In the cult role-playing game 2004 Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, vampires love to dance. Your protagonist can show up in a nightclub and dive to the center of action, wildly launching his members with an enthusiasm that is not to put to the credit of the undead. And in a demo of bloodlines& # 39; Following coming from Hardsuit Labs and Paradox Interactive, dancing is one of the first things you see, thanks to a member of the team who performed a "thorough search" in the game's original animations .
The developer Hardsuit Labs seems to build a lot of these little familiar details in Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2. But in an interview at E3, his creators also explained how to translate the tone and ideas of the original game into a new era and a new city – in this case, a dark and supernatural reimagination of Seattle, intended for the beginning of next year.
bloodlines was an adaptation of White Wolf Vampire: The Masquerade series of role-playing games on the table, in an alternative version of "World of Darkness" of Los Angeles. The game had a famous troubled development cycle but also won a famous enthusiastic fan base; It is appreciated for its distinctive tone and its varied game mechanics. The designers of the sequel include both original team members – such as lead writer Brian Mitsoda – and longtime enthusiasts like Cara Ellison, who has written extensively on bloodlines as a game journalist. "We have a lot of fans in the office, it's really easy to bring back the old bloodlines in the new, "says Ellison.
Lines 2 takes place in a Seattle where vampires and other supernatural creatures secretly dominate the city, now a deception known as masquerade. The player is a young vampire who runs through what Hardsuit calls a kind of "vampiric puberty", but he was lucky enough to get in touch with the vampiric clans in conflict with the city. (You can play a male or female character and the developers say that they are also exploring other options.)
My E3 practice demo was shot early in the game and featured a small set of special powers – I chose a form of telekinesis called Mentalism and the Tremere clan. blood magic. As in bloodlinesyou will use your powers and statistics (charisma or "humanity", roughly, to measure your level of play in cruelty) to accomplish your tasks in different ways. During this time, the characters can give you conflicting goals that could report to you with one faction or another.
In the demo, the protagonist was given the mission of a local leader and owner of a nightclub, who needed information from a newly transformed vampire. The protagonist must have infiltrated a tiny neighborhood called the Jungle with telekinesis and gentle conversation, persuading some drug traffickers to be a pharmaceuticals salesman seeking an agreement. But then, I voted to change the allegiance and help the target to take refuge in Nosferatu, a clan of vampires transformed with frightful but endowed with a lot of resources. At the end of the demo, the club owner was clearly unhappy.
Lines 2The demo is a mix of familiarity and strangeness. The characters speak with a theatrical twist, but they are clearly anchored in the Pacific Northwest. Chief Nosferatu is a clueless man who was shot during the tech boom of the 80s in Seattle. His clan lives in the very real network of underground tunnels in the city.
The game always seems to play like the original, but puts the accent on your supernatural powers when you fight or sail in the city. The demo revealed new abilities to escalate and played down the use by the first game of conventional weapons and clumsy melee weapons. There is also a new system called "resonance", which allows you to read the emotional state of human characters and gain capacity enhancements by feeding them.
In the world of darkness, Seattle, 2010, shares the same basic state as the 2000s, but is supposed to be a less volatile city with a distinct vampire politics. "We built Seattle as a separate venue with its own distinct factions that function differently than Los Angeles," said Ellison. But the game is still, basically, about "power struggles and how people stay in power".
The masquerade works differently in the era of social media. In the original game, you have sometimes recovered photos and VHS tapes to conceal possible violations. Now, virtually everyone in the city will be ready to document any supernatural behavior. "Nowadays, it is extremely dangerous to break the masquerade – because of the surveillance, because of the number of people wandering everywhere with their phone in the pocket," says Rachel Leiker, designer of UI / UX.
The world of darkness is not the only place that has changed since bloodlines. Some elements have problems in the real world, especially its often stereotypical and superficial representations of mental illness. You can play a Malkavian – a favorite clan of fans whose members are all cursed with a form of madness – in Lines 2. But the game will explore deeper the way they will see the world and spend less time relying on the big tropes. There will always be strange and potentially comical moments, like a bloodlines Easter egg that involves quarrel with a stop sign. But as Ellison says, "Brian (Mitsoda) and I have matured since I made the first game and I played first, so we want to sort of take it into account."
Vampire: The MasqueradeTable system & # 39; S is mired in controversy Last year, and the whole series deals with the intersection of sensuality, power and violence. Your character is far from being the toughest vampire in Seattle, but he remains a powerful monster who lives by exploiting human weakness. (And, more literally, the blood.) This can be scary when it is badly treated. When properly managed, however, it can allow players to explore thorny problems in a fantastic environment with less luggage in the real world. And that puts bloodlines apart from games that simply offer a service of fans without context or who clumsily dip their toes in "adult" themes.
"One of the most interesting aspects of writing a vampire game is that, anyway, everyone will imbibe sexuality," says Ellison. "Like, these are vampires, it 's very hard to write about that." With the right stats, you can seemingly blast your way through important parts of the game, just like the one you've seen. original bloodlines. And while Seattle does not seem lavish, it seems to have its share of charismatic and dangerously seductive characters – including apparently those who are not traditional sex symbols. "There are some very strange the boats in the office, let me tell you, "says Ellison.