Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 is set to come out next year, and is the perfect game for those who like subtlety, stealth, and refinement. But what about the people who are more into action and repressed rage? The answer is another RPG based on the World of Darkness universe: Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood.
While the Vampire: The Masquerade has always gotten the most love out of the World of Darkness series of RPGs – and is getting not one, but two games this year – Werewolf: The Apocalypse is getting an adaptation in the form of Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood. In a combination stealth/action brawler game slated to come out sometime in 2020, you play as a werewolf eco-warrior who struggles against his bestial nature as he fights against the evil industrialists that are destroying the natural world.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood was announced in January of 2017, following the purchase of World of Darkness publisher White Wolf by Paradox Interactive in 2015. It was then passed around between studios; it was originally slated to be published by Focus Home Interactive, but switched to Cyanide SA, who is developing the final version of the game.
Cyanide showed off a promising pre-alpha demo of Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood at this year’s E3. It features many elements of Cyanide’s earlier stealth game Styx: Shards of Darkness, but also includes a fully original combat system. The system superficially resembles a arcade brawler, but with some twists that keep it unique.
The demo also debuted the Rage mechanic, which acts as the central mechanical and thematic feature of the game. Cahal, the main character, continually fights against the beast inside him, which is represented by his Rage meter. Rage can be increased in many ways: being to close to irritating tinnitus-inducing power generators, making the wrong choices in conversation, and using stealth without doing anything to relieve your animalistic anger. As your Rage rises, you get more options in combat and social encounters, but if it maxes out you succumb to corruption and the beast inside you comes out, turning you into a raging werewolf until everyone in the area is dead. You can lower your Rage in a number of ways, including the catharsis of just punching someone in the face in the middle of conversation.
However promising the demo seems, Cyanide is not necessarily a studio that inspires confidence. Their longest running series, which makes up about half of their published games, is the Pro Cycling Manager series. Several of the other games that they have made are other sports management games. In fairness, Cyanide does also have a few roleplaying games to its name, but they received mostly mixed reviews. It’s not clear whether fans of Werewolf: The Apocalypse should be worried that Cyanide was tapped as developer for this adaptation.
Still, so far the gameplay we’ve seen is promising, and the Rage mechanic distinguishes it from other RPGs while offering unique experiences in combat and dialog. If Cyanide continues to make more of what we’ve seen so far, Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood will be an engaging and exciting game.