Somewhere, a gothic choir of the undead has lifted their voices in rapturous chorus: Paradox Interactive has acquired all White Wolf Publishing intellectual properties. Vampires are coming back, but Team Edward has nothing to do with it.
EVE Online producer CCP had held White Wolf and its supernatural RPG series World of Darkness in a death grip since their purchase of the company in 2006. A World of Darkness MMO was teased on several occasions, but progress floated between slow and nonexistent. For the most part, franchises like Vampire: The Masquerade — including the fanatically adored cult classic Vampire: The Masquerade–Bloodlines — have been left to wither on the vine. The circumstance was especially tragic, considering the lack of motivation among other publishers to approach vampire mythology in any significant way.
Paradox is calling this their “biggest investment ever” and laying down “tens of millions” of dollars in order to get a crack at a largely untapped market. Fredrik Wester, via a Swedish interview on digital.di, asserts that “Vampire is the world’s second best-selling role-playing and is special because half of all who play it are women.” In the World of Darkness, blood smells a lot like money.
DICE veteran and former Paradox sales director Tobias Sjögren will step in as president of White Wolf, but the developer will remain a largely independent subsidiary. According to an interview on VentureBeat, the overall plan is to “start, basically, from day one to unite the community under one flag.” This may include mobile and similar digital releases, but only as a precursor to revitalizing a property that has spent far too long in the coffin.
For the uninitiated, White Wolf’s take on vampirism isn’t the Twilight sparkly romanticism popularized recently. Paradox Interactive acutely understands this, intending the products to aim for “people who are at least 25 and older who are looking for something more gritty.” Frederik Wester, Paradox’s CEO, said, ““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.”
Paradox itself has begun to establish itself as a refuge for the sorts of creative risks many publishers tend to shy away from. They’ve expanded from niche grand strategy titles like Crusader Kings and Europa Universalis to the ambitious crowdfunded Pillars of Eternity and SimCity heir-apparent Cities: Skylines. As “huge fans of the White Wolf IPs” and with intent to give them the time and investment they need to once again flourish, they might be just the sort of intrepid humans to revive these ravenous undead.
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