Update: There’s now a press release with a couple of extra quotes.
Update 2: A little more on what Paradox actually intend to do with White Wolf now they own it. There’s going to be “an immediate change”, and “multiple digital games titles are planned.” More below.
Swedish publisher Paradox has purchased “White wolf and all properties” from EVE Online firm CCP – a final nail in the coffin of the latter’s troubled plans for a World Of Darkness MMO. This also means that Paradox now owns the rights to Vampire: The Masquerade.
It’s Paradox’s “biggest investment ever;” White Wolf will, however “operate as an independent entity with a dedicated team.”
Paradox were hitherto best known for their grand strategy PC games, including Crusader Kings and Europa Universalis, though recently found more mainstream success with unofficial SimCity heir Cities: Skylines and Obisidian’s fantasy RPG Pillars of Eternity. The White Wolf acquisition sees them venture into new territory. Claimed Paradox’s VP of Acquisition & Portfolio Strategy Shams Jorjani, saying that “We’ve been huge fans of the white wolf IPs for a long time especially World of Darkness/Vampire. Gonna be great to give it some fresh blood” and confirming that the purchase “includes everything,” even assets CCP created for unreleased games.
In a press release sent after the initial Twitter announcement, Paradox CEO Fredrik Wester says that, “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.” Hopefully this doesn’t discount the possibility of this suggested Crusader Kings-style Vampire game being made.
A Swedish-language report on digital.di has Paradox boss Fred Wester saying “this is our biggest investment to date”, and claims the purchase involved “several tens of millions” – Paradox confirm to us that this is in Swedish Krona rather than US dollars or Euros; for reference, 10m SEK is approximately $1.2m.
Wester said that Paradox paid cash for the acquisition, and notes that Vampire is particularly exciting as it is “the world’s second best-selling role-playing and is special because half of all players are women.”
White Wolf was a tabletop RPG and book publisher most famous for its Vampire: The Masquerade and World of Darkness pen’n’paper roleplaying games. The former led to two PC games, Redemption and the cult-classic Bloodlines, while the latter’s ‘modern gothic’ setting was to become an MMO until its cancellation in 2014. EVE devs CCP purchased White Wolf in 2006, but had yet to do anything with it.
In the same press release, CCP Games CEO Hilmar Veigar Pétursson writes that “At CCP, we have great admiration for the White Wolf brands and communities, and it was extremely important to us that the acquiring company share the same respect and understanding. With Paradox, we know we are leaving the brands in good hands.”
Paradox have since revealed a little more on what they intend to do with White Wolf, including a post on the latter’s site confirming that “this vision will be realized in multiple digital games titles.” However, an interview on VentureBeat suggets they’re going even further than that. ““We’re going to start licensing out the brand again from the beginning,” said Wester. “We’ll start with one World of Darkness. We’ll start, basically, from day one to unite the community under one flag.” The feeling is that “no-one has really been paying attention to what the community has been up to in the last few years. There’s going to be an immediate change.”
Existing White Wolf licensing agreements will be re-evaluated, and only those which are working will be retained. Paradox also reveal that negotiations have been going on behind the scenes for the last year. Unclear at present is how many, if any, existing White Wolf and CCP staff will be joining the new endeavour, which will be headed up by Tobias Sjögren, formerly Paradox’s executive vice president of business development.
Paradox boss Wester also stated that White Wolf’s intended audience was “people who are at least 25 and older who are looking for something more gritty.” This would certainly seem reflective of people who dug Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines, which has also inspired some of this site’s finest writing. Here’s Kieron Gillen writing about the none-more-dark tale one of its of most memorable characters, Cara Ellison revisiting it 10 years later, and Jim Rossignol on the tragedy of its unfinished nature and how little impact it made on the wider games industry.
As for World of Darkness, despite first announcing it in 2006, CCP sadly never revealed too much about their planned MMO adaptation before it was cancelled in 2014, although some details and screenshots leaked last year. There was also this cinematic from a few years ago:
More details on the Paradox/White Wolf deal as we have it.