I’m not sure if there is a slipperier slope than trying to determine creative primacy, and the slope in question is further lubricated by the fact that we’re talking about not only popular culture but also literary heritage and folklore. Everyone borrows. Some borrow more than others, and we have laws to govern that sort of double-dipping. But it remains to be seen whether the court will find in White Wolf‘s favor where the movie Underworld is concerned.
I was always more of a Mage or Wraith man - I put that out there to extricate myself from the taint of other White Wolf games, but really that’s like saying that you absolutely refuse to have sex with animals but that you do occasionally fuck corpses. It doesn’t quite fix the problem. It became clear that if I was to continue playing Vampire, that would require hanging around with the sort of people who played Vampire, which is something I think we all want to avoid.
To be honest, as regards Underworld, I thought of Romeo and Juliet before I thought of the World of Darkness. The lawsuit claims that the movie draws heavily from a story called Love Of Monsters - I don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings, but the idea of Vampires and Werewolves loving each other ain’t that special. I don’t doubt that it would make a very fine movie, or story - Romeo and Juliet is a Goddamn timeless template. I saw it set in Ireland with an all female cast and it still worked, one family was all lesbians and one was all dinosaurs. You just can’t fuck it up. You dab your eyes at the end and wonder what is so wrong about the love of a lesbian for a dinosaur.
The trailers I’ve seen are like a gothic The Matrix, and I don’t doubt that it was pitched using very similar terminology. I’m wondering why White Wolf didn’t sue Blade, if they like suing so much - when the first movie trotted out the different vampire families at the end, with all their symbols and whatnot, I was all ready to roll some ten-siders and expend my blood pool on some dark gifts. Okay, maybe I played a lot of Vampire. I never wore a Dog Collar or anything, which is a great comfort to me.
You can read the complaint here, if you’d like - I was able to secure a copy. I thought I knew how much they were asking for, and included that value in an earlier version of this post, but I’m sure I was wrong. If Penny Arcade has taught me anything, it’s that regular human beings cannot read and interpret legal documents - it looks like English, but it is actually a new mathematics which can pierce, yea, even unto the fifth dimension. So even if it says something that seems obvious, remember that it’s somebody’s whole job to make it look really stupid, and they’ll have Sony’s resources at their disposal to do so. Provided they don’t just give White Wolf the money in a briefcase. Of Darkness!
Okay, maybe I did wear a Dog Collar for a short while. It was meant in an Ironic Fashion, and regretted it immediately.
but you’ll only bring darkness to my soul