The World of Vampire: The Masquerade Is Being Developed for Film and TV

Cover art for the long-anticipated Vampire: The Masquerade—Bloodlines 2.
Cover art for the long-anticipated Vampire: The Masquerade—Bloodlines 2.
Image: Paradox Interactive

And it’s bringing its modern gothic-punk TTRPG friends in the World of Darkness along for the ride, too.

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Variety reports that Shadow and Bone’s Eric Heisserer and The Punisher’s Christine Boylan have been tapped by Paradox Interactive, the video game publisher behind the Vampire: The Masquerade—Bloodlines gaming franchise, and The Witcher/The Expanse production house Hivemind to develop the interconnected world of Vampire and the other gothic horror RPG settings in the World of Darkness for both film and TV.

White Wolf’s World of Darkness kicked off with Vampire as a tabletop game setting in 1991, casting players into the dark supernatural underbelly of warring vampiric clans, fighting in the shadows of contemporary America. The setting quickly spun off with other similar titles—Werewolf: The Apocalypse, Mage: The Ascension, Wraith: The Oblivion, and Changeling: The Dreaming, that did much the same for... well, werewolves, mages, ghosts, and shapeshifters. The universe was expanded upon for years before being rebooted as Chronicles of Darkness in 2004, only for the original World to return alongside Chronicles in 2011.

Should Heisserer and Boylan get anything off the ground for World of Darkness, it won’t be the first time the setting has made the leap outside of games. In the mid ‘90s, Fox briefly aired the short-lived Kindred: The Embraced, a drama series loosely inspired by Vampire, but it only ran for eight episodes. But whatever becomes of their plans for World of Darkness now, the producers want their ideas to focus on the diversity of characters that made Vampire and its sister series what they were.

“The World of Darkness story universe is deliberately and unapologetically inclusive and diverse,” Boylan said in a statement obtained by Variety. “It has always made a point of including equal gendered characters, protagonists and antagonists of every race, and representation of all creeds—bringing a female and diverse audience to gaming like nothing prior. Its games and fandom are a place where women, POC, and the LGBTQI community feel welcome and we are very proud to bring these stories to life.”

“The legacy of these stories is way ahead of its time, inviting issues and perspectives other games ignored,” Heisserer said in a statement of his own “This feels like the next step for genre.”

We’ll bring you more on their plans for World of Darkness as and when we learn them.

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James is a News Editor at io9, where you can find him delivering your morning spoilers, writing about superheroes, and having many feelings about Star Wars. He wants pictures. Pictures of Spider-Man!

DISCUSSION

collex
collex

My first reaction is: about time.

My second is: but it might be too late.

The original World of Darkness drips 90s from every pore. From the “gothic-punk” emphasis on rebellion, nonconformity and edginess to the end-of-the-millenium apocalyptic sentiment permeating every single game, to the “leather trenchcoat and katana” aesthetic, Vampire: the Masquerade is pure 90s.

That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, for me, it’s part of the appeal. I love the 90s cheese these games are filled with.

But unless you make the show a period piece à la Stranger Things (which wouldn't be a bad idea, actually), you'll need to adapt to bring the games kicking and screaming into 2021 and, well, I'm not quite sure anyone can pull that off. The 5th edition of Vampire certainly struggled a lot with it.