"Reports of our undeath have been greatly exaggerated."
While the bulk of EVE FanFest 2012 was directed at DUST 514 and EVE Online, a great deal of people were still curious for updates on CCP's third project, World of Darkness. So many people were curious, in fact, that the single panel discussing it was filled to the brim with people standing all the way into the hallway. The big question on all those lips: What was going to happen to the game? In light of fairly recent layoffs from the team supposedly building the MMO set in the supernatural horror setting made famous with the tabletop role-playing games from White Wolf Publishing, the future of World of Darkness seemed bleak.
After assurances that the project was not dead, or undead as the case may be, Senior Producer Chris McDonough explained what the staff of 55 was working on and why so little has been said. The cut-backs happened because the team had grown too quickly before having proper goals in place, McDonough said, and CCP was juggling too many priorities at the time. Currently the World of Darkness team spends their time creating dev tools, designing the gameplay and starting with prototypes. They did not, however, want to feed any marketing hype until they really had something amazing to show, so don't expect to hear much more about World of Darkness any time soon.
A few interesting tidbits did sneak out during the panel's Q&A session. In addition to more standard MMO trappings like hand-to-hand combat, expect there to be a lot of emphasis on politics, sandbox control of cities and even fashion. The player can become the prince of a specific city, which will impart the ability to permanently kill another player, in addition to other powerful abilities. These cities will be stylized after real-world locations, but they will all exist on the single shard server structure that CCP is known for.
The game will be based on the old Vampire: The Masquerade game instead of the present edition, and the clans present a launch will resemble "the originals". This does however mean that the game will focus on getting vampires right first, and will not including other player-controlled characters from the setting like hunters, mages, werewolves, etc. The panels concluded with a sneak preview of some in-game footage of a small section of the cities planned for the game.
I don't have a ton of experience with the World of Darkness setting; it basically begins and ends with my high school self completely missing the point and cheesing my way through the combat system with an Assamite vampire heavily invested in celerity. The rich, dark setting is intriguing though, and I'm sure most everyone here will be glad to see a divergence from certain sparkly undead.
Currently, World of Darkness has no release date.