Paradox Interactive announced late Thursday that it will publish a long-awaited sequel to the cult-favorite PC game, 2004’s Vampire: the Masquerade – Bloodlines.
Bloodlines 2 has several Seattle connections. It’s set in a dark reflection of Seattle, where an ancient clan of vampires — the real rulers of the city — fight a hidden cold war for power and dominance.
It’s also developed by Seattle-based studio Hardsuit Labs. Formed in 2015 as Builder Box Games, by veterans of the closed Zombie Studios, Hardsuit’s previous project was the cyberpunk FPS Blacklight: Retribution. It recently shut down Blacklight‘s servers on PC after 7 years, citing its involvement with “some very interesting projects that require the full focus of the development teams and leadership,” and now we know why.
The original Bloodlines is a cult classic, famous for its plot twists, subtle details, legitimately meaningful choices, and for being a game that could be completed in many different ways depending on the player’s decisions, powers, and customized attributes. The original writer is confirmed to be coming back for Bloodlines 2.
As in the original Bloodlines, the player enters the game as a freshly-made vampire, whose creation was an active attempt at insurrection. Making a new vampire is supposed to be a big deal, and requires permission from the elders before it’s allowed. Therefore, the fact that you exist is an act of rebellion against the vampires who rule Seattle. As a direct result, the vampire clans in the city go to war against one another, forcing you to choose your allegiances carefully if you want to survive.
Bloodlines 2 is a choice-driven role-playing PC game, planned to launch in 2020. You’ll be able to choose from a large number of supernatural powers, based around the clan of vampires you opt to join at the start of the game. In Vampire, as well as the original Bloodlines, you can opt for the classic suite of abilities like shapeshifting, unnatural durability, and superhuman speed, as well as setting-specific disciplines like paranormal senses, blood magic, and impersonating others.
However, you have to balance your powers’ use against not only your current supply of blood, but the risk of breaking the titular Masquerade. Vampire society depends on staying hidden, with the majority of humans led to believe that vampires are just myths. If you screw up and reveal your existence to normal people, all hell will come down on you and everyone around you.
Bloodlines 2 is set in the World of Darkness, a Gothic monster-ridden reflection of the real world, which is the setting for a series of horror tabletop role-playing games by Atlanta’s White Wolf Publishing. Paradox Interactive acquired White Wolf from its previous owners, CCP Games, in 2015, which in turn spurred a series of rumors about the possibility of the franchise resurfacing in some way. (Another World of Darkness property, Werewolf: The Apocalypse, has a new game in development at the French studio Cyanide.) Vampire: The Masquerade itself, the first game in the line, recently celebrated its 20th birthday with a new, crowdfunded edition of the core rulebook.
— Hardsuit Labs (@HardsuitLabs) March 22, 2019
The original Bloodlines came out in 2004, developed by Troika Games, a studio of veterans of the first two Fallout games at Interplay, and published by Activision. Following a troubling three-year development period, Bloodlines was eventually sent to store shelves in an unfinished state, and worse, into a crowded release window that put it directly up against big games such as Half-Life 2, Halo 2, and Metal Gear Solid 3. Its subsequent sales failure ended up forcing Troika to shut down, but the game rapidly acquired a cult following, as well as several fan-driven unofficial patches that try to finish what the original developers had started.
Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 is currently available for pre-order on Steam, Epic, GOG, and Paradox’s digital storefront for US$59.99. An enhanced edition with a season pass for post-release story content, is available for $89.99.