world of darkness

Vampires, werewolves, and wizards, oh my! A world populated with them will soon be hitting the big and small screens, thanks to the team behind The Witcher. Producing team Eric Heisserer (Shadow and Bone) and Christine Boylan (The Punisher) and the production company behind The Witcher are developing a World of Darkness universe, based on tabletop gaming franchise, for film and TV.

Variety reports that married writer-producers Heisserer and Boylan and the production company Hivemind, behind such genre hits as The Witcher and The Expanse, have teamed up with game publisher Paradox Interactive to develop the World of Darkness story universe for film and television.

Originally created by Mark Rein-Hagen for White Wolf Publishing, the World of Darkness began as a 1991 tabletop roleplaying game titled Vampire: The Masquerade. The World of Darkness soon expanded to include properties like Werewolf: The Apocalypse, Mage: The Ascension, Orpheus, and Hunter: The Reckoning. Soon it would forge beyond the tabletop world, spawning video games, comic books, novels, virtual reality games, and card and board games.

The thing about World of Darkness is that it’s a “universe” in the purest sense of the word, letting players play with the vast sci-fi/fantasy world interconnected via a cadre of monsters that live amongst humanity. The main selling point of World of Darkness is the complicated moral decisions players must make while playing as these monsters, and the diversity of race, gender, and sexuality built into the games.

“The World of Darkness story universe is deliberately and unapologetically inclusive and diverse,” Boylan said in a statement. “It has always made a point of including equal gendered characters, protagonists and antagonists of every race, and representation of all creeds — bringing a female and diverse audience to gaming like nothing prior. Its games and fandom are a place where women, POC, and the LGBTQI community feel welcome and we are very proud to bring these stories to life.”

Added Heisserer, “The legacy of these stories is way ahead of its time, inviting issues and perspectives other games ignored. This feels like the next step for genre.”

Heisserer has been on a roll recently, currently working as showrunner and executive producer of the (very good) YA fantasy series Shadow and Bone, which has proven to be Netflix’s latest new hit. He’s an Oscar-nominated screenwriter for penning the 2016 sci-fi movie Arrival, and has also written the Netflix hit Bird Box. Boylan has also written on several TV series including The Punisher, Cloak and Dagger, and more. With the pair of them working with the company behind The Witcher, it’s likely that they could turn out another big genre hit — especially because the sandbox of World of Darkness allows them so much freedom.

There are no distribution deals yet for the World of Darkness universe. The team plans to announce specific titles over the next year.

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