CCP Taking Cues From DayZ, Rust For World Of Darkness

By Nathan Grayson on February 14th, 2014 at 12:00 pm.

CCP might be best known for EVE Online, but they’ve had another project burbling away in their developmental cauldron since basically the dawn of time. World of Darkness, based on White Wolf’s Vampire: The Masquerade setting, is technically existent, though CCP has become quite adept at keeping it shrouded in, er, darkness. But every once in a while some news slips out, and not all of it is good. For instance, the World of Darkness team recently laid off 15 members of its rather small (for an MMO) force. So then, what’s going on behind-the-scenes? Should we be worried? And how is the game evolving? I asked CCP CEO Hilmar Pétursson, and here’s what he told me.

The World of Darkness family table is missing a few fanged faces, but Pétursson was adamant that it’s not a signal of dark (light?) times ahead. Instead, it was a structural team. The game is still evolving rapidly, and a larger team size was simply causing too many bottlenecks.

“What we’ve seen is, increasing focus for teams also comes from the size of the team,” he explained to RPS. “And when you’re still innovating and figuring out how you’re game’s going to work, a bigger team takes longer to do that. So again, the layoffs were more about focus and creating an environment where teams can be successful with their priorities. That’s something we’ve had to work a lot on as we’ve grown. We’ve grown very fast. We were not very well structured for the complicated strategy we’ve been executing. We’ve been working a lot on that.”

As for the game itself, CCP is keeping an open mind. Nothing’s set in stone just yet (yes, still), which means the sandbox MMO maven can observe the successes and failures of others before committing. And hey, wouldn’t you know it, sandbox survival games like DayZ and Rust are seeing an awful lot of success right now.

“The core dynamics of being human or vampire haven’t changed, but we’ve certainly been taking inspiration from a lot of recent things,” said Pétursson. “For example, DayZ and Rust, which have shown us the power of a sandbox when you bring it into a more recognizable context.”

“The creators of those experiences often reference EVE Online as an inspiration for their things. We’re now cross-inspired by what we’re seeing there. How the absence of all these structured game mechanics – by just allowing these natural interactions to happen – that is something we’re definitely incorporating into how we think about World of Darkness.”

When I asked if World of Darkness was heading in a more survival-oriented direction, Pétursson was hesitant to make any promises. But his point was clear: CCP is watching DayZ, Rust, and their ilk, and World of Darkness is changing with the times.

So then, when will we see the fruits of all this shadowy labor? While CCP is very much sticking to its “when it’s done” stance for release, Pétursson suggested that we can probably expect to see something at EVE Fanfest in May. It’s a Fanfest tradition, after all. For now, though, there’s precious little info available. Well, at least we know it’ll have vampires.

Unless they’ve been replaced with zombies.

, , , , .

39 Comments »

Sponsored links by Taboola
  1. Loque says:

    I felt the need to make a creepy face wallpaper. Simpl, yet powerful.

    Face Wallpaper (1920×1080)
    http://i.imgur.com/6pIK8zu.jpg

  2. Didden says:

    It is entirely true about the size and scope of teams vs. development. I mean, take for example, Limit Theory, its scary how much Craig has got done in a year on his own. But World of Darkness has been in development for how long now? Its not quite Duke Nukem, but in it’s own way, its getting there. Just goes to show how important a clear game design and team structure is to success. It is sort of worrying to hear them still talking about being influenced by new games at this point in their long, long development cycle.

  3. Qwentle says:

    Bringing Rust / DayZ influences into a game of hidden (but clearly defined) loyalties seems quite interesting and actually makes sense for a Vampire game. The main problem players have with Rust / DayZ is the Kill-on-Sight issue, but if you have players secretly part of a faction that isn’t immediately recognisable (in this case Vampires or Werewolves indistinguishable from humans unless under certain circumstances) it’s less of an issue as long as you are penalised for killing your own faction. Boardgames like Shadow Hunters (most appropriate here) or Cat and Chocolate use hidden teams to avoid this exact problem.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lars Westergren says:

      That sounds interesting and something I would like to play. Hope something like this with human looking player characters is what they are aiming for, and not “vamps vs wolves capture-the-flag”.

      • bard says:

        If they aim to make a game that is even slightly related to the WoD franchise then it’s very likely going to be about the Masquerade. Which basically means most vampire clans and most of the various other things have the ability to pass as human but if you vamp out in front of humans you get crushed by everyone else. There is so much potential in a DayZ style game where you actually don’t know who your enemies are on first sight and if or when you find out you won’t be able to take direct action in fear of reprisal.

        Although just thinking about the insane power disparities between the generations of vampires and how those uber-vamps are needed to enforce this peace makes me worried how they are going to translate it into the game.

    • Scurra says:

      Shadow Hunters is hands down the best “hidden team identities” game around (it shows up just how poor Bang! really is – and no, BSG is not a “hidden team” game), and an MMO that borrowed some of that would be genuinely interesting. Heck, any multiplayer video game that did that would be interesting – it would resolve an awful lot of what makes them so tedious and/or unfun.

    • Infinite says:

      Kill on sight wouldn’t be such a problem if people stayed out of sight(keep your head low, make use of the terrain and wear ground colored clothes), I got some the frustration people had back when everyone spawned near Balota and there where barely any zombies but now when the zombie count is increasing with every patch and after they made it harder to get military loot(also the server jumping has been dealt with somewhat), I really don’t see what the problem is.

      I too like many others died a lot against many other players even when I was a bambi with nothing of worth on me, what I learned through the hard way was that the more I used the terrain too my advantage the less I died and by doing so I had the upper hand in almost every encounter with other players(geared or not), and my encounters with other players where pleasent, at least most of the times.

      Being able to die without knowing who or what killed you and risking everything you have is part of what makes DayZ interesting(although some bandits lack any imagination whatsoever), where every player is a potential advesary or companion and where venturing into a city might give you the loot you need or be the end to your journey, by adding arbitrary divisions or codes of conduct or anything of the like reduces that. I don’t know to much about the WoD to say wether this is the system they should have or not but I’m really tired of the overblown KoS issue as there are far more pressing issue with DayZ Standalone.

      P.S. Just a handy handsome tips, Don’t run down a road with a weapon visible or a payday mask(which is somehow the unofficial bandit/jerk mask) or run in the forest instead, the trees do not only hide you well but functions quite adequately as cover if needed. One last thing avoid cities like Elektro or Cherno unless you absolutely have to go there for whatever reason.

      • EveryoneIsWrong says:

        Workarounds and solutions are not the same thing…

  4. Premium User Badge

    Lars Westergren says:

    I thought they’ve said this was going to be a cloak & dagger, mystery and politics oriented game, suitable to the fans of the pen & paper and LARP versions of vampire? A bit worrying if they are deciding to ditch that and chase after the current big thing, this late in the project. Though perhaps he meant that they were inspired by sense of vulnerability and permaloss in DayZ/Rust, and that is what they are taking from those games, rather than being action or combat-heavy and filled to the brim with griefers, which is what I associate with them.

    Obsidian were close to doing a horror RPG with White Wolf when CCP bought them and cancelled those plans, in favour of this game. This game had better be good.

    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/obsidian/project-eternity/comments?cursor=1553158#comment-1553157

    • plugav says:

      Damn, I would’ve played the hell out of an Obsidian WoD game… The saddest thing about CCP owning White Wolf is that we’re very unlikely to get a single player WoD game in the forseeable future (or any other kind of urban fantasy RPG, I suspect, since WoD is still THE urban fantasy/modern Gothic franchise in gaming).

      I love the setting, I see the MMO potential, but I already play pen&paper and LARP, and those things are both cheaper and less time-consuming than a massive online game (plus, I already own The Secret World, anyway). Meanwhile, there are so many great Vampire (Werewolf, Changeling, etc.) stories that could be told in a more linear, finite, single-player RPG format.

    • Jenks says:

      Would they be making it before or after the Wheel of Time RPG?

      • Premium User Badge

        Lars Westergren says:

        Don’t know anything more than what was in that post I’m afraid.

        I think they were negotiating about being contracted in as external developers on the WoT game, but then the rights holders couldn’t find financing for the game at all, and that is where it ended. But every time there are rumors about a new Obsidian game, people go “WoT!? WoT!?”

    • malkav11 says:

      Wow, if that’s true that’s utterly heartbreaking. I love the World of Darkness as a setting (though I’m not particularly wild about it as a system). I loathe Eve and although CCP hasn’t said anything meaningful whatsoever about this theoretically in development World of Darkness MMO, it seems logical that it would play to their strengths as developers – so, a very lightly restricted PvP game with no explicit motivations or meaningful story, which is virtually the exact opposite of what I like about games in general, much less MMOs. Obsidian, meanwhile, has never made a game I didn’t love and thankfully has stuck to making singleplayer games. So, yeah, shouldn’t be hard to guess which I’d rather have in charge of making World of Darkness games. :(

      • Premium User Badge

        Lars Westergren says:

        > Wow, if that’s true that’s utterly heartbreaking.

        As the comment was from the official Obsidian account, I’m inclined to belive it is true.

    • Diatribe says:

      It’s CCP’s fault we never got a sequel/spiritual successor to Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines? Those bastards!

  5. CookPassBabtridge says:

    Captain Howdy called. He says stop ripping his style off or he will totally possess your ass.

  6. CaptainVolcanoes says:

    Fangs for this! Finally shed some daylight on the whole thing, really sucks that some people lost their jobs though.

    EDIT: Aww, nobody’s gonna bite?

    • plugav says:

      This certainly is a high-stakes undertaking. If they don’t get it right, the fans will be cross.

      • Grygus says:

        It doesn’t have to be perfect; a silver will do in a genre on which other developers seem to have eternally slept.

  7. zhivik says:

    Call me a hater, but I think this is all dust in the eyes. The sad truth is that they are nowhere in terms of game development, as CCP doesn’t really know what it wants out of the Vampire: the Masquerade setting. It is sad for White Wolf, though, which used to be one of the most creative tabletop RPG studios, and now it has been downgraded to a minor team, working on a project that may never see daylight. It is no surprise that most of the core team either work at or are contracted by Onyx Path Publishing, a publisher that is licensed to create new World of Darkness tabletop content.

    The very choice of Masquerade instead of Requiem as a setting speaks a lot, given that Requiem is much more a sandbox than Masquerade has ever been. Yes, Masquerade has this gothic-punk vibe, while Requiem is only plain gothic, but it doesn’t change the fact that things haven’t gone well so far. The more time passes by, the less this game’s target audience will care. I remember how back in the day White Wolf staff was trying to convince everyone how CCP’s arrival wouldn’t change anything – oh well, I don’t think I care anymore.

    • Syphus says:

      I much prefer Masquerade to Requiem.

      • plugav says:

        A valid preference. I feel that, by becoming more open-ended, Requiem lost a lot of the Masquerade’s character and didn’t seem to offer anything that made up for this fact.

        Have you read Blood & Smoke, though? Onyx Path redesigned and rewrote Requiem as a standalone game and finally made the new concepts work.

      • cavejohnson421 says:

        One thing on the Requiem VS. Masquerade debate: V:tM had the Malkavian clan. That’s it, no more comments necessary.

        • Darth Gangrel says:

          Playing both VtM games and then reading some wiki stuff about Requiem to see what’s different, I firmly prefer the Masquerade setting. As firmly as the (perceived) madness of the Malkavians. Of course, being less interested in the Requiem setting, I haven’t been encouraged to dig as deeply into it as I have with the Masquerade setting. I’m still a fledgling where VtM/VtR and certainly WoD knowledge is concerned.

          It’s oddly fitting however that this MMO is taking so long, when the universe behind it is ripe with plots that span decades or even centuries. As if its conception is slowly orchestrated by unseen vampire hands and it’s meant to take this long, which by vampire standards is but moments.

  8. KestrelCarrier says:

    I could never do the work you do Mr Grayson, i mean here is this CEO spinning you a story downright insulting to common sense and you just have to take it at face value and resist the urge to call him a liar.

    For gods sake, they had to let go people so that the remaining people could focus better???
    Its been 5 years since they announced the game and in that time they still haven’t figured out what kind of mmo they want to make, seems like a decent question to ask the man.

    Throwing these successful games as “inspiration” is just empty PR talk.
    Mark my words this game is gonna end up as a free to play title on mobile and facebook the way its going.

    • Syphus says:

      Five years? No no, this approaches DNF vaporware levels. It was announced that the game had already been in development since before the merger, which happened in November 2006. So we’re talking more likely 8 or 9 years and we’ve got absolutely nothing.

      • malkav11 says:

        More vaporware, really. Sure, it hasn’t been in development hell as long as DNF was by the time it finally released, but DNF had actual information available about at least some stages of its development. I don’t think CCP have ever said anything meaningful about the WoD MMO, much less shown screenshots or the like.

        • MisterFurious says:

          There’s some videos. Aside from the trailer, there’s a video of a city, a video that shows how they made the city, and one with costumes.

    • AlienMind says:

      Your exactly right. Letting off people to get more “focus” is like fucking for virginity.

  9. Servizio says:

    Funny, I was just thinking about this game the other day. I’d love to hear how it’s development is going with some sort of detail. It actually occurred to me that CCP was developing this property with the idea of appealing to the polar opposite of the folks who currently play EVE; women, and folks who would be interested in the personal aspects of online politics rather than the financial. I wonder if my theory is at all accurate.

  10. Syphus says:

    This game has been “in development” for 8 or 9 years now, and it sounds like they’ve got nothing at all.

    • bard says:

      I remember being hyped about it back when I was still playing Ultima Online. Now THAT was a long time ago.

  11. jseph1234 says:

    CCP is full of crap. Look at Sony Online Entertainment and you can see a REAL Project under development with their Everquest Next: Landmark https://www.everquestnext.com/about-eqn

    All of this talk from CCP is just that: TALK!!!

    1. No Alpha’s announced (Much less a beta)
    2. NO Videos or screenshots on development
    3. And on and On and ON!!

    CCP has been spinning the same lies for years (How I WISH Obsidian had purchased White Wolf) and not these JOKERS

    • MisterFurious says:

      There’s some videos. Aside from the trailer, there’s a video of a city, a video that shows how they made the city, and one with costumes.

    • redd says:

      I hope you get your wish and spend the rest of your life playing SOE versions of all your favourite IP. :D