The World of Darkness Paradox

Last week it was announced that White Wolf Publishing, the company behind the World of Darkness line of RPGs was sold by their owners, CCP (famous for Eve Online and the mismanagement of White Wolf’s properties) to Paradox Interactive.

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There is a slight pang of disappointment that White Wolf has been sold by one video game company to another video game company.  I’d have loved to have seen them sold instead to a company that has more experience in producing tabletop RPG books, but we make do with what we have.  Paradox have already relaunched the White Wolf website and although there is not much there yet, the stuff they do have makes for interesting reading.

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They start by laying out the acquisition in very direct terms:

On October the 26th 2015, Paradox Interactive acquired White Wolf Publishing and the World of Darkness. White Wolf is based in Stockholm, Sweden, with a brand new team and a focused vision. As a separate company owned by Paradox Interactive, White Wolf is dedicated to bringing its gritty and mature brand of participatory storytelling to fans new and old. This vision will be realized in multiple digital games titles, across a full range of media and immersive live-action events.

So far, so good.  I like that they intend to put out more video games and I imagine there are many who would like a followup to the excellent Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines.

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What worries me a little is the use of the term “One World of Darkness” and the following section of the text:

Our goal is to centralize all aspects of the universe to manage it with the love and care it deserves. We’re now focusing on re-evaluating our business relationships to make sure we’re working with the best creators, developers and artists on the planet!

 

First of all, there are two Worlds of Darkness, namely the classic and the new.  They are very different settings with different games within them.  Werewolf: the Apocalypse is very different to Werewolf: the Forsaken, and so on.  They represent very different products and should remain as distinct product lines.  In regards to the quoted text, I really hope that existing contracts and licenses are maintained.  This is particularly true of White Wolf’s very lucrative and successful relationship with Onyx Path Publishing.

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Onyx Path are an excellent company made up for former White Wolf staff from back when they were an actual company that had not yet been ruined by the assholes at CCP.  What?  I’m bitter.  I can admit that.  Onyx Path have revitalised the World of Darkness, releasing supplements, new editions and, in the case of the upcoming Beast, entirely new games.  Onyx Path is the best thing to happen to World of Darkness, and other White Wolf properties such as Exalted, since the CCP fiasco and I really hope that Paradox recognises this.

Paradox could be a good thing for White Wolf, if they continue to allow existing partners to produce their tabletop offerings whilst properly exploiting the digital rights themselves to produce a diverse range of games.  I’m cautiously optimistic.

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