Big Changes At White Wolf Following Controversy
  • Big Changes At White Wolf Following Controversy


    Following an online backlash regarding the content of their recent publications, White Wolf Publishing has just announced some big changes, including the suspension of the Vampire 5th Edition Camarilla and Anarch books, and a restructuring of management.




    White Wolf's Shams Jorjani made the following announcement about an hour ago:

    "Hello everyone,

    My name is Shams Jorjani, VP of Business Development at Paradox Interactive and interim manager at White Wolf Publishing. I wanted to inform you of some changes that will be implemented at White Wolf, starting immediately.

    Sales and printing of the V5 Camarilla and Anarch books will be temporarily suspended. The section on Chechnya will be removed in both the print and PDF versions of the Camarilla book. We anticipate that this will require about three weeks. This means shipping will be delayed; if you have pre-ordered a copy of Camarilla or Anarchs, further information will follow via e-mail.

    In practical terms, White Wolf will no longer function as a separate entity. The White Wolf team will be restructured and integrated directly into Paradox Interactive, and I will be temporarily managing things during this process. We are recruiting new leadership to guide White Wolf both creatively and commercially into the future, a process that has been ongoing since September.

    Going forward, White Wolf will focus on brand management. This means White Wolf will develop the guiding principles for its vision of the World of Darkness, and give licensees the tools they need to create new, excellent products in this story world. White Wolf will no longer develop and publish these products internally. This has always been the intended goal for White Wolf as a company, and it is now time to enact it.

    The World of Darkness has always been about horror, and horror is about exploring the darkest parts of our society, our culture, and ourselves. Horror should not be afraid to explore difficult or sensitive topics, but it should never do so without understanding who those topics are about and what it means to them. Real evil does exist in the world, and we canít ever excuse its real perpetrators or cheapen the suffering of its real victims.

    In the Chechnya chapter of the V5 Camarilla book, we lost sight of this. The result was a chapter that dealt with a real-world, ongoing tragedy in a crude and disrespectful way. We should have identified this either during the creative process or in editing. This did not happen, and for this we apologize.

    We ask for your patience while we implement these changes. In the meantime, letís keep talking. Iím available for any and all thoughts, comments and feedback, on shams.jorjani@paradoxinteractive.com."


    White Wolf is currently own by Paradox Interactive, who acquired the World of Darkness rights in 2015 from previous owner CCP (who you might know from Eve Online) whose plans for a WoD MMO failed to bear fruit.

    The recent Camarilla and Anarch books have met widespread criticism. The former, Camarilla, includes a section which appears to trivialise current real-life events in Chechnya, where the LGBTQ community is being persecuted, tortured, and murdered and uses that current tragedy as a backdrop for the setting. This comes after the company was forced to deny links to neo-Nazi ideology. White Wolf recently announced that "White Wolf is currently undergoing some significant transitions up to and including a change in leadership. The team needs a short time to understand what this means, so we ask for your patience as we figure out our next steps" and this appears to be the result of that decision.
    Comments 269 Comments
    1. ASchmidt's Avatar
      ASchmidt -
      I worked at CCP on the World of Darkness MMO, specifically on the web portal and social network that was designed to support the game. It's possible something changed since then but the idea that the people I worked with day in and day out on the World of Darkness could be even considered alt-right, fascist, fascist supporting, racist, or anti-LBGT is out right insane. In my first few days there, I was "warned" that the Icelanders might get a bit more friendly when they're drunk than we might expect as Americans and that if you pulled back or seemed uncomfortable, they'd take offense thinking that you were homophobic. This was from the straight guys! I wasn't just out as a gay man while I worked there, I was out as an HIV+ individual in the workplace. One of my co-workers began their transition there. I knew close to a dozen LGBT people working on the project in one way or another and there were enough of us, and we were so accepted, that we were talking about having our own float in the Pride parade in Atlanta (these discussions ended largely because of the layoffs that ultimately killed the WoD project).

      Of all the places I've ever worked in my over 30 years in software development, if I could go back to any of them and work there again... it would be CCP/White Wolf (they were merged at the time). It wouldn't even take conscious thought to make that decision.

      There were of course (given the size of the group) people who fell on the conservative side of things but they were WAY in the minority and even they were tremendously respectful of the differences and value of every other person there. I never once felt disrespected for being gay, nor did I ever hear of behavior I would have considered disrespectful.

      The idea that these charges are being leveled against White Wolf and the people there is mind-blowing to me. I simply cannot imagine the people I worked with being accused of the things they're being accused of.
    1. Derren's Avatar
      Derren -
      The hysteric internet mob strikes again...
    1. Henry's Avatar
      Henry -
      That must have been some serious fallout on the product mentioned. I don't follow World of Darkness any more (haven't since the early 2000s, truthfully) and I did catch wind of some potentially poor-taste stuff during the playtest phases through this site, but this recent business sounds like Paradox felt the need to come down on them HARD.

      Truthfully, sounds like the REAL end of White Wolf. "Brand Management only?" Ouch.
    1. LuisCarlos17f's Avatar
      LuisCarlos17f -
      The true key to can talk about intolerance and fanaticism is we have to respect the human dignity. If we don't this then reporting islamophobia, neonazism, xenophobia, racism or homophobia will never be enough, because today the rebel but tomorrow a new tyrant, sometimes worse than the last one. Trust nobody who self-proclaim defender of the freedom but show hate against people with different point of views. Please, do remember Robespierre, Jacobins and the French Terror, the brutal genocide in Lavendťe, Mao's cultural revolution or Spanish convents burnt in the 30's years. If we complain about tortures by Spanish Inquisition but we don't help Asia Bibi and we say nothing about capital punishment by the Pakistan anti-blasphemy law then we are a bunch of hypocrites. Without the respect for human dignity, the slave may become a new oppressor, like in the old movie "Conquest of the planet of the apes", or the Honored Mothers from the Frank Herbert's Dune Saga. Do you know George Orwell's Animal Farm?

      Books published by WW have got a lot of subtle propaganda, but this is useless if the Game Masters notice and change it totally, for example in the canon Pentex has a company, Homogeneity Incorporated, who promised to heal homosexuality but really created a special type of fomories, the normalites. In the Storyteller's table the background is changed, and Pentex sends hormones to transexuals to create those fomories. Many readers of WW are too cult to forget the Frankfurt School and Antonio Gramsci's plans to change western society's moral values.

      Have you thought anytime fiction work from current age, for example the teleseries "A Family Guy", "Preacher" or "The tail's maid", in the future will be so rejected like now Herge's "Tintin in the Congo", Disney's "song of the south" or the 1932 cartoon "Trader Mickey" (with Blackafrican cannibals)? Which TV channel would broadcast today Disney's "one of our dinosaurs is missing"?

      If we don't defend the respect of human dignity, they pillar of our rights, then our civilization and society would be like Joffrey Baratheon, that character from "Games of Thrones", so famous because with a crossbow... oh, sorry, I have to stop. Sansa Stark has asked me to feed her ex-husband Ramsay Bolton's dogs, they are so hungry as if they hadn't eaten in all a week.
    1. Jester David's Avatar
      Jester David -
      Jesus wept! What the heck is going on at White Wolf?!

      Okay, I read (and reviewed) the core rulebook and found some of the online controversy had been overblown. But their reaction to concerns online had still been extremely lacklustre. One would assume that they'd spend a little extra time looking at future products and really thinking about what they were adding to their books to avoid causing more drama and concerns. That something this big slipped through shows a staggering lack of oversight.

      Plus, one of the big moves in 2nd Edition Revised was purposely not attributing any human tragedies to vampires and other supernatural beings. So that the Holocaust and second world war were not the result of vampire schemes. A big deal was made in New York by Night that White Wolf was NOT going to make 9/11 a vampire's plot. But making the ongoing purges and tensions currently occurring in a real world location the result of vampiric machinations is very much the same thing. It's not okay just because the people being hurt or killed aren't the audience of the game book!

      Quote Originally Posted by ASchmidt View Post
      I worked at CCP on the World of Darkness MMO, specifically on the web portal and social network that was designed to support the game. It's possible something changed since then but the idea that the people I worked with day in and day out on the World of Darkness could be even considered alt-right, fascist, fascist supporting, racist, or anti-LBGT is out right insane.
      Read the article please.
      This is about a different controversy than the alt-right/ pro-fascist complaint.

      Quote Originally Posted by Derren View Post
      The hysteric internet mob strikes again...
      Have you READ the offending passages?

      It's taking the actual arrest and torture of human beings whose sole crime is being gay and turning that into a vampire created smokescreen (literally "fake new") to hide the feeding of vampires in the region and the control the nation by vampire clans.
      Read up on the issue. Here's a helpful starting point: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-g...es_in_Chechnya

      It's extremely tone deaf and insensitive to turning real life evil and an ongoing atrocity currently affecting dozens of individuals and their families into a plot point for roleplaying game. To make their suffering part of someone else's entertainment.
    1. Dire Bare's Avatar
      Dire Bare -
      Quote Originally Posted by ASchmidt View Post
      The idea that these charges are being leveled against White Wolf and the people there is mind-blowing to me. I simply cannot imagine the people I worked with being accused of the things they're being accused of.
      You do realize that CCP has no connection to White Wolf or the World of Darkness anymore, right? CCP sold White Wolf and all of its IP to Paradox. The people working on the World of Darkness now are not the same people who worked on CCP's failed MMO, or even the same people who worked at White Wolf back in the day when it was an independent company.
    1. jimmifett's Avatar
      jimmifett -
      Looks like more loud hysterics from ppl that don't even engage in a given hobby, ranting and screaming, have done in another thing that was hurting nobody, like gluten.

      Yes, thats a deadpool reference for the sarcastically impaired.
    1. Morrus's Avatar
      Morrus -
      And the usual suspects show up instantly like bad pennies. Thatís two of the trifecta. One to go. @jimmifett and @Derren, donít post again in this thread, please. Jimmifett, it would be nice if you posted about something else sometimes, but since as far as I can make out the only reason you post in this community is to decry any hint of inclusiveness, it's time for you to leave.
    1. Jer's Avatar
      Jer -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jester David View Post
      That something this big slipped through shows a staggering lack of oversight.
      Yeah, it sounds like the upper management at Paradox agree given the way the press release was written. I don't think I've ever seen a press release that so blatantly says "We screwed up bigtime, and the folks who are responsible for the screwup are getting replaced".

      And wow - the excerpts I read about the Chechnya stuff from the Camarilla sourcebook are just shocking. That anybody would think it was a good idea to publish something like that in a gamebook in 2018 is mind-boggling. I thought we left that kind of trivializing of real-world tragedy behind in the 1990s.
    1. Winghorn's Avatar
      Winghorn -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jester David View Post
      It's taking the actual arrest and torture of human beings whose sole crime is being gay and turning that into a vampire created smokescreen (literally "fake new") to hide the feeding of vampires in the region and the control the nation by vampire clans.
      Read up on the issue. Here's a helpful starting point: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-g...es_in_Chechnya

      It's extremely tone deaf and insensitive to turning real life evil and an ongoing atrocity currently affecting dozens of individuals and their families into a plot point for roleplaying game. To make their suffering part of someone else's entertainment.
      I was umm-ing and ahh-ing over a big ol' post, but I think this is a better summary than I could come up with.

      In any case, I'm real disappointed in the WW team. I was one of the folks who was turned off V5 by all the controversy over the beta (alpha? whatever), but was actually won back by the core book. It was a fairly solid piece of work, and the chapter on ensuring safe and comfortable play was pretty good.

      And then they go and do something like this. Bloody hell.
    1. CleverNickName's Avatar
      CleverNickName -
      This seems like a reasonable response to a reprehensible oversight.
    1. TrippyHippy's Avatar
      TrippyHippy -
      I think it should be noted that there had been an announcement prior to the Camarilla release about changes that were going to be made anyway. The likelihood is that sales weren't good enough for Paradox, which could be due to a number of factors (price range, distribution, etc) as well as concerns about controversy. Moreover, they may have surmised that if the new edition remained toxic to a section of vocal fans, building the brand into other media (which was the stated purpose of the new White Wolf company) was increasingly difficult.

      With regards to the Camarilla issue itself, there was a tendency of people to pick sides in tribal way ("Edgelord" v 'SJW") which was flatly inane. To me, it was an in character metaphor - no different to Black Sabbath referencing generals and politicians and 'witches at black masses' and 'sorcerers' in the 'War Pigs' vietnam protest song. I didn't see it as a literal report on what was going on - and so the idea that it was trying to spread 'fake news' is only going to be relevant to those people who think there are literally vampires in the world in the first place.

      The questions I have to people complaining - about the use of real world Chetchnyan persecution of the LGBT community as a reference point within the fictional world of Vampire - are these:

      1) How much did you actually know about the persecution of LGBT people in Chechnya before it was drawn to your attention by this White Wolf controversy?
      2) What are actually doing about it?

      Join Amnesty, or write letters to news organisations or whathave you. It's quite crazy that people are now citing the Chechnyan and Russian governments for the 'offense' of this written piece. White Wolf have been upturned, but what does this do for anyone?
    1. Panda-s1's Avatar
      Panda-s1 -
      Quote Originally Posted by TrippyHippy View Post
      The questions I have to people complaining - about the use of real world Chetchnyan persecution of the LGBT community as a reference point within the fictional world of Vampire - are these:

      1) How much did you actually know about the persecution of LGBT people in Chechnya before it was drawn to your attention by this White Wolf controversy?
      2) What are actually doing about it?

      Join Amnesty, or write letters to news organisations or whathave you. It's quite crazy that people are now citing the Chechnyan and Russian governments for the 'offense' of this written piece. White Wolf have been upturned, but what does this do for anyone?
      1) I've known about it since reports started coming in last year. It was big, heartbreaking news for the LGBT community at the time. How the else would it become a controversy if people didn't know about it?
      2) What am I actually doing about it? I dunno, supporting my LGBT community, not being a PoS about queer issues and related etiquette. Voting. Man, what have you done about it?

      3) (I mean you didn't number this one but w/e) It shows that Paradox Interactive is taking any and all criticism against the new White Wolf seriously and is willing to do something about it.
    1. Hussar's Avatar
      Hussar -
      Quote Originally Posted by TrippyHippy View Post
      /snip

      White Wolf have been upturned, but what does this do for anyone?
      Well, it sends a pretty clear message to anyone in the future that doing this sort of thing is a BAD idea. That using ongoing human tragedy for entertainment purposes is maybe not a great idea.

      That's certainly a plus.
    1. TrippyHippy's Avatar
      TrippyHippy -
      Quote Originally Posted by Panda-s1 View Post
      1) I've known about it since reports started coming in last year. It was big, heartbreaking news for the LGBT community at the time. How the else would it become a controversy if people didn't know about it?
      The person who actually started the petition about the contents has actually said he regrets doing so now. Moreover, I knew about it because I am a member of Amnesty, and we get reports like this - but plenty of other people, when asked, didn't know anything at all about it, till they were made aware of this particular White Wolf controversy.

      2) What am I actually doing about it? I dunno, supporting my LGBT community, not being a PoS about queer issues and related etiquette. Voting. Man, what have you done about it?
      As said above, I'm a paid up member of Amnesty and a school teacher. We organise certain charitable events and do letter writing for selected issues. You say 'voting', but which politician raised this issue?

      3) (I mean you didn't number this one but w/e) It shows that Paradox Interactive is taking any and all criticism against the new White Wolf seriously and is willing to do something about it.
      The point I am making is that the anger here may well cause a company to make changes, but this, in itself does nothing to help the victims. If people are angy enough to complain about a fictional representation of events, one would hope they could also channel that concern into the real world issues behind it.
    1. TrippyHippy's Avatar
      TrippyHippy -
      Quote Originally Posted by Hussar View Post
      Well, it sends a pretty clear message to anyone in the future that doing this sort of thing is a BAD idea. That using ongoing human tragedy for entertainment purposes is maybe not a great idea.

      That's certainly a plus.
      I don't agree. I think it's a concern that people will now feel it is too much of a risk to highlight real world events in art. People will feel that the only safe option is to stick with pure escapism, without any cultural reference.

      That is not a good state of affairs.
    1. Morrus's Avatar
      Morrus -
      Quote Originally Posted by TrippyHippy View Post
      If people are angy enough to complain about a fictional representation of events, one would hope they could also channel that concern into the real world issues behind it.
      If there's one thing that's apparent in today's world, it's that people channel a LOT of concern into real world issues.
    1. TrippyHippy's Avatar
      TrippyHippy -
      Quote Originally Posted by Morrus View Post
      If there's one thing that's apparent in today's world, it's that people channel a LOT of concern into real world issues.
      There is certainly a lot of concern - but I tend to find that a lot of it, these days, tends to get channelled into things that don't actually provide much progress. Attacking things that are 'offensive' increasingly seems to end up being tribalised. People petition against media presentation rather than source.

      The Chechnyan and Russian governments said they were offended by this piece of writing, yet they are the ones responsible for the persecution. The book has been removed, the actions against LGBT continue.

      In terms of using real world events for entertainment, it's worth noting that 'entertainment' can mean a lot of things and doesn't mean it is inherently 'making light' of a serious matter in a dismissive way. Notably, Death of Stalin was also banned in Russia this year too.
    1. Panda-s1's Avatar
      Panda-s1 -
      Quote Originally Posted by TrippyHippy View Post
      The person who actually started the petition about the contents has actually said he regrets doing so now. Moreover, I knew about it because I am a member of Amnesty, and we get reports like this - but plenty of other people, when asked, didn't know anything at all about it, till they were made aware of this particular White Wolf controversy.
      So now even more people know about it? Why is this a bad thing? What is there to regret?

      As said above, I'm a paid up member of Amnesty and a school teacher. We organise certain charitable events and do letter writing for selected issues. You say 'voting', but which politician raised this issue?

      The point I am making is that the anger here may well cause a company to make changes, but this, in itself does nothing to help the victims. If people are angy enough to complain about a fictional representation of events, one would hope they could also channel that concern into the real world issues behind it.
      No I asked what you're doing about it. What have these "charitable events" and letters done? I can escalate this to its inevitable conclusion: Why aren't you in Chechnya doing something about this? Why aren't you taking up arms and overthrowing the government?

      Also, idk how you're questioning how voting can affect this issue just because politicians didn't bring up the issue specifically. Voting for LGBT positive candidates, does that help?

      Quote Originally Posted by TrippyHippy View Post
      I don't agree. I think it's a concern that people will now feel it is too much of a risk to highlight real world events in art. People will feel that the only safe option is to stick with pure escapism, without any cultural reference.

      That is not a good state of affairs.

      No, no, that's not the controversy. The controversy isn't highlighting a real world event, it's trivializing it. Either you don't get this point and need to better understand the controversy, or you do and should just take your concern trolling elsewhere.
    1. TrippyHippy's Avatar
      TrippyHippy -
      Quote Originally Posted by Panda-s1 View Post
      So now even more people know about it? Why is this a bad thing? What is there to regret?
      The regretful thing is that I don't think people will continue to think about it now that the relevance to a gaming product has been rescinded.

      No I asked what you're doing about it. What have these "charitable events" and letters done? I can escalate this to its inevitable conclusion: Why aren't you in Chechnya doing something about this? Why aren't you taking up arms and overthrowing the government?
      They have provided awareness and funds towards groups that have a lot more know-how about how to pressurise and influence governments - despite it always being an uphill battle - than people who seem to think violent revolution is an answer to everything.

      Also, idk how you're questioning how voting can affect this issue just because politicians didn't bring up the issue specifically. Voting for LGBT positive candidates, does that help?
      What LGBT candidates, that have stood on this platform, are you referring to?

      No, no, that's not the controversy. The controversy isn't highlighting a real world event, it's trivializing it. Either you don't get this point and need to better understand the controversy, or you do and should just take your concern trolling elsewhere.
      Firstly, I'm not trolling - and that is immediately trying to use ad hominem here. Secondly, this was not trivialising a real world event - any more than Pan's Labrynth was 'trivialising' the Spanish Ciivil war with a fairy tale, or Black Sabbath was trivialising the Vietnam war by singing about 'witches at black masses', or Death of Stalin was trivialising one of the most murderous regimes in history, or a whole multitude of writings and works.

      This piece was taking a real world event and interpreting it within a fictional setting framework. You could argue that it is clumsy - apparently the editing had been compromised according to some, where it was made more apparent that the statements were being made by an unreliable author. However, it is not 'fake news' to purport that vampires are involved in the situation - it's clearly a work of fiction.
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