The legendary tabletop RPG games that make up the World of Darkness are set to conquer their next medium. Hivemind, the studio behind Netflix’s The Witcher, has partnered with Paradox Interactive, which owns the World of Darkness IP, to develop a cinematic universe that will feature films and TV shows. Eric Heisserer (Arrival) is on board with the show alongside writer-producer Christine Boylan, who co-executive produced The Punisher and Cloak and Dagger.
The tabletop franchise has an extended universe already built in from its plethora of releases including Vampire: The Masquerade, Werewolf: The Apocalypse, Mage: The Ascension, Orpheus, and Hunter: The Reckoning. They’ve also already spawned a series of successful (or not) video games, card games, and comic books. World of Darkness mixes supernatural elements with a kind of goth/punk style that sat nicely in the ’90s when it was first created but might have trouble connecting with larger audiences if the creators decide to keep the style for movies and TV. It appears that the films and shows will have the same heavy focus on inclusion that the games did as well.
“The World of Darkness story universe is deliberately and unapologetically inclusive and diverse,” said Boylan. “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.”
“Eric and Christine are among the most extraordinary creators working today,” said Hivemind president and co-founder Jason Brown, “and they’re also gamers who have played in WOD since it began. It’s a rare opportunity when the connection between storyteller and story runs this deep, and that is the alchemy which has led to many of our favorite and most culturally resonant franchises.”
It’s a tough business launching a cinematic universe, and nearly every studio that has tried outside of Marvel and Universal (Fast and Furious) has failed miserably. In fact, Universal attempted a semi-similar thing with its quickly defunct Dark Universe, which featured supernatural creatures from its classic films. However, with the built-in following World of Darkness already has and some of the better storylines from the series, this could work.