Why I’m Optimistic About Blood Hunt As a Vampire The Masquerade Fan

Shark mob’s first announced last November Vampire the Masquerade Battle Royale currently has a title — Blood Hunt — Closed Alpha will start on July 2nd.

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Vampire The Masquerade fans have been riding a unique emotional roller coaster for the past two years. Ten and a half years after Bloodlines became a cult hit in 2004, it was popular despite its world, story, character depth, and many technical flaws, and the sequel was boldly stopped. I understand. expect.

As most people are familiar with today, developing with Bloodlines 2 is a challenge. Most recently, after multiple delays, the planned release date has been completely postponed from 2021. Developer Hardsuit Labs has withdrawn from the project, and publisher Paradox Interactive has nominated a successor four months later. Fans’ enthusiasm for the project is, of course, much more cautious than before. But “family” members were reassured by the fact that it wasn’t the only thing they were working on with IP.

To be cruelly honest, Bloodhunt stands out in VTM’s recent and upcoming video game lineup. Otherwise, it consists of draw distance, game selection, narrative RPGs and visual novels by developers such as Big Bad Wolf.

Despite having a variety of gameplay styles, all other Vampire The Masquerade video games to date are in a genre that enables rich storytelling. Suitable if the source material is a tabletop RPG and you prefer slow-burning plots to fast-paced combat. Battle Royale is … not particularly so. The exact opposite, some may say.

Last week I had the opportunity to play some Blood Hunt games myself. I also had the opportunity to chat with members of the Shark Mob development team.

The first thing that surprised me was that the game really felt like Vampire the Masquerade. We’ve been replaying the original Bloodlines almost every year since its release, with a copy of the V5 tabletop sourcebook on the bedside table.

It turned out to be more than just a good imitation. “We designed the look of the game in parallel with V5,” explains Martin Hultberg, IP & Comms Director at Bloodhunt. “I think we not only influenced them, but also them.”

This goes beyond the look and feel of the game. The pre-alpha builds I played focused primarily on battle royale mechanics, but it’s clear that in-game lore and storytelling also have some space.

“We started developing the game as soon as we completed the latest version of the core rulebook, so much is actually part of the core metaplot,” Hultberg continues. “We have our own very specific point in time, and we have stories that we are telling that are related to the story. […] Our stories and characters are very well integrated with the larger stories of Vampire: The Masquerade. “

As I was experiencing the game, I was intrigued by the rich journal tabs. When you find an item or encounter a character in the game, a related backstory is written in your diary. Many of these are familiar to players who have been using VTM for a long time, but there are many new ones for experienced players as well.

It’s clear that all members of the development team are enthusiastic fans of Vampire the Masquerade. Some people have been following the property since the original TTRPG was released in 1991. So I was curious about how the idea for VTM battle royale came about.

Hultberg believes this decision stems from the licensee’s desire to experiment in different directions and appeal to new audiences. “When we started this game in 2017, we were talking to Paradox about their plans, what they wanted to do. [VTM], And they felt they covered a lot of aspects of RPGs. But they also have the opportunity to reach a much wider audience by taking a more action-oriented or action-centric view of the same universe. I was wondering if there was. “

Meanwhile, game director Craig Hubbard feels that Blood Hunt can offer what all previous VTM video games lacked. “In terms of gameplay, Vampire: The Masquerade is a social game, but much of the interpretation so far is a single-player game. It’s cool because it can perform the storytelling aspect, but it misses social interaction.” He said.

“Social complexity may not be that great. [a battle royale]However, there are still social aspects to working with your squad to fight the enemy. And in a weird way, it captures a side of Vampire The Masquerade that wasn’t available in traditional single-player games. Personally, I think it’s really interesting as a fan. “

Producer David Sirland quickly highlights another aspect of Bloodhunt, who is considering a rare blend of action and storytelling. Less common in action games, this is to embody this over time, not only on the social side (organized play or something like that), but also on the narrative side. I think it will be an excellent means. “

Elysium, recognized by VTM fans as pointing to a non-combat zone and used as a waiting room during matchmaking in Pre-Alpha, seems to play an even more important role in the future. During my stay, I chatted with an NPC offering three quests and was hit by a much more classic VTM political conspiracy than I expected.

I was playing as a burja, but I was surprised when Elysion’s clan representative asked me to do a side quest to hunt down Anak in the city. The quest itself wasn’t included in the pre-alpha build I played, but I’m officially interested if it’s a sign of a story mission.

Like most games in the battle royale genre, there is a clear intention to update Bloodhunt regularly with new content. Sirland was keen to emphasize that both the city of Prague and the Elysium space “continuously evolve, add and change”, and that this involves environmental storytelling and gameplay challenges. ..

When I raised this — especially mentioning the horrifying discovery of a hacked torso hidden in one of Prague’s beautiful roof gardens during the event — Hartberg agreed. One way to do this is to hide the small stories and things you can discover. “

I want to know if there is a serial killer lurking in the world of Blood Hunt.

Before the interview was over, I felt I needed to deal with the elephants in the room. Whether the problematic production of Bloodlines2 and the developers of Bloodhunt felt that the uncertainties surrounding the flagship title had damaged the entire IP.

Hultberg’s reaction was positive. “I don’t think so.” To be fair, we have nothing to do with other games. We are our own game and the same. It’s just happening in the gaming world. I’m looking forward to playing it, but I don’t think it’s a big deal. [Bloodlines 2] For myself, so it was a little sad for me. “

Hubbard agrees: “We have never heard of repulsion or anything like that, or any kind of dark emotion about it.”

I know a little more about it, so I confess that Bloodhunt still feels strange to me. As a battle royale setting, it’s hard to imagine a dark World of Darkness that competes with the almost universal appeal of bright and fun games like Fortnite and Apex Legends. On the other hand, I think there are many long-time VTM fans who can’t stir their imagination on the premise of action-oriented games set in the world.

Will Bloodhunt reach a wider audience than story-oriented VTM games, as developers want? Or it will mainly appeal to a fairly niche group (as I’m guessing): existing fans of the setting, in the battle royale market that suits their aesthetics.

As a longtime fan of Vampire the Masquerade, at least what I’ve seen in Pre-Alpha gameplay has significantly reduced my fear of the game’s position in the wider World of Darkness. I will.

Obviously, there’s still a lot to do before the game’s release, but that it was developed by a team of enthusiasts in this setting, and that the decision to make a Battle Royale is definitely outside. Optimistic to know-the-box — Carefully integrated into a wide range of creative missions in Vampire The Masquerade and World of Darkness.

For more information on Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodhunt Steam page, Or Sign up for Closed Alpha Via the game website.