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Why as a fan of Vampire The Masquerade I am optimistic about Bloodhunt

First announced in November, Sharkmob ' s Vampire The Masquerade battle royale already has a title – Bloodhunt – and a closed alpha starting July 2nd .

Watch on YouTube [19659003] Vampire Masquerade fans have been on a single emotional rollercoaster for the past few years. A full decade and a half after 2004 ' s Bloodlines became a cult hit – famous for its super depth of world, story, and characters, and despite many technical flaws – we found we were getting the sequel stopped daring

As most people are now aware of, the development in Bloodlines 2 has been mired in difficulties. Recently, after many delays, the planned release date was pushed permanently to 2021; and developer Hardsuit Labs pulled over from the project, with publisher Paradox Interactive yet to name their successor in four months. Fan enthusiasm for the project is now, understandably, more cautious than ever. However, members of the “vamily” have been comforted by the fact that this is not the only game being worked on using IP.

To be brutally honest, Bloodhunt appears in VTM ' s recent and upcoming video game line-up, which consists of narrative RPGs and visual novels from developers including Draw Distance, Choice of Games, and Big Bad Wolf.

Despite featuring different gameplay styles, every other Vampire The Masquerade video game to date is in a genre that allows for rich storytelling – fit when the source material is a tabletop RPGs that often prefer the intrigue of slow burning to fast combat. A battle royale is… notably that. On the contrary, some might say.

Last week I had the opportunity to play a few Bloodhunt battles for myself, as well as chatting with several members of the development team at Sharkmob. [19659004] The first thing that struck me – and perhaps more surprise than it deserved – was that the game really felt like Vampire The Masquerade. As someone who has replayed the original Bloodlines almost every year since it was released and has a copy of the V5 tabletop sourcebook on my bedside table, I realized while wandering the midnight streets of Prague on Bloodhunt’s familiar tutorial in the environment.

That turned out to be more than just good imitation. “We designed the look of our game in parallel with the V5,” explains Martin Hultberg, the IP & Comms Director for Bloodhunt. "I think we influenced them as well as they influenced us."

It goes beyond just the look and feel of the game. Although the pre-alpha build I played was primarily focused on battle royale mechanics, it’s clear that lore and storytelling have also been given growing space in the game.

"We started developing our game at the same time as they were finishing the latest edition of the main rule book, so that ' t a lot of stuff is really part of the main meta-plot," he continued. by Hultberg. "We have our own very specific point in time, we have stories that we tell that are connected to the narrative. […] Our stories and characters are very well integrated into the larger story of Vampire The Masquerade."

In my hands -during the game, I was intrigued to discover that it features an extensive journal tab. As you discover items and encounter characters in the game, relevant backstories fill the journal entries. Most of these will be familiar to players who have been with VTM for a long time, but there are many new things for experienced players as well.

Apparently the development team members are all avid Vampire Masquerade fans themselves-some have been following the property since the original TTRPG was published in 1991. I wondered, then, how the idea for a VTM battle royale came about.

Hultberg presented the decision to the licensee ' s desire to try 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 with [VTM] and they felt like they had an RPG aspect that pretty much covered it. But they also suspected that there's an opportunity to reach a wider audience with more action -focused or action -focused single universe. ”

Meanwhile Craig Hubbard, the game's director, feels that Bloodhunt can provide something with something missing from every VTM video game to date: “On the gameplay side, Vampire The Masquerade is a social game, but many of the interpretations so far are single player games. Which is cool because you’re allowed to do the storytelling aspect, but you miss out on social interactions, ”he said.

“ Probably less socially complicated back then [a battle royale] but there’s still a social aspect of working with your squad and against enemies. And so in a weird way it gets an aspect of Vampire The Masquerade that I didn’t get from traditional single player games. Personally as a fan I think this is really interesting. ”

Producer David Sirland was quick to highlight another aspect of Bloodhunt that he considers an unusual blend of action and storytelling: to keep it in the game: the Elysium social space where you land, which isn't really common in an action game, but I think it can be a great vehicle for us to enable it over time, both on the social side – organized drama and that kind of thing – but as well as narrative narrative. "

It seems that Elysium – a terminology that VTM fans will recognize as referring to a no -battle zone, and which in the initial alpha was used as a waiting area while matchmaking took place – will have a more significant role to play the line.I chatted with three NPCs providing adventure in my time there, and was hit with more prominent VTM political intrigue than I expected.

I play as a Brujah, and I was surprised when my clan representative at Elysium wanted to conduct a side-quest hunting down Anarchs in the city.The adventure itself is not in the pre-alpha build I played, but if it is a sign of the missions story to come officially I'm interested.

Like most games in the battle royale genre, there's a clear intent to regularly update Bloodhunt with gong content. Sirland enthusiastically stressed that both the city of Prague and the Elysium space are “constantly evolving, adding and changing”, and that it will cover environmental storytelling as well as gameplay challenges.

When I released it – specifically referring to a horrific discovery I made at the event, of a hacked body hidden in one of Prague’s neat roof gardens – Hultberg agreed: “ We really want to encourage map exploration, and one way to do that is to hide the little stories and things you can discover. ”

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

Before our interview ended, I felt I needed to meet the elephant in the room: the messy making of Bloodlines 2, and if the Bloodhunt devs felt that IP as a whole had been damaged by uncertainties surrounding the title of the flagship.

Hultberg's response was positive: "I'm not" don't think, because honestly I think it's a universe so strong that it stands well on its own, "he said." And in all fairness, no. we are connected to another game somehow, we are our own game, it just happens in the same game universe. I don’t see this as a big problem for us, even though I expect to play myself [Bloodlines 2] so for me it’s pretty sad. "

Hubbard agreed:" We haven't heard any response or anything like that, or any kind of dark feelings about it. ”

Now that I know a little more about it, I’ll confirm that Bloodhunt also makes me feel a bit weird about me. As a battle royale setting it’s hard to describe the dark World of Darkness competing with the near-universal appeal of a bright and fun game like Fortnite or Apex Legends. And on the other hand, I suspect that many longtime VTM fans whose imaginations just can’t capture the premise of a major focus of action set in the world.

Will Bloodhunt, as its developers expect, end up reaching a wider audience than the more story -oriented VTM? Or will it end up primarily appealing to (what I predict) a relatively niche group: pre -existing setting fans, in the market for a battle royale that suits their aesthetic?

As a Vampire The Masquerade fan of many years stance, I can somehow say that any fears I had about the game's place in the wider World of Darkness were greatly alleviated from what I saw in the pre-alpha gameplay.

Obviously there's a lot more to come before the game's release, but there's hope in my knowledge that it was built by a team that was ardent fans of the setting, and the decision to make a battle royale-while no doubt out of the box – is thought to be included in the broader creative mission for Vampire The Masquerade and the World of Darkness.

You can learn more about Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodhunt on its Steam page, or sign up for closed alpha via the game's website.

The post Why as a The Vampire The Masquerade fan I was hopeful about Bloodhunt first appeared on VG247.

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