What Does the Future Look Like for White Wolf?

What Does the Future Look Like for White Wolf?

Tobias Sjögren

We asked its new CEO about where the company will go following acquisition by Paradox Interactive.

Yesterday, Paradox Interactive announced their acquisition of White Wolf Publishing from CCP. The new White Wolf will be an independent subsidiary of the strategy computer game publisher, according to its new CEO Tobias Sjögren in a phone conversation earlier today.

"We set up a daughter company to Paradox," says Sjögren, "because we of course will find a lot of really great synergies and things we can do together with Paradox. It's very close to do products that way. But White Wolf is so much more and Paradox certainly not the only publisher who can publish games based on these IPs, not the right publisher for all types of games we can do."

While the plan for the new company is keeping things open for publisher involvement other than Paradox, Sjögren expects that the first video game projects will likely come from them.

"We've been working on this deal for quite some time. So, we have some good ideas in Paradox, some exciting concepts that we want to try out as soon as possible. It is, of course, easier to get started with that at Paradox. I would expect the first products to come to Paradox. But we've definitely started talking."

As to what they're talking about, Sjögren called back to previous video game adaptations of Vampire and Hunter as being, "well suited to their respective IPs," and that White Wolf is looking at first-person and multiplayer co-op games along those lines. "But," adds Sjögren, "with Paradox in the mix we're going to try to do some strategy things as well," so there's still hope for that Crusader Kings II style management simulator everyone really wants.

Beyond simply operating as a licensing body, White Wolf will be taking an active role in the future development of products in the company's flagship line, World of Darkness. They will develop a central meta-story, what Sjögren referred to as, "One World of Darkness," which will be incorporated into licensed products going forward. Handling this will be White Wolf's Lead Storyteller, Martin Ericsson, who previously served as a Senior Content Designer on CCP's aborted World of Darkness MMO developing its narrative systems and stories.

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"For Paradox, this is an investment where we want to see our money come back, but we're doing because of a love of the IPs as well. With this kind of property, you need to take care of it and show it the love it deserves to make it develop and get other people excited about it."

What this means for current licensees of White Wolf properties is something that's still in development, as the company re-evaluates relationships previously established by CCP. "We've just taken over the legal ownership of all of this," Sjögren noted. "Right now we're reaching out to them and starting the discussions about how to move forward. So, it's a little too early to say how it will play out with everyone, but we'll definitely review all the current deals and continue with the ones that make sense."

That said, Sjögren also made it clear that White Wolf intends to license the IP into as many channels as possible, noting that plans will include traditional tabletop roleplaying supplements. They are working with By Night Studios, the current licensee of the Mind's Eye Theater line of live-action roleplaying products, to develop more around that concept as well.

While World of Darkness isn't the only property to have changed hands in the acquisition, it is where the new White Wolf will be focusing its attention. "Vampire and Werewolf are the strongest ones, but there's definitely a lot," said Sjögren. "I think that's a strength of this kind of IP catalog. There are all of these different ways into looking at this universe. We're intending to work with all those IPs.

"There's a lot more that's going to happen. I hope we can tell you more plans in the future. Right now, it's just figuring out what the next step is."

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Interesting that the tabletop games get such short shrift, though not unexpected given Paradox is a video game studio. I know that White Wolf has been working on a new edition of Scion for the better part of three years, and I want to see how that turns out, not to mention Pendragon and Exalted. People like WoD and I'm sure they think another Bloodlines would be a hit video game, but I hope they aren't going to neglect the other properties under the White Wolf banner.

Conrad Zimmerman:

For Paradox, this is an investment where we want to see our money come back

Wolf intends to license the IP into as many channels as possible

My keen Gamer Senses tells me that we will see a slew of poorly made, microtransaction-fueled mobile games.

At lest they have escaped the fumbling fingers of Crazy Clown Programming. Which should mean they will be able to work on their game and not be thrown repeatedly at a myriad of other problems.

Hopefully. Good Luck to them.

Onyx bought Trinity, Scion etc so that's up to them.White Wolf still has WoD and Exalted for major gamelines, which have potential for grand strategy - Camarilla Princes and Dragonblooded Dynasts respectively. Possibly Sidereal keeping the world together.

008Zulu:

Conrad Zimmerman:

For Paradox, this is an investment where we want to see our money come back

Wolf intends to license the IP into as many channels as possible

My keen Gamer Senses tells me that we will see a slew of poorly made, microtransaction-fueled mobile games.

I think your "keen Gamer Senses" are in need of a trip to a blacksmith for resharpening and general maintenance. Paradox Interactive is a pretty solid maker of video games.

Bloodlines sequel. Please. Please. Please. I don't have a first born yet, but god damn it, I will make it happen and hand it over.

Kajin:
Paradox Interactive is a pretty solid maker of video games.

So was EA, Ubisoft and Konami.

008Zulu:

Kajin:
Paradox Interactive is a pretty solid maker of video games.

So was EA, Ubisoft and Konami.

I shall believe that they will continue to provide solid entertainment until they prove that they no longer can. One studio buying another studio does NOT equate to steepled fingers and spontaneous twirled mustache growth. If I have any reason to believe a future decrease in quality titles is imminent believe you me I'll be one of the loudest people crowing about it.

008Zulu:

Kajin:
Paradox Interactive is a pretty solid maker of video games.

So was EA, Ubisoft and Konami.

Yes... but it's a little early to jump to such conclusions regarding Paradox. With much success does come some risk of corruption and greed, but so far Paradox hasn't really done anything particularly heinous that warrants a characterization of their company as a "villain".

I will admit though, the excess in DLC for CKII did irk me a little, but mostly because of my completionistic-"neurosis". Most of the DLC itself has had fairly favorable quality, excessive as it may have gotten at times.

Also, just to add, I really don't think EA ever really made particularly great games. Published on occasion yes, but their in-house development history isn't especially spectacular.

Ender910:
but so far Paradox hasn't really done anything particularly heinous that warrants a characterization of their company as a "villain".

A lot of companies that have had favourable reviews from fans have turned around to bite the hands that feed them, Overkill's Payday comes to mind.

I'm not saying that they will become total sellouts, but I won't be surprised if they do.

Kajin:

008Zulu:

Conrad Zimmerman:

For Paradox, this is an investment where we want to see our money come back

Wolf intends to license the IP into as many channels as possible

My keen Gamer Senses tells me that we will see a slew of poorly made, microtransaction-fueled mobile games.

I think your "keen Gamer Senses" are in need of a trip to a blacksmith for resharpening and general maintenance. Paradox Interactive is a pretty solid maker of video games.

Lol no kidding, I'd expect mobile f2p shit if activision bought White Wolf, but ya Paradox is going to want their money back they do this by making a game with said new ip and selling lots of copies. So maybe a Bloodlines sequel or something in the same vain? Heck they could even do paid expansions for their most popular games CK2 and Europa that adds in vampires, mages, werewolves etc, in the short term to recoupe some cash.

008Zulu:

A lot of companies that have had favourable reviews from fans have turned around to bite the hands that feed them, Overkill's Payday comes to mind.

I'm not saying that they will become total sellouts, but I won't be surprised if they do.

I can sort of agree there, especially with the level of corporate bullshit we've seen in the gaming industry as the industry's grown more popular. So the possibility certainly exists, but for now I'll remain cautiously optimistic about Paradox.

Also yes, I'm extremely aware of what Starbreeze/Overkill have been pulling out of their collective asses. They always did love trolling their fanbase.

Thunderous Cacophony:
Interesting that the tabletop games get such short shrift, though not unexpected given Paradox is a video game studio. I know that White Wolf has been working on a new edition of Scion for the better part of three years, and I want to see how that turns out, not to mention Pendragon and Exalted. People like WoD and I'm sure they think another Bloodlines would be a hit video game, but I hope they aren't going to neglect the other properties under the White Wolf banner.

Actually if I recall correctly Scion is owned by Onyx Path Publishing, the current licensee of the Original and New World of Darkness material. They operated independently from White Wolf.

Hi Conrad - "Minds Eye Studios" is actually "By Night Studios" (bynightstudios.com, facebook.com/bynightstudios, @bynightstudios). :)

DeimosMasque:
Actually if I recall correctly Scion is owned by Onyx Path Publishing, the current licensee of the Original and New World of Darkness material. They operated independently from White Wolf.

Good call. I forgot that Onyx Path split off to dodge the debts of White Wolf, and that some products were transferred wholesale while others were just licenses. Any idea what Paradox actually bought, besides WoD? Most of the stuff I find says that they purchased 'White Wolf and all properties' and that they'll be 'evaluating licenses' but there's no clear breakdown of what specifically that covers.

Jason Carl:
Hi Conrad - "Minds Eye Studios" is actually "By Night Studios" (bynightstudios.com, facebook.com/bynightstudios, @bynightstudios). :)

Deeply sorry for the error. The article has been updated to reflect the correct name. Got my wires crossed a bit.

So the meta-plot is coming back?

008Zulu:

Conrad Zimmerman:

For Paradox, this is an investment where we want to see our money come back

Wolf intends to license the IP into as many channels as possible

My keen Gamer Senses tells me that we will see a slew of poorly made, microtransaction-fueled mobile games.

Not necessarily. Games Workshop have done exactly the same, handing out video game licenses like candy, but I'd say there have been enough good games as a result that it's been completely worth it both for them and us. And I'm not sure any of them have actually been microtransaction-fueled mobile games, although that may only be because GW are determined that they're going to be the ones to ruin their properties rather than let anyone else do it for them.

DeimosMasque:

Thunderous Cacophony:
Interesting that the tabletop games get such short shrift, though not unexpected given Paradox is a video game studio. I know that White Wolf has been working on a new edition of Scion for the better part of three years, and I want to see how that turns out, not to mention Pendragon and Exalted. People like WoD and I'm sure they think another Bloodlines would be a hit video game, but I hope they aren't going to neglect the other properties under the White Wolf banner.

Actually if I recall correctly Scion is owned by Onyx Path Publishing, the current licensee of the Original and New World of Darkness material. They operated independently from White Wolf.

So what titles do they actually still own the rights to? Or is it simply name recognition without any of the actual source material still controlled by the company?

I was excited by this news since I genuinely believe it can only be a good thing for WW. CCP owning it made no sense and was a terrible fit. I must be honest...I'm not a PnPer nor do I dress up as a vampire, I like VTM because of Bloodlines, the Troika game. That is what I'd like to see more of. Since Paradox do make video games, I sincerely hope that they'll use the games prowess and new WW IPs to give us some VTM and Werewolf video games in a similar vein (boom tische) to Bloodlines.

Thunderous Cacophony:

DeimosMasque:
Actually if I recall correctly Scion is owned by Onyx Path Publishing, the current licensee of the Original and New World of Darkness material. They operated independently from White Wolf.

Good call. I forgot that Onyx Path split off to dodge the debts of White Wolf, and that some products were transferred wholesale while others were just licenses. Any idea what Paradox actually bought, besides WoD? Most of the stuff I find says that they purchased 'White Wolf and all properties' and that they'll be 'evaluating licenses' but there's no clear breakdown of what specifically that covers.

Actually Onxy Path was created due to CCP basically ending the PnP RPG publishing and the writers and developers raising money to start their own "On Demand" book publisher and paying for the licensing and flat out buying the Exalted and Scion IPs.

Paradox has the rights to both the Classic and New WOD IPs but as of right now they are licensed out to OPP.

They might also have the full rights to the LARP versions. I can't recall if those non OPP licenses are still active.

KingsGambit:
I was excited by this news since I genuinely believe it can only be a good thing for WW. CCP owning it made no sense and was a terrible fit. I must be honest...I'm not a PnPer nor do I dress up as a vampire, I like VTM because of Bloodlines, the Troika game. That is what I'd like to see more of. Since Paradox do make video games, I sincerely hope that they'll use the games prowess and new WW IPs to give us some VTM and Werewolf video games in a similar vein (boom tische) to Bloodlines.

WOD video games can make a lot of sense and can be done well. But excitement because you don't care about the IP past that is short sighted. The World of Darkness (even the new version was the #2 of PnP RPGs) needs to exist as a PnP RPG if only to give more material for the video games Paradox will publish.

It's the same reason Warner Bros doesn't just stop publishing the DC books. The comics justify the products.

Kajin:

008Zulu:

Conrad Zimmerman:

For Paradox, this is an investment where we want to see our money come back

Wolf intends to license the IP into as many channels as possible

My keen Gamer Senses tells me that we will see a slew of poorly made, microtransaction-fueled mobile games.

I think your "keen Gamer Senses" are in need of a trip to a blacksmith for resharpening and general maintenance. Paradox Interactive is a pretty solid maker of video games.

if by pretty solding you mean turning all their games into DLC machines and selling mods, then yes. Dont get me wrong, i love Paradox games but during the last few years they really shat all over their community.

lastcigarette:
So the meta-plot is coming back?

That's my hang up too. I am sure some will rejoice at the idea of NWoD going the way of OWoD and getting a metaplot, but one of the major reasons (besides making a much better rules set) White Wolf put forward for making NWoD and ditching OWoD was that the meta plot became way too unwieldy and stifled player and storyteller creativity while being too confusing to follow for anyone but the most hardcore of fans.

I am hoping that they still remember that lesson at WW and will try to keep the meta plot in the background and as simple as possible. God knows we don't need another meta plot that takes all the agency away from the players so they can watch as the real cool kids showdown in narration by the storyteller.

Strazdas:

Kajin:

008Zulu:

My keen Gamer Senses tells me that we will see a slew of poorly made, microtransaction-fueled mobile games.

I think your "keen Gamer Senses" are in need of a trip to a blacksmith for resharpening and general maintenance. Paradox Interactive is a pretty solid maker of video games.

if by pretty solding you mean turning all their games into DLC machines and selling mods, then yes. Dont get me wrong, i love Paradox games but during the last few years they really shat all over their community.

I sunk fifty hours into EU4 before I even realized it had DLC at all. So yeah, DLC or not they make solid games. Even then, most of the DLC I'm seeing is either inconsequential stuff that can be ignored or expansion packs that actually add enough content to be worth the price. Just like the days of old, really.

Gethsemani:

lastcigarette:
So the meta-plot is coming back?

That's my hang up too. I am sure some will rejoice at the idea of NWoD going the way of OWoD and getting a metaplot, but one of the major reasons (besides making a much better rules set) White Wolf put forward for making NWoD and ditching OWoD was that the meta plot became way too unwieldy and stifled player and storyteller creativity while being too confusing to follow for anyone but the most hardcore of fans.

I am hoping that they still remember that lesson at WW and will try to keep the meta plot in the background and as simple as possible. God knows we don't need another meta plot that takes all the agency away from the players so they can watch as the real cool kids showdown in narration by the storyteller.

If Onxy Path gets to keep the licensing for both WOD IPs then it's both.

Classic World of Darkness continues with a post Gehenna plot (as OPP anouncex VtM 4th GenCon)

New World of Darkness continues with a few setting updates but no metaplot

And so the ancient wakes from torpor with a creak like a quake

image

I have no experience with Paradox so this will surprise me twice

Pessimist captcha: knock off

DeimosMasque:

KingsGambit:
I was excited by this news since I genuinely believe it can only be a good thing for WW. CCP owning it made no sense and was a terrible fit. I must be honest...I'm not a PnPer nor do I dress up as a vampire, I like VTM because of Bloodlines, the Troika game. That is what I'd like to see more of. Since Paradox do make video games, I sincerely hope that they'll use the games prowess and new WW IPs to give us some VTM and Werewolf video games in a similar vein (boom tische) to Bloodlines.

WOD video games can make a lot of sense and can be done well. But excitement because you don't care about the IP past that is short sighted. The World of Darkness (even the new version was the #2 of PnP RPGs) needs to exist as a PnP RPG if only to give more material for the video games Paradox will publish.

It's the same reason Warner Bros doesn't just stop publishing the DC books. The comics justify the products.

I never implied that the existence of the PnP game was in question. On the contrary, there is no question. I fully understand the importance of the PnP game to PnPers and as source material for a rich, lore filled game. I just have no interest in it. I think I own some older source books from a humble bundle type affair, but I don't buy PnP RPG books. My interest in VTM came from Bloodlines and there are many fans like me who thoroughly enjoyed Troika's "flawed gem" of a game, not just in spite of its issues but for the lore filled, interesting world, the politicking clans, the cool powers and modern day vampire setting.

I spent a lot of time reading up on the wiki about WW's world, about the Werewolves (which, to be honest, I love more than any of the other supernatural types by a *long* way), vampires, clans, Cain, Enoch, antediluvians, etc. It's great stuff, lots of rich and interesting lore that's just ripe for games of all kinds, allowing for a myriad of fantastic and fantastical stories. But I am personally *sad* that this great world and lore is unavailable to *me* as a gamer. Bloodlines was great, I couldn't really get into The Requiem tho I liked the idea of the different time periods. And that's all I have. Fini. When CCP bought it and were hellbent on an MMO, I was very sad. Firstly because I won't play a CCP game following what happened when I played Eve (a long story) and second, because I didn't want it just in MMO form, where I have to put up with other players, pay a sub and grind for weeks/months.

I like SP games, RPGs and Action RPGs mostly. VTMB was a great, if flawed game but introduced me to VTM and WW as a whole (tho I new *of them* from the CCG years earlier). I want more of that. I will pay money for more of that. I will kickstart it, preorder it, vote it onto Greenlight. Paradox own the IP, I'm not questioning the necessity or focus on the PnP game, the source books or game design. I'm just hopeful that VTM, WWTA and the like will find their way as video games onto Steam so *I* can enjoy them too. The PnPers are covered.

I also lament the lack of DnD games. Since BW decided to make their own IPs instead of licensing other peoples' (Star Wars withstanding), following the Baldur's Gate Saga, other infinity engine games and NWN 1 & 2, that's it, there's nothing else. The Neverwinter MMO is Perfect World who mostly suck and isn't really an RPG, but an MMO. The Tales of the Sword Coast game looks cool and I'm looking forward to it, but I think the setting and game system work very well in video games and wish there were more. I don't play PnP DnD/Pathfinder either (as interesting and fun as it might well be), so cRPGs are my interest.

I think there is demand and interest in more like VTMB and again, while I don't question the necessity or importance of the books and PnP game, I personally, and many other video gamers, would love for Paradox to make some damn White Wolf video games. They'll have my money and my gratitude. I want to get my Malkavian on!

 

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