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World of Darkness RPG Heading to Film & TV In Shared Universe Plans With Arrival Writer

April 27, 2021 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas

The World of Darkness roleplaying games are headed to the big and small screens through a shared universe being headed up by Oscar nominee Eric Heisserer. THR reports that Heisserer, who earned a Best Adapted Screenplay
nomination for the Amy Adams-starring 2016 sci-fi drama Arrival, is developing a shared universe with Punisher and Constantine writer/EP Christine Boylan for Paradox Interactive based on the iconic horror roleplaying games.

The World of Darkness, created by White Wolf Publishing in 1991, is best known for Vampire: The Masquerade but has an entire set of RPGs that utilized shared universes decades before they became “cinematic universes” thanks to Marvel and DC. The “Old World of Darkness” setting that served as the original set of games featured Vampire: The Masquerade, Werewolf: The Apocalypse, Mage: The Ascension, Changeling: The Dreaming, Demon: The Fallen, and Wraith: The Oblivion. The games saw players take on the roles of supernatural creatures in a gothic-punk version of the real world where monsters lurked in decaying urban metropolises and conspiracies both arcane and mundane moved behind the scenes to manipulate things for their own ends.

White Wolf launched a new version of the World of Darkness in 2004 to replace the old one, using the same themes but changing up details of the the setting and the ruleset. This led to a more directly-integrated game system and the launch of Vampire: The Requiem, Werewolf: The Forsaken, Mage: The Awakening, Promethean: The Created, Changeling: The Lost, and Hunter: The Vigil. Both the Old and New World of Darkness have continued to see support from their player base and products be put out, even as White World was merged with CCP Games in 2006 and then sold to Paradox Interactive in 2015.

The World of Darkness has been adapted to multiple formats including card games, novels, comics, and video games. The latter includes 2004’s Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, 2002’s Hunter: The Reckoning, and Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood which released in February of this year. The setting previously saw life on the small screen in the short-lived 1996 TV series Kindred: The Embraced, which aired on FOX.

Heisserer launched a new series on Friday in Netflix’s Shadow and Bone, which he serves as showrunner on. He and Boylan will work alongside Hivemind (The Witcher, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark) and Paradox to create the film and TV shared universe.

“Eric and Christine are among the most extraordinary creators working today,” said Hivemind president and co-founder Jason Brown, “and they’re also gamers who have played in WOD since it began. It’s a rare opportunity when the connection between storyteller and story runs this deep, and that is the alchemy which has led to many of our favorite and most culturally resonant franchises.”

“The World of Darkness story universe is deliberately and unapologetically inclusive and diverse,” said Boylan in a statement. “It has always made a point of including equal gendered characters, protagonists and antagonists of every race, and representation of all creeds — bringing a female and diverse audience to gaming like nothing prior. Its games and fandom are a place where women, POC, and the LGBTQI community feel welcome and we are very proud to bring these stories to life.”

Heisserer added, “The legacy of these stories is way ahead of its time, inviting issues and perspectives other games ignored. This feels like the next step for genre.”

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World of Darkness, Jeremy Thomas