Announcement of the sequel to Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines was supposed to be a dream come true. But for now, the sequel experiences as turbulent a development cycle as the original, to the disappointment of the fans, who were not entirely convinced even by the new "re-announcement" of the game in early September.
Fortunately a new entry from the devs of Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 seems to have allayed at least some of the fears of fans of the World of Darkness. As a reminder: currently The Chinese Room is responsible for the project (Dear Esther, Everybody's Gone to the Rapture), which briefly presented itself in a developer's diary published on the game's official website.
The first piece of good news that pleased fans is that the developer will regularly publish more dev diary entries dedicated to Bloodlines 2. The developers want to give players "as much spoiler-free information as possible" and always let them know when the next update will be released and what it will be focused on.
The next developer diary is expected to discuss narrative themes and atmosphere and will be released in two weeks.
Night hunter in ambitious RPG
The Chinese Room advertises itself as a studio focused on "narrative experiences," and it's hard to argue with that in the context of the studio's output. Nevertheless, Bloodlines 2 is expected to be a "leap" for the developer not only into a vastly different genre - action RPG - but also into much more ambitious projects after the team's warm-up that was Little Orpheus (quite warmly received, by the way, although it wasn't a big hit on Steam).
Nevertheless, the studio quickly realized that a game starring a vampire from the World of Darkness required the developers to take a different approach than typical RPG or fantasy games. Therefore, The Chinese Room established a few basic principles - "pillars" that are to form the foundation of Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2.
- The combat system was initially inspired by Dishonored, a series much-loved by the devs (and not only them). However, the team quickly came to the conclusion that player character should not be a stealthy game protagonist, avoiding enemies with due respect, but a confident "hunter of the night" almost - we quote - "trolling" his victims.
- So the whole thing was changed so that now clashes are more like - as the developers heard from testers - "a cat playing with food". At the same time, it was emphasized that the player character will not be absolutely omnipotent. Therefore, the studio clasiffies Bloodlines as "confidence fantasy" as opposed to the typical "power fantasy."
- The second "pillar" of Bloodlines 2 is avoiding limiting gameplay other than combat to typical RPG formula. The player is supposed to feel like a powerful vampire, one of the "Kindred", capable of doing deeds unimaginable to mortals. Unambitious tasks like "turn on a generator or find a card to unlock a path" would not fit in and would effectively disrupt the immersion.
The developers' adoration of Masquerade and the cautious optimism of fans
In addition to the above, the developer has two more principles: a focus on "exploration of the World of Darkness" and "immersive combat." However, we will have to wait until the next entries to discuss these.
The developers also stressed that they love Vampire: the Masquerade and during production they made several visits to the World of Darkness headquarters in Stockholm. All this is to ensure that Bloodlines 2 will be faithful to the tabletop original, while meeting the expectations of fans who have been hoping for a sequel to the initially underrated RPG for nearly 20 years.
For now, players (as evidenced on the popular Reddit) believe the developers are on the right track. Nevertheless, they hope that the next articles will dispel doubts about, among other things, the plot, and some Internet users still have doubts about the direction taken by the creators (if only in terms of departing from the power fantasy convention).
Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 will be released in the fall of next year. The title is headed for PC, Xbox Series X/S and PlayStation 5, and we'll get an extensive gameplay presentation in January.