“After 12 years of anticipation and development, White Wolf does the unthinkable and brings the World of Darkness to an end. The vampires’ Gehenna, the werewolves’ Apocalypse, the mages’ Ascension – all merge into a great event that not only shakes the world, but destroys it. This is the Time of Judgment and you’re invited.”
World of Darkness is White Wolf’s excellent pen-and-paper RPG setting, the location of such excellent game systems as Vampire, Werewolf, Mage, Changeling, Mummy, Wraith, Hunter and Demon. In computer games it is used in Vampire: The Masquerade: Redemption for PC and Hunter: The Reckoning for Xbox, and their upcoming sequels. It is an excellent setting and set of game systems, one that through its emphasis on storytelling over simulation had a big influence on the RPG world. I’ve passed some excellent moments in the WoD (having a game master who knew the entire setting inside out helped, salut Renaud ;)
World of Darkness is pretty grim, and the end of the world has always been looming around the corner. But now it’s happening. It’s going out with a bang. No more skulking in the shadows: the shadows are dancing in the streets.
It’s a very unusual thing to do with a fictional universe, especially one designed and used for creating and selling many products. It’s as if Viacom were to end the Star Trek universe (oh wait, bad example), or as if JK Rowling were to let Hogsworth collapse on Harry Potter.
It feels very, very right. I’m sure they’re going to make a bundle off of this, but it still feels ballsy. And it is just satisfying – how long can you try to maintain that tension without anything ever happening? White Wolf’s strategy and approach for developing and exploiting a fictional setting over more than a decade is to be commended.