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Vampire - The Masquerade: Bloodlines 2 - All News

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Thursday - June 13, 2024
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Box Art

Thursday - June 13, 2024

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - Developer Diary #13

by Hiddenx, 16:17

Couchpotato spotted developer diary #13 for VtM: Bloodlines 2:

What are we up to?

Developer Diary #13
Summer’s here so we figured it’d be a good time to pull back the curtain a bit and show you how a game like Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 is made. This month we’ll give you a couple of glimpses into how the magic becomes a game. In this post we’re focusing on the atmosphere of the game: Concept Art, Level Design, Lighting and Audio.

Concept Art
“For quite a while the Concept Team was working on an Underground area - exploring mood and tone for that section of the game. It took quite a bit of time since it's incredibly detailed. Once everyone was happy with our concepts, we decided to move on to one of the core locations of our city: Weaver Tower, the headquarters of the Seattle Camarilla.

We already had a basic layout for this area, so we focused on the entrance hall first. This is a large and striking space and solving the architecture and lighting fit was a fun task for the Concept Team. After this, we moved onto secondary places like corridors and rooms. We used the Entrance Hall as a main reference for what we wanted to achieve.

Like every location, Weaver Tower needed some unique features. We wanted to have something both mysterious, yet ancient feeling. Naturally, the real world provides the best inspiration, and the meticulous care and time it takes for bonsai trees to develop is where we gravitated towards. However, we also wanted it to feel different. So by juxtaposing the organic form of the tree, we designed it to be made of thousands of brass wires seemingly erupting from a Smokey quartz. All of which was achieved in Unreal Engine 5 to really get an established idea of how these statues fit in the space and create the most impact for players. We hope you’ll enjoy browsing around these spaces!”

[...]

Thursday - May 30, 2024

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - Clan Highlight: Ventrue

by Hiddenx, 16:53

Learn more about the Ventrue Clan:

Clan Highlight: Ventrue

Clan Highlight #4 - The Clan of Kings, Blue Bloods, Tyrants, Warlords, Patricians, Borgias

Ventrue vampires usually choose their progeny from mortals familiar with power, wealth and influence. Seeing themselves as the rightful leaders of vampire society, Kindred of clan Ventrue take up the mantle of leadership wherever possible, often in the form of high positions in Camarilla Courts.

Playing a Ventrue in Bloodlines 2
Ventrue are blue blooded tyrants who incite obedience in both their allies and their foes. Focusing on the Discipline Dominate, Ventrue forces their prey to obey their command to fight their friends, forget what they’ve seen or even kill themselves. Feeding builds up Fortitude, allowing the Ventrue to soak up more damage in case any enemy is powerful enough to resist their force of will.

Abilities
When you choose your clan, you will start out with a passive ability unique to each clan. You are then able to unlock abilities from the Ability Tree, starting with your chosen clan. Each ability requires spending Ability Points to unlock which are earned from completing missions, combat and exploration. At the peak of the Ability Tree, you can unlock the clan Perk, a reward to those dedicated enough to unlock all of the abilities for a clan, giving a permanent passive upgrade.

Flesh of Marble
Clan Passive: Feeding hardens your skin, making you highly resistant to damage.

Cloud Memory
Cause a target to forget you were there, putting them into a relaxed state.

[...]

Thanks Couchpotato!

Friday - May 17, 2024

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - Developer Diary #12

by Hiddenx, 16:00

Couchpotato spotted developer diary #12 for VtM: Bloodlines 2:

Developing Ventrue

Developer Diary #12

Picture a group of stylish, ambitious vampires, each with a hunger for authority that matches their thirst for blood. That's Clan Ventrue for you - vampires with a taste for power, prestige, and opulence. Our team had a blast bringing their aristocratic grandeur and ambition to life in the game. Equally at home in the corridors of corporate power and the halls of high society, the Ventrue embody leadership, strategy, and a refined decadence. Whether they're making deals in the boardroom or dominating the nightlife scene, the Blue Bloods always maintain their iron grip on power.

Designing modern Ventrue for Tabletop
Just like the Brujah, the Ventrue are a foundational archetype both in Vampire: The Masquerade’s clan assembly as well as in wider vampire fiction. They represent the vampire as the aristocratic leader — classy, regal, and inhumanly majestic. Many silver screen depictions of Dracula would fit well in this clan, as would any number of his derivatives. Before Anne Rice, the Ventrue represented what most people would consider a classical vampire.

Taking the Blue Bloods into the fifth edition was therefore comparatively easy, as the clan has had a solid identity from its first appearance in 1991, never relying on gimmick powers or tangled setting elements. Their arsenal of Disciplines paint a clear picture of the kind of ruler they represent: Presence to incite awe, Dominate to enforce obedience, and — if the previous would fail — Fortitude to withstand retaliation. A true Ventrue commands from the front, but that is also their weakness.

While Ventrue vampires are no strangers to hierarchies, their tradition of Embracing mortals already used to being obeyed often creates brittle power structures with too many leaders and not enough followers. To many Blue Bloods the throne is more important than what it represents, and more than one Ventrue Prince has met final death because they would rather lead in defeat than triumph as a lackey.
– Karim Muammar, Designer of Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition and Brand Editor for the World of Darkness

[...]

Saturday - May 04, 2024

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - Clan Highlight: Banu Haqim

by Hiddenx, 14:37

Learn more about the Banu Haqim clan:

Clan Highlight: Banu Haqim

Clan Highlight #3

The Clan of the Hunt, Assassins, Children of Haqim, Saracens, Mediators, Lawmen

Cursed with a thirst for the Blood of other vampires, the Banu Haqim stalk the night as judges and lawbringers. To this end, most Banu Haqim adhere to a strict code of conduct - derived from law, faith, or personal ethics - sating their Hunger on those that breach these convictions.

Playing a Banu Haqim in Bloodlines 2
Banu Haqim takes the role of a strategic stalker, using shadows to their advantage. You are a predator on a hunt, and your discipline powers focus on stalking, assassination, and silently moving faster than your foes can track. These skills are great assets when stalking the city for prey.

Abilities
When you choose your clan, you will start out with a passive ability unique to each clan. You are then able to unlock abilities from the Ability Tree, starting with your chosen clan. Each ability requires spending Ability Points (AP) to unlock which are earned from completing missions, combat and exploration. At the peak of the Ability Tree, you can unlock the clan Perk, a reward to those dedicated enough to unlock all of the abilities for a clan, giving a permanent passive upgrade.

Silence of Death
Clan Passive: All your actions become entirely silent for a period after feeding.

Mute
Silence an enemy/civilian. Any sounds they produce, from screams to gunfire, are completely undetectable to others.

Split Second
Move so fast that time appears to stop around you.

Bladed Hand
Slash swiftly in front of you, beheading mortal opponents.

Unseen Aura
Become temporarily invisible to enemies and civilians. Note: You can still be heard unless combined with Silence of Death.

Prowl
Clan Perk: Can remain crouched whilst sprinting.

Customizing your playstyle
There are many different ways to play your character in Vampire: the Masquerade - Bloodlines 2. The clan Banu Haqim focus on a stalking based playstyle to take out your enemies one by one, and the clan abilities are built to empower that. As we want to make sure this is not a game where you are required to optimize your abilities to the extreme, we’ve focused on making the base playstyles easy and straightforward. But for the players who want their experience to be a bit deeper and more customizable, you will be able to do so. By visiting important vampires who are sworn to assist the Sheriff (you), you can unlock abilities from their clan by drinking a bit of their blood.

Abilities from other clans may cost more AP depending on how well they align with your clans Disciplines. The Banu Haqim Disciplines are Celerity (speed enhancing abilities), Blood Sorcery (the ability to control blood with your arcane knowledge) and Obfuscate (abilities to easily hide, move without being noticed, and cast illusions.). If a Banu Haqim wishes to unlock a Blood Sorcery ability from another clan, it would cost less AP to unlock than an ability for a Discipline Banu Haqim don’t have. Those who unlock all abilities from a clan and get the Clan Perk, are able to stack them and have the effects of them all, elevating your power.

The activated abilities and Clan Perk can be learned from the other clans, but the clan passive can not. Because of this, you combine the clan powers in hundreds of different ways, but a Banu Haqim playthrough will remain its own gameplay experience.

Ability tree for Banu Haqim with all clan abilities and the clan perk are unlocked. An ability from the Tremere tree has been equipped instead of Split Second.

Thanks Couchpotato!

Thursday - April 18, 2024

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - Developer Diary #11

by Hiddenx, 16:46

Couchpotato spotted developer diary #11 for VtM: Bloodlines 2:

Developing Banu Haqim

Developer Diary #11

Let's now leap into Banu Haqim, another captivating Vampire clan that the players will encounter in Bloodlines 2. The essence of the Banu Haqim is defined by their mastery of stealth, precision, and a moral code that guides their hidden hand of justice. Our team had a lot of fun in reflecting these properties in their subsequent departments.

Designing modern Banu Haqim for Tabletop
The Banu Haqim (“Assamites” at the time) were one of the first clans to be added to the original assembly in 1991. As such, they were less connected to a vampire archetype out of fiction and instead modelled on the Hashshashin — the Order of Assassins — out of Alamut. In time, they were expanded upon in the setting and incorporated new elements of mysticism and religion, but the core stereotype — the “arab assassin-cultist as vampire” — regrettably remained. Needless to say, they needed some work to align with the design principles of Vampire: The Masquerade’s latest edition.

The concept of a hunter of hunters driven by strong principles or a deep-seated sense of justice does resonate with powerful elements of vampire and vampire-adjacent media. Blade, Angel, and (for those that remember it) Forever Knight all feature vampires seeking redemption by taking the fight to their own, while the very vampire-esque Dexter is a poster child for the concept, as is the Caped Crusader. It is no fluke that the internal shorthand for the Banu Haqim was “clan Batman”.

Thus, while their origins are still the same, the shift in focus has provided the Banu Haqim with a role more easily applied to characters of any background or conviction. Cursed with a hereditary thirst for vampire Blood, the so-called Warriors shackle their impulses to strict codes of conduct, derived from mortal religions, vampiric tenets, or personal creeds. These traits, along with their feared reputation, makes them sought after as soldiers, lawbringers, and — occasionally — assassins in the societies of the night. Yet, the siren song of Kindred vitae perpetually tempts them, and more than one Judge has been tasked with the destruction of one of their own. To be Embraced into the Banu Haqim clan means walking an eternal tightrope, with no end and with nothing to catch you when you fall.

– Karim Muammar, Designer of Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition and Brand Editor for the World of Darkness

[...]

Thursday - March 21, 2024

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - Developer Diary #10

by Hiddenx, 20:17

Developer diary #10 introduces another vampire clan - the Tremere:

Developing Tremere

Developer Diary #10

Allow us to introduce another Vampire clan in Vampire: the Masquerade – Bloodlines 2. world of So definitely different from Brujah!

We hope you enjoy this collection of testimonies from a few of our departments and how they have approached crafting the formidable, legendary Tremere.

Designing modern Tremere for Tabletop
“While the vampire-as-sorcerer is rare outside of Hammer Horror films, the hubristic magician is an archetype strong enough to sit comfortably alongside the scheming undead of Vampire: The Masquerade. But for the game’s fifth edition we wanted to look beyond their signature powers, exploring the driving characteristics beneath.

Given that their concept implies — even necessitates — the practice of mystical arts, the Tremere are almost synonymous with Blood Sorcery. However, this is only one aspect of the Warlocks. Digging deeper we find that their defining trait, regardless of supernatural abilities, is raw, irreverent ambition. Their history is a tableau of temerity. Unwilling to settle for mortality, they clawed their way into undeath. Chafing at the limits of their condition, they turned a primordial curse into their instrument. And, once despised as pretenders, they now count themselves as pillars of the Camarilla.

Yet, for all the Tremere’s accomplishments, their triumphs are also their tragedies. Seeking eternal life, they found only an eternity of death. They are masters of the Blood, yet their own vitae is lacking, bereft of fundamental qualities. And even as they roam the halls of power, they are assailed by whispers: Blood-Thieves. Pretenders. Usurpers. A Tremere vampire walks an ill-fated path — challenged by their peers, haunted by suspicion, and doomed to risk every prize crumbling to ash in their hands.”

– Karim Muammar, Designer of Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition and Brand Editor for the World of Darkness

[...]

 

Thursday - March 07, 2024

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - Clan Highlight: Brujah

by Hiddenx, 20:54

Learn more about the Brujah Clan:

Clan Highlight: Brujah

Clan Highlight #1

Rebels, The Learned Clan, Rabble, Hellenes.

The Brujah are known for their impetuous tempers and defiant natures, and the clan contains some of the most violent vampires. Visionaries and brutes both, the Brujah have fallen from their stature as the Learned Clan to a motley lineage of radicals, troublemakers, and firebrands — all as much at odds with each other as with the systems they claim to oppose.

Playing a Brujah in Bloodlines 2
If you’re a player who leaves the shadows to the cowards, knows the frontline is where the fun is, and rebels against the establishment, Brujah is your clan.

In Bloodlines 2, Clan Brujah will offer a brutal brawling playstyle with its abilities (in Vampire: The Masquerade, known as Disciplines), getting you into the fray and rewarding you for staying there. The Brujah control the dance of combat by making enemies drop their defenses, knock them around on the battlefield and increase their damage by feeding for powerful finishing strikes.

In social environments, the Brujah are often expected to have a short temper. In Bloodlines 2, certain characters you meet may treat you differently depending on your clan, and while clans have access to angry, violent or threatening dialogue options, throughout Bloodlines 2 you will find unique dialogue sequences for the Brujah. And if you play against the archetypes, characters in-the-know will react.

As a predator of the night, hunting for blood is always a challenge, but the Brujah can often rely on their ability to influence pedestrians’ rage to make them chase you into an empty alley and have a midnight snack.

[...]

Thanks Couchpotato!

 

Wednesday - March 06, 2024

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - Super Vampires

by Hiddenx, 17:30

PC Gamer reports that you can become a super vampire in VtM: Bloodlines 2:

Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 will let you become a super vampire by drinking vamp blood, taking their abilities and combining them 'in hundreds of different ways'

In Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2, one of the first choices you'll need to make is what clan you'll be repping. Today we learned a bit more about the rebellious Brujah, but also how drinking the blood of other vampire big shots lets you explore other ability trees, turning you into what I have very creatively decided to call a super vampire. 

The Chinese Room emphasises that Bloodlines 2 isn't an "ability optimization game" and doesn't expect players to pore over abilities and weigh them against each other. Straightforward is what the team is aiming for. So you'll just unlock a handful of abilities that reflect your chosen clan's style. That said, there will be opportunities to delve into other ability trees. 

As Seattle's sheriff, you'll be able to get important vampires belonging to other clans to assist you by offering up their blood, which unlocks their clan's abilities. The more they diverge from your clan's abilities, however, the higher the cost. 

[...]

Thanks Couchpotato!

 

Thursday - February 22, 2024

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - What is a Brujah?

by Hiddenx, 19:49

Couchpotato spotted developer diary #9 for VtM: Bloodlines 2:

What is a Brujah?

Developer Diary #9

For those who are new to the Vampire the Masquerade universe, the Brujah are a Vampire Clan. They are all descendants of the same bloodline that gives them similar strengths and weaknesses. They have access to supernatural Strength, Speed and Charisma. Their curse is that they are easily riled to anger and often use this reputation to their advantage with intimidation and threats. All these traits make them deadly opponents on and off the battlefield.

When we looked to adapt these rebels and philosophers into a video game, we were inspired by real world culture and vampiric fantasies to help you get immersed in their playstyle.

Here are some perspectives on building different Brujah from across the studio and an introduction from Karim from World of Darkness on how Brujah was developed for Vampire: The Masquerade fifth edition.

Designing modern Brujah for Tabletop
“With the fifth edition of Vampire: The Masquerade, we wanted each clan to primarily embody a vampire archetype out of fiction and popular culture, rather than looking to their powers and fictional history alone for identity. Fortunately, for the Brujah this was easy.

The Brujah clan represent one of the oldest and most recognizable vampire archetypes: that of the eternal rebel. Brujah vampires identify fiercely with a personal cause, and cannot resist picking fights for the sake of this conviction. Explosive strength - of body as well as personality - thus becomes a defining asset of the clan. In previous editions of Vampire: The Masquerade the Brujah were often overshadowed by other clans in martial acumen, at least in practice, so we now made sure that their unique combination of Celerity and Potence would allow them to dominate most physical altercations.

However, in a game of personal horror, each archetype should be defined by their flaws just as much (if not more) than their powers. The tragedy of the Brujah is that beneath their surface idealism lies a deeper need - an addiction - for conflict. Mortals Embraced into the clan come from all walks of life and champion any number of causes, savory and less savory, united only in their belligerence. While many Brujah would claim to fight for the downtrodden, the perception of “downtrodden” is as varied as there are Brujah. And if a Brujah vampire would ever see their cause triumphant, they often find themselves championing the other side, the cold fire in their dead hearts goading them back into the fray — forever caught in a self-perpetuating cycle of destruction.”

– Karim Muammar, Brand Editor for World of Darkness

[...]

Thursday - February 08, 2024

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - Developer Diary #8

by Hiddenx, 21:10

Couchpotato spotted a new developer diary for Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines 2:

Explore the World of Darkness

Developer Diary #8


Hello again,

This is my 3rd dev diary, and I have used the last two to talk about the 1st and 2nd pillars of the game: Feel Like a Vampire, which covered the player fantasy; Visceral Immersive combat, which covers the action gameplay. Today I want to tell you about our 3rd and final game pillar: "Explore The World of Darkness," which covers the setting, society, characters, story, and RPG elements of the game. We'll be talking in-depth about RPG elements at a later date, so today I am going to focus mainly on the setting, society, and characters.

The World of Darkness is the larger umbrella for the Vampire The Masquerade IP and the related games. It handles the supernatural in a mature and grounded way, basing it on the premise that vampires, werewolves, and ghosts are actually real, but are hidden from our contemporary human society. Video games offer a unique perspective on this world that other mediums don't, being able to walk around it and explore it. Our goal with this pillar was to create a version of Seattle that is authentic to The World of Darkness IP and makes you believe that this hidden side of Seattle, where vampires are in control, could be real and that in contrast the human world feels more alien to you and potentially unreal. To that end, we didn't set about making an exact replica of Seattle, as our priority wasn't to represent the human world, but the vampire one. The Seattle you experience in Bloodlines 2 is a kind of "best-of" Seattle where we've taken key landmarks and brought them in closer together. For example, Pioneer Square is a key location, and it speaks to us of the old city and its founders (some of which were vampires that you will meet), but we also have volunteer park, which in reality is on the outskirts of the city but we loved the idea of doing a creepy mission there that reveals something sinister beneath this iconic conservatory.

[...]

Thanks Couchpotato!

Wednesday - January 31, 2024

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - Official Gameplay Trailer

by Hiddenx, 19:16

Couchpotato spotted a new trailer for VtM: Bloodlines 2 on IGN:

Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 - Official Gameplay Trailer

Thursday - January 25, 2024

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - Developer Diary #7

by Hiddenx, 18:52

Couchpotato spotted a new developer diary for Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines 2:

Visceral Immersive Combat

Developer Diary #7

In dev diary #1, Alex Skidmore, Project Creative Director at The Chinese Room (TCR) wrote about the first game pillar “Feel like a Vampire”, which sets the player fantasy as a guiding light for creative decisions. We’ve shown a lot of combat so far to give you a taste of the power and flow. What you’ve seen is influenced by the second game pillar: "Visceral, Immersive Combat" which directs the action gameplay. Today, Alex is back to share his thoughts on this important part of the Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2.

Concept art

When designing Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 combat the goal was to create an action experience that can compete with modern titles. We think of it in three main gameplay styles we want to offer to you all - existing Bloodlines fans, and players who are new to the World of Darkness.

The 1st playstyle we at TCR call the Strategic Stalker: as the name reflects, fans of more strategic combat experiences where staying hidden and using the element of surprise is key will get their vampire predator fantasy. Did you enjoy the Dishonored series, or playing stealth-focused builds in Fallout or Elder Scrolls games? Me too! It gives you time to prepare what Discipline power you’d like to use and when. Once your plan is ready, summoning the powers of the blood, sneaking up on an enemy, distracting them, feeding on them before a fight breaks out or hit and run tactics are options for people who love to play this way.

The 2nd playstyle we call the Action Brawler: For players who prefer to jump straight into the action and rely on their fast reflexes and combat skills. Any Clan can brawl but this is where the Brujah shine. You’ll see them in our January gameplay reveal video. Their powers are aimed at dominating close combat. References for this style are action-brawling games like the God of War series, Shadow of Mordor and Elden Ring. It is about being in the centre of the brawl and using your abilities to control the crowd so you can deliver as much damage as possible.
We see the above playstyles as two extremes on the same action spectrum, with players being able to play any mixture of the two to find the balance of stalking and brawling that works for them.

The 3rd playstyle we call the Narrative Adventurer: For players who are less interested in combat and action gameplay and want to focus on the fantasy, narrative and exploration elements of the game. We envision that a core of the Bloodlines 1 fans identify with this playstyle and also fans of TCR's titles to date (and a lot of the developers working on the game), so we’re making sure the gameplay pillar doesn’t add action at the detriment of these important players. You can still enjoy exciting battles without having to delve too deeply into the combat mechanics if things like characters and story are more important to you.

So, how do we go about achieving this? We focus on immersion over complexity: A streamlined control scheme with actions that are easy for all three playstyles to pick up and play. We then build depth on top of these to give longer-term mastery for the players that want it. For example, the defensive mechanic is a dash, allowing players to dodge incoming attacks or reposition. If dodge is used towards an enemy performing a melee attack, it becomes a counter, staggering the enemy - it is fine for players to never do this move, but for those that want a higher skill-ceiling, it is there. How we use abilities is also streamlined, to maintain immersion. Abilities are mapped to the face buttons (on gamepad), limiting the player to 4 available at one time. This is a small enough amount that a player can use them without breaking their flow, but also deep enough, through the different ways you can combine and use them that it keeps combat engaging and fun.

All of this serves our principal of Immersive Combat. We would rather players were thinking about what cool thing they want to do next, rather than how they do it.

Visceral Combat is a stylistic choice we have made as we believe being a vampire should be a bloody business. Feeding plays a huge role in any vampire story and we wanted to give you a cool reason to tear out throats in the middle of a fight. As an Elder vampire, Phyre has become desensitised to violence, and we want the same to happen to the player over the course of the game - maybe being shocked the first time they chop someone's head off, but after a while accepting that violent carnage is par-for-the-course when you are a 400 hundred year old vampire in a city where everyone is out to get you.

The final game pillar in Bloodlines 2 is “Exploring the World of Darkness”. I look forward to talking to you about that in the next dev-diary.

Good night!
Alex Skidmore, Project Creative Director

Friday - January 12, 2024

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - Developer Diary #6

by Hiddenx, 17:06

Couchpotato spotted developer diary #6 for VtM: Bloodlines 2:

Mission Scripting And Ink

Developer Diary #6

This week we have Technical Director Nick Slaven joining us. He’s going to share his thoughts on the important tools we’ve developed to build all the things we need for our narratives, like cutscenes, missions and dialogue:

Quests and princesses and chat, oh my.

Here at the Chinese Room we are all about storytelling. Our games are rich in narrative and the way we tell them, and for the story to make sense, we need to give the player something to do, other than just walking.

My name is Nick and I make sure that our team are able to tell stories and give the player things to do.
As a studio working on two large projects, we have to be smart about how we use our technology. We’re building systems that are used on both Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines 2 and Still Wakes the Deep and fits the needs for both those teams and makes everyone’s work easier. As a narrative studio, that means tools for storytelling.

Storytelling involves more than just the spoken word. We may want to travel across the land to obtain the magical artefact that unlocks the door to the princess’ castle. I’ll stop here before I embarrass myself more with my lack of narrative ability. The point remains, in a few words I can describe something of a story and it materialises in your imagination.

Let’s back up a bit, it’s easy for us to interpret, but how do we get the game to recognise that you have got the magical artefact and how does picking it up then unlock a door to allow you to progress in your quest. How do we do that?

Our answer was to develop a way of describing the story as a sequence of events that the game engine can interpret, we call this mission scripting.

Mission scripting is a high level way of representing a sequence of events that the player may need to solve in order for the story to progress. For instance, you may need to find a key to open a door. We do this by representing the state of the game story and the event that will drive the story forward. In this case, opening the door; we look for a key, and only once we’ve found the key can we open the door, and face whatever is in the room.

[...]

Friday - December 15, 2023

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - Developer Diary #5

by Hiddenx, 07:10

Couchpotato spotted the developer diary #5 for VtM: Bloodlines 2:

A Dive into Next-Gen Game Development

Developer Diary #5

My name is Andrea Sancio, and I am the Associate Technical Director working on Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 at The Chinese Room. Together with Nick Slaven, our Studio Technical Director, it has been my honour to lead our talented team on the technical side of the game.

I’m going to share with you now a behind-the-scenes look at what our team has been doing on the game, and when you play it, we hope that you will all love it as much as we do.

In the ever-evolving world of video game development, staying at the cutting edge is a continuous pursuit. With the release of Unreal Engine 5, the landscape has shifted dramatically, presenting game developers with an array of groundbreaking technologies and tools. I wanted to delve into our experiences and challenges with some of the experimental technologies that have come to define UE5: Nanite, Virtual Shadow Maps and Lumen. These technologies play a pivotal role in creating a realistic and dark world that aligns perfectly with the neo-noir art direction of our game.

An important milestone in our development was the upgrade from Unreal 4 to Unreal 5. It was a big risk because normally you lock in the version of your development engine early. The changes touched every part of the game, and all our scenes, lighting and assets had to be converted. All the dev teams communicated with us brilliantly to make sure the new tools were exactly what we needed to make the game look amazing and run smoothly.

Lumen is a new real-time global illumination tech. It brings a level of realism to game lighting with raytracing to simulate the path of light and how it interacts with surfaces and materials. It can simulate indirect (bounce) lighting and reflections. However, integrating Lumen into our games was no small feat. Ensuring consistent and smooth performance was the key to achieving the atmospheric lighting required for our world. Working with dynamic lighting and shadow has always been a challenge. In performance terms it was expensive, placing lights is an art and overlapping lights exponentially increase complexity and the costs of rendering the scene because a lot of calculation must be done for each pixel hit by each light. Normally, the solution is to “pre-bake” lights. All the shadows were saved to the level before release, and you couldn’t change them. This provided great quality results for a cheap cost, but the lights and shadows were... well... faked. You would then have to include other tricks like light probes to show that on objects moving inside that space.

Lumen lets us change the colour, position, and intensity of lots of lights that can change dynamically. So to figure out the best way to include these new lights, we spent a lot of time working with our artists. It works by storing all the surfaces hit by light in a memory cache. This cache is at a lower resolution than the output. This means it’s way faster to calculate the effects of lighting. Then, Lumen uses Temporal Upsampling which makes the lower resolution larger without losing quality and detail. None of this can work without Nanite, Cached Virtual Shadows and Temporal Super Resolution so we adapted all those technologies too!

[...]

Thursday - December 07, 2023

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - Clan Reveal: Ventrue

by Hiddenx, 20:25

Learn more about the Ventrue clan in Bloodlines 2:

Clan Reveal: Ventrue

Announcing our Fourth playable clan, Ventrue.

Good evening Kindred,

Last month, we announced three of four playable clans in Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2: Brujah, Tremere and Banu Haqim. Today, we’d like to share the fourth clan with you: Ventrue. The clan assets for Ventrue are in the process of being finalized, and we will share assets and gameplay showing off the playstyle of Ventrue during next year. Ahead of that deep dive we’re showing off an in-game render of Phyre in one of the Ventrue-themed outfits (all clans can earn all outfits).

Following launch, two additional clans will be made available in DLC: one giving you a new way to experience the main-game and another offering a completely unique Seattle story.

Nicknames
The Clan of Kings, Blue Bloods, Tyrants, Warlords, Patricians, Borgias

Who are the Ventrue?
Ventrue vampires usually choose their progeny from mortals familiar with power, wealth and influence. Seeing themselves as the rightful leaders of vampire society, Kindred of clan Ventrue take up the mantle of leadership wherever possible, often in the form of high positions in Camarilla Courts.

What can you expect from playing a Ventrue?
Ventrue are blue blooded tyrants who incite obedience in both their allies and their foes. Using the Disciplines of Presence and Dominate, they can mesmerize as well as awe their prey. Feeding builds up Fortitude, allowing the Ventrue to soak up more damage in case any enemy is powerful enough to resist their force of will.

[...]

Thursday - November 30, 2023

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - Dev Diary Recap #2

by Hiddenx, 20:31

Couchpotato spotted the Dev Diary Recap #2 for Bloodlines 2:

Dev Diary Recap #2 - Phyre & Narrative

Good evening Kindred,

This week, we have another recap diary where The Chinese Room Community Manager Josh Matthews meets Ian Thomas, Sarah Longthorne and Arone Le Bray. In this recap, Sarah recaps parts of her dev diary, and is joined by Ian Thomas and Arone Le Bray to go into more depth on the main character, as well as answering a few fan questions relating to the main character and the dev diary on Narrative Atmosphere and Themes.

[...]

Tuesday - November 21, 2023

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - World of Darkness News

by Hiddenx, 18:29

Couchpotato spotted World of Darkness news:

Love Bites, Blood-Stained Love & latest updates from Bloodlines 2

 

Friday - November 17, 2023

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - Dev Diary Recap

by Hiddenx, 16:53

Couchpotato spotted a developer Q&A for VtM: Bloodlines 2:

Bloodlines 2 - Dev Diary Recap #1

Wednesday - November 15, 2023

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - Clan Tremere

by Hiddenx, 07:18

Couchpotato spotted the second clan reveal of Bloodlines 2:

Bloodlines 2 - Second Clan Reveal

 

Wednesday - November 08, 2023

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - Clan Brujah

by Hiddenx, 18:15

Learn more about the Clan Brujah in VtM: Bloodlines 2:

Bloodlines 2 - First Clan Reveal

Thanks Couchpotato!

Wednesday - November 01, 2023

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - Narrative & RPG Stream

by Hiddenx, 09:43

Couchpotato spotted alpha-footage of VtM: Bloodlines 2:

Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 - Narrative & RPG Stream

Stream where we share news about Narrative & RPG elements of Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2!

Tuesday - October 24, 2023

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - Midnight - Music

by Hiddenx, 17:51

Couchpotato spotted a track from VtM: Bloodlines 2:

Midnight - Music from Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2

Thursday - October 19, 2023

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - Dev Diary#3: Neo Noir Art Style

by Hiddenx, 16:17

Couchpotato spotted VTM: Bloodlines 2 dev diary#3: Neo Noir Art Style:

Dev Diary#3: Neo Noir Art Style

Hello, I’m Ben Matthews. My job is Associate Art Director on Bloodlines 2.

A couple of weeks ago Sarah talked about the narrative themes of Neo-Noir and how it fits into our game and now I’m here to give you the artist’s perspective.

What is Neo-Noir?
Neo-Noir is a revival movement of Film Noir from the mid 20th century. Artists focus on modern day cities, painting them in bright neon lights and deep shadows. It’s very moody and evokes places that harbour sinister characters. Think Blade Runner or John Wick. Subversive, Dark, and Threatening, are all Neo-Noir conventions we’re focusing on for our game. VtM is all of these tones and so naturally it worked hand in hand when it came to creating the seedy underbelly of our Seattle. From Locations to Characters our vision is about showing a side of Seattle at night that goes deeper than what you see on the surface. Whether it’s dark-cornered alleyways to roam or interiors that host Machiavellian politics behind closed doors. Neo-Noir puts atmosphere and contrast at the centre of its palette and that’s something that works perfectly with our Vampire fantasy and ultimately Bloodlines 2.

The World of Shadow VS the World of Light
As an Elder thrust into a modern and unfamiliar world we’re playing on all of the visual elements of Neo-Noir to paint a picture of Seattle through the eyes of our Vampire. Contrast is very important to this visual identity in lots of different ways. A classic of Neo-Noir is light and dark. We use this to split the world into two. Vampires inhabit the dark, it’s a place you need to use for safety but dark places feel more dead because of this. The darkness becomes the place where we feel the most secure, the most in tune with the world around us.

[...]

Saturday - October 07, 2023

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - Alex Skidmore Interview

by Hiddenx, 08:45

Shacknews interviewed creative director Alex Skidmore about Bloodlines 2:

Bloodlines 2 Creative Director On Picking Up Where Hardsuit Labs Left Off

Thanks Couchpotato!

Thursday - October 05, 2023

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - Dev Diary#2: Narrative Atmosphere and Themes

by Hiddenx, 20:26

Couchpotato spotted VTM: Bloodlines 2 dev diary#2: Narrative Atmosphere and Themes:

Dev Diary#2: Narrative Atmosphere and Themes

Hello!

I'm Sarah Longthorne, Senior Narrative Designer and Writer. Today, we're discussing the narrative in Bloodlines 2 from a sky-high perspective. What are the conflicts and challenges in Seattle's Court and, how will they affect you?

Samson In Chains
The story of Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines 2 is, at its cold, unbeating heart, about control: the amount and kind of control you have over others, the control they exert over you in turn, and the control you lose—and slowly regain—over yourself… and your fate.

You wake trapped in Seattle, the full extent of your power artificially suppressed—diminished to a mere pawn, to be used and exploited. After all, what are others if not our most disposable assets?

And what better asset than a leashed and muzzled Elder? 

Our main NPC characters like Lou, Ryong, and Tolly all have their own agenda that your involvement could greatly advance.

It might not be in your best interest to bite every hand that seeks to bring you to heel, but to pick and choose, to play along—to bide your time. Or not. That much, darling, is down to you.

Neo-Noir
Neo-Noir blurs the lines of morality and explores themes like revenge, paranoia, alienation. All of which perfectly encapsulate a Kindred’s existence, especially when you consider that neo-noir stories are often driven by nihilistic, morally gray antiheroes. Hello, Kindred!

We focus on character,  who knows what and who has the power in any given situation, and how the player can use that to their advantage. No one in Bloodlines 2 knows everything about everything, as much as they might pretend. So, how the player navigates these alliances and goes about learning new information makes the player feel like they are investigating a complex web of lies. We try to ensure that the player feels in control of the information that they know, who they share those secrets with, and why.

What happens to an Elder?
One of our early design decisions was to make the player character into an Elder Kindred. This was interesting to us because it means that we can play with how this established vampire knows things about being a Kindred already and how we can create gaps to let the player learn this type of information firsthand. Balancing the opportunity and the history it entails with the desire to allow players to still roleplay and make the character their own. It was extremely challenging but fun!

Kindred do not relate to each other the way that we do, especially extremely old Kindred, like our protagonist. They don’t have ‘friends’, for instance – everything is about power and possession, which are the antithesis of any genuine connection. It’s a challenge to try and disconnect from how we might view a thing and step into that mindset in order to properly represent it. You have to lean first on making that character interesting to learn about and spend time with – you cannot expect players to initially identify with them, or maybe even like them. It takes finesse to balance that, to zoom out and find the broader, more universal entry points that might encourage players to feel like they can identify with that character.

Humanity is something distant, so what does that make humans to you? Centuries of existence can be tough on a person who can only feed on others. Are they just something to be consumed, or is it possible to have trust and kinship? Is everyone just a chess piece or a trophy?

All these questions and more are what we’re asking about your character and the NPCs that star in Bloodlines 2.

We’ll see you back in two weeks for our next Dev Diary when we’ll explore the Neo-Noir art style.

Wednesday - October 04, 2023

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - Interview

by Hiddenx, 16:11

The Escapist interviewed The Chinese Room devs:

Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 Dev Explains the Game’s Seattle Setting & More

In early September, Paradox Interactive broke nearly two years’ silence to announce that development on Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 would be taken over by the UK-based studio The Chinese Room. Bloodlines 2, a direct sequel to the 2004 cult-classic vampire CRPG, had previously been under development at the American studio Hardsuit Labs. Shortly after the announcement was made, I had the chance to talk to TCR’s creative director, Alex Skidmore, and Paradox Interactive vice president Sean Greaney, the “VP of Darkness,” who oversees the World of Darkness franchise. The two were set up at the Vampire: The Masquerade booth at the Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle, in a small, ominous back room.

The Chinese Room (TCR) is best-known for its slower-paced, interactive narrative games. Dear Esther (2012) is arguably what first got TCR on players’ radar, followed by 2013’s Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, 2015’s Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, and the 2020 Apple Arcade game Little Orpheus. TCR’s next project, coming in 2024, is the first-person “narrative horror” game Still Wakes the Deep. Bloodlines 2 marks TCR’s first foray into the action-RPG space. Set 20 years after the events of the original Bloodlines, it’s set in Seattle during a torrential, once-a-century snowstorm. You play as a newly awakened elder vampire, who has to deal with both culture shock from being pushed into the 21st century and the cutthroat politics of Seattle’s vampires.


Here’s what we learned during the interview.

How did you [the Chinese Room] end up in the conversation for Bloodlines 2?

Sean Greaney: I think that’s more on the publisher’s side. We got to a certain point in the project where we had a diversion of visions, and at that point, it was time to find a studio that shared that vision.

[TCR has] the portfolio. They’re very awarded in the space of narrative design, but also, the important factor is immersion. Audio, voice-over, etcetera. Everything that’s quite important to Bloodlines.
There’s also the action element, and the role-playing element. I think it’s fair to say that at the time we began speaking, TCR didn’t have a huge portfolio there, but they were able to show an ambition level and a plan for upscaling into that space. Alex was part of that plan. Also, the studio was on a fairly rapid growth arc.


This does seem like a increase in complexity and action over what TCR is known for. Have you been hiring more people who are experienced with that sort of thing?

Alex Skidmore: You said it exactly. When The Chinese Room became partnered with Sumo Group [in 2018], which is one of the UK’s largest developers, the goal of that was to branch out to create larger games. Games that had more complexity, as you say, but more action games, larger-scale games.

We ourselves were developing concepts around that when we were approached by Paradox. For us, that was perfect timing. Already, there were a lot of people in the studio who were into Vampire, and felt it resonates with our values and the kinds of stories we like to tell. It was too good an opportunity to pass up.

As for the scaling, TCR before Sumo was about 11 people. During [development on] Little Orpheus, it was a small team of 20 people. Now we’re over 100 working on Still Wakes the Deep, but we’re also supported by the other studios at Sumo Digital. On my design team, we’ve got several designers from [Sumo’s] Nottingham and Sheffield studios, who are working on other action-RPG titles.

I myself joined TCR about a year ago, and my career is mostly action games. I worked on the Fable series, and on Gears of War at The Coalition. I came to TCR and played Still Wakes the Deep, which we see as our legacy title, the next logical step in our games as you see them. We see Bloodlines 2 as us taking a big step forward, trying to map out our future.

[...]

Thanks Couchpotato!

 

Thursday - September 21, 2023

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - Dev Diary #1: Welcome to The Chinese Room

by Hiddenx, 13:08

VTM: Bloodlines 2 is in development - again:

Dev Diary #1: Welcome to The Chinese Room

This is Studio Design Director Alex Skidmore from The Chinese Room; excited to finally be able to say this out loud. I'm writing today to introduce you to our studio, its history and, in the future, the people behind making Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2.

The Chinese Room is the award-winning studio focused on telling grounded, believable and rich stories - these are the traditions behind our ground-breaking games in our portfolio, like Dear Esther and the internationally acclaimed Everybody's Gone to the Rapture. Over 100 talented game developers were all drawn here by a passion for the kind of storytelling we do. We also have a strong history of supporting diversity in our development team and our games.

In early 2020, we moved to our studio in sunny Brighton and built our award-winning mobile game Little Orpheus… a warmup for the ambitious titles ahead. Later the same year, the company moved to two narrative-focused projects, Still Wakes the Deep and V:tM - Bloodlines 2. Still Wakes the Deep builds on The Chinese Room’s heritage, and Bloodlines 2 is about looking to the future for our games, taking a big leap forward into the action role-playing genre while bringing our narrative expertise to bear.

Making Bloodlines 2
A look at TCR's portfolio shows believability is the basis for any of our game worlds, allowing greater immersion. Vampire: The Masquerade’s origins as a TTRPG and broad transmedia portfolio gave us this foundation of believability from the get-go. We love how it lets you express your monster in a world full of supernatural secrets. That just fits our style of storytelling. Bloodlines 2 asks us to believe that blood-sucking monsters could inhabit our world, that you are one of them and how would you deal with that world while navigating the darkness within. Bloodlines 2 is designed with a balance of roleplaying game and adventure story. A compelling and rich plot you’d expect from an adventure game, but with RPG agency allowing you to act out your vampire fantasy.

[...]

Thanks Couchpotato!

Tuesday - September 05, 2023

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - New Developer, Release Window & More

by Hiddenx, 14:43

Mortismal Gaming summarizes all recent info about VtM: Bloodlines 2:

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - New Developer, Release Window & More

Thanks Couchpotato!

Sunday - September 03, 2023

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - Release: Fall 2024

by Hiddenx, 09:32

Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 will be released next year:

Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 - Official 2023 Announcement Trailer

Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 is an action RPG now being developed by The Chinese Room, a Sumo Digital Studio. Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 takes players to the dark underbelly of Seattle where vampires fight for survival and supremacy. Players will encounter intriguing characters, engage in intense combat, and balance the need for blood as an Elder vampire while keeping their true nature a secret from society. Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 is set for a gameplay reveal in January 2024 and a full release in Fall 2024 for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series S|X, and PC.

Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 - Official The Chinese Room Behind The Scenes Video

Thanks Couchpotato!

Source: IGN

Tuesday - August 22, 2023

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - Release on October 27?

by Hiddenx, 15:22

Couchpotato spotted a tweet that says: VtM: Bloodlines 2 will be released on October 27.

Monday - June 26, 2023

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - Opinion Piece @ Mortismal Gaming

by Hiddenx, 17:15

Mortismal Gaming shares his thoughts about VtM: Bloodlines 2:

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - September Update Has A Lot To Prove

Thanks Couchpotato!

Wednesday - June 07, 2023

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - June 2023 Update

by Hiddenx, 19:59

Couchpotato spotted the June update for Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines 2:

Bloodlines 2: Update June 2023

Dear Bloodlines fans,

It’s been quite a while between updates while we’ve had our heads down working on the game. We remain just as dedicated to delivering a great Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines game as we were when we announced, and are looking forward to showing you more in September this year.

We acknowledge it was a long time ago that many of you pre-ordered Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2. As development continues, we will be updating the game’s editions and bonus content, and we want to provide the best value to those of you who supported us via digital pre-order after all this time. We are thus offering refunds to anyone who has pre-ordered any edition of Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2. As part of this process, we are proactively refunding all pre-orders of physical products, including the Collector’s Edition. The digital versions of the First Blood Edition, Unsanctioned Edition and Blood Moon Edition remain, but can be refunded if you choose.

We’re excited to show you more and hope to have all of you with us in September when we reveal more. We know you are eager to see how the game is coming along so we’ve put together a fresh batch of screenshots to share with you.

For more information about refunds and how to submit your request, please visit our FAQ.

Until then,
The Bloodlines Team

Sunday - October 17, 2021

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - Almost Cancelled

by Silver, 07:18

TechRaptor reports that Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines 2 was almost cancelled but was then saved by a convincing pitch. The new developer has still not been announced.

Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 has definitely had a strange road so far. Initially announced to a lot of fanfare, it has since suffered delay after delay after delay, which has led to a lot of wondering and discussion on whether or not the game has quietly been canned. Not so, says, Paradox Interactive CEO Fredrik Wester, as the game was apparently saved by a "convincing" pitch:

“When we lifted the game from the original developer, we had a long review in case we should end the game or run it further,” Wester said in an interview with Avanza. “Then we were actually prepared to close the production completely. But we got a ‘pitch’ that we thought was convincing enough to run. played on and we have very good hopes that it will be a good game that meets the players’ expectations.”

That was the only bit of news either, as apparently, Hardsuit Labs is no longer the development lead on Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2, with a "new studio partner" being brought in to finish the game. As you can tell by the quotes, the developer has not yet been named.

Interestingly, Wester seems determined to see this through until the very end for Bloodlines 2, and its performance will see whether or not Paradox does any other big AAA titles:

[...]

Tuesday - February 23, 2021

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - Postponed and New Studio

by Hiddenx, 16:40

From the Paradox Interactive year-end report 2020:

Year-end Report 2020

[...]

This also affects the development of Vampire: the Masquerade – Bloodlines 2, where we communicated a delay during the third quarter of 2020. We have now chosen to postpone the release of the game further, and we will not be launching the game in 2021. We have also decided that Hardsuit Labs will no longer be leading the development of Bloodlines 2, and we have started a collaboration with a new studio partner to finish work on the game. This has been a difficult decision, but we are convinced that it is the right way forward to do the game justice.

[...]

Thanks Yemeth!

Sunday - December 06, 2020

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - Expected Late in 2021

by Silver, 20:22

DSOGaming reports that Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines 2 will not likely be available until late 2021.

It appears that Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 is in development hell. Back in August 2020, Paradox Interactive announced that the game has been delayed until 2021. And last week, Paradox’s CEO stated that he does not expect the game to be released in the first half of 2021.

[...]

To be honest, this whole situation does not really surprise us. As we wrote in August 2019, the game had major performance/optimization issues. Moreover, its animations needed additional polish and work. Now whether the game will benefit from these delays is anyone’s guess.

Tuesday - October 20, 2020

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - Cara Ellison left the Project

by Hiddenx, 10:24

PC Gamer reports that after Brian Mitsoda, senior narrative designer Cara Ellison has also left the Bloodlines 2 project:

Bloodlines 2 senior narrative designer Cara Ellison has left the project

Paradox Interactive confirmed that Ellison is no longer with developer Hardsuit Labs.

In August, Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 developer Hardsuit Labs announced that it had parted ways with both lead writer Brian Mitsoda and creative director Ka’ai Cluney. Reasons for their release weren't given, but Mitsoda suggested that it wasn't a happy split, saying that he was unaware of any problems, and that his firing came as a complete surprise.

Today, publisher Paradox Interactive confirmed that senior narrative designer Cara Ellison has also left the project, and is no longer with developer Hardsuit Labs. Rumors about Ellison's departure began to swirl after fans noticed that she'd removed references to the project from her Twitter profile; Armello developer League of Geeks also recently announced that Ellison had joined it as senior narrative designer.

"We can confirm that Cara Ellison has decided to leave Hardsuit Labs and is no longer working on Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2," a Paradox spokesperson said. "Cara brought fresh ideas to the project and many of her contributions will be present in the game launching next year. We thank her for her work on Bloodlines 2 and wish her the best in all of her future endeavors."

[...]

Thank you for the info, Yemeth!

Wednesday - August 19, 2020

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - Brian Mitsoda & Ka'ai Cluney Fired

by Silver, 23:05

Paradox have issued a press statement advising that Lead Narrative Designer Brian Mitsoda and Creative Director Ka’ai Cluney are no longer involved with the making of Vampire - The Masquerade: Bloodlines 2. RockPaperShotgun have an email statement from Brian Mitsoda about the matter.

Hi everyone,

Paradox Interactive and Hardsuit Labs have some important updates to share today. We recently shared that we were making some organizational changes to the Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 team, as promised, we will now give an update on what that means.

Lead Narrative Designer Brian Mitsoda and Creative Director Ka’ai Cluney are no longer part of the team at Hardsuit Labs. This was a joint decision made by the leadership of Hardsuit Labs and Paradox Interactive.

We appreciate, and value, the contributions of Brian and Ka’ai, which were instrumental in establishing the game's storyline and dark tone and have helped to ensure that we are making a true successor to the iconic Bloodlines. We wish them both the best in their future endeavors.

With that, we are excited to announce that Alexandre Mandryka has come aboard as Creative Consultant, filling the Creative Director role for Bloodlines 2, and will help us in the final stages of development. Alexandre is committed to following the vision that is in place, and successfully bringing Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 to the fans.

Alexandre has been in the industry for more than 20 years and has worked on iconic franchises such as Assassin’s Creed, Warhammer 40,000, Far Cry, and more. With a long history of shipping excellent franchises, we are excited with what Alexandre brings to the game and the World of Darkness.

These changes to the team are focused on one thing: to bring you the best possible Vampire: The Masquerade game. We will share further updates as they occur.

We thank you all for understanding.

Saturday - August 15, 2020

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - Production in the Age of COVID-19

by Hiddenx, 14:48

Old Grognard found this arcticle from Austin Maestre, a producer of Bloodlines 2:

Production in the age of COVID-19

Hello All – my name is Austin Maestre, and I am a producer on Bloodlines 2. I’m one of the newer producers at HSL, but I have been in production roles for about six years. In my experience, production can be a bit of a black box – in or outside of the games industry – so I want to take some time to share a bit about the role and how it has changed during the pandemic.

First, let me acknowledge that the following breakdown of production is based off my own – and some friends’ – experiences and that there may be things that don’t apply to everyone who has ever worked in production. I intend to do my best to accurately paint a picture of production that fits with general understanding with a hint of personal experience.

What is Production?

At its core, the role of a producer is to make sure the game/project is completed and delivered. While the baseline seems simple, it gets increasingly more complex and ambiguous as constraints are put on the project. For example, in the pre-production (planning) phase of any projects work has to be to done to figure out: what is the intended scope/size of the project, how many resources (people) do we need to complete it, how long should it take us, what will the cost look like? These are all questions that production is often responsible for figuring out the answers to and then creating a plan informed by them.

Unfortunately, no project will ever stick entirely to the estimated time, cost, scope, or resourcing in each project plan. Maintaining, changing, and updating this plan – in real-time – is akin to being a bus driver on a crowded bus, where there’s no clear road to your destination, and most of the passengers have thoughts on how to get there. In some cases, the destination isn’t even really known. Continuing the bus analogy - it’s the job of production to listen to those giving directions and then filter, mediate, and align those voices to one direction; while also marking it down on the map so everyone knows the plan.

Each studio will define the responsibilities of production or project management differently. This is where the ambiguity comes in. At some studios, there is only one producer who oversees high-level planning and project maintenance. At the same time, each department (ex: animation, engineering, UI, Narrative) take on the planning and delivery work for themselves. At other studios, there is a robust fleet of producers that are helping on all levels, from specific teams to large chunks of the game, to the entire studio. Since there isn’t a single standard of what a producer’s day-to-day responsibilities are, it’s often up to individual producers to figure that out as they go. The resulting scenario is frequently a mix of concrete “paperwork” type stuff and filling the gaps for the project or studio as needed. Because in the end, a producer’s job is to produce.

[...]

Tuesday - August 11, 2020

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - Delayed to 2021

by Hiddenx, 18:10

Paradox Interactive and Hardsuit Labs announced on Twitter that Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 has been delayed to 2021.

Friday - July 03, 2020

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - Interview

by Hiddenx, 20:33

USGamer interviewed the Bloodlines 2 devs:

Bloodlines 2's Developers on Next-Gen, Immersion, and Seattle in the World of Darkness

Hardsuit Labs isn't winding up to miss the mark.

Hardsuit Labs had stayed fairly quiet in the months leading up to last month's Xbox showcase. Since the Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 developer announced a delay in October of last year, pushing the sequel of a cult-classic vampire RPG into the latter half of 2020, the studio seems to have been mostly heads-down in development.

[...]

A City in Darkness

The world Gregg and the Hardsuit Lab team wants to immerse players in with Bloodlines 2 is Seattle, or at least, a fictionalized version of it. Where the first Bloodlines played out in California, with depictions of Hollywood and Santa Monica, the sequel heads up the Pacific Coast to rainy Seattle, which entails a bit of a change in scenery.

Mitsoda has stressed the importance of place in the past for Bloodlines 2; in making sure that the Seattle portrayed in Bloodlines 2 is honest to the real-world version, and not shying away from the real issues Seattle faces.

[...]

Thanks Couchpotato!

Saturday - June 13, 2020

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - Character Reveal Trailer

by Silver, 23:02

Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines 2 has a new character reveal trailer.

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Sired in an act of vampire terrorism, your existence ignites the war for Seattle's blood trade. Enter uneasy alliances with the creatures who control the city and uncover the sprawling conspiracy which plunged Seattle into a bloody civil war between powerful vampire factions.

We’re excited to announce that Damsel, everyone’s favorite Brujah from the original Bloodlines, will make an appearance in Bloodlines 2. Since the 2000s, when she organized Anarch resistance against the Camarilla in Los Angeles, Damsel has moved up the coast to Seattle. In Seattle, she is on a mission for the Anarch Free State, agitating among the city’s downtrodden Kindred.

Friday - May 08, 2020

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - 'Come Dance' Trailer

by Silver, 20:58

A new trailer for Vampire - The Masquerade: Bloodlines 2.

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Enter the World of Darkness and rise through vampire society. Experience Seattle - a city full of alluring, dangerous, characters and factions. You are dead now but stronger, quicker, more alluring and with potential for so much more. Choose to be brutal and unflinching or cultured and seductive. Use charm, cunning, terror and sheer will to rise through vampire society. What monster will you be?

Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 is coming to Xbox Series X and Xbox One

Thursday - April 02, 2020

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - Side Quests and Traversal

by Silver, 06:37

Dev Diary #10 for Vampire The Masqurade: Bloodlines 2 talks about side quests and traversal.

Hello everyone!

February and March have been intense, for many reasons. Like many others in the US and around the world, the COVID-19 outbreak has changed how we work in the last few weeks. To help mitigate this unprecedented illness, our developers are all working from home. We have provided infrastructure and hardware support for that to happen, as well as provided more tools and procedures to help facilitate communication. The biggest challenge to us has been the separation. We shockingly like each other in this studio and have found it a little difficult not to be able to hang out during the week. But we also want to keep our developers and their families safe, so this is a small price to pay. The new working from home paradigm seems to be agreeing with people, and development is proceeding from the comfort of our own homes.

Speaking of which, we are seeing more and more of the game come together. On the road to “content complete” many features are getting locked including side quests, systems, and animations. We're getting to the point where the game you'll get to play at release is clearly recognizable through the construction dust.

Side quests are where you really get to meet the World of Darkness in Bloodlines 2, just like the first game. They're also one of the main rewards for stepping off the beaten path and exploring our version of Seattle. Most of our side-quests are written, scripted, and locked down in the game, and we are very excited to share them with you. The narrative design department has been hard at work making sure these side quests feel every bit as integral to the fabric of the game as the main quests.

The game grew in other ways as well. It always was central to our vision to make players feel like a vampire through gameplay. One side of it is to create this freedom in movements that a mere mortal could never experience. This led us to the decision to expand your baseline Thinblood abilities to traversal - you can use Chiropteran Glide, Mentalism Pull for specific objects or Nebulation through vents at any time, regardless of your primary Thinblood Discipline choice. We went through the game, particularly the hubs, and investigated all the ways we could make them even more exciting and seamless for you to use. These powers have been with us for a long time, and we can fully leverage their potential uses throughout all levels for puzzles, rewards, and perhaps some secrets for you to find.

We organized a mocap session in February, focusing on facial and dialogue animations. Our animation team has been polishing things like the feeding animations, combat, Discipline usage, and other vampire mainstays (no devs were hurt in the recording of this mocap session, proof in images).

Thanks for reading and stay safe!

Monday - December 02, 2019

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - Interview about Combat System @Gamasutra

by Silver, 10:54

@Gamasutra An interview about reworking the combat system for Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines 2.

Feeling a bloodlust

"The combat system in the sequel is primarily focused on the idea that you are the weapon," Schwarzer said, adding that the feeling of being a vampire is the whole point of the game. "You are not a counter-terrorism specialist that needs to strap on a lot of gear, you are the badass."

Schwarzer said that that mindset led to a focus on forward motion, speed of movement, and the power imbalance between humans and vampires. Playing a vampire, even a weak one when you first begin your adventure, should make fighting humans somewhat trivial. Coupling your characters strength with quick movements based on forward motion, helped instill a feeling of power in the player. 

Vampires are more durable and much stronger than humans, and the combat design reflects that. You'll deal more damage with melee weapons, like a crowbar, than humans and ranged weapons deal less damage to you due to an inherent capability called soak. Vampires absorb a set amount of damage before they start to get hurt. Dealing with humans, who often come in numbers, will be different than fighting another vampire. 

"So attacking a vampire enemy with a ranged weapon is good for slowing them down," Schwarzer said. "But it isn't immediately as effective as going into close range, for example, and cutting them." 

[...]

Thanks Farflame!

Monday - November 04, 2019

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - Interview With President & CEO Of Modiphius

by Silver, 09:36

The Gamer interviewed the President and CEO of Modiphius about Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines 2.

Modiphius Entertainment is the company that is responsible for publishing the latest edition of the Vampire: The Masquerade tabletop game. TheGamer had a chance to talk to Modiphius President and CEO Chris Birch during the recent PDXCON event in Berlin, where he discussed the future of Vampire: The Masquerade. 

Chris Burch: The first key product is The Fall of London Chronicle. Time has jumped forward a bit and the Second Inquisition is cracking down on vampires and they have the technology and secret information they need to actually find and deal with vampires. So, London is a big flashpoint and they really are scraping vampires out of London. There is a huge hit going on. You basically wake up out of torpor and all hell is breaking loose, there is like… gunfire, madness, and Mithras is there with one last job for you before you leave. So it’s a great way for old players to get updated on the setting and what’s going on because you start as if you are from the past and you get to find out what’s been going on. The new players get to do all the cool stuff that vampires should do, there is a bit of action and drama, there is a big high-class party in The Shard in London.

We've got a Player's Guide and it's all about the clans and has lots of new information, but it's a bit of a bridge as well because in this edition of Vampire you are the monster that's trying to cling on to your humanity through a loved one. Whereas in previous editions of Vampire you were more of a human whose got this monstrous feelings and tendencies inside you and you're trying to fight the monster within you. So, what we've done is try to show people who are like "But that's how I like playing Vampire and that's the mental state I like to use" and that's fine, that's how you can do it with V5, so here's what you need to know about rules and what might need to be tweaked if you want to play it that way. It really is trying to embrace more of the community and give them a doorway into V5.

[...]

Thanks Farflame!

Thursday - October 17, 2019

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - Delayed to later in 2020

by Silver, 00:59

Hardsuit Labs has announced that Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 will release later in 2020 than Q1.

To all fans of Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2

 

For the last three and a half years, we’ve worked hard to bring you a worthy successor to Bloodlines 1. To us, that meant not only making good on the ambitions of this remarkable game, but also a duty to ensure we would not repeat its mistakes. Today, we have to tell you that we need some more time to get you the game you’ve been waiting for. Although Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 will still launch in 2020, we have decided to value quality over making the Q1 launch window. 

There are some things we wanted to hit under all circumstances when we set out to follow in Bloodlines’ footsteps: A deep, branching storyline; fascinating and amazingly acted characters; the rich universe of the World of Darkness. We firmly believe that we’re on the right track to get you all of this.

On the flip side, there’s the responsibility to avoid some of the issues that plagued the first game, which was famously launched too early. Over the last few months, it became clear that to stick to our original date would risk repeating that mistake. We won’t do that. In the end, everyone working on this game wants to offer you the best Bloodlines 2 we can.

This hasn’t been an easy- nor our first choice. Throughout 2019 we have been improving our processes and growing our teams, however it soon became clear that this alone won’t allow us to deliver the quality we want at the date we promised. 

Your feedback was invaluable in this. It helped us give the proper weight to what we saw, as well. We’d like to thank you, and hope you’ll support us in the decision that came from it. 

Many of us from Hardsuit Labs will be in Berlin for PDXCON. For those of you going, we look forward to seeing you there! We will be sharing insights into the development of Bloodlines 2 along with other steps we’ve taken to strengthen our development team  to realize our ambitions for Bloodlines 2.

For those of you who won’t be there, we will be sharing more about this during the PDXCON Announcement stream on Saturday the 19th. We are also opening up a Reddit thread to answer any of your questions in the Bloodlines stream on the following Sunday. 

 

Thanks,

Andy Kipling and Brian Mitsoda, on behalf of the team at Hardsuit Labs

 

We want to hear from you! Join the discussion on our Discord channel or Reddit to ask your questions. We will compile them to be answered on October 20th during our special Dev Q&A stream live from PDXCON. 

Tune in to Paradox Interactive Twitch or Mixer channels this Sunday at 4pm CET to watch our dev team answer your most burning questions

Friday - October 11, 2019

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - The Unseen

by Myrthos, 10:17

The fifth and last faction in Bloodlines 2, The Unseen, have been made public.

Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2
The Unseen Faction Reveal

Paradox Interactive has revealed a the fifth and final faction in Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 The Unseen.
 
Some of Seattle’s Kindred factions work from penthouses, others from art galleries and nightclubs. The Unseen, however, come from below, from the city’s literal Underground. In stark contrast to the city’s other factions, the Unseen consist exclusively of Nosferatu. The Clan of the Hidden has long been excluded by Seattle’s other vampires. So, the Unseen began among the homeless and destitute - the unfortunates that most people wilfully or subconsciously ignore. Led by the Council of Three, the faction has grown and excels at gathering intel and trading secrets, counting journalists, hackers, and engineers among their ranks. The Unseen can be a powerful ally. If you can find them, of course. 
 
You can learn much more about the Unseen and their place in the underbelly of the city here: https://www.bloodlines2.com/en/the-unseen

“THERE IS ALWAYS TIME.”
The Council of Three
 
Recapping for the final time, the factions of Seattle in Bloodlines 2 are united groups of Kindred, sharing similar backgrounds, goals, and hunting grounds. The Factions are involved in a nearly constant struggle for control, influence, and the warm red stuff. The Unseen are always lurking in the shadows - and most every other vampire in the city is content to leave them there...

Wednesday - September 04, 2019

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - The Camarilla

by Hiddenx, 20:52

The Camarilla are back in Bloodlines 2:

Faction: The Camarilla

Greetings everyone!

Today we bring to you the second reveal of the five Factions in Seattle.

The Camarilla

Contrary to what you might think, I enjoy having enemies. It makes me... careful - keeps me creative. There's not much of a future for complacent rulers 
-Alec Cross


POWER PLAYERS
Seattle has become one of the most lucrative tech- and business cities in the world. In the shadows of that boom, a new kind of Kindred has emerged in the city: Sleek, business-minded; ready to influence the city from the top-floor board rooms. Led by Prince Cross and ingrained in the corporate landscape of Seattle, the Camarilla has managed to turn its connections to tech billionaires and investment bankers into dominion over the Emerald City.


THE LONG GAME
After 20 years at the top, every member of Cross’ faction is still very aware of being the city’s biggest target. While Cross knows that not every vampire in the city accepts the Camarilla, he has given them just enough power to not having to worry about them organizing and moving against him. Stability, prosperity, and the Masquerade have been the key components of his policy.


THE IVORY TOWER
Very few cities boast a vampire elite as wealthy as Seattle. In these refined circles, your true worth shows in how you much control your money has bought you. Here at the top, a comfortable existence - not having to worry about access to blood and having to hunt - is all but guaranteed. Among the Camarilla kindred loyal to Cross you’ll find CEOs, software moguls, bankers, venture capitalists, politicians and other members of the business elite.

Sunday - August 25, 2019

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - Extended Gameplay Trailer

by Hiddenx, 18:50

IGN published  the extended gameplay trailer for Vampire The Masquerade Bloodlines 2 on Youtube:

Vampire The Masquerade Bloodlines 2: 28 Minute Gameplay Demo - Gamescom 2019

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A developer provided extended Vampire The Masquerade Bloodlines 2 gameplay demo from Gamescom 2019.

Tuesday - August 20, 2019

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - RTX Trailer

by Silver, 07:08

Vampire The Masquerade Bloodlines 2 RTX Trailer.

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Enjoy a first glimpse of Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines 2 with RTX ON. Powered by GeForce RTX technology, ray-traced lighting and reflections helps bring Seattle to life in vivid detail, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the world of darkness.

Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 will launch on PC and consoles in 2020 and is now available for pre-order. To learn more about Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2, please visit www.bloodlines2.com.

Monday - July 29, 2019

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - Dev Diary #2

by Silver, 06:27

Dev Diary #2 for Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines 2 expands on its design pillars.

...
Now that we’ve touched on the ‘why’ and ‘how’, let’s get to the ‘what’. What are the Pillars of Bloodlines 2?

Be a Vampire: This sounds simple to the point of ridiculousness, but it goes deeper than feeding on humans and avoiding the sun. From the player’s perspective, there should always be a sense of supernatural power – even for a fledgling, or relatively weak vampire. Features and systems should always be evaluated against this; dialogue and interactions should always reflect this. The relationship between the player and citizens of Seattle should always be evaluated as a relationship between a hunter and prey, be it through feeding systems, combat, or dialogue. This also pertains to what might threaten a vampire. How do you scare a monster?

In a practical sense, “Be a Vampire” – among other things – guides our approach to how the player moves through the world, both in terms of player systems such as traversal, how we support those systems through level design, and how we communicate all of that to the player through other devices, such as Lighting or User Interface. A player that moves through the world unconventionally needs to learn how to read that world unconventionally, and a lot of effort is made to make sure the player really does start to think like, and be, a vampire.

Show the World of Darkness: The world of Bloodlines should always be informed by the nature of the World of Darkness – the hidden world that lurks under what most people consider the Real World. This should be reflected not only in the look and design of the environment, but in the personalities of its inhabitants, and in the nature and presentation of missions and events in the game. No one in the World of Darkness is interested in clearing a cellar of rats, or in collecting Werewolf pelts. There should be a constant and deepening sense of discovering more, of digging deeper.

A big part of this is visual, which I’ll leave to a later entry from Luke (Dodge, our Art Director,) because, trust me, I’m no artist. “Show the World of Darkness” goes much deeper than that, however, in a lot of ways that affect our approach to design. The foundation of the World of Darkness is Storytelling. A world that hits the mark visually needs to be filled with the characters, history, and small environmental touches that bring the World of Darkness to life, and those all need to reinforce the tone. Our Narrative Team, led by Brian, is constantly assessing and reevaluating everything from Character Design and Dialogue, to Quest Design, to the smallest details like shop signs, to make sure that we’re not just telling players about the World of Darkness – we’re filling it with as much Darkness as possible, and dropping them right in the middle of it to discover it themselves.

Reactivity and Player Choice: Players should always be faced with choices. Sometimes, they should be confronted with choices where there is no “right” thing to do, or times where they’re forced to choose between two equally unsavory options. As players make decisions, the world and gameplay experience must reflect these choices, be it through reactive dialogue, reactive story events, or even how players decide to build and grow their character. Players should never get the sense that they’re making a choice that will lessen the game experience, even if they made a “wrong” choice. Choice should always be acknowledged by the game, even if only in minor ways.

This applies directly to our decision-making process as well. For example, we decided early in development that every player build must have access to – though not necessarily equal ability in – powers that have applications for combat, dialogue, and traversal. This means that players who prefer combat characters can certainly build to their preference, but always have options as to how and when to deviate from that archetype. They may not be smooth talkers, but they can certainly try – and sometimes fail. There are often consequences for certain choices, and it’s not always obvious.

Be a True Descendent of Bloodlines: Bloodlines had its own voice – even within the overall World of Darkness. Players should immediately get the sense that they are re-entering that world, though in a different place and time. The tone of the narrative and dialogue, the balance between the familiar and the otherworldly, and the treatment of disturbing and mature subject matter (and the conscious decision to occasionally wink and nod at that subject matter,) are all crucial to maintaining that feel. Creative and aesthetic decisions should all be weighed against the question: “Is this Bloodlines?” We are exploring new territory outside of the original Bloodlines, but it must feel like an expansion of the original world.

Part of being a true descendent is – ideally – learning from the past, building on strengths and improving wherever possible. For us, it’s not enough to “do it like Bloodlines”. In some cases, we need to understand why it was done, and what was great about it, so that we can extrapolate that out to other systems and elements of the game. For example, alignment with various factions, loyalty, and betrayal played heavily into the ending of the original game. We wanted to go further, and make sure that those elements are pulled as far forward as possible, so that they figure more heavily into the early game. We then make a point of challenging those loyalties, and providing opportunities for betrayal as often as possible, which has even wider implications at the end.

Let’s be clear: Good Pillars don’t make a good game. They are one tool in a vast array of tools that all must be brought to bear on a game of this scope, with this much of a history, and with this fervent of a following. The important thing is that they act as a reliable foundation that guides the decision-making process, and gives us a better chance of delivering something that can stand up to the title “Bloodlines 2”

As for the other tools in the toolbox, we’ll be hearing from more of the development team about those.

Until then…

-K

Wednesday - June 26, 2019

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - Many Dialogue Choices & Multiple Endings

by Silver, 05:14

Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodines 2 will have many dialogue choices and multiple endings according to GameReactor.

"So we tried to make as many consequences happen as possible for whatever you're choosing in dialogue options. We try to make it so it's quite organic and realistic, so you're not really sure what the outcome's gonna be often when you choose them, you're just choosing what you think is best at the time and then seeing that play out in front of you. So yeah, we try to do that as much as possible. There are multiple endings for the game, usually every playthrough I think is going to be different."

This level of choice extends to traversal and clans as well, as we talked about in the rest of the video interview you can watch below.

[...]

Thanks Farflame!

Tuesday - June 11, 2019

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - E3 Gameplay Trailer

by Silver, 21:23

The Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 extended gameplay trailer.

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Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 is the successor to the cult-classic Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines and features reactive storytelling, fast-paced combat, and compelling characters with their own hidden motives. Created in an act of vampiric insurrection, players start the game as a fledgling Thinblood whose existence ignites a war among the vampire factions in Seattle.

To survive in vampire society, players will enter into uneasy alliances with Seattle’s factions and join one of the full-blood vampire clans while stalking the city streets for prey, maneuvering complex political relationships, and balancing the need for blood against their withering humanity. Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 will launch on PC and consoles in 2020 and is now available for pre-order. To learn more about Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2, please visit www.bloodlines2.com.

Saturday - June 01, 2019

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - The first five Clans

by Hiddenx, 22:08

PC Gamer thinks that the first five clans of Bloodlines 2 are the right ones for a good start:

Bloodlines 2's first five clans are a perfect starting lineup

From abilities, politics, and popularity, Bloodlines 2 is starting off with the right clans.

Now that all five Bloodlines 2 clans have been revealed, we can all breath a collective sigh of relief knowing that most of our favorites are going to be in the game at launch. Paradox has mentioned that more clans will be added post-launch as DLCs, but we have a long time to wait until the game releases. Until then, we're free to speculate on what missing Camarilla clans and other clans might be added, but Paradox and Hardsuit Labs totally nailed its decision to start with these first five clans: Brujah, Toreador, Tremere, Ventrue, and Malkavian.

To simplify things, I won't be talking about the Thinbloods and their abilities. Even though they technically are a clan, you start off as one in Bloodlines 2, and you have new powers that did not appear in the first Bloodlines, so there is little comparison there. However, the five clans that I mentioned above provide a perfect, simplified platter of disciplines, personality, and playstyle options.

[...]

Thanks henriquejr!

Wednesday - May 29, 2019

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - The Malkavians

by Hiddenx, 19:39

The final clan of Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 is revealed: The Malkavians

Clan Introduction - Malkavian - Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2

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Malkavians have been traditionally ostracized by the Seattle Kindred. While a few managed to claim territory in less desirable districts, very few have ever managed to rise to the levels of the other clans. Because of this, there is a persistent bias against the Malkavian clan that still exists into modern nights.

Thanks henriquejr!

Tuesday - May 28, 2019

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - Interviews

by Silver, 21:44

Polygon interviewed the writers behind Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines 2 and asked about the game. Additionally Gamingbolt interviewed about setting, narrative, modding, and more.

Mitsoda says players might observe someone crashing their bike on a deserted street corner, then choose to swoop in and taste that pain. Later they might catch a pair of young lovers out for a walk, then follow one of them home to sample their desire. Depending on the emotional state of non-player characters, players themselves will be able to charge their passive and active abilities — powerful skills that will allow them to perform stunts in combat or influence social interactions. Only by finding the right kinds of resonance out in the wild can players build up their skills to meet their needs.

“You’re always kind of on the hunt,” Mitsoda says, “and it’s one of the big parts of the side activities in the game. You’re skulking around on the tops of roofs and looking around for people with strong resonance and figuring out how to best get them in a position where you can feed on them without breaking the Masquerade.”

[...]

How did you land on Seattle as a setting for the game?

One of the great strengths of Bloodlines 1 was that it felt so very ‘local’. Of course it wasn’t a scale-model recreation of early 2000’s Los Angeles, but that game with that story really couldn’t have taken place anywhere else. We all knew from the start that Bloodlines 2 needed to capture its city’s atmosphere the same way. Hardsuit Labs and Brian are based in Seattle — Brian especially has become a real local history buff. That familiarity with the city and its past and present hubs is an important part of Bloodlines 2.

The more you learn about Seattle’s dark past, the more you realize that it is a great place to be secretly run by vampires. A good example is the Great Seattle Fire of 1989, which burned down the city’s central business district. Instead of rebuilding, they paved over everything; giving Seattle a literal underground where the vampires in our story can secretly thrive. To us, things like this make Seattle an ideal setting for Bloodlines 2.

[...]

Thanks Farflame!

Wednesday - May 22, 2019

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - Ventrue

by Silver, 23:30

A video introducing the Ventrue clan for Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines 2.

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Historically, Seattle has been the site of many industrial booms, and of course, the Ventrue have been there to capitalize on its fortunes. As more and more billion-dollar corporations shape the local and global landscape, enterprising Ventrue have entrenched themselves in the businesses of the 21st century, paving the way for a prosperous future for their clan… and making enemies of the residents who preferred the way things used to be.

Wednesday - May 15, 2019

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - Toreador

by Hiddenx, 18:49

Learn more about the hedonistic Toreador clan of Bloodlines 2:

Clan Introduction - Toreador - Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2

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Obsessed with beauty in all forms, there are those Toreador who would claim that their Clan only chooses the most accomplished artists of each generation - whether they wielded the brush, the pen, their voice, body or mind. It'd only be half a lie. Influencing the political, social, and cultural elite, the Toreador have been well entrenched within Seattle's power structure since its days as a pioneer settlement.

Thanks henriquejr!

Wednesday - May 08, 2019

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - Tremere

by Silver, 20:43

Worthplaying report on the Tremere for Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines 2.

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The Tremere are knowledge-obsessed warlocks who unleash devastating blood magic against their enemies.

Often referred to as usurpers, hermetics, blood witches, or worse, the other vampire clans share a general distrust of the Tremere. Despite this, the other clans respect the sheer power of the Tremere’s blood magic, turning those willing to offer their services into valued, if uneasy, allies. Long before Seattle, the Tremere began as occultists who were seeking immortality. Even though they found a way to live forever, the price they paid bound their magic to blood. The origin of their curse is mostly forgotten but continues to color their interactions with other Kindred. The Tremere were not allowed in significant numbers in Seattle - until recently...

You can head over to the Paradox Interactive Twitch channel today at 9 a.m. Pacific (12 p.m. Eastern) where the Bloodlines 2 team will give a breakdown of the Tremere clan.

The Tremere employ powerful blood magic to uncover secrets and unleash harrowing attacks. Players who join the Tremere’s ranks can unlock two new disciplines to expand their arsenal: Thaumaturgy and Auspex. Thaumaturgy is the Tremere’s signature blood sorcery which grants unparalleled destructive power. Auspex expands the Tremere’s senses beyond the boundaries of their bodies, ensuring nothing stays hidden to the Warlocks.

[...]

Thursday - May 02, 2019

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - Brujah

by Silver, 23:04

@PC Gamer The Brujah clan has been introduced for Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines 2.

Potency

  • You're big, you're tough and your muscles have muscles.
  • Fist of Caine gives you a punch even the big daddy of the vamps would be proud of. Knock down walls and throw people far. It's upgradeable, too. 
  • Beat up the ground with Earthshock, creating a shockwave and knocking down anyone that gets too close. Upgrading it will send out fissures that damage everyone nearby. 

Celerity

  • You're the speedster of the vampire world.
  • Unseen Storm lets you dash in any direction so quickly that, to anyone looking, you disappear, giving you the chance to make a quick attack, reposition yourself and dodge attacks. It helps if you want to run away, too, and it can be upgraded.
  • With Accelerate, the world slows down around you, letting pull off fancy stunts and even avoid bullets. You can enhance it with an upgrade, too. You'll be wanting to grab some shades and a leather coat, obviously.

[...]

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Wednesday - April 24, 2019

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - The Thinbloods

by Hiddenx, 18:42

Learn more about the Thinbloods - a clan in VtM: Bloodlines 2:

Clan Introduction - Thinbloods - Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2

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Despite being permitted in the city, very few thinbloods survive any length of time. With little understanding of what they are or the rules of Kindred society, they face a struggle to simply exist in a city carved up by established political factions. How will you fit on the grander stage of Kindred society?

Tuesday - April 23, 2019

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - Dev Diary #1: Who is Hardsuit Labs?

by Silver, 11:30

Dev Diary #1 for Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines 2 asks the question 'Who is Hardsuit Labs?'

Hello, my name is Liz Starr, I am one of the Producers at Hardsuit Labs, and I have the dream job of working on Bloodlines 2. I am very happy to bring you this dev diary about Hardsuit Labs and the story behind our fantastic team.

Hardsuit Labs began in 2015 with Andy Kipling, Russell Nelson, and a team of about 20 people. We had all worked at another studio together before. When that place went out of business, Andy and Russ – then a Production Director and Tech Director – decided to ask a few of their former teammates to help start something new. Back then, we thought that it’d take maybe five years of bringing older games to newer formats for this band of veterans to gain enough reputation to pitch a full game production.

Two years later, Ka’ai Cluney, our Creative Director, burst into Andy’s office with an idea he and his friend Brian Mitsoda had come up with. Ka’ai is one of those people who seems to have been everywhere and done everything; from design at id Software and Monolith to building roofs in Alaska. He had worked with Brian (of Troika and Vampire: the Masquerade - Bloodlines fame) before. Together, they came up with a concept that lured Brian out of his own indie studio, into our team.

More importantly, it convinced Andy and Russ to go all in and to start pitching that full game project three years earlier than we’d have guessed.

When I discovered that what we were pitching was Bloodlines 2, I was beyond excited. Not only because Paradox has released some games that I give much of my free time to, but also because I am a huge World of Darkness fan. I wish I could tell my LARPing younger Ventrue self that she would one day be working on this game.

Turns out I wasn’t the only one: One of the wonderful things about World of Darkness and Hardsuit Labs is that we have a lot of fans in the team. There’ve been off-hours Vampire tabletop games in the conference room since before the project properly started. Those who were new to the IP were gently introduced to the fandom and have also embraced it.

Nowadays, Hardsuit Labs is a good mix of seasoned veterans and recently bloodied developers of many different backgrounds. One example of strengthening this mix is Cara Ellison, who joined us early last year. Cara's known to some for her work as a journalist (at Rock Paper Shotgun et. al), to others for her work on Dishonored 2... and to even fewer for her testing on GTA4. We value our diversity of experience and the diversity of us as individuals; we know this brings more perspective to our work and company culture, and ultimately creates better games.

For Bloodlines 2, this team is putting all its passion and motivation behind the narrative of Brian and Cara. We can’t wait for you to sink your teeth into it!

Monday - April 08, 2019

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - What We Want @GameCrate

by Silver, 06:37

GameCrate wrote about what they want to see from Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines 2.

Video games are often built around intense violence. In many games, it’s the primary activity that you’re engaged in. I’m not against that, but I think that a game about personal horror (the original VTM tagline) necessitates an exploration of the impact that violence makes on the world. Some of the best games (Spec Ops: The Line, for example) explore what happens to both the perpetrators and the victims of that violence.

To that end, there should be no disposable cannon fodder enemies in Bloodlines 2. Everyone should have a backstory. Sabbat shovelhead, random thin blood, ghoul, mind-controlled gangbanger, street cop, hired thug, whatever. Everyone is connected to someone. Everyone has a life. That can be conveyed through a wallet, a handbag, an unlocked phone full of text messages, a diary, an apartment full of personal items, or even grieving friends and family you meet.

[...]

Thanks Farflame!

Sunday - March 31, 2019

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - Interviews

by Silver, 05:42

Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodines 2 has some interviews from Venturebeat and GamerHubTV

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[...]

GamesBeat: Why bring Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines back now?

Brian Mitsoda: First of all, a lot of things have to happen to get a game going. I will say it was definitely something—as soon as Paradox acquired the World of Darkness IP, it just so happens that the creative lead at Hardsuit Labs, Ka’ai Cluney, who is a good friend of mine, went in and convinced Andy and [cofounder Russel Nelson], the owners at Hardsuit Labs, to pitch a game to Paradox. He texted me and asked me, Hey, do you want to work on Bloodlines II? Of course I was like, I dunno? It’s been a while. Let me think about it. But by the end of the conversation we had some ideas going. We started working on the pitch, and we pitched it a few months later to Paradox, who were very interested in doing a Bloodlines II. It was a big reason they bought the IP. We pitched the game. We’ve obviously gone through some gates to get here, but here we are. That’s on the production side. That’s why it has been made.

But to answer your question from a player’s standpoint, it’s one of the bigger cult games out there. There’s been a huge demand for a return to the world, to have a sequel to the original Bloodlines, and not just a sequel in name, but a sequel in the feel and look and everything about it. This is very much a game that we’re making to be exactly like the Bloodlines you remember, but for 2020.

Thanks Farflame!

Sunday - March 24, 2019

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - Bloodlines' Composer Returns

by Silver, 07:26

PC Gamer reports that Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines 2 will have the composer for the original game.

Among them was game developer and streamer Outstar, who contacted Schaffer to ask if he was contributing to Bloodlines 2. He replied, "I contributed an hour of music to the OST and am the main composer. Been working on it for over a year."

[...]

Saturday - March 23, 2019

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - Ray Tracing, DLSS & Mods

by Silver, 19:41

DSOGaming reports that Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines 2 will support real-time ray tracing, DLSS and mods.

Paradox Interactive has revealed, via a press release, that Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 will support both real-time ray tracing and Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS). Furthermore, and like its predecessor, Bloodlines 2 will officially support mods.

[...]

Friday - March 22, 2019

VtM: Bloodlines 2 - Announced

by Silver, 05:42

Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 has been announced and will be developed by Hardsuit Labs with story by Brian Mitsoda. The game is targeting a Q1 2020 release on PC and Consoles.

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Sired in an act of vampire insurrection, your existence ignites the war for Seattle's blood trade. Enter uneasy alliances with the creatures who control the city and uncover the sprawling conspiracy which plunged Seattle into a bloody civil war between powerful vampire factions.

♞Become the Ultimate Vampire Immerse yourself in the World of Darkness and live out your vampire fantasy in a city filled with intriguing characters that react to your choices. You and your unique disciplines are a weapon in our forward-driving, fast-moving, melee-focussed combat system. Your power will grow as you advance, but remember to uphold the Masquerade and guard your humanity... or face the consequences.

♝Descend into Seattle’s Dark Heart and Survive the Vampire Elite Seattle has always been run by vampires. Hunt your prey across Seattle locations faithfully reimagined in the World of Darkness. Meet the old blood founders present since the city’s birth and the new blood steering the tech money redefining the city. Everyone has hidden agendas - so choose your allies wisely.

♚Enter into Uneasy Alliances Choose a side among competing factions, each with their own unique traits and stories, in the war for Seattle’s blood trade. The world will judge you by the company you keep, but remember no one’s hands stay clean forever.

â™›Experience the Story Written by the creative mind behind the original Bloodlines, Vampire: The Masquerade® - Bloodlines™ 2 brings the ambitions of the first game to life and sees the return of a few fan favorite characters.

Thanks Gabriel!

Information about

Vampire - The Masquerade: Bloodlines 2

Developer: Hardsuit Labs

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Technofantasy
Genre: Action-RPG
Combat: Real-time
Play-time: 20-40 hours
Voice-acting: Full

Regions & platforms
Internet
· Homepage
· Platform: PC
· Expected: 2024-10-27
· Publisher: Paradox Interactive