E3 2017: CyanideWerewolf: The Apocalypse Seeks to Bring World of Darkness to Life - Dread Central
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E3 2017: CyanideWerewolf: The Apocalypse Seeks to Bring World of Darkness to Life

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Werewolf: The Apocalyse

If you’re a fan of getting together with friends, cranking out some character sheets, and rolling some dice, then chances are you are a familiar with at least one of White Wolf’s “World of Darkness” games. The big three—Vampire: The MasqueradeMage: The Ascension, and Werewolf: The Apocalypse—have millions of fans between them. While never attaining the popularity of the one-and-only Dungeons and Dragons, plenty of players prefer the expansive lore and deep roleplay that World of Darkness has to offer. Unfortunately, World of Darkness has made scant few appearances in the world of video games. You’d have to go back to 2004’s cult classic Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines to find the most recent rendition. I have absolutely no idea why the property was left idle for so long (it might have something to do with the franchise rebooting and rebranding a couple of times), but the early demise of Troika Games left the promising Bloodlines in an ultimately unfinished state. If you haven’t ever checked it out, you really should. Over a decade of fan patches and mods have left the game a wonderful patchwork of amateur passion and idealism.

Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines

Though nothing can—nor should—ever fix this dancing.

A long time coming, the White Wolf World of Darkness is once again being brought to life in video game form. This time, it’s Cyanide Studio at the helm, and the world of Werewolf: The Apocalypse gracing our screens. Judging by the amount of questions I got about it at E3, the fans could not be happier. Seriously. I got more questions from other attendees about the secretive Werewolf: The Apocalypse than I did any of my other appointments. This has never happened to me before, but I would have strings of people come up to me as I stood in line to ask me what I found out about it. I’ll admit there was an air of mystique about it; without any trailer premier, it was featured on the Focus Home Interactive display and only available for private press interviews. I don’t think that the people at Focus knew just what kind of fan fascination this title would stir up.

Werewolf: The Apocalyse

This was seriously all of it.

Well now, here I am to let you all know what I know. Which admittedly, is not much. I got to speak with Game Director Julien Desourteaux, who told me everything he was able to about Werewolf: The Apocalypse. Mainly, that it’s still in prototype phase, has no release date, and they want to do lots and lots with it. Alright, that’s all folks! See you later!

I mostly kid, but I really don’t have a lot to actually show you about the game. Conceptually, Werewolf: The Apocalypse will focus on the interaction between Garou (werewolves) and humans. The expansion of technology and industrialization has forced the spirit realm into smaller and smaller pockets, and the Garou that defend them are unsure of how to deal with it. I mean, you could just eat all the humans, but that might not be very good for your soul. You could reason with them, but it’s really hard to stop the march of progress with words. What kind of Garou you’ll be, and how you ultimately deal with the human threat, is up to you.

Werewolf: The Apocalypse

Gameplay will split between three main werewolf forms. There’s the humanoid form, best for diplomacy and trying to interact with the human world. Then you have the wolf form, which gives you increased mobility and tunes you in more acutely with the spirit world. The third form is for combat, a hulking mass of flesh and fur that’s great for ripping things apart. A core element between the forms is managing your rage, which will cause you to frenzy when it boils over. Frenzy turns you into the ultimate unrestrained killing machine, unstoppable in combat but unable to distinguish between friend and foe. It isn’t the same, “hand your character sheet over to the DM,” that it was in the pen-and-paper, but rest assured that there will be consequences to letting the beast take over.

Werewolf: The Apocalypse

I also got to see a working mock-up of Werewolf: The Apocalypse‘s map, which you’ll be able to explore in a semi-open fashion. Rather than a true open world, you’ll be able to tackle each zone and resolve its issues in an order of your choosing. Each will be its own instanced area with a border, but that doesn’t mean that what happens in one won’t effect the others. It’s all glued together by a central massive forest hub, where the Garou will roam freely and commune with the spirits. The example Julien gave me of how this communion would work was a hypothetical quest given to you by the spirit of a waterfall. If you do what it wants (say, shut down the coal mine polluting the river), it will let you travel up the waterfall like a super industrious salmon.

Werewolf: The Apocalypse

Now this is normally the time I’d point to the studio’s pedigree as evidence for how the game might end up, but Cyanide hasn’t really come out with anything like this before. They have done RPGs before with Of Orcs and Men and A Game of Thrones, but neither can compare to what they are trying to do with Werewolf: The Apocalypse. I liked Styx 1 &2, so that gives me confidence. With no release date announced, there’s plenty of time to see how this will shape up. For fans, I think the fact that there’s something in the works from a developer that clearly knows and cares about the property is what matters. So what about you folks? Fans of World of Darkness? Ever try out Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines? What kind of thing are you looking for in your ideal Werewolf: The Apocalypse game? Let me know below!

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Fearsome Facts

Fearsome Facts – Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966)

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Sir Christopher Lee returned to portray the charismatic count of Transylvania in Hammer’s Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966) for the first time since taking on the iconic role in 1958’s Horror of Dracula – an eight year absence. 

And while Lee endured a love/hate relationship playing the Carpathian Count over the years, the actor reluctantly tackled the role a total of 10 times for the Silver Screen. Three of those performances came outside of the purview of Hammer Horror, but this list is dedicated to the first Hammer Dracula sequel to feature the return of Christopher Lee in the lead role.

Now, here are 5 Things You May Not Know About Dracula: Prince of Darkness.

5. Dracula: Speechless

Dialogue never played a crucial part in Christopher Lee’s portrayals as Count Dracula, but this film is the epitome of that contentious notion. Lee doesn’t utter a single word during Dracula: Prince of Darkness’ 90 minutes of run time. In interviews over the years, Lee said that he was so unhappy with his lines that he protested and refused to say them during the filming process. “Because I had read the script and refused to say any of the lines,” Lee said in an interview at the University College of Dublin.

However, screenwriter Jimmy Sangster insisted that the original script was written without any dialogue for Dracula. There was even a theory that circulated for a time which postulated that Hammer could not afford Lee’s growing salary, so the studio decided to limit the Count’s screen time. Did this lead to the demise of Dracula’s dialogue? Regardless of whom you want to believe, Dracula is the strong, silent type in Prince of Darkness. 

4. Double Duty for Drac

Hammer Film Productions doubled down, so to speak, on the production and post-production aspects of Dracula: Prince of Darkness. First, the studio filmed the vampire flick back-to-back with another project titled Rasputin: The Mad Monk (1966). In doing so, Hammer used many of the same sets, actors – including Francis Matthews and Suzan Farmer – and crew members to shoot both motion pictures.

Second, Dracula: Prince of Darkness was featured in a double billing alongside the film The Plague of the Zombies (1966) when it screened in London. Insert cheesy cliche: “Double your pleasure, double your fun with Doublemint Gum.” 

3. Stunt Double Nearly Drowned

Dracula: Prince of Darkness introduced a new weakness in the wicked baddie, but it nearly cost a stuntman his life. During the film, it was revealed that running water could destroy Dracula. Wait, what? Apparently, leaving the faucets on at night not only prevents frozen pipes, but blood-sucking vampires, too.

All kidding aside, it was during the climactic battle scene in which Christopher Lee’s stunt double almost succumb to the icy waters on set. Stuntman Eddie Powell stepped in as the Count during that pivotal moment, as Dracula slipped into the watery grave, but Powell was trapped under the water himself and almost died.

2. Lee Loathed What Hammer Did to Stoker’s Character

Christopher Lee’s return to Hammer’s Dracula franchise was a stroke of genius on the part of producers, but Lee was more than a little reticent when it came to initially voicing his dislike for playing the iconic role. As mentioned above, a lot of speculation swirled around the lack of dialogue given to Lee in the Prince of Darkness script. And if you don’t count the opening flashback sequence, which revisits the ending of Horror of Dracula (1958), Count Dracula doesn’t appear on screen until the 45-minute mark of the film.

Dracula’s lack of character, and presence, began to affect Lee particularly when it came to signing on to play the character in the three films following Prince of Darkness. Indeed, the lack of meaningful character development led to Lee initially turning down Dracula Has Risen From the Grave (1968), Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970) and Scars of Dracula (1970). Lee said in countless interviews that he never got to play the real version of Count Dracula created by Bram Stoker, at least via Hammer Studios. This was a true disappointment to the late actor.

But Hammer guilt Lee into taking on the role over and over again, because the studio claimed to have already sold the aforementioned films to the United States with Lee’s name attached to the projects. Hammer informed Lee that if he didn’t return the company would have to lay off many of their workers. The tactic worked, since Lee was friends with many of the Dracula crew members. Fortunately for fans, Lee kept coming back for blood.

1. Faux Pas

Outside of the character of Dracula only appearing on screen for the last half of the movie, Dracula: Prince of Darkness had even more pressing issues that unfortunately survived all the way to the final cut of the film. One of the most appalling of these occurrences happens during the picture’s climatic confrontation. Watch the skies above Dracula and you will see the trail of a jet-engine plane staining the sky.

Another faux pas occurs in this same sequence when Dracula succumbs to the icy waters. Watch closely as the camera’s long shot clearly reveals the pivots holding the ice up underneath Chris Lee. Finally, watch the dead girl who is being carried during the opening funeral sequence. She is clearly breathing and quite heavily at that.

***

Which Dracula: Prince of Darkness moments did you find the most interesting? Were there any obscure facts you would have enjoyed seeing make our list? Sound off on social media!

 

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Carnivore: Werewolf of London Howls on VOD

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Joining the ranks of The Curse of the Werewolf, An American Werewolf in London, The Company of Wolves, and Dog Soldiers, Carnivore: Werewolf of London is the latest in a long series of fantastic British werewolf movies. Directed by Knights of the Damned’s Simon Wells, the film focuses on a couple trying to save their relationship by taking a vacation in a remote cottage, but rekindling their old flame soon proves to be the least of their worries as they learn that something with lots of fur and lots of teeth is waiting for them in the surrounding woods.

Carnivore: Werewolf of London stars Ben Loyd-Holmes, Atlanta Johnson, Gregory Cox, Molly Ruskin, and Ethan Ruskin, and is available to purchase now on Google Play, Amazon Video, iTunes, and Vudu, although it doesn’t appear to have received a physical release as of yet.

More information about Carnivore: Werewolf of London is available on the film’s official Facebook account, along with a ton of production photos.

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John Carpenter … NOT DEAD!

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We currently live in a world of false alarms. Within the last several days we’ve suffered everything from warnings of doomsday to Rotten Tomatoes accidentally celebrating the passing(!) and career of the very much still alive John Carpenter.

That’s right, kids; earlier today RT tweeted, “John Carpenter would have been 70 years old today! We celebrate his birthday by looking back at his five favorite films.” The tweet… has since been deleted.

We are here to tell you… John is very much alive! Alive and well, even. Carpenter himself responded on Twitter by alerting the site that “despite how it appears, I’m actually not dead.

This is great news indeed. One of horror’s best and brightest is still bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Now then, let’s take this time to celebrate the man’s birthday PROPERLY by talking about our favorite films of his. Speaking personally for myself…

Prince of Darkness is a movie that both unnerves and scares the hell out of me. One of Carpenter’s most thought-provoking works is just as frightening now as it was when we first received that grainy transmission as a dream from the year…

Tell us your favorite Carpenter movie in our comments section below.

…and HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JOHN!

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