Paradox Gives Official Blessing to Vampire: The Masquerade Fangames
Vampire: The Masquerade Video game publisher Paradox Interactive has announced a program that allows fans to create, publish and profit from video games set in the dark, urban gothic universe of the pen and paper RPG.
paradox said the unrelated program was inspired by the success of the recent Vampire jamduring which nearly 90 developers had a month to create games based on Vampire: The Masqueradeit isworld of darkness mythos. “Although we can only award one grand prize to heartless lullabywe knew we needed to create a platform for our community to work on the projects they love while giving them the support they need to succeed,” world of darkness Community developer Martyna Zych said in a statement.
Developers who participate in the Unbound Program will receive “a personal, non-exclusive, non-transferable, non-sublicensable, royalty-bearing right and license” to the world of darkness IP “to develop, locate, publish, sell, distribute, promote and advertise” their game, according to an extended license agreement.
In exchange, Paradox will take a 33% cut in net revenue generated from all Unbound games. Developers can, however, contribute additional funds through donations or by posting content to Youtube or Twitch as noted. in Paradox’s “Dark Pack” Content Agreement. The developers also retain the rights to all original art and music they create for the game, which can be reused or resold as they see fit.
Unrelated developers can’t do whatever they want with the world of darkness IP, however. Games should be submitted to Paradox for reviewand the publisher will ensure that titles do not use the world of darkness “in a manner deemed socially or educationally harmful.” Unrelated games also cannot include the use of “hazardous substances” or “cause damage when used”.
While real-world historical settings are allowed, submission guidelines prohibit mixing into other fantasy settings such as “science fiction, steampunk, cyberpunk, or similar” in 5th Edition rules. The terms “Vampire: The Masquerade” or “World of Darkness” also cannot appear in the game’s title, presumably to avoid branding confusion with Paradox’s own titles or other official merchandise.
Games published through Unbound can only be distributed on the independent platform itch.io, which already hosts a handful of these games from the Vampire Jam. Unrelated games may be offered for free, but those that charge money must cost at least $5.99, for some reason.
Paradox promises “a streamlined launch process” for games submitted through Unbound and says developers should follow up if their game isn’t approved within 10 business days. The paradox also holds out the possibility of “additional marketing support from world of darkness” for some program titles.
Paradox’s efforts to create a legal setup for developers to enjoy games based on their licensed IP go a little further than most video game publishers. While publishers like Sega and Capcom have historically not taken action against fangames based on their popular properties, this generally only applies “as long as no profit is involved”, as sonic the hedgehog Social Media Manager Katie Chrzanowski said last may. On the other end of the spectrum, publishers like Nintendo can be downright overbearing in enforcing their intellectual property rights against fan-made titles that use its characters.