-based strategy game from the team behind Reus, and it looks great. Renowned Explorers was announced almost a full year ago, but has been pretty quiet since then. Developer Abbey games has now announced that the game has hit alpha, and will be open to select testers soon. You […]

  • Cities: Skylines developer commits to mod support

    Cities: Skylines will fully support the modding community. Hailing from famously mod-friendly publisher Paradox, Cities: Skylines is a no-brainer for mod support – especially as a lack of mod support is one of the things SimCity was so heavily criticised for when it firts launched. In the developer diary below, Paradox’s Jakob Munthe is joined […]

  • Nosgoth update adds Vanguard, many fixes

    Nosgoth, the free-to-play multiplayer brawler set in the Legacy of Kain universe, has been given a significant makeover. The major feature of the latest Nosogth game update is a new playable human character called the Vanguard. “Equipped with mighty throwing axes and a shield, the Vanguard can take more punishment than any human class that […]

  • Xbox Live Gold 12 month sub $40 on Microsoft store

    Microsoft is offering $20 off 12 month Xbox Live Gold subscriptions at the moment. An Xbox Live Gold 12 month subscription will normally set you back $60, but a Microsoft Store promotion has it on offer for $40. The offer is restricted to the US store. Although you can opt to grab your sub as […]

  • Tomb Raider movie script to be penned by TMNT writer

    Tomb Raider will be Evan Daugherty’s second reboot of an established universe. The Tomb Raider movie reboot has signed on a writer and a distributor. Deadline reports Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Divergent, Snow White And The Huntsman and G.I. Joe 3 writer Daugherty will write the film. Additionally, Warner Bros. has signed on to distribute, […]

  • Shelter 2 pre-orders open, launch trailer debuts early

    Shelter 2 is a game in which you are a mother lynx and must protect a den of kittens. Yes, it’s delightful. Shelter 2 is coming to Mac and PC on March 9. Pre-orders are now available on Steam at 10% off or on GOG.com with a free skin and soundtrack, or 20% off if […]

  • That Batman: Arkham Knight trailer is full of codes

    Batman: Arkham Knight’s trailer is like a Transformer – there’s more than meets the eye. The new Batman: Arkham Knight trailer contains a number of codes. Eagle-eyed users have spotted four so far, and work on cracking their meaning is progressing. According to an /r/games thread rounding up results so far, the codes pertain to […]

  • Assassin’s Creed haystacks won’t save you from a fall

    Assassin’s Creed fans, don’t try this at home. Assassin’s Creed characters can survive falls of almost any distance as long as they aim for the haystacks scattered handily throughout the environment. As you probably deduced from your familiarity with common sense, this isn’t a real thing: falling from heights kills you, the same way a […]

  • Why are people buying PS4 and not Xbox One?

    PS4 is outselling Xbox One – but why? A new report may have the answer. Last month, the PS4 outsold the Xbox One in the US again, returning it to the top of the charts after just two months away. Why? What has caused this reversal in fortunes in Microsoft’s home territory? According to a […]