If Halloween wish-lists had been a factor, then information about Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 would probably have been what many people wrote about in our letters to Santa Pumpkin. And though I simply made him up, perhaps he actually does exist in spite of everything, as a result of that is precisely what we simply acquired: a shock stream granting a first-look on the narrative and RPG parts of one in all gaming’s most long-awaited sequels.
The 18 minute video, which you’ll watch under, is the primary correct look we have had on the resurrected Bloodlines 2 since The Chinese Room — the indie studio behind Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs and Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture — had been introduced as the sport’s new builders again in early September.
Bloodlines 2 is a sequel to the 2004 PC recreation Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, a cult basic which continues to be intensely well-liked after almost twenty years, regardless of its infamously troubled manufacturing and launch. It’s a testomony to the standard of the writing and world-building that many gamers — myself included — nonetheless depend it among the many all-time biggest video video games, though you famously must mod the residing hell out of the factor to get it to run easily.
There have been many different formally licensed VTM video video games launched within the years since Bloodlines from quite a lot of builders, together with a collection of textual content adventures by Choice of Games, a duology of visible novels by Draw Distance, Sharkmob’s short-lived live-service battle royale Bloodhunt, and isometric CRPG Heartless Lullaby from Entalto Studios. There’s additionally Swansong, final yr’s adventure-RPG from The Council creators Big Bad Wolf, and upcoming VR title Justice — which is because of launch tomorrow — from Fast Travel Games.
Bloodlines 2, nevertheless, is the sport many long-time followers have been holding out for, and for higher or worse that does imply that expectations are already sky-high for The Chinese Room’s providing. The define for the sequel throughout its preliminary growth by Hardsuit Labs earlier than their elimination from the challenge in 2021 seemed to take many cues from the unique by way of the protagonist and their story, whereas The Chinese Room’s near-total rewrite appears to have drawn inspiration from Cyberpunk 2077 for a really totally different expertise.
The new incarnation of Bloodlines 2 will see you taking part in as an elder vampire named Phyre. Their gender and clan could be chosen by the participant, their outfit (though not their look, by the sounds of issues) could be customised, and they are going to be totally voiced all through. But the Cyberpunk comparability actually kicks in because of the presence of Fabien, a secondary vampiric persona who’s develop into trapped inside Phyre’s consciousness, which has unmistakable overtones of Johnny Silverhand.
Needless to say, that is already proving considerably divisive among the many followers who’ve waited almost three years for an replace on Bloodlines 2, with some lamenting that Hardsuit Labs’ concept of a newly-sired and initially near-powerless vampire making an attempt to unravel the thriller of their origins felt rather more like a direct sequel to Bloodlines thematically.
On that I do must agree: what we have seen of Bloodlines 2’s extra stage-managed story and skilled protagonist feels nearer to a different Swansong than the unique Bloodlines, which gave up its secrets and techniques provided that you selected to make your clean slate of an avatar somebody who took the initiative to discover each side-street and alley in its huge (for the time) open world.
In equity, the builders at The Chinese Room make a very good case for his or her narrative being an inversion of Bloodlines slightly than the parallel to it that Hardsuit Labs had deliberate, and due to this fact simply as intentionally tied in to the primary recreation in its personal approach; however the shadow of the Bloodlines 2 we virtually had nonetheless looms massive. The recreation we noticed final night time appears to be like like an intriguing and well-thought-out addition to VTM canon, however I am unable to assist feeling that The Chinese Room can be in a greater place if the “Bloodlines 2” subtitle wasn’t there to dictate the viewers’s expectations.