If you’ve ever looked at the mess it is Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 and thought to himself, “I could do better than that”, here’s your big chance to prove it. Paradox Interactive has launched a new independent publishing program called not bound which allows independent developers to create games set in the Vampire: The Masquerade universe and earn money from them if they want to.
The program grew out of the success of Vampire Jellya game jam that attracted more than 80 entries – six of which will be launched alongside the Unbound program.
“After the Vampire Jam last year, we realized how passionate our community is about creating Vampire: The Masquerade games,” said World of Darkness community developer Martyna Zych.
“While we could only give Heartless Lullaby one big award, we knew we had to create a platform that empowers our community to work on the projects they love, giving them the support they need to succeed. As long as World of Darkness fans continue to do great, games, there will be more titles coming via Unbound.”
Of course, the Unbound program is not an open program for everyone. Unlinked games can only be offered on Itch.io (there is a unlinked page already exists) and developers cannot raise funds through crowdfunding or personal pages, although funding through methods allowed by the Dark Pack Agreement, including Patreon, YouTube, and Twitch, are doing well. Games must be set in the Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition story world, but will not be considered officially canon in the World of Darkness universe, and in fact cannot have Vampire: The Masquerade or World of Darkness in the title. They can be historical or contemporary, but they have to take place in the “real world” anyway – no sci-fi, high fantasy or steampunk, for example.
Paradox will also keep 33% of any revenue earned from Unbound games. That’s a big cut – more than Steam takes – though no doubt fair given the free access to the Vampire license. Developers, on the other hand, will retain ownership of all game assets that do not use World of Darkness ownership and are free to sell them in art books, soundtracks, or anything else.
“You don’t have to be an experienced developer or game development studio to participate – we allow everyone to participate, from the creators of their first game to more experienced teams,” said Paradox.
These are the first six Vampire Jam games released in the Unbound program:
- descent: Survival horror adventure set in an old cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Find out who the inhabitants are and stay safe as you discover the terrifying story. You can check out a trailer for DESCENT on here.
- CHANTRY’S EVIDENCE: A puzzle game with horror elements where the protagonist undergoes various “tests” to prove himself worthy as a Vampire of the Tremere clan.
- THE GAME OF THE ELDERS: A strategic card game with many options to try out. Play as an Elder Vampire who uses all available resources to survive.
- THE PEOPLE OF AUTUMN: First-person shooter that encourages exploration to discover its history, set in the modern nightlife of Phoenix, AZ.
- PRACTICE: A mix of 4X strategy and RPG where you rise to the top of the Vampire hierarchy in Portland, Oregon. Build a circle of like-minded Kindred, gather information and influence, and claim Praxis!
- PRODIGAL: Delve into a rotten mansion and its twisted psyche to uncover the truth of its memories in a point-and-click adventure in Vampire: The Masquerade.
Interestingly, the grand prize winner, heartless lullaby, not part of the program: It is currently available on Steam, where it carries the official title of Vampire: The Masquerade. Other Vampire Jam entries may appear on the Unbound schedule later if their developers choose to submit them for consideration.
If you’re curious to submit your own work for consideration, or just want to see what it’s all about, all the relevant information, including the application form and detailed licensing agreement, is available at worldofdarkness.com.