Over the years, there have been a lot of material promoting White Wolf’s World of Darkness (WoD) setting. And between now and at least early 2021, there are going to be three, possibly four, new video games released to further build this world. Those are Vampire: The Masquerade (VtM): Bloodlines 2, VtM: Swansong, Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood, and Wraith: The Oblivion – Afterlife. With the amount of content out there, it’s good to have entry points for frame of reference.
Before I dive into entry points though, the basics of the game(s) world is simple. The monsters we tell stories about like vampires, werewolves, ghosts, faeries, wizards, etc. exist – in our world. If it seems like there’s a lot of focus on VtM, that is the flagship line in WoD. Now, let’s find a vein and sink our teeth in a little.
Hunter: The Reckoning (Xbox/Gamecube)
Based on the WoD TTRPG of the same name, Hunter is simple. You’re playing as a hunter of monsters. The game takes place in the prison town of Ashcroft. Vampires have laid a feeding claim that has killed or embraced people, creating either wraiths or more vampires. You’re there to clean house. While the Gamecube version of this game was met with mixed critical and audience reviews, the Xbox version is still celebrated as being one of the best games for hack & slash adventures in the generation. In fact, it was popular enough that the original Hunter game was one of the first original Xbox games that made it into current Xbox backward compatibility.
VtM: Cotories of New York
VtM: Cotories of New York is a visual novel game. I know visual novels are niche and don’t appeal to everyone, but the approach is what’s important here. Either of the three storylines, depending on the character/clan you choose at the start, have the same premise. You are newly and illegally embraced. You are trying to make sense of the vampire society as it tries to bring your sire to justice. Aside from having a wealth of interesting characters and a great art style, there’s another thing that’s really important with Cotories. It gives you a nice dictionary of terms so that you understand at least the vampire side of the WoD. This also gives a really good view into the politics and infighting of the kindre.
In Redemption, you play as a church knight who gets embraced into the Brujah clan, essentially the philosopher-kings and rebels of the Vampires. The story starts in the twelfth century as a story of war and political strife. After the woman you love is kidnapped by a rival clan and a church is dropped in on your head, the story picks back up in 1999 and the story becomes something more about revenge against the vampire who has been defiling your kidnapped love for centuries. This game was met with mixed reviews. The big reason is that critics and gamers kept trying to compare it to games of a completely different style like Final Fantasy VII. However, at the Game Critics Awards in 1999, Redemption beat the original Deus Ex for Best RPG.
There are three to look out for. All three follow the same kind of set up as Critical Role, only following WoD and more specifically VtM instead of D&D. The three shows are LA by Night, Long Beach by Night, and Seattle by Night. All three feature great stories with in-depth characters, great acting, and an effective GM. They also allow some overlap with visiting players who occasionally delve into the other rulesets, like Werewolf. It gives some pretty good examples of the philosophies of the different factions at play.