The Road to Werewolf: The Apocalypse – 5th Edition
It’s finally time to howl at the moon and gather your pack – Werewolf: The Apocalypse 5th Edition is here! Today, we are sharing more insight into our design and development process.
This is a re-imagination of Werewolf: The Apocalypse, built on the original game’s core themes and designed with care by a diverse team. Werewolf: The Apocalypse 5th edition is a great entry point to the setting for new audiences, with fresh stories for returning players to explore.
Leading up to release, we released dev diaries that showcase our creative mindset and design choices to help Werewolf fans understand our direction and goals. A couple posts of note include Tribes & Renown and Auspices & Forms that deep dive into these systems and the choices made when creating them for Werewolf: The Apocalypse 5th Edition.
But, how did it all come together?
Points of Origin
Our goal for this Werewolf reboot was a bold separation from previous editions. Work was done early on by various contributors to help us create this separation, and that work became foundational for the 5th edition. However, we realized that the best way to accomplish this goal was to bring everything in-house, under our creative team’s vision. We engaged a large team of writers and consultants from diverse backgrounds to make sure Werewolf: The Apocalypse 5th Edition represents sensitive topics with care. Indigenous writers in particular were present in the writing process from the outline stage, and took part in the development both as consultants and writers.
World of Darkness 5th Edition presents its character groups with a focus on regional and individual traits, not as monolithic organizations with identical backgrounds and views. This applies as much to the tribes of Werewolf as it does to Kindred and Hunters. You can be a trans Black Fury, Indigenous American Silent Strider or Namibian Silver Fang, because the tribes in W5 are no longer fused to any one particular culture, gender or geographic region. Most importantly, you can enjoy playing each tribe no matter where you are from. You needn’t worry about being locked into playing a particular “type” based on your or your character’s origin, or misrepresenting or appropriating another culture through your tribe choice.
This, however, does not remove real world cultures from Werewolf: The Apocalypse. The game Werewolf is set in our modern world, and many of its themes reflect struggles of indigenous, unprivileged, and/or climate change-affected communities worldwide. The writers took care to highlight the visceral and rage-fueled response to these injustices, and didn’t shy away from direct references to real world issues.
Playtesting and Feedback
Our development process included plenty of internal and external playtesting, to see how our designs played out in practice. We implemented changes where we saw friction or issues with understanding the mechanics. Our playtesters represented a broad range of experiences with Werewolf, from veteran players and Storytellers to absolute newcomers who had never raged before.
Among the many valuable insights this wide-ranging feedback gave us, perhaps the most valuable is what you see in W5’s “Rage Economy.” Playtester feedback led to our recommendation that Renegade Game Studios include form cards with the dice to help Storytellers quickly differentiate their players’ forms.
Previews are an important part of creating any tabletop roleplaying game and we anticipated your feedback eagerly with everything we shared. Your opinions and reviews of the new material helped us make good changes during this part of the process. To give one example, our preconception that the community would be too invested in the original tribe name of Hart Wardens was wrong, and based on your feedback, we chose a new name which received more positive reception and better reflected our design goals.
Rite of Celebration
The road to Werewolf: The Apocalypse – 5th Edition’s release was long and winding, but we are very happy to finally share it with you. It took time, care, and many voices to bring the setting to the XXI century with a loud howl.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse is available in PDF for pre-ordering customers starting from August 2nd, with early pick-up of physical copies at GenCon. The official release happens on August 31st.
So, Garou – when will you rage?