Indie developers now have the chance to create new games using the Vampire: The Masquerade IP.
The initiative, entitled Unbound, comes under World of Darkness, the transmedia horror brand that encompasses the aforementioned vampire franchise as well as Werewolf: The Apocalypse and Wraith: The Oblivion.
World of Darkness was originally published by White Wolf Publishing, which Paradox Interactive acquired back in 2015. Paradox took more direct control following controversy over LGBTQ+ depictions in a previous Vampire: The Masquerade handbook.
Unbound invites developers to build new titles set in the world of tabletop RPG Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition. Successfully chosen games will be published via Itch.io, with studios receiving a share of the revenue from their work and potentially additional marketing support.
According to the website, developers will retain up to 67% of revenues from monetised projects and they can decide how much to pay the Itch.io platform.
Any assets that do not directly use elements of the World of Darkness IP will be owned by the developer and can be reused and redistributed as they see fit, with the company giving artbooks, soundtracks and asset store packages as examples.
World of Darkness notes that while Unbound games will not be canonically part of the Vampire universe, developers will be allowed to "express their creative freedom."
Details on the submission process and criteria can be found at the website. The World of Darkness brand team will review submissions and follow up with studios about their decisions as to which games get selected.
The initiative follows the success of Vampire Jam, a game jam in which developers were allowed to prototype new titles set in this universe. More than 80 were built, with World of Darkness selecting six as the first Unbound titles.
These games are now available via Itch.io, and include:
- Descent, a survival horror adventure set in an old cabin in the mountains
- The Chantry Trials, a puzzle game with horror elements
- The Game of Elders, a strategic card game focused on the elder vampires
- The Autumn People, a first-person shooter set in Phoenix, Arizona
- Praxis, a mix of 4X strategy and role-playing
- Prodigal, a point-and-click adventure set in a rotting mansion
Vampire: The Masquerade has a cult following in the video games space thanks to the 2004 adaptation Bloodlines, which has previously been explored in our Why I Love series.
A sequel is currently in development, originally due in 2021, but there's no word of a release date following Paradox's decision to drop developer Hardsuit Labs.
Meanwhile, Vampire: The Masquerade - Swansong -- an RPG developed by Big Bad Wolf and published by Nacon -- is due for release on PC and consoles next month.