16/11/2014

A dark world gone dark.





So first and foremost it seems that the auto post system ate my originally planned post… But what do one do.


I sat today and browsed the regular forums and I came across an article posted as a reply to rumors that CCP was picking up third person shooter All Points Bulletin: Reloaded. The article is the closest to someone going on record of how CCP´s World of Darkness went from the one to bring balance to the force to a fading shade and finally exorcised. Now the rumor itself does make some sense in the circles who miss World of Darkness and actually know about APB:R as both are set in our “now” and APB:R feature a deep customization system for both characters and equipment. Something that most people expected from WoD too.

Now while the rumor itself was squashed in said reply I also liked an article with a purposed inside source from the Atlanta studio that was doing the development on World of Darkness. It is a very sad read and as a log time game master/LARP coordinator and played in said setting I was so very hopeful for a Eve style game that would let me lift my old character in to glorious 3D. But it was not to be and a long list of good intentions and bad decisions make it painfully clear that the game did not have much of a chance to begin with.


But in case you are unfamiliar with what White Wolf´s World of Darkness is, it is a setting in the punk/goth modern horror genre where all manners of mystical beings such as werewolves, vampires and mages move behind the scenes of everyday life. Fighting their own war of survival and dominance. The most famous of the lot is the game Vampire: the Masquerade that not unexpected deals with… Well… Vampires and the society they have spun around them self to cope with eternal life as a twisted reflection of the humans they once were.  If you have read or watched “Interview with a vampire.” You would get a fair idea of style and feel of the setting. Vampire the masquerade was also going to be the main focus for the game at release even if many fans hoped that more factions would come in over time.

So getting back to the story itself it came down to a delightful mix of hubris, passion and piss poor management. Not only did the WoD dev team have their members poached to fill out the dev team for at first EvE and later on the horrid mess that was DUST. This it would seem, if this source is to be believed was due to CCP aiming to always push one step beyond what they actually was capable of. Much due to how EvE ended up in a position of David having taken down the Goliath of big name online games. Now this is in its own right not wrong when you are dealing with a creative process. Without a certain amount of hubris you never get anywhere. Heck I myself do have a philosophy that if one is going to fail, one might as well fail spectacularly. That way one is at least remembered once the dust settles. Noting is as sad as failing and then just become forgotten. So in a way I have to tip my hat to them.


What piss me off is of course that the dragged one of my favorite IP´s with them down. I did not care much for when they flopped Dust... A as ambitious game that was going to break new ground with the interconnected gameplay between it and its “parent” game EvE, not only a new take on porting a IP to the console but also a new way of connecting players that we start to see first now with games such as The Division and others that connect mobile and console elements. Now that is not to say I bought the entire insanity that was the brief for WoD. Not only was it going to be set in the old world of darkness, the world that existed before the IP wide world reset that saw the world end literally. After this event a new setting was released and had by the time the game was being tested gained a fair amount of traction. But the game was also going to have a very big and detailed world and a fully player driven political system that would interconnect social media and perhaps even mobile devices. It would also be up to the ruling player to set the laws in their area, as per lore. There was also going to be “perma death” that is to say that a character killed is erased or has to start over from zero. Now this was going to be reserved for people committing the worst of crimes such as attacking and trying to kill other players or exposing to humans that vampires do in fact exists.

As I said there was no lack of ambition and while I assumed it was a case of aim for the stars and hope to land in the treetops, it was hard not to get swept up in the possibilities. Now of course any sane person see a few problems here, first and foremost it is one thing to build a galaxy for players to lord over, especially when planets and space station is barely more than window dressing. It is an entirely different thing to build a dozen or so cities for players to interact with. Not to mention filling said places with content that not only makes sense but also dynamically reacts to what the player does. It was not a big shock when the game faced delays and then in the end cancelation.


It does also lift something else that is not spoken of very often and that is that, by the sound of it that the gaming industry have the turnover rate close to my old job as a customer service representative. People simply get grinded down and either discarded when they cannot deliver or get smart and hit the road before they reach that stage. Now seeing how game development is a field that has a strong pull on young and inexperienced people it is a disaster in the making. Now a more cynical person would perhaps say that it is a valuable lesson for young people, but if it is anything like working in telemarketing or CSR is… I do not wish that on the most silver spooned of brats. Not only because that sort of harsh awakening usually breeds resentment but also because I feel that someone going in to a creative field should not be faced by only soul crushing fuckery.

Any way… I still wait for the time when CCP end up in enough of an economic dire strait that they have to sell the license to make a game based on WoD to another company. Hope as they say is the last that leave a human, often fighting all the way with fecal matter. 

Here is a link to the Guardian article in question that sparked tonight's train of thoughts.

And the only trailer ever released... 


Next up will not be Dr Who due to end of season… But next week will see me resume a more regular schedule