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World of Darkness

CCP Games kills a fan remake of Vampire: the Masquerade - Bloodlines

MMO Industry, News Items, Legal, World of Darkness, Miscellaneous

If CCP were any more dedicated to preventing people from using things they're not using, they'd be Harmony Gold.
With World of Darkness canned, the closest fans can get to experiencing the source material in video game form comes from Activision's 2003 Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines. Unfortunately, the game was released in a half-finished state and suffers from multiple glitches, balance issues, and general weirdness, not to mention graphics that have aged very poorly. Fortunately, the fan community rallied and set to work on an unofficial remake requiring the original. Double-unfortunately, CCP Games sent that fan remake a cease-and-desist.

Although Activision technically owns the rights to the game, the IP remains in the hands of CCP due to its acquisition of White Wolf several years prior. The fans responsible for the remake are attempting to negotiate a way to keep development going, as the remake would have been unplayable without the original game. It's bad news for fans of the flawed but brilliant title and really anyone who would like to play a game based off the franchise any time within the next decade.

World of Darkness apparently reached alpha three different times

Horror, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, World of Darkness, Sandbox

Press E to seduce
Former CCP employees have revealed to The Guardian that the studio's World of Darkness MMO reached an alpha state on three separate occasions before it was cancelled earlier this year.

"I tested it myself on two different occasions out of those three," said former dev Nick Blood (yes, really). "With the first playtest, I was amazed at how little of the core game was there -- at this point the game had been in development for over half a decade. I mean, there was just nothing, literally nothing, for someone like me, a complete outsider to the WOD IP, to appreciate."

Blood goes on to reveal that the game had some sort of Assassin's Creed-style movement system, though he calls it "very basic in comparison."

EVE Evolved: Eleven years of EVE Online

Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, EVE Online, Business Models, Culture, Events (In-Game), Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, Opinion, MMOFPS, World of Darkness, EVE Evolved, DUST 514, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Anniversaries, Player-Generated Content, Subscription, MMORPG

EVE Evolved title image
‚ÄčIt seems that every year another few MMOs have closed their doors or convert to free-to-play business models to stay afloat. EVE Online has always enjoyed a level of insulation from these market trends elsewhere in the genre, and just last week on May 6th it celebrated its 11th year of year-on-year subscription growth. Following on from my previous column celebrating the EVE Evolved column's sixth year of operation, this week I'll be summarising all the major EVE news stories throughout the year.

It's been a big year for EVE fans, one that many of us can be proud to have been a part of. The EVE community turned its financial wizardry toward the real world and raised over $190,000 US in relief aid following a typhoon hitting the Philippines, and CCP even built a monument dedicated to the community. Several massive player battles once again put EVE on the global media's radars, and the Odyssey and Rubicon expansions revitalised the game for explorers and PvPers alike. But not everyone can hold his heads up high this year, with details of more cyberbullying within EVE coming to light and several players being banned for defacing the EVE monument in Reykjavik.

In this anniversary retrospective, I summarise all the major EVE news from the year in one place and take a look at what the future may hold for the EVE universe.

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Here's what CCP's World of Darkness looked like

Horror, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, World of Darkness, Sandbox, Sunsets

World of Darkness
CCP may have cancelled World of Darkness, but thanks to a leaker on Reddit you can get a look at some screenshots from the game as well as the lengthy manual from a March 2014 alpha playtest.

Eurogamer reports that WoD featured safe zones such as your haven and various Elysium areas near churches, but otherwise the game allowed for open PvP. CCP's take on the beloved White Wolf property also featured four clans: the Tremere, Brujah, Toreador, and Ventrue, each with different skills, abilities, and aspect buffs.

See the links below for the original Reddit post as well as the screenshot gallery and manual.

CCP is 'reviewing the status' of the World of Darkness IP

Horror, MMO Industry, World of Darkness, Sandbox, Sunsets

In the aftermath of World of Darkness' cancellation and the layoffs at its Atlanta studio, CCP said that it is taking time to "review" the White Wolf IP.

"We believe that the World of Darkness IP is very valuable and will be reviewing the status of it in the coming weeks and months, but we have no specific plans under consideration at this time," a CCP spokesperson said to CVG.

In the search to understand why World of Darkness got shuttered, players might turn to last December's financials for CCP. In these, the studio lodged a loss of $21 million for the year despite increasing revenue year-over-year. This was mostly due to a "massively increased R&D budget" that was feeding into projects such as WoD.

CCP shuttering World of Darkness

Horror, MMO Industry, News Items, World of Darkness, Sandbox

World of Darkness
After a weekend full of Reddit rumors, CCP has formally announced that it is ceasing development on World of Darkness.

The company laid off 56 employees from its Atlanta-based studio and will now focus exclusively on games set in its EVE Online universe. "To our current and former employees and fans of World of Darkness, I am truly sorry that we could not deliver the experience that we aspired to make," CEO Hilmar Petursson said in a statement. "We dreamed of a game that would transport you completely into the sweeping fantasy of World of Darkness, but had to admit that our efforts were falling regretfully short. One day I hope we will make it up to you."

EVE Evolved: What to expect from EVE Fanfest 2014

Video, EVE Online, Business Models, Culture, Events (Real-World), Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, Opinion, Hands-On, Events (Massively's Coverage), World of Darkness, EVE Evolved, DUST 514, Dev Diaries, Player-Generated Content

EVE Evolved title image
Almost 10 years ago, EVE Online developer CCP Games started a new tradition with the first ever annual EVE Fanfest. The event started out as a largely informal gathering in a tiny venue that allowed players and developers to mingle on a more personal level, but it's now grown into something massive. Over a thousand players now make the annual pilgrimage to EVE Online's birthplace in Reykjavik, Iceland, to hear what the future holds for their favourite MMO. For many, the event is also a social gathering, a chance to swap stories with other players, and a rare opportunity to meet the corpmates they fly with every day in the virtual galaxy of New Eden.

The Fanfest weekend is typically a packed schedule of panels, talks, roundtable discussions with developers, and keynote speeches revealing the future of the game. While the event is understandably focused on EVE Online, it's recently expanded to cover aspects of DUST 514, the latest goings-on with World of Darkness, and even CCP's new virtual reality dogfighter EVE Valkyrie. CCP has announced that this year's event will see a monument to the EVE playerbase unveiled in Reykjavik Harbor as well as the first reveal of EVE's summer expansion, but what else can we hope to glean from this year's event at the start of May?

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I delve into the EVE Fanfest announcement and speculate on what we might expect to hear from this year's event. Will this be the year that World of Darkness gets some serious news? And what's new for DUST 514?

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CCP Games reveals big plans for EVE Fanfest 2014

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Culture, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, News Items, Hands-On, Events (Massively's Coverage), World of Darkness, DUST 514, Sandbox, Anniversaries, Subscription

EVE Online title image
The universe of EVE Online may be best known as a crazy virtual galaxy full of back-stabbing pirates and political betrayal, but for a few days each year it becomes something altogether more tangible. At the annual EVE Fanfest, hundreds of the game's most devoted fans make the long pilgrimage to the game's birthplace in Reykjavik, Iceland. In addition to the official talks and reveals on the game's future from developer CCP Games, Fanfest plays host to charity raffles, roundtable discussions with developers, and informal get-togethers for players to share their stories.

Last year's 10th anniversary Fanfest was the biggest one yet, with information included on World of Darkness and DUST 514 and the official reveal of Oculus Rift-based dogfighter EVE Valkyrie. This year's attendees can look forward to the first ever live demo of EVE's yet-to-be-revealed summer expansion, hands-on experience with the next major evolution of DUST 514, and playtests of a brand-new build of the virtual reality dogfighter EVE Valkyrie.

This year's Fanfest will also see a special monument dedicated to EVE Online players revealed to the world; The "Worlds Within a World" monument will be installed in Reykjavik Harbor and will be etched with the names of all active EVE subscribers on March 1st. It's also hoped that crowdfunded EVE Online documentary A Tale of Internet Spaceships will be premiered during the Fanfest weekend, and we'll reportedly hear the latest on CCP's new EVE comic book and live action TV series. The event takes place from May 1st to May 3rd, and I'll be attending this year's event on behalf of Massively to bring you in-depth first-hand coverage of all the big reveals. Stay tuned!

World of Darkness drawing inspiration from sandbox survival games while EVE CE goes on sale

Betas, Horror, Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Interviews, World of Darkness, Promotions, Sandbox

CCP assured World of Darkness fans that the project is "evolving rapidly" despite recent layoffs, will have a presence at Fanfest in May, and is even taking cues from sandbox survival games for its development.

CCP CEO Hilmar Pétursson told RPS that survival games have given the team inspiration for World of Darkness' social dynamics: "DayZ and Rust 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."

Speaking of EVE, the space game's collector edition has gone on sale for $99.99. This 33% discount will last from today through February 17th.

Layoffs at CCP's Atlanta office confirmed: World of Darkness development affected

Fantasy, Culture, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, News Items, World of Darkness, Miscellaneous, Sandbox, MMORPG

Game title image
Rumours began circulating just a few hours ago about layoffs at CCP Games' Atlanta office. It was reported that an unknown number of staff working on the World of Darkness MMO had been unexpectedly laid off right before the Christmas holidays. The originally unconfirmed tipoff came from several posts on Twitter, and GameBreaker later reported that an anonymous source named the layoffs as Level Designers and various other Producers and Designers on World of Darkness.

Massively reached CCP Games for comment and received the official statement below confirming that the layoffs are real and that they are from the World of Darkness team:

"CCP today made strategic adjustments to the staffing on the team working on the World of Darkness project in Atlanta that resulted in the elimination of approximately 15 positions at the company. The change was due to our evaluation of the game's design and ongoing development needs. While this was a difficult decision, CCP remains committed to the franchise and our promise to make a compelling, rich, and deep World of Darkness experience."

CCP taps EA's Sean Decker as new VP of product development

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, World of Darkness, DUST 514, MMORPG

DUST 514
Big changes from Iceland today, as CCP announced that it has brought on Sean Decker as senior vice president of product development. Decker is a 12-year EA veteran and recently headed the publisher's free-to-play focused games group, along with previously overseeing DICE and EA Los Angeles. EVE Online, as crazy as it sounds, is entering its second decade of being a game about internet spaceships, and CCP is looking toward the future.

The company referenced Decker's extensive industry experience as a valuable asset in helping guide EVE Online through its next 10 years and in ensuring growth through the eventually-maybe launch of World of Darkness and the expansion of DUST 514. Decker will be based out of CCP's Atlanta studio.

Massively's Brendan Drain spoke with Decker and EVE's Hilmar Petursson at a press event yesterday. We'll have more information on how the new hire will impact EVE this afternoon!

[Source: CCP press release]

World of Darkness 'years away' from launch

Betas, Fantasy, Horror, Interviews, World of Darkness, Sandbox

World of Darkness still has years of development ahead of it
If you are hanging your hopes and dreams on World of Darkness coming along to rescue you from the humdrum of life and your precious mortality, well... be prepared to settle in for a good long wait. Executive Producer Chris McDonough said in an interview that the title is still in pre-production and that players shouldn't expect to see it for a few years yet. However, CCP did show a few technical videos to the press to assure folks that the game is still alive.

McDonough did have good news to share, however. World of Darkness has a 70-person crew that is currently building the framework for the title, and according to the producer, they are "making phenomenal progress." The team plans to host the entire game on a single server where active combat and politicking between vampires will be the crux of the content.

"We're making sure this is a next-generation MMO. It's very focused on movement and motion and capturing what it's like to be a vampire," he said. "People ask about our high level designs for World of Darkness, and we've called this a vampire simulator. What's it like to be a vampire. Not a superhero, but a super-powered individual. The way the characters move around the city feels very vampiric."

Leaderboard: What was your favorite EVE Fanfest reveal?

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, Opinion, Events (Massively's Coverage), World of Darkness, DUST 514, Sandbox, Leaderboard

EVE Online - Mining barges
This year's CCP fan festival featured a bunch of interesting news items including DUST 514's official release date, more info on EVE's upcoming Odyssey expansion, and even a glimpse of the progress being made on World of Darkness.

There was also talk of EVE tales being immortalized in more traditional media formats, a ginormous 10-year collector's edition, and an early look at EVR, a new virtual reality EVE game designed for the Oculus Rift. Now that you've had a chance to digest all of the details, what was your favorite Fanfest 2013 reveal? Vote after the cut!

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EVE Fanfest 2013 day two: World of Darkness, Odyssey, and EVE Virtual Reality with the Oculus Rift

Sci-Fi, Video, EVE Online, Economy, Events (Real-World), Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Previews, PvP, Endgame, News Items, PvE, Opinion, Events (Massively's Coverage), World of Darkness, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Anniversaries

EVE Fanfest 2013 day two World of Darkness, Odyssey, and EVE Virtual Reality with the Oculus Rift
EVE Online's tenth anniversary Fanfest promised to be its biggest yet, with over 1,400 players packed into Iceland's Harpa convention centre to find out the latest on EVE Online, DUST 514, and World of Darkness. The first day focused mainly on DUST and its link with the EVE universe, but today the focus largely switched back to internet spaceships. There were plenty of roundtable discussions, and the CSM and Alliance panels were as awesome as ever, but it was the EVE Keynote that really blew the crowd away.

The day got off to a good start with the highly anticipated World of Darkness talk. Most fans were probably expecting to see more airy game design ideas and another shiny trailer, but this year CCP just came out and put all its cards on the table. We saw that the game is still firmly in pre-production, with much of the previous work going into developing the engine and cool content creation tools and shaders. While I was initially disappointed at the lack of gameplay progress or shiny cinematics, I found this approach of being open and direct with fans very refreshing. As I told WoD art director Thomas Holt, honest beats shiny every time.

Read on for a full run-down of the EVE reveals from the second day of EVE's tenth anniversary Fanfest, including in-depth details of the Odyssey expansion's features.

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World of Darkness development shown at EVE Fanfest 2013

Fantasy, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, New Titles, Previews, News Items, Opinion, Events (Massively's Coverage), World of Darkness, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Crafting

When the World of Darkness MMO was first announced in November 2006, it was just an idea and we knew that it wouldn't be released any time soon. The chance to play a sandbox game set in the Vampire: The Masquerade universe nevertheless made fans of the series go nuts, but now over six years later we haven't seen much progress on the game. At EVE Fanfest 2013 today, CCP laid the current state of development bare for all to see and showed some plans for the coming year. There are now 70 people on the WoD team, and they've spent the past week working on everything from art tools and server infrastructure to vampire powers and social options.

"You're a powerful, immortal lord of the night. You don't want to stitch a shirt."

Development plans for 2013 include working on out-of-game web-based social tools, clothing systems, and PvE game environments. There are also plans to work on item creation, but direct crafting is probably not on the cards. As the presenter put it, "You're a powerful, immortal lord of the night. You don't want to stitch a shirt." Though the game is still in the pre-production stage, CCP was keen to show off the tools it's made to speed up the development process. "Some of these videos are a bit dry and technical," joked the presenter, but it came across as more real and honest than another trailer or musings on theoretical gameplay.

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