It definitely looks like the World Of Darkness is having a great time with video games as of late as we have had so many shown off and updated on and also why I am here for Werewolf: The Apocalypse — Earthblood. This would be another of the IPs out there in the works, but one that we have known Cyanide Studio has been working on for a while now. So long that it has moved over to a different publisher, Bigben Interactive, but now is back with something more than basic concepts to show off. That is at least what I had a chance to check out while at E3 this year. Even if it was a very early build for this Werewolf game, it is still nice to actually get to see something in motion.
While Werewolf: The Apocalypse has its roots in a tabletop RPG arena, this version of the game seems to be moving away from that to something a bit more fitting for the franchise. It is more of an action brawler, from what I was able to see, with a few elements of the RPG side mixed in. That is not to say that it is just going to be one big werewolf wrecking everything in its path, Earthblood is still keeping all the setting aspects, but it will be a larger focus due to the nature of the franchise it is all based on. They are making a video game here and not a freeform tabletop game where we are only limited by our imaginations. Keep that in mind when we carry on.
In the small demo I did get to see here, it looks like we get to take on the role of a Ronin werewolf named Cahal that is being dragged back into the fight against the Wyrm due to his former pack going through something out of their control. Not much more was gone into on this story, even though the developer wanted to, but left it as basic as this to show off the mechanics of the game. The first area being an oil field that was being worked by some "unknown corporation" and Cahal needed to sneak in. This could be done easily by using two of the forms available in the game. Those being the human form and a full wolf form. Homid and Lupus for those fans of the tabletop version of Werewolf: The Apocalypse.
It looks like these will be our main forms to use during a good portion of the game when not raging out in full Crinos form. Both moving a bit more stealthy and able to get into places where the others cannot. There was also a bit of talk about the upgrade system that would allow for each form to get a few extra abilities along the way. For instance, a super sense for the wolf form that allowed for tracking and such. But as I mentioned, this was only part of the gameplay we have in Werewolf: The Apocalypse — Earthblood with the next being what will help move the game games into our libraries for certain.
After sneaking in and doing a few basic things, we transitioned into the titular form of the game as a full werewolf (Crinos). As you should have expected, this is where the full combat works in and we get to move about as the monster we have inside us. The character had a few combos it was able to use but it hit so hard that it never seemed to get to a stopping point. That is until you saw the Rage meter going up as each hit given and received filled up the gauge. Something that when filled up could spell the end of the character (game over) or the end of others around you (more on that below).
To reduce the Rage meter, it looked like there were various options along the way. There will be items in the world that will reduce it down, but the main way seems to be using it to fuel special attacks and moves. This added in a feature from the tabletop version of Werewolf: The Apocalypse that is easier to manage than the setting would let on. Think of it like a Mana gauge that if it is full you go nuclear, but almost everything you do fills it back up. This will keep us trying to find ways to reduce it in and out of combat but also make sure we have some in reserve to take on some of the more formidable foes out there.
The only "bigger" enemy I was able to see in my demo for Earthblood was a fully corrupted werewolf (BSD) and a human in a full mech suit. This is where the balance kept creeping back in as the normal attacks did some damage but being able to leap or charge for extra made quicker work of them both. With an amazing animation for taking down the fully corrupt werewolf to show that Cyanide Studio is not going to shy away from the gore this game should be filled with. Even with some of it still needing some polish along the way. Again, a very early build being shown and still a lot of time before 2020 when they aim to launch the game.
Now that I have been able to actually see Werewolf: The Apocalypse — Earthblood in action, I have to say it looks like a project of love from people who know the source material extremely well. In fact, I had to leave a few things out here as I was able to pick up on what they were going for without saying it, being a fan of the source material. If you are a fan of Werewolf: The Apocalypse I feel confident that this will be a game you will want to keep an eye on. If you are a fan of turning into a hulking beast while using a fun new mechanic to drive it all, you too will want to keep an eye on this one. This had to be one of the more impressive uses of the IP I have ever seen and it is still in a prenatal state.