White Wolf – Past to Present

Veröffentlicht: 18/01/2019 in English, News, RPG, Urban Fantasy, V:tM, White Wolf
Schlagwörter:, , , , ,

Many find it challenging to grasp or understand the continued development of White Wolf and the current state of their game lines and IPs, with the focus of the World of Darkness and Chronicles of Darkness.

With this article I aim to provide an overview how White Wolf started, how it changed and how the World of Darkness and Chronicles of Darkness lines unfolded into their current form.

White Wolf Logo

Thus, without any further ado, we start at the very beginning:

  • 1991
    Formation of White Wolf Publishing (Publishing Company)
    White Wolf Publishing, the publisher who will proceed to release the first edition of Vampire: The Masquerade within the same year is founded by a merger of Lion Rampant and White Wolf Magazine.
    .
    Lion Rampant consisted of Jonathan Tweet, Mark Rein-Hagen and Lisa Stevens.
    Prior to the merger they released the game Ars Magica.
    White Wolf Magazine consisted of Stewart Wieck and Steve Wieck.
    Prior to the merger they released the editions of the White Wolf Magazine.
    .
  • 1991
    Release of Vampire: The Masquerade and the inception of World of Darkness
    The year 1991 saw the release of the tabletop role-playing game Vampire: The Masquerade by White Wolf Publishing and thus initiated the World of Darkness.
    .
    White Wolf Publishing created with Vampire: The Masquerade and World of Darkness an IP (Intellectual Property), of which they possessed any and all the rights. Being able as a licensor to license the rights to publish books to licensees of their choosing.
    .
  • 1992
    Release of Vampire: The Masquerade 2nd Edition
    Following just a year after V:tM initial release, White Wolf released Vampire the Masquerade 2nd Edition.
    .
  • 1996
    Mark Rein-Hagen leaves White Wolf Publishing

    White Wolf Publishing as a company faced financial struggles between 1995 to 1996. This resulted, contributed or to pronounced differences between Stewart Wieck, Steve Wieck and Mark Rein-Hagen.
    This resulted in Mark Rein-Hagen parting ways with White Wolf.
    Stewart and Steve Wieck continued to head White Wolf Publishing.
    .
  • 1998
    Release of Vampire: The Masquerade 2nd Revised Edition 

    White Wolf Publishing recovered from the financial hardships and created the 2nd revised edition of Vampire: The Masquerade, which was in all but name a third Edition and is often referred as such. The edition had Justin Achilli as a lead developer.
    .
    I would as well like to point out that White Wolf Publishing created many more games. Among those are Exalted, SCION, Trinity-verse, Scarred Lands, Street Fighter and HoL.
    The World of Darkness was expanded in many years into a great variety of game lines. The „big five“ are Vampire: The Masquerade, Werewolf: The Apocalypse, Mage: The Ascension, Wraith: The Oblivion and Changeling: The Dreaming.
    Next to those it encompasses the lines Hunter: The Reckoning, Demon: The Fallen and Mummy: The Resurrection.
    .
    These games, game lines and all further products created by White Wolf are what is meant when the term „White Wolf IP“ is used.
    .
  • 2004
    Termination of the World of Darkness by White Wolf Publishing

    According to statements from White Wolf Publishing, as well as its successors, the sale figured for new supplements for Vampire: The Masquerade and other game lines were to stagnant for an undue amount of times. Furthermore the publisher, authors and creators got stuck in a publishing treadmill and felt increasingly tired, exhausted and worn out.
    The consequence taken was that the endgame scenario of every game line got started in the early two-thousands and finally brought to conclusion in 2004.
    .
    The plug on the World of Darkness got pulled, the game lines terminated. Vampire: The Masquerade, Werewolf: The Apocalypse, Mage: The Ascension and all the other lines got discontinued. Foren as well as Chats deleted. The production and distribution of books ended cancelled.
    .
    Nomenclature: This World of Darkness is referred to as old World of Darkness (oWoD), classic World of Darkness (cWoD) and One World of Darkness.
    .
  • 2004
    Release of the new World of Darkness by White Wolf Publishing
    Along with the termination of the World of Darkness, White Wolf Publishing created a wholly new game line with the name of World of Darkness. This game line is as well set within the genre of Urban Fantasy and offers players the opportunity to play as supernatural creatures.
    .
    Vampire: The Requiem sold its core rules notably better than any other book previously created by White Wolf Publishing. Following this massive success the sales figures plummeted back to a more normal state of previous sales.
    Vampire: The Requiem was accompanied by a core book which enabled one to play normal humans and quickly followed by Werewolf: The Forsaken and Mage: The Awakening.
    .
    Nomenclature: This World of Darkness is referred to as new World of Darkness (nWoD) and Chronicles of Darkness (CofD)
    ..
  • 2006
    Release of more World of Darkness game lines by White Wolf Publishing

    The year of 2006 sees the release of Promethean: The Created as well as at least 6 more supplements for various game lines.
    There is one new major game line released every year till 2009:
    Changeling: The Lost (2007), Hunter: The Vigil (2008), Geist: The Sin-Eater (2009).
    .
    I included this because 2006 did as well see the German publisher discontinuing the translation of the whole World of Darkness.
    A fact that might influence Gamers in Germany, or from other countries which didn’t got continued translations, to believe that the new World of Darkness, Chronicles of Darkness went belly up on a global scale. It didn’t. It is alive and well.
    .
  • 2006 – November
    Merger of CCP and White Wolf Publishing

    In November White Wolf Publishing merged with CCP into one corporate entity.
    The idea was to continue the tabletop role-playing lines and to develop a World of Darkness based MMO game (WoD MMO).
    Later it was revealed that the MMO was supposed to use the classic World of Darkness as its setting.
    .
    At the time of the merger CCP had already grown rapidly thanks to the success of EVE: Online and was much larger than White Wolf Publishing.
    White Wolf Publishing transformed from a company in its own right into a department within CCP and they got an office in Atlanta, GA.
    .
  • 2011
    Release of Vampire: The Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition by CCP

    In the beginning of White Wolf, as a department within CCP, announced that they are up to create an anniversary edition to celebrate Vampire: The Masquerade.
    .
    They began an open development process and started a traditional pre-order for the book. The first announcement claimed that the edition could only be obtained at the Grand Masquerade, yet massive demands from abroad led to the pre-order being open to all countries. I still traveled to the USA for the first time in my life, just to be save than sorry.
    .
    The Grand Masquerade 2011 saw the successful release of the 20th Anniversary Edition by CCP.
    Taking the name „The Masquerade“ into account, the anniversary edition belongs without any doubt to the old, classical, One World of Darkness.
    .
  • 2011
    Massive layoffs in the White Wolf department by CCP

    December sees fans of the World of Darkness and White Wolf in shock. Following struggles with Eve Online CCP decides to dismiss many employees, among those a lot of people working for the White Wolf department and the WoD MMO.
    .
  • 2012
    Formation of Onyx Path Publishing, Tabletop RPG Licensee

    January has Rich Thomas founding a company of his own with the name Onyx Path Publishing. Onyx Path Publishing acts as a licensee for World of Darkness tabletop role-playing books from CCP and Rich starts Onyx Path Publishings first crowdfunding project for the World of Darkness, the V20 Companion.
    .
    In August, during GenCon, it is announced that Onyx Path Publishing will officially be responsible for the creation and distribution of tabletop role-playing products as the tabletop rpg licensee for CCP.
    .
    Furthermore Rich Thomas acquires the White Wolf IPs SCION and Trinity from CCP, owning the lines. A few years later Onyx Path Publishing does as well obtain the Scarred Lands IP.
    .
  • 2013
    Formation of By Night Studios, Larp Licensee

    By Night Studios starts the crowdfunding for the new edition of Mind’s Eye Theatre: Vampire The Masquerade in May. The same year has By Night Studios organize the Grey Ghost Masquerade in Los Angeles, the next year has them inviting World of Darkness fans to Las Vegas.
    .
    By Night Studios becomes the official licensee of CCP for World of Darkness Larp products.
    .
  • 2013
    Release of 2nd Edition of Vampire: The Requiem als Blood and Smoke by Onyx Path Publishing under CCP

    Onyx Path Publishing announces to use the terms of the God-Machine Chronicles as well as Blood and Smoke: The Strix Chronicles to start a second edition of the new World of Darkness beginning. The announcement and choice of name is presented as trying to please CCP, which didn’t like the idea of a new edition.
    Vampire: The Requiem second edition is released as Blood and Smoke: The Strix Chronicles is in December of 2013.
    .
    The new World of Darkness sees a new edition of Mummy: The Curse (2013).
    Furthermore, more Anniversary edition supplements and core books are being released for the old, classical World of Darkness.
    .
  • 2014 – April
    CCP terminates the World of Darkness MMO,
    CCP dissolves the White Wolf team/department

    After 9 years of development and failing to actually create the WoD MMO, CCP finally pulls the plug and ends it once and for all. The project gets terminated and there is no hope at all that it will be picked up again.
    Remaining developing staff are let go or reassigned to other projects.
    .
    The last employees of White Wolf are being let go and just one person handles the remaining communication with licensees.
    .
  • 2014
    Renaming Blood and Smoke into Vampire: The Requiem 2nd Edition by Onyx Path Publishing under CCP
    CCP could be convinced to accept the name change for the second edition, which finally receives a more ’natural‘ fitting name.
    .
    The new World of Darkness sees a new edition of Demon: The Descent (2014).
    Furthermore, more Anniversary edition supplements and core books are being released for the classical World of Darkness.
    .
  • 2014 – August
    Announcement Vampire: The Masquerade 4th Edition by Onyx Path Publishing under CCP

    GenCon sees Eddy Webb proclaiming, during the Onyx Path Publishing panel, that a new, fourth edition of Vampire: The Masquerade will be released in 2015.
    The statement gets seconded on the Onyx Path Publishing blog..
    The 4th edition would have been a licensed product with CCP as licensor, but wouldn’t be created.
    .
  • 2015
    Paradox Interactive acquires the White Wolf IPs from CCP

    Paradox Interactive bought every and all White Wolf IPs which were still owned by CCP in the beginning of the year.
    This included both the classic and new World of Darkness, Exalted and HoL.
    .
  • 2015
    Formation of White Wolf Entertainment by Paradox Interactive

    Those who paid attention will have noticed that White Wolf Publishing ceased to exist as a company in 2006.
    .
    White Wolf Entertainment is a new company, with a familiar name and the same logo. Among the current staff, Shane De Freest and Jason Carl used to work at White Wolf Publishing.
    .
  • 2015
    Renaming World of Darkness into Chronicles of Darkness, by White Wolf Entertainment

    White Wolf Entertainment uses the term World of Darkness for the World of Darkness as it includes Vampire: The Masquerade, Werewolf: The Apocalypse and more and creates the term „One World of Darkness“ – which is scarcley used.
    White Wolf Entertainment creates the term Chronicles of Darkness to describe games belonging to the new World of Darkness of Vampire: The Requiem, Werewolf: The Forsaken and more.
    .
    In my personal opinion, they did it because it is a pain in the butt to have two wholly different game lines with a common theme of Urban Fantasy and playing supernaturals going by the same name.
    .
  • 2015
    Announcement of Edition Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edtion by White Wolf Entertainment
    The announcement of Onyx Path Publishing to create a 4thedition is declared null and void.
    Furthermore Vampire: The Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition, which spans about a dozen supplements, gets declared to be the 4th edition and hence elevated to the status of an edition in its own right.
    In consequence the new edition of Vampire: The Masquerade is the 5th.
    .
  • 2015 – December
    Convention Tenebrae Notics, by Ulisses Spiele, White Wolf Entertainment

    With less than two month preparation Ulisses Spiele organizes a convention dedicated to the World of Darkness.
    White Wolf Entertainment, By Night Studios, Mark Rein-Hagen and Justin Achilli attend. A first rough outline of Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition is provided.
    .
  • 2016
    Release of Beast: The Primordial

    Onyx Path Publishing publishes Beast: The Primordial as new game line for the Chronicles of Darkness as a licensee of White Wolf Entertainment.
    .
  • 2017 – January
    Release mobile games 

    Two mobile games are released.
    Two are concise Choose-Your-Own adventures.
    One using Vampire: The Masquerade as a setting (We Eat Blood and All Our Friends Are Dead). One using Mage: The Ascension as a setting (Mage: Refugee).
    The third game is a quiz game, testing ones knowledge of the World of Darkness.
    .
    The choice of the author for the Vampire: The Masquerade game, the factor that both games are rather short (2 to 2,5 hours) and the fact that they couldn’t live up to Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines produces unrest.
    .
  • 2017 – May
    World of Darkness Berlin Fan-Festival

    PDA and White Wolf Entertainment organize a Fan Festival in Berlin, Germany. It features a Larp, new V:TES cards, tabletop role-playing games and everything else a fan might want. Including extended insights into the upcoming 5th edition of Vampire: The Masquerade after the Grand Masquerade 2016.
    .

    • White Wolf Entertainment explains it vision:
      They explain that they are not a publisher but that they are a licensor.
      .
      They plan to only create the core book as well as the Anarch and Camarilla supplements for 5th Edition in house. Further Vampire: The Masquerade books and products are supposed to be handled by licensees.
      .
      They would continue in creating the core book of Werewolf: The Apocalypse 5th Edition themselves. Further books would be created by licensees.
      .
  • 2017 – July, August
    Release of the Playtests für Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition

    White Wolf Entertainment releases two playtests, named Pre-Alpha „The Last Nigt“ and Alpha „Rusted Veins“, for 5th Edition.
    .
    The first Pre-Alpha Playtest has quite a lot of challenges and problems and hence gets swamped in critic and controversy.
    The second Alpha-Playtest is received way better, yet the critic towards the first playtest remains very present.
    .
  • 2018
    Release of the 5th edition of Vampire: The Masquerade Preview

    White Wolf Entertainment aimed to offer fans and gamers alike a look into the upcoming core book by choosing to present about 10 pages in a PDF.
    .
    The clan description of Clan Brujah, known for being rebellious and ideologist, contains a note in a list of various potential candidate, that they might embrace right wing extremists. This starts major controversy within the fandom.
    Accusations are brought up, add in, referring to both playtests and the mobile game, that White Wolf Entertainment caters to right wing extremists. White Wolf Entertainment refutes the accusations, distances itself from the right and engages in a dialogue with the fans.
    .
    Blog article of mine, addressing the topic: Fragen an und Antworten von White Wolf und ein paar Hintergründe (German)
    .
  • 2018 – August
    Release of Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition

    The Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition is published at GenCon.
    .
    The PDF receivs an updated briefly before the release, in which a content warning is added in the front of the book as well as some lore sheets and several appendixes.
    .
    This was a timely reaction to a challenge reported by a journalist from an online magazine. The journalist enjoyed a demo of the game, yet when evaluating the experience in retrospect, they noticed that the feeding scene was uncomfortable if not outright disturbing.
    White Wolf Entertainment reacted by adding a site that explains what to expect from the game as well as they provided tools to calibrate ones game experience in the last appendix. They did as well add in more game material.
    .
  • 2018 – September
    CEO Tobias Sjögren leaves White Wolf Entertainment

    The announcement got published that White Wolf Entertainment would part ways with its former CEO Tobias Sjörgen. The parting of ways is presented without any indication of strife save from different vision.
    A search for a new CEO commences.
    .
  • 2018 – October
    Start of the „Chicago by Night“ Crowdfunding for Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition by Onyx Path Publishing as license of White Wolf Entertainment
    The Kickstarter starts in Octover as announced during GenCon 2018. It succcessfully completes on 29th of November.
    .
  • 2018 – Beginning November
    Release of the Anarch, Camarilla supplements by White Wolf Entertainment

    In the beginning November White Wolf Entertainment releases the PDF of the 5th edition supplements Anarch and Camarilla via Modiphius Entertainment.
    .
    The chapter titled Abrek in the Camarilla book adresses current, real, poltical transgressions in Chechnya and ignites a controversy that escalates from the fandom, beyond and up to Russian news reports as well as diplomats from Chechnya.
    .
  • 2018 – Mid-November
    Recall of the Anarch, Camarilla supplements

    Two weeks following the release of the books and start of the controversy both the Anarch and Camarilla supplements gets pulled from distribution and the PDF is made inaccessible for future downloads.
    .
    It is announced that the Abrek chapter in the Camarilla book will be removed and both books will be reviewed, edited and published anew.
    .
  • 2018 – Mid-November
    Integration of White Wolf Entertainment into Paradox Interactive

    Two weeks following the release of the books and start of the controversy White Wolf Entertainment as a subsidiary of Paradox Interactive is dissolved.
    The employees are integrated within Paradox Interactive where they form a White Wolf team, department.
    .
  • 2018 – Mid-November
    Licensor White Wolf, emphasize licensor
    Two weeks following the release of the books and start of the controversy it is emphasized that White Wolf as a team and department will focus only upon the handling of the IP as a licensor. Licensing it to Licensees. Not acting as a publisher.
    The only a change to previous announcement is that new core books will be developed by licensees.
    .
    Blog article of mine, addressing the topic: Umstrukturierungen bei White Wolf (German)
    .
  • 2018 – December
    Job Offering as Brand Manager for White Wolf at Paradox Interactive
    Paradox Interactive is looking for a person to fill the rolle as Brand-Manager White Wolf.
    .
    Blog article of mine, addressing the topic: Paradox sucht Brand Manager für White Wolf (German)
    .
  • 2018 – December
    Modiphius Entertainment stewards the Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edtion in cooperation with White Wolf
    Modiphius Entertainment will create and write new books for Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition and will handle some licensees for the 5th edition.
    The content, story direction and other topics will be coordinated with the White Wolf team, department at Paradox Interactive
    .
    Blog article of mine, addressing the topic: Modiphius nimmt sich der 5. Edition von Vampire: The Masquerade an! (German)
    .
  • 2019 – December
    Modiphius Entertainment sents the new edition of the Anarch and Camarilla books to the pre-order customers

    Customers who pre-ordered the supplements are able to access the PDF with the review and edited books. The Abrek chapter got replaced with new content.
    .
    Modiphius states that for now every pre-order customer will be able to get their ordered, physical book and that there will only one print run for both books. The PDF will be kept available and regularly sold.
    .
  • 2019 – January
    Announcement of Cult of the Blood Gods by Onyx Path Publishing, under White Wolf, Paradox Interactive
    During the Midwinter Convention Onyx Path Publishing announced that they will create the Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition supplement Cult of the Blood Gods.
    They do so as a licensee of White Wolf, Paradox Interactive.
    .

Thus, the current state ist:

White Wolf is a team, a department at Paradox Interactive. Since the inception of White Wolf Entertainment and the parting of ways with Tobias Sjögren in 2015 no one has been let go.

Paradox Interactive posesses the rights to many of the White Wolf game lines and IPs, among those the whole World of Darkness, Chronicles of Darkness and Exalted.

The old, classic, One World of Darkness is fine with Paradox Interactive, White Wolf as licensor.
The Vampire: The Masquerade game line is currently stewarded by Modiphius Entertainment. They produce new books and they handle some sub-licensees. Modiphius Entertainment itself licenses the IP as licensee of Paradox Interactive, White Wolf (they talk to each other).

The new World of Darkness or rather the Chronicles of Darkness as well as Exalted are fine with Onyx Path Publishing as licensee of Paradox Interactive, White Wolf (they talk to each others).
Licensees like Onyx Path Publishing license the right to create books for Vampire the Masquerade 5th Edition from Paradox Interactive, White Wolf.

Kommentare
  1. velverin1981 sagt:

    Respekt, das alles so zusammenzutragen.

  2. […] White Wolf – Past to Present @ Teylen’s RPG Corner – With all the recent developments and controversies around White Wolf, this is a good, timely article that gives a potted history of White Wolf.  To me, the White Wolf games are some of the best RPGs ever developed and I’m really familiar with most of the details already, but it’s still handy to have on one page and it does provide a good context in relation to White Wolf’s current situation […]

  3. torakhan sagt:

    With the shakeups and such, I’m hoping that Werewolf 5th (as well as the video game) are still on track and in development.

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