Following mediocre Swansong reviews, is the World of Darkness IP cursed forever?

With one disappointment after another, the World of Darkness IP's gaming adaptations have been struggling in modern times (Images via Nacon/Paradox Interactive)
With one disappointment after another, the World of Darkness IP's gaming adaptations have been struggling in modern times (Images via Nacon/Paradox Interactive)

Publisher White Wolf is known for the World of Darkness tabletop RPG series. Renowned for entries like Vampire: The Masquerade and Werewolf: The Apocalypse, the franchise has several similar supernatural RPGs under its belt.

While they are classic pen & paper RPGs, some have seen video game adaptations throughout the years. The most popular installment is the now-defunct Troika Games' 2004 action-RPG Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines.

The sandbox game offers plenty of depth in terms of gameplay approach plus boasts a gripping narrative, writing, atmosphere, and soundtrack to boot. Quite an achievement for an early 2000s game.

Yet troubles coming to grips with Valve's Source engine slowed the pace of Bloodlines' development. The final nail in the coffin was that its release coincided with the legendary Half-Life 2, dooming Bloodlines to obscurity. Since then, it's as if the franchise has been cursed for eternity.

There hasn't been an ambitious World of Darkness game anywhere as good since

We recently saw the release of Vampire: The Masquerade - Swansong for consoles and PCs. Developer Big Bad Wolf's latest narrative adventure takes the RPG gameplay in Telltale's direction.

But it ended up falling short due to poor execution of its gameplay devices and technical flaws. But wait, there's more. Going back in time, we've seen a handful of other World of Darkness games in recent memory.

Last year's Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Earthblood was a much-anticipated hack & slash from Cyanide but was a mediocre game overall. A shame since it was the first significant Werewolf title since the 90s.


Going all the way back, Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Heart of Gaia was a thing. However, the developer DreamForge Intertainment went bankrupt, leaving the project in eternal limbo. Another Werewolf project was planned for PS1 and Dreamcast under Capcom but saw a dead-end in 1997.

Though there have been some decent attempts. The recent release of Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodhunt was not half bad, but the vampire-themed battle-royale game might have a hard time competing against giants like Apex Legends.

Last year's Wraith: The Oblivion - Afterlife is a VR horror game considered an atmospheric and well-executed rendition of the lore. 2020's visual novel Vampire: The Masquerade - Corteries of New York has also received mixed reviews but is in a better position than other entries. However, both appeal to a small audience in an already niche franchise.

What's next for the World of Darkness' video game adaptations?

That is a bleak future as well. Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 from Paradox Interactive has been in development hell for a few years now. Since the previous developer, Hardsuit Labs, was taken off the project, fans have been worried about the status of the game.

After all, even the game's writer Chris Avellone (known for iconic games like Fallout 2, Baldur's Gate 2: Shadows of Amn, Prey 2017, and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order), is clueless (

The publisher claims that Bloodlines 2 is still in the works and is coming along fine, but is this true? We're all familiar with previous such claims, like the unforgettable Cyberpunk 2077 fiasco. But for now, fans can do little more than just wait and watch.

Knowing the record of the World of Darkness IP, keeping expectations low is the best thing to do. But it does make one wonder: for a franchise all about the cult and supernatural, World of Darkness sure can't catch a break from a bad streak of poor luck.

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