Paradox interactive has re-announce Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2, now with The Chinese Room taking over as the game’s developer.
The pitch and story for Bloodlines 2 has now shifted compared to the originally revealed version of the game. Still set in Seattle, there’s a three-way power struggle for power in the Vampire Court, and in an intriguing shift, players will take on the role of an elder vampire, which sounds like a gateway to unleashing plenty of fun vampire powers on hapless lesser beings.
Paradox chose to reboot the game’s development in 2021, and has now revealed that The Chinese Room have taken on the challenge. The studio built up its reputation for excellent storytelling across “walking sims” Dear Esther, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, as well as the cult horror game Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs. They’re also working on a new horror game set on an oil rig called Still Wakes the Deep.
However, this is a very different studio compared to a the mid-2010s. In 2017, the Brighton-based studio went into stasis as they were between projects, and were later acquired by Sumo Digital in August 2018. Co-founder Dan Pinchbeck took the role of creative director, with the studio re-staffing with Ed Daly as studio director and John McCormack as art director, however Pinchbeck has now departed the studio as of July 17th 2023.
Still, there’s a lot of reputation built around the name (even if they’re now a Ship of Theseus), and with Sumo Digital’s resources behind them and years to build up, there’s bound to be expectations they can marry storytelling with more action-oriented RPG gaming. Here’s a little more on the team within The Chinese Room that are making the game.
Announced in March 2019, Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 was originally in the hands of Seattle-based Hardsuit Labs, the studio having pitched the game shortly after Paradox Interactive acquired White Wolf and the World of Darkness IP in October 2015. Intended for release in 2020, Paradox delayed the game as the team adapted to working through the pandemic, faced a delay in receiving PS5 and Xbox Series X|S dev kits, and more fundamentally, had changes in leadership. Creative Director Ka’ai Cluney and narrative lead Brian Mitsoda were both shown the door, and senior writer Cara Ellison departed soon after, all with little explanation.
Then, in February 2021, Paradox announced that Hardsuit was no longer working on the game and that they would be collaborating with another developer to finish it up. Who that developer is is actually still unknown, though Paradox CEO Fredrik Wester said at the time that it is “a very reputable and talented developer”. Not long after, it was stated that Paradox considered cancelling the project outright instead of finding a new developer.
We’re looking forward to seeing more of the game as we head into next year and get closer to release.
Source: press release