It’s not often I get excited about a new game announcement- certainly a sequel to an old IP, but this one had me ‘squee-ing’ like a little school girl. You see, in 2004 a game called Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines (V:MB) came out on PC, and it was glorious. Sure it was a buggy mess, with slightly janky combat, utterly broken latter levels and met decidedly average reviews upon release, but it soon turned into a cult classic and is arguably, one of the best RPG’s ever made.
V:MB was something special. It’s one of the few games i’ve played that managed to build a world so successfully around it. It felt like a real world. It felt lived in, and more gloriously, what you saw of it (including huge character arks and complete levels/location sets) depended entirely on the type of Vampire you selected.
You could play as a Toreador (cultured), Venture (nobility), Brujah (fighters), Malkavians (insane), Gangrel (bikers), Tremere (secret society) and Nosferatu (hideous half-bats) and your take on the game, the locations you visited and how people reacted to you depended entirely on which clan you were. Play as a Venture, and you can bluff and bully you way through most conversations, but would struggle in a fight. Malkavians (by FAR the most fun to play), were utterly insane- so the conversation choices you made never quite matched-up with what actually came out of your mouth resulting in some incredibly memorable moments. Or, if you played as the Nosferatu even being seen in public was enough to breach the Masquerade, and have all local vampires trying to kill you.
This is what the game centred around; the titular ‘Masquerade‘. These are the rules that bind Vampire society as a whole and keep them shielded from the humans at large. Revealing your true nature, or killing too many people in one area was classed as a violation of the Masquerade, which pretty much always resulted in your death. An in-game meter told you how close you were to violating it, and it would move up and down depending on your actions and choices in game.
It was utterly utterly brilliant. Some of my best gaming moments (the haunted motel, the werewolf escape in the park) and best plot twist (Jeannette) in any game i’ve played. The announcement of a sequel has me very excited indeed.
The release trailer can be found here, and while it doesn’t show much it does set the scene and it looks like they’re going for the same foreboding and claustrophobic aesthetic that worked so well in the first game and if they can capture even a fraction of what made the first game so special, then we’ll be in for a very real treat indeed. I’m going to be following this one very closely folks, and will add updates and previews as I get them.