Paradox Interactive has made their Vampire: The Masquerade license available to all developers to use under the new World of Darkness: Unbound program.
World of Darkness is a widely-known franchise of tabletop role-playing games. A mixture of gothic horror and urban fantasy, its systems allow players to take the role of vampires, werewolves, and even mages of the modern-day, as well as numerous other cursed creatures and those who fight against them.
Historically, the franchise was always highly welcoming to fans and content creators. Through its Dark Pact Agreement program, the producers outlined rules that defined which aspects of the setting and its systems could be used in derivative works. This included instances of when and where official logos had to be used, as well as in what ways creators could profit off their fan productions; however, this agreement didn’t include video games as an accepted form of independent content.
This has since changed with the current owners of the franchise, Paradox Interactive, creating the World of Darkness: Unbound license. For now, the new program is limited to the 5th edition system of Vampire: The Masquerade, letting developers create games involving the latest incarnation of the vampire world and its gameplay mechanics.
The World of Darkness: Unbound license gives developers a large dose of freedom, making it possible to create games that can adhere to the lore as much or as little as developers prefer; however, studios will face limitations in terms of distribution, as games under the license can only be sold on Itch.io. Titles can be distributed either for free or priced at $5.99 or more, with Paradox taking a 33% cut of the net revenues. The company also claims the right to all assets derivative of the licensed property, while creators maintain their rights to all unique elements present in their games. For instance, a 3D model of a specific Vampire: The Masquerade character from the official lore would be considered Paradox’s property, while an original soundtrack would belong solely to the game’s developer.
To see the full extent of what the World of Darkness: Unbound license permits, we’ve contacted the current Brand Community Developer Outstar with questions regarding the use of the license for the production of erotic works. Presently, there are no imposed restrictions on mature content. As such, it’s completely permissible to create eroge set in the Vampire: The Masquerade universe under the license, whether it's visual novels, action games, or sex simulators. As the games can only be distributed through Itch.io, the games still have to fall in line with the storefront’s own terms of service. Developers are expected to clearly describe content present in their games and implement age gates and content warnings as necessary.
The first round of independent games set in the Vampire: The Masquerade universe have already been made as part of the Vampire Jam last year, predating the World of Darkness: Unbound license. From October to November 2021, developers could create Vampire: The Masquerade 5th edition games under the wider Dark Pack Agreement. Community reception to the initiative was highly positive, with over 80 games submitted throughout the month. Given the game jam’s success, the team decided to allow fans to create video games based on the IP without any time restrictions, bringing about the eventual creation of the World of Darkness: Unbound license.
You can learn more about World of Darkness: Unbound on the official website, where you will find the licensing agreement PDF. For other questions regarding the license, you can join the official Dark Pack Community Discord.
Keep an eye out for more news stories by following us on Twitter.
If you’d like to support LewdGamer directly, consider donating to our SubscribeStar.