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  ‘Dark World Online’ Begging For a Lawsuit?  
 
 
Posted 2006-05-17 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Vampires and werewolves are nothing new, but in 1991 tabletop games studio White Wolf launched its World of Darkness campaign-setting, bringing the two dominant creatures of the night together in a bloody rivalry that captured the attention of role-playing gamers and goths around the world, spinning off a TV miniseries and video game series.

Just after World of Darkness peaked in popularity, the movie Underworld was released by Sony Pictures. Underworld featured ideas that were remarkably similar to those popularized by White Wolf, and in 2003, the game company and Nancy A. Collins--an author whose character Sonja Blue, invented prior to Underworld's release, seemed to be the inspiration for the movie's main character--filed a copyright-infringement suit against Sony Pictures, Screen Gems and Lakeshore Entertainment. While it's not supposed to be possible to copyright an idea, it's still possible to bring the issue to court (even I thought the similarities were too close for comfort). I'm not sure how the suit turned out, but I'm sure it was at least an inconvenience for the parties involved.

Fast-forward to 2006: What is Tulga Games thinking? The company is developing a massively-multiplayer game called Dark World Online. Like World of Darkness, the game takes place in a modern-day setting, where "players can take on the personas of Humans, Vampires or Werewolves, each replete with special skills and abilities, and biases towards the other factions." I can only guess that the White Wolf lawsuit failed, and that Tulga is immune to being bitten by lawyers.
 
     
 
   
 
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  7 Comments  
 
   
 
Comment posted by Secureplay
May 17, 2006 @ 2:19 pm
     
 
Shhh! or that ignorance is bliss.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Bravado
June 8, 2006 @ 9:00 pm
     
 
OK I just have to comment on this.
I absolutely adored vampire the masquerade:bloodlines. To the point that all the little glitches and flickering textures made pretty much no impact on me at all. If you actually played the game (I doubt Mr. Walsh has.) then you know that's saying a lot. The creativity and the deep backstory was very interesting to me. I've visited white wolf's site many times, but I'm not interested in table top games. I have also been a fan of the Underworld movies. I have been dreaming and wishing for an MMO like this for a while, I only hope its a good one. I've played MMOs for about 8 years now, starting with EQ and ending with WoW.

Now to the point. This is ridiculous. The idea of a law-suit against Dark World Online is what I can only express as disgusting insanity. "Dark World" "World of Darkness" OMG! those use some of the same words what a rip! Are we 12? World of Darkness is rhetorically a very broad name. That's like me naming my project Fantasy World. And then trying to sew World of Warcraft becuase the game clearly has fantasy aspects to it and they both have "world" in the name.

Secondly, did the author ever actually see Underworld? Or a script? Or anything about the story? The only thing underworld and the world of darkness REALLY have in common is the fact that, were-wolves and vampires don't like each other. And if you really look into the stories of underworld and the world of darkness you will see that this concept isn't really all that similar. The idea and concepts of vampires and were-wolves and the world they live in pretty much belong to neither of them, and so excluding that huge peice of common sense, that's it. World of Darkness says that the biblical Cain is the original vampire. And that vampirism is strongly tied to the concepts of heaven and hell and religion. Underworld doesn't share ANY of that. Underworld says that basically the first vampire was a science expirament. World of darkness vampires have blood lines where you basically have different breeds of vampires. Underworld doesn't have this at all. The only thing they really have in common are vampires and were-wolves. The world of darkness actually has much more than that but Underworld doesn't even hint at any other creature independant of vampires or were-wolves. How the first vampire came about is probably the most room anyone has in creating some kind of fictional world of their own, whether it be Dracula as the father of vampires, Cain, or science. If I'm wrong here, show me some FACTS that prove similarities between the world of darkness and underworld.

"The company is developing a massively-multiplayer game called Dark World Online. Like World of Darkness, the game takes place in a modern-day setting," They've already disclosed that Dark World online will be set in the near future with more advanced technology and magic, not in modern times. World of Darkness is set in modern times, not the near future. The idea of people discovering magic or making advanced weaponry is not present in the World of Darkness. Vampire Magic does exist but that has nothing to do with the setting. And more importantly. The world of darkness is not at all responsible for that concept. I'm sorry but if this lawsuit is really about white wolf online trying to say that they own the fundamental idea of were-wolves and vampires and all that they've evolved to be in this day and age. Then I think they need to maybe get back in their space ships and fly back to the little green planet called earth, where reality is.

I'm not very knowlegeable about what White Wolf has rights to. But honestly, I hope it's not much in terms of what you can and cannot say about vampires or were-wolves. Because regardless of what their lawyers can prove in court, they aren't responsible for much. To me this is on par with the idea of Jurassic Park taking to court anyone who ever tried to make another dinosaur movie or TV show, simply because there were dinosaurs.

The only thing I can see that White Wolf may have seen as a weakness to exploit is the names. World of Darkness and Dark World Online. That maybe it looks like fans of the world of darkness would be drawn into it thinking it's the same thing, and that Dark World online knows this. Well, I'm sorry White Wolf, but your fans were fans of vampires and were-wolves and were goth, before we were ever introduced to anything you made. When I read that there was a new up and coming mmorpg named Dark World Online, the idea of vampires were-wolves truly and honestly did not enter my mind. Again, that is saying a lot when I have actually conceptualized about an MMO with vampires and were-wolves and slayers and a dark modern day immersive world before I read about Dark World Online. If anyone feels like they've had their idea stolen, it's me(I'm not actually angry or feel like I've had my idea stolen because I've never published anything.)

And to Tony Walsh. Get your facts straight. To someone who is a true fan of underworld, the world of darkness, and or the idea of there being an MMO where they can actually interact with other people of the same interest, this article is an abomination and an insult.

Most games are driven by creativity, and passion, but are controlled and finished by their assumed marketability. However, I've recently come to believe that the best games, the most creative ideas and the people most passionate about sharing a dream of theirs are the most successful in the market place. And now here's something I've got that you don't in your post. Evidence. Have a look at the history of Blizzard. http://www.escapistmagazine.com/issues/48/pdf/TheEscapist_48.pdf

I really did enjoy much of the lore White Wolf has created and VtM:B. I think they've got some deeply talented and truly creative people, and I even believe that they should have rights on all they are entitled to. On the other had as a company I have to say this law-suit or whatever it is, makes them look pretty sleezy.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Tony Walsh
June 8, 2006 @ 10:20 pm
     
 
If I'm reading your rabid comments correctly--and frankly, wading through your incoherent raving was both a challenge and a bore--you have clearly identified a single instance of what you believe is a factual error on my part: the use of the word "modern" to describe the setting of Dark World Online.

So, I guess what you really mean to demand is that I get my "fact" straight. Which, incidentally, it is.

I originally got my information directly from the Dark World Online web page. That page is not available at its original URL at the time of this writing. However, KillerBetties.com reprinted the original press release for the game, which states "...players choose between playing one of the three fantasy factions fighting for control in a modern-world setting."

Call me crazy, but I'm pretty sure this makes you a bootless, clapper-clawed maggot-pie.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Bravado
June 8, 2006 @ 10:51 pm
     
 
I apologize for the long post. I have a bad habit of letting my brain splatter on the table when I feel strongly about something. But to honor your request...

*Bravado Calls Tony Walsh Crazy*

-The modern thing.
Dark World Online is almost too new to be called new. And they've barely given us a spoonful of information, much to little to attack in this manner. The idea of comparing it to The World of Dakrness's setting IS in fact incorrect. Dark World Online's setting is different than that of the World of Darkness's with reference to time.

"The slayers (humans) simply want their brothers and sisters to live happy lives unaware of what is going on around them. They use technology remember, near future some forms of magic and hand-to-hand weaponry to defeat their enemies." -David Bowman
http://www.mmorpg.com/showFeature.cfm?loadFeature=659&fp=1600,1200,1147917174091,20060517215254&bhcp=1

-"Dark World Online Begging for a Lawsuit"
I'll keep it short. What similarities? You can't honestly think White Wolf is the only one with a right to make a game where you can play as a vampire or were-wolf. BTW this is the part that pissed me off, which seems to be what your post is about.

I try not to flame but your post filled me with em.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Tony Walsh
June 8, 2006 @ 11:42 pm
     
 
Bravado,

Nobody is attacking your game. If anything, someone is calling you a bootless, clapper-clawed maggot-pie. Take a long sip of absinthe and relax.

I did not state that World of Darkness and Dark World Online are identical. I said they are "like" each other. I am willing to entertain that they are also "unlike" each other. The fact is that they are comparable, even if you don't like the comparison I make.

You wrote: "You can't honestly think White Wolf is the only one with a right to make a game where you can play as a vampire or were-wolf."

My response: I don't think White Wolf is the only one with a right to make a game where you can play as a vampire or werewolf. I never said as much. The point of the article, which you seem to have completely missed, is that because White Wolf sued Underworld for similarities it thought existed between the two properties, White Wolf may sue Tulga over Dark World. I could care less what White Wolf has or hasn't the right to do. It's about what the company has done, and what it may do based on previous actions in a comparable situation.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Bravado
June 9, 2006 @ 12:13 am
     
 
Sounded to me what Underworld seemingly duplicated from White Wolf's works were the characters, and the story all because both characters in Underworld and Kindred: The Embraced were in the setting of a fictional vampire world.

Again, I must ask how they are begging for a law suit when we have virtually no details concerning Dark World Online, except that it's an MMO with vampries, were-wolves, and humans.

I've heard this from people other than you and I just can't understand what it is about the vampire fantasy world that just screams plagerism or something to do with stealing. Even if you could legally put rights on an idea, who would have those rights in this case? White Wolf? I have little faith in our present legal system, so I think maybe they could win some money. But honestly, you can't attribute it to any one body whether it be a business or person. I've read that even the name "Dark World Online" might change. You can find that information on their forums. I don't feel like digging through them right now, but here's where to start. http://www.tulgagames.com/

I think I've provided adequate information and argument that the original article lacks any sort of direction or validity. You say I'm missing the point, and I say your point is just mindless bs.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by SimonH
August 7, 2007 @ 9:16 am
     
 
Yikes this is friendly. Who's the wolf and who's the vampire?

On a more serious note, I don't think they can sue for anything at first impressions, seeing as White wolf can't possibly own any copyrights to werewolves or vampires, which were invented decades previously and been in use by the masses ever since. Furthermore, the concept of having the two character types available in a game has been done stacks of times previously too. In fact even on the single player front, I remember playing a werewolf game when I was a kid. I somehow doubt whitewolf got sued for using a werewolf character in a game though (seeing as that concept was already in use). There's only so far you can push a similarity..
 
     
 
     
   
 
 
     
 
     
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