White Wolf Publishing released its first two World of Darkness video games in more than a decade this week. Vampire the Masquerade: We Eat Blood and Mage the Ascension: Refuge won't scratch that Bloodlines itch, but as interactive fiction goes they're very cool.
Way back in my late teens I used to run a BBS (bulletin board system) based on White Wolf's World of Darkness role-playing game series. A friend and I put together Atlanta-By-Night, a board where fans of the game could dial in, create characters and use forums as role-playing locations, typing out their actions as lengthy prose.
So when White Wolf releases a pair of games that are basically the same bits of prose written by proper authors and illustrated by award-winning artists, I am in my element. As much as I am looking forward to the upcoming Werewolf: The Apocalypse video game, the Mage and Vampire games released this week for mobile platforms and Steam serve nicely.
The Vampire title, We Eat Blood (And All Our Friends Are Dead) is a coming of undeath story written and illustrated by Zak Sabbath and Sarah Horrocks. Told entirely through mobile messaging (so it works really nicely on the phone), it's the story of a young artist who wakes up to discover they're no longer human. I blame the Toreador. Always blame the Toreador.
It's a lovely way of combining today's technology with yesterday's horror stories. If you suddenly turned into a vampire, your texts would be pretty fucked up.
Meanwhile, on the Mage side of things, Refuge is the story of a volunteer at a European camp for Syrian refugees who discovers she can reshape reality on a whim. Also you're in the middle of a great magical war to determine the fate of the world. The story is by noted Swedish author of weird fiction Karin Tidbeck, who was an excellent choice.
This one is more of a "choose your own adventure" sort of thing, with choices helping determine how magic is applied to the situations you encounter.
In order to get across the strange and twisted nature and effects of magic on your character's world, Refuge employs some nifty visual distortions.
I love these two little games, and while I wish they were a bit longer, I'd be satisfied if White Wolf continued exploring the format, maybe delving into some other corners of the World of Darkness like Wraith and Changeling. It would certainly beat waiting nine years for an MMO to be cancelled.
Vampire the Masquerade: We Eat Blood and Mage the Ascension: Refuge are both available for purchase on iOS and Android devices, with a combined release on Steam.