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CCP’s CEO, Hilmar Veigar Petursson, announced on the publisher’s home page that the World of Darkness massively multiplayer online game, based off of White Wolf’s wildly popular line of horror-themed tabletop games, has been canceled.

The company is also letting go of 56 employees from the Atlanta-based studio. Those that have survived the cut will be shuffled into other projects based on the publisher’s Eve gaming properties.

Petursson explains:

The decision to end the World of Darkness MMO project is one of the hardest I’ve ever had to make. I have always loved and valued the idea of a sandbox experience set in that universe, and over the years I’ve watched the team passionately strive to make that possible.

I would like to give special thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make the World of Darkness MMO a reality, especially the team members affected by this decision. Their considerable contribution to CCP will not be forgotten, and we wish them well.

To our current and former employees and fans of World of Darkness, I am truly sorry that we could not deliver the experience that we aspired to make. We dreamed of a game that would transport you completely into the sweeping fantasy of World of Darkness, but had to admit that our efforts were falling regretfully short. One day I hope we will make it up to you.

Although this was a tough decision that affects our friends and family, uniting the company behind the EVE Universe will put us in a stronger position moving forward, and we are more committed than ever to solidify EVE as the biggest gaming universe in the world.

This is a pretty hard blow for fans who were riding this roller coaster as early as 2006, when rumors of the game were rumbling during the White Wolf and CCP merger. The World of Darkness project was finally, officially, announced four years after those rumors in 2010, with the original target release date set for 2012. That is, until a similar round of layoffs hit CCP in 2011, which affected the World of Darkness team’s ability to reach that release goal.

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Why did the World of Darkness project, something CCP poured a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into, take the brunt of this last round of layoffs?

“We overreached with World of Darkness in its initial concept, wanting to achieve too much in the first go,” a CCP spokesperson told GamesBeat. “While we have adjusted scope numerous times along the way, the outcome is neither true to the original concept nor to a concept that would have been much more focused from the start. We wanted to create a sweeping, immersive experience, and we didn’t get there. In our assessment, it’s best to put an end to the project over retrofitting it more.”

We’re hoping those affected by these layoffs land on their feet soon.

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