With the flurry of various Vampire: The Masquerade games coming out, such as Swansong and Bloodhunt, it is clear that the bloodsuckers are back in full force. However, for players who feel that the games are not exactly what they want, Paradox Interactive is giving you the chance to make that right. The launch of the new indie publishing program Unbound will open the gates for developers to create games set in the Vampire: The Masquerade universe.
Obviously, the license going free in this manner comes with some caveats. Games created under the Unbound label will only be made available on Itch.io, and while developers can retain up to 67% of monetized projects, funds cannot be raised via crowdfunding or personal outreach. Funding through methods like Patreon, YouTube, and Twitch are still allowed under the Dark Pack agreement.
On the lore side of things, games will have to be set in the Vampire: The Masquerade 5th edition story world, and titles are not allowed to have the terms Vampire: The Masquerade or World of Darkness in them, making them not part of the canon. The setting can be historical or contemporary, but ultimately takes place in the real world, so no crazy sci-fi vampires running about.
While the 33% cut taken by Paradox might seem high, the free license alleviates that somewhat. Plus, developers are able to keep all game assets that do not utilize World of Dark property, which can then be turned into other revenue streams.
Having been born out of a game jam called the Vampire Jam, the Unbound publishing initiative will see several games launch under its umbrella first:
- Descent – A survival horror adventure set in an old cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains occupied by vampires. Play as detective Brant investigating some suspicious murders in North Carolina as you find yourself in an old cabin in the mountains, and uncover the events of the last few weeks in this mysterious haven.
- Prodigal – A point and click adventure that dives deeper into the history of a rotting mansion and your forgotten memories.
- The Autumn People – A snippet of a much larger story that spans centuries, players will jump into a first-person shooter where things don’t turn out quite as planned.
- The Chantry Trials – A short horror puzzle game in the Vampire: The Masquerade setting, where you play as a young Tremere initiate undergoing his first round of trials to determine his worthiness of The Blood.
- The Game of Elders – A card game that provides plenty of room for experimentation when it comes to strategic play.
- Praxis – Set in Portland, Oregon, fight your way to the top through a mixture of roleplaying and 4X strategy elements in this game.
The actual winner of the Vampire Jam, Heartless Lullaby, is not part of the offerings under Unbound. Instead, you can find it on Steam as a free-to-play game with official Vampire: The Masquerade branding.
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