The World of Darkness – the game universe that White Wolf released for the popular tabletop RPG series Vampire: The masquerade, Werewolf: The Apocalypseand many others – could step back into the light of television and movies at some point in the future.
As Variety notes, this is an early-stage deal – no individual shows or films have been announced, nor are there any distributors at the moment. But given the intellectual property gold rush with a lot of spin-off potential and Heisserer’s recent success as creator and showrunner of Netflix Shadows and bones
Longtime World of Darkness fans probably know this wouldn’t be the first attempt to bring his horror attitude to screens. This distinction goes on Relatives: Those who are hugged, a short-lived drama from 1996 that aired on Fox and was canceled after eight episodes.
A successful World of Darkness movie or TV franchise could be incredibly interesting as the role-playing games that spawned it are adult-oriented affairs that defy mainstream appeal. Vampire: The masquerade is an urban horror fantasy in which you play role-playing games as a member of a sophisticated vampire society, wrestling with intrigue and politics and your character’s vampiric instincts. The games can go to pretty dark places, and among consenting gamers, that’s part of the appeal.
But the nervous nature of the world of darkness has also created significant controversy, especially in 2018. Paradox broke up due to the backlash on some of its content, seen as ties to the ideology of the white supremacists, as well as exploiters of real tragedies that involve the repression of LGBTQ residents in Chechnya.
For their part, Boylan and Heisserer emphasize the world of darkness as an inclusive and diverse fictional backdrop. The version they ultimately produce may live up to that description, even if the tabletop games haven’t done the best job promoting the environment they are hoping for. It’s unlikely we’ll see show announcements from this deal for at least a year or two, but it will be interesting to see what game, what setting, and what era of the world of darkness they want to explore.