Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood
|Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood|
|Series||Werewolf: The Apocalypse|
|Engine||Unreal Engine 4|
Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood is an upcoming action role-playing video game developed by Cyanide and published by Bigben Interactive. It is set in the World of Darkness, and is based on White Wolf Publishing's tabletop role-playing game Werewolf: The Apocalypse. The game is planned for release in 2020 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
The story follows Cahal, an eco-terrorist werewolf who has been banished from his werewolf clan, and who fights against the vampire-led Pentex corporation and the pollution it causes. The player, as Cahal, traverses areas in the American Northwest, and can shapeshift into a wolf, human or werewolf form to perform various tasks, such as exploration, conversation and combat.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood is a third-person, single-player action role-playing game in which the player takes the role of an eco-terrorist werewolf. The player explores various areas in the American Northwest, in the form of large hub worlds. Within these areas, the player plays through missions, which may have affects on the game world, including leading to secondary missions getting unlocked. The player also goes to Penumbra, a place between the physical world and the spirit world, where they can receive sidequests or challenges from the Great Spirit of the Waterfall, who gives the player rewards for completing them, such as opening shortcuts between areas.
The werewolf is a shapeshifter, and can take on the forms of a wolf and a human in addition to his werewolf form. Each form has its own gameplay mechanics tied to it: the wolf form is used for exploration, tracking, spying, and stealth, as well being able to pass through narrow passages; the human form is used for interactions, such as using machines and conversing with people; and the werewolf form is used for combat. When in the human form, other characters are not aware that the player character really is a werewolf, allowing the player to go undercover. The player develops the werewolf through a skill tree, where they can choose between different archetypes connected to different weaknesses and strengths. The player also has access to various supernatural power-ups, which are drawn from nature.
The gameplay involves management of the player character's rage: the werewolf's rage rises as he learns about problems humans have caused, such as pollution and greed. If the player lets the werewolf's rage overflow, the werewolf will enter a frenzy state and turn into a violent, monstrous beast. When in the frenzy state, the werewolf is more powerful, but also finds it more difficult to parse information, such as whether a character is an enemy or an innocent, and will draw the attention of enemies. Once in the frenzy state, the only way to break out of it is to kill all who are present, regardless of if they are enemies or not.
Earthblood takes place in the American Northwest, and is set in the World of Darkness, where supernatural beings, such as vampires and werewolves, secretly struggle for power. The world is ruled by three entities: Gaïa, a chaotic, creative force that creates life and oversees nature; the Weaver, which orbits Gaïa, organizing Earth, and is trying to fix human expansion despite how it has become too much for it to handle; and the Wyrm, which originally existed as a balancing force between Gaïa and the Weaver, but which has become like a black hole trying to destroy everything due to how big the Weaver has gotten, and which corrupts humans easily.
The game focuses on werewolves, known as Garou, whose nation consist of thirteen tribes called clans. Whereas vampires integrate into human societies, werewolves are recluses, and are portrayed as the "immune system of the planet", working to protect nature. Different clans have different views on how to achieve this and how to deal with humanity: for example, the Glass Walkers think that humanity can get out of environmental problems with the use of technology; the Black Furies fight for feminism, women's rights and gender equality; the Bone Gnawers care about social class and fight for economically oppressed people; and the Get of Fenris would like to wage war against humanity to see who will survive. Due to their varying perspectives, there is a lot of in-fighting between the clans.
The game follows the werewolf Cahal, who has been banished from his tribe, the familial Fianna tribe of Irish werewolves, but returns to protect it and master his rage after something has happened to his son. On his quest for redemption, he partakes in the Great War of the Garou to fight the powerful, vampire-run Pentex corporation, which causes pollution and environmental problems, and which knowingly serves the Wyrm to tap into its power.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood is being developed by Cyanide in the game engine Unreal Engine 4, with cooperation from White Wolf Publishing to help make the game stay true to White Wolf's Werewolf: The Apocalypse tabletop role-playing game that Earthblood is based on. The game is directed by Julien Desourteaux, with Martin Ericsson serving as lead writer. The entire level design team from Cyanide's earlier game Styx: Shards of Darkness is also working on Earthblood, and there are according to Desourteaux a lot of things carrying over from Shards of Darkness into Earthblood, although they had to develop combat from scratch.
Prior to the start of development of the game, the developers considered various genres for an adaptation of Werewolf: The Apocalypse, such as a brawler or an isometric role-playing game, before deciding on an action role-playing game. Early questions they asked, that would form the game, included "When will you rage?", "When will you use violence?", "When will you have had enough?", and "What is the price of changing the world through violence?"; they wanted to avoid giving out answers considered correct, and wanted to let the player think about it for themselves and come up with answers.
According to Desourteaux, this question of rage management is the main theme of the game; a branching narrative was considered to facilitate the exploration of these questions, but eventually the developers decided on a largely linear story with minor branches. Ericsson described the game as being strongly focused on its narrative, and therefore having a defined protagonist, and a fixed story with themes such as family, estrangement, cynicism, and idealism.
Pre-production of the game began around late 2016, following Paradox Interactive's purchase of White Wolf in 2015, and the game was announced in January 2017. It was originally set to be published by Focus Home Interactive, but switched publishers to Bigben Interactive in 2018 following Bigben's purchase of Cyanide. It was presented for the first time at E3 2019 in Los Angeles in June 2019.
The game was well received at E3 2019, with critics appreciating the combat, the rage management, and the free-form shapeshifting; Paste called it one of their favorite games from E3 2019, and The Washington Post called it one of the under-the-radar games from E3 2019 worth being excited about.
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