The World of Darkness universe has seen a number of video game releases in the last couple of years, with plenty more still to come, and one of the biggest among these upcoming games is almost upon us. French developer Cyanide has delivered some pretty solid experiences with the likes of Styx and Call of Cthulhu in the past, but with the upcoming Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood, they’re branching out with a more action-oriented RPG, and there’s plenty about it that’s got our curiosity piqued. Here, we’ll be speaking about some key details from the game that you should know about ahead of its launch on February 4.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood is set in the World of Darkness series. The world is populated by a number of supernatural beings, including the likes of vampires and werewolves, and this game, as its name suggests, focuses on the latter. Unlike vampires, who tend to integrate themselves in human societies, werewolves are recluses and live on the fringes among nature and are divided into tribes. Werewolves fight against forces that pollute and corrupt the planet, and Earthblood is set in the American Northwest.
In Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood, players take on the role of a werewolf named Cahal. After accidentally killing a member of his tribe, Cahal leaves his tribe behind and travels to the American Northwest. If you have any familiarity with the Werewolf: The Apocalypse pen and paper games, you’ll know that going up against corrupt corporations is a big part of their stories, and that’s going to be the case here as well, with Cahal locking horn with the powerful Pentex corporation, whose actions have been damaging and polluting the environment.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood is not going to be an open world game, but will instead have several large hub locations that players will be able to explore and traverse. Locations will be spread across the American Northwest, with each location having several collectibles to track down and side quests and optional activities to track. Players will also be travelling to Penumbra, a realm between the physical and spirit worlds, which will have its own unique challenges and side quests.
Cyanide are developing Earthblood is a pretty linear experience, at least as far as story progression is concerned. Many of the locations you visit will, of course, have plenty of room for exploration and taking on optional activities, but once you’ve progressed past a hub location, you will not be able to return. With no backtracking included, the game will have a rather constant forward momentum.
Though Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood is based on a pen and paper RPG, as we’ve mentioned earlier, the developers have envisioned it as a very directed and focused experience. That said, it doesn’t mean there won’t be any room for player choice whatsoever. Moments where players’ choices can affect the story and how it progresses won’t be too frequent, but based on the few that will be in the game, players will be able to get one of two endings.
Where Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood is doing some really interesting things is with its gameplay and combat. As its very premise suggests, shapeshifting is going to play an important role in the game from traversal to combat to other areas of the experience, with Cahal able to transform into three different forms. And what are these forms exactly? Let’s go over those.
The first form is, of course, Cahal’s human form. Called the “Homid” form, this is your main, default form, and will be what you’ll need to be able to have social interactions with other characters and NPCs. In his human form, Cahal can also hack computers and tamper with electronics, and also has a crossbow that he can use to silently dispatch enemies from a distance or, with the right upgrades, disable electronic systems. With abilities such as silent enemies and being able to jump on top of enemies, Homid form will be your go-to form for stealth gameplay.
The second form in the game is “Lupus” form, in which Cahal will change into a wolf. As you’d expect, in this form, you will have unmatched speed and agility. Whether you’re trying to get away from enemies, or want to zip from cover to cover to avoid detection, or are trying to get into areas that are inaccessible to the Homid form, such as small vents and ducts, the Wolf form’s agility will come in very handy in specific situations.
Finally, there’s the Crinos form, and the one that’s perhaps the most interesting- the werewolf form, or “Crinos” form. This is the one that will be the most useful in melee hand-to-hand combat situations. Aggressive, powerful, and large, when you’re in werewolf form, Earthblood will turn into an action-focused brawler.
What’s interesting about the Crinos form is that in combat, you will also have to keep your stance in mind. There are two different stances, each more beneficial in different situations. Agile Stance will allow you to move faster, dodge better, and hit enemies with quicker attacks. Meanwhile, Heavy Stance will see you become more resilient to damage and being able to attack with more hard-hitting moves, but losing much of your agility.
Given the fact that you’re playing as a werewolf here, it makes sense that you will also have a deadly adrenaline-fueled trick up your sleeve. Called Frenzy, this is something that will keep filling up as you engage enemies in combar. Once it’s full, players will be able to unleash their fury. When Frenzied, you’ll be able to let loose with special attacks and quick and powerful moves- though it will come at a cost, since you won’t be able to use any other special moves or heal until your Frenzy meter is drained completely.
One key mechanic in Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood that players will always have to keep an eye on is the Rage meter. Cahal will locked in an internal struggle to keep the beast inside of him chained and tamed. From making wrong choices in conversations to coming into contact with specific items in the game’s world, several things can increase Cahal’s Rage meter. The higher the meter goes, the more conversation and combat options become available to you- but there’s an interesting risk-reward mechanic involved. If your Rage mechanic maxes out, you automatically turn into a werewolf and lose control over yourself, and the beast inside of you doesn’t subside until you’ve killed every NPC in the vicinity, whether that’s friend or foe- that, of course, can have disastrous consequences in several ways. That said, you will also be able to lower your Rage in multiplayer ways- including, interestingly enough, simply channeling some of your inner anger into punching an NPC in the face during a conversation.
When Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood launches soon, it will be available on both current and last gen consoles. But what if you’re planning on playing it on PC? The requirements are actually pretty anonymous. For minimum requirements, you’ll need either an Intel Core i5-3470 or an AMD FX-8370, either a GeForce GTX 650 or a Radeon HD 7790, and 4 GB RAM. Meanwhile, recommended settings will require either Intel Core i7-8700 or an AMD Ryzen 5 3600X, either a GeForce GTX 780 or a Radeon R9 290, and 8 GB RAM.