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.
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.
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