- CPU: Intel Core i5-3470 | AMD FX-8370
- RAM: 4 GB
- OS: Windows 10
- VIDEO CARD: Nvidia GeForce GTX 650, 1 GB | AMD Radeon HD 7790, 1 GB
- PIXEL SHADER: 5.0
- VERTEX SHADER: 5.0
- FREE DISK SPACE: 12 GB
- DEDICATED VIDEO RAM: 1024 MB
- CPU: Intel Core i7-8700 | AMD Ryzen 5 3600X
- RAM: 8 GB
- OS: Windows 10
- VIDEO CARD: Nvidia GeForce GTX 780, 3 GB | AMD Radeon R9 290, 4 GB
- PIXEL SHADER: 5.0
- VERTEX SHADER: 5.0
- FREE DISK SPACE: 12 GB
- DEDICATED VIDEO RAM: 3072 MB
Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood is an action role-playing video game developed by Cyanide and published by Nacon. It is based on White Wolf Publishing’s tabletop role-playing game Werewolf: The Apocalypse, and is part of the larger World of Darkness series. The game was released on February 4, 2021 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.
The story follows Cahal, an eco-terrorist werewolf who has been banished from his werewolf tribe, and who fights against the Pentex corporation and the pollution it causes. The player, as Cahal, traverses areas in the American Northwest, and can shapeshift into a wolf, human or werewolf form to perform various tasks, such as exploration, conversation and combat.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood is a third-person, single-player action role-playing game in which the player takes the role of an eco-terrorist werewolf. The player explores various areas in the American Northwest, in the form of large hub worlds. Within these areas, the player plays through missions, which may have effects on the game world, including leading to secondary missions getting unlocked. The player also goes to Penumbra, a place between the physical world and the spirit world, where they can receive sidequests or challenges from the Great Spirit of the Waterfall, who gives the player rewards for completing them, such as opening shortcuts between areas.
The werewolf is a shapeshifter, and can take on the forms of a wolf and a human in addition to his werewolf form. Each form has its own gameplay mechanics tied to it: the wolf form is used for exploration, tracking, spying, and stealth, as well as being able to pass through narrow passages; the human form is used for interactions, such as using machines and conversing with people; and the werewolf form is used for combat. When in the human form, other characters are not aware that the player character really is a werewolf, allowing the player to go undercover. The player develops the werewolf through a skill tree, where they can choose between different archetypes connected to different weaknesses and strengths. The player also has access to various supernatural power-ups, which are drawn from nature.
The gameplay involves management of the player character’s rage: the werewolf’s rage rises as he learns about problems humans have caused, such as pollution and greed. If the player lets the werewolf’s rage overflow, the werewolf will enter a frenzy state and turn into a violent, monstrous beast. When in the frenzy state, the werewolf is more powerful, but also finds it more difficult to parse information, such as whether a character is an enemy or an innocent, and will draw the attention of enemies. Once in the frenzy state, the only way to break out of it is to kill all who are present, regardless of if they are enemies or not.
The game follows the werewolf Cahal, a member of the familial Fianna tribe of Irish werewolves, and works alongside his pack with the eco-terrorist group, Lambda Mankind, fighting against an oil subsidiary called Endron, whose president, Richard Wadkins, willingly serves the Wyrm to disrupt the balance of Gaia. In one of their missions, Cahal, along with his packmates, Cahal’s brother-in-law Rodko, Ava and his wife Ludmilla, infiltrate an Endron facility. Their plan tampers with the data of their oil extraction and forces them to pull out of the region. During the raid, Ludmilla is killed by a werewolf in Wadkins’ security, and Cahal soon accidentally kills another packmate, Rafiq, and blinds Rodko. In shame for what he has done, Cahal leaves the pack.
Five years later, Cahal works freelance. After a raid on an energy corp in Washington State, Cahal returns to his homeland in Tarker’s Mill, along with his partner, Dusk. Cahal intends to atone for what he’s done, and upon returning home, finds his former tribe is at war with Endron militia’s, led by Major Graner. After fighting off an attack that injures Rodko, Cahal is sent to dismantle an Endron training center, before he reunites with his daughter Aedana, and Ava, who are operating to dismantle Endron from within. It is discovered that Endron has created a new substance called Earthblood, which is used to enhance and mutate their soldiers to the Wyrm’s twisted image.
Later on, while a new raid is planned to expose Endron, Aedana is kidnapped by Watkins, and Rodko gives into his rage. Cahal is forced to kill Rodko when the two transform and fight. Watkins reveals he knew about the packs plans and plans to run experiments on Aedana. Cahal manages to kill Graner, driving Wyrm from his homeland in retaliation. Cahal plans to rescue Aedana by getting himself arrested, and infiltrating a prison in Nevada, where Erdron is conducting experiments on prisoners.
In Nevada, Cahal gathers information from a werewolf named Onawa, who was a test subject in Endron’s experiments. He learns that Aedana was taken to Endron headquarters, and escapes prison with Onawa to regroup the latter’s pack, which has also been warring with Endron. When Cahal infiltrates their facility, Watkins sets up a trap where he sets loose Earthblood gas across the area, causing environmental damage, killing and infecting people in the area. Onawa reveals she is working for Endron, in exchange for her pack’s safety. Their guardian spirit has also been infected by Wyrm, but they are freed from its influence when Cahal bests them in battle.
Tracking Aedana down to an Endron oil rig, Cahal regroups with Ava and learns of Endron’s plans to spread the Wyrm by releasing Earthblood as an alternative to oil. In the final siege, Cahal finds Aedana in a glass container, where she is heavily mutated by Watkin’s experiments. Cahal is forced to fight and mercy kill his daughter, who dies in his arms. Cahal is presented with a choice to take revenge on Watkins’ or save Ava and the activists from Endron’s militia.
If Cahal chooses to confront Watkins, he corners the CEO, who mutates himself with Earthblood. Cahal manages to kill Watkins after a fight, but discovers that Ava and her team have been slaughtered. Cahal manages to destroy the facility with explosives, with Earthblood’s release being postponed, and the activist group Cahal and Ava work for being denounced as terrorists by the media. If Cahal saves Ava, Wadkins’ flees the rig, while Cahal and Ava bring down the facility. The media has a much better reception of the group, and Endron abandons its plans after discovering Wadkin’s actions, forcing him into hiding. Regardless of the ending, Endron’s leadership, Pentex, plans to look into Wadkins’ research, implying their work will continue.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood was developed by Cyanide in the game engine Unreal Engine 4, with cooperation from White Wolf Publishing to help make the game stay true to White Wolf’s Werewolf: The Apocalypse tabletop role-playing game that Earthblood is based on. The game is directed by Julien Desourteaux, with Martin Ericsson serving as lead writer. The entire level design team from Cyanide’s earlier game Styx: Shards of Darkness also worked on Earthblood, and there were according to Desourteaux a lot of things carrying over from Shards of Darkness into Earthblood, although they had to develop combat from scratch.
Prior to the start of development of the game, the developers considered various genres for an adaptation of Werewolf: The Apocalypse, such as a brawler or an isometric role-playing game, before deciding on an action role-playing game. Early questions they asked, that would form the game, included “When will you rage?”, “When will you use violence?”, “When will you have had enough?”, and “What is the price of changing the world through violence?”; they wanted to avoid giving out answers considered correct, and wanted to let the player think about it for themselves and come up with answers.
According to Desourteaux, this question of rage management is the main theme of the game; a branching narrative was considered to facilitate the exploration of these questions, but eventually the developers decided on a largely linear story with minor branches. Ericsson described the game as being strongly focused on its narrative, and therefore having a defined protagonist, and a fixed story with themes such as family, estrangement, cynicism, and idealism.
Pre-production of the game began around late 2016, following Paradox Interactive’s purchase of White Wolf in 2015, and the game was announced in January 2017. It was originally set to be published by Focus Home Interactive, but switched publishers to Nacon in 2018 following Nacon’s purchase of Cyanide. It was presented for the first time at E3 2019 in Los Angeles in June 2019, and was exhibited at PDXCON 2019 in October. The game was eventually released on February 4, 2021 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.
February 4, 2021
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