White Wolf, Inc., is an American gaming company, begun in 1991 with the merging of Lion Rampant (creators of Ars Magica) and White Wolf Magazine. It publishes a line of several different but overlapping urban gothic role-playing games, set in a "World of Darkness." These games take place in the modern world, but with supernatural elements. Unless by explicit Storyteller explanation, all things in the modern world remain the same. Places, technologies, laws, medicine, police procedures etc. will be as they are in the normal world. However, the "gothic" aspect means that the world is an unpleasant place indeed. Normal humans see everything like they normally would, but the supernaturals see a dark underlying evil which gives the game its gothic feel. In the World of Darkness, vampires, werewolves, mummies, mages, changelings, wraiths, and other creatures of the night exist and fight with and alongside each other while remaining hidden from normal humans.
The company also publishes the high fantasy Exalted and the modern mythic Scion. During Third Edition Dungeons and Dragons, they put out d20 system material under their Sword & Sorcery imprint, including such titles as the gothic horror campaign setting Ravenloft and Monte Cook's Arcana Unearthed series.
A short lived gameworld, comprised of Future Imperfect game Trinity (formally Aeon, but renamed due to copyright reasons), Superhero game Aberrant and Pulp game Adventure!, was eventually dropped due to low sales. D20 versions of the three games have since been released.
To complement the Old World of Darkness game lines, there is a LARP system dubbed Mind's Eye Theatre. Many grassroots gaming groups have sprung up to play games based on this system.
White Wolf has a mixed record in the collectible card game market with Arcadia, Rage, and Vampire: The Eternal Struggle (formerly Jyhad). V:TES, perhaps the most successful of the bunch, was originally published by Wizards of the Coast in 1994 but was abandoned just two years later after a revamped base set and name change (V:TES) and three expansions. White Wolf acquired the rights to the game in 2000, despite no new material having been produced for the game in over 4 years. Since then, V:TES has released several expansions, and was for a long time the only official source for material for the Old World of Darkness.
Video games such as Vampire: The Masquerade Redemption and Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines, are based on White Wolf's role-playing property, Vampire: The Masquerade. There are also several Hunter: The Reckoning video games. A Werewolf: The Apocalypse video game was also planned but abandoned during development.
In 2003, the company announced the "Time of Judgment," which brought an end to their series of Old World of Darkness gamelines. They then launched a Spiritual Successor setting, putting out games set in a New World of Darkness, independent of the original. This move concerned many fans who had become used to the existing setting.
In 2006, White Wolf was acquired by CCP hf, the creators and publishers of EVE Online. In 2007 they released a D20 adaptation of the World of Darkness series called Monte Cooks World of Darkness. A The World of Darkness MMO is currently somewhere in the development cycle.
In 2011, White Wolf announced a 20th anniversary edition of Vampire: The Masquerade, and started making Old World of Darkness gamebooks available via print on demand. At that year's Gen Con, they announced they would now be releasing new books for both old and new Worlds of Darkness in an Onyx Path series. In late 2011 they began development of the 20th anniversary edition of Werewolf: The Apocalypse.
In early 2012 it was announced that the newest line of 'The World of Darkness' was planned for retirement around 2014 in light of the 20th anniversary of Old World of Darkness due to popularity, rumor has it they are blending the best of Old & New for Werewolf, Mage, Changling, Demon, and Orpheus.
Old World of Darkness tabletop gamelines (1991-2004)
- Vampire: The Masquerade
- Werewolf: The Apocalypse
- Mage: The Ascension
- Wraith: The Oblivion
- Changeling: The Dreaming
- Kindred of the East (Vampire-like undead of East Asia)
- Hunter: The Reckoning
- Mummy the Resurrection
- World of Darkness: Mummy
- Demon: The Fallen
- Orpheus (Ghosts and paranormal investigators)