This year at E3 we were lucky enough to sit down with the producers/developers of Paradox Studios and Hardsuit Labs and get some hands-off experience with their upcoming game, Vampire: the Masquerade Bloodlines 2
Taking place about an hour or so in to the game, our character had already been turned in to a vampire and was ready to try and join a clan to enhance their survival. Before the demo began, I was able to choose one of three power sources granted through the thinblood clan: Chiropteran, Mentalism and Nebulation. These are in addition to the Thaumaturgy and Potency disciplines we also had.
Chiropteran revolves around your standard vampire abilities of summoning small swarms of vermin, namely bats and also being able to fly as a swarm of bats. Mentalism offered up abilities that allowed me to manipulate objects and victims with telekinetic abilities. And finally, Nebulation revolved around using fog and mist for travel and also cloaking yourself or choking your foes.
Seeing as how you play as a vampire, I had to go with the Chiropteran power source and also focused on Thaumaturgy. Blood and bats, what else is more iconically Vampiric? Nothing, that’s what. Well, maybe Nebulation, but I have a soft spot for Summoners and Necromancers, so I decided on blood and bats.
After receiving a message on the phone, we made our way to the quest giver in order to try and join their clan. Our objective was a thinblood, named Slugg, trying to hide from the Nosferatu who had some valuable information the quest giver was after. If we succeeded, we would be allowed to join the clan. From there, we were tasked to find a Nosferatu informant who could tell us where Slugg was last seen and hiding.
Sneaking in to the area where Slugg was seen gave us our first view of how decision making in VtM2 would play out. We could try to coerce our way in with some smooth talking, we could bust down the doors and take the fight head on, or we could use our powers to try and sneak in. Since I had chosen Chiropteran and Thaumaturgy, we opted for the more stealthy approach.
This also gave the demo-er a chance to show off a few other mechanics players can expect to see in VtM2. You can feed off of humans in order to gain various experience points that will raise various stats as well as heal yourself. If you are able to time your feeding perfectly, you will knock your opponent out and gain more from the feeding. If you time it poorly, you will steal heal up, but gain less stat ups.
At the same time, you can also view the pulse and blood of humans around you. Depending on the color they exude, you can determine what sort of they are in when you feed upon them. This allows the player to feed off of humans which will allow them to level up stats which benefit their playstyle the most.
As we stealthily made our to Slugg, there were a few ambushes and other fights to take out along the way. When we finally made it to our objective, we were again shown the various ways that dialogue and choices would play out in the final game. During the dialogue with Slugg, we could try to force him to give us what we wanted, coerce him to help us, get him to get back to the Nosferatu or we could fail it completely.
Unfortunately, due to the choices that I made, we were able to get Slugg to go back to the Nosferatu but failed to get the information that we were originally tasked to obtain. This prevented us from joining the original clan and seemed to make us an enemy of them.
There were a few graphical issues here and there, due to the game still being in development, but the gameplay seemed to be fairly solid. I was able to ask several questions of the developers and was able to garner a bit of information, albeit on the vague side.
While there are indeed several clans in the game, they would not divulge the exact number or which clans will ultimately make it in to the final game. Also, I asked them if players would be locked in to a final decision once they have chosen which clan to ultimately join.
My answer? “Well, we can’t say. But vampires are known to be backstabbing bastards”. Take that as you will dear reader, but it does leave me with hope that there will be plenty of interclan rivalry and politicking to look forward to in the final game.
Finally, there were several different gameplay mechanics on display beyond just combat and dialogue. Various forms of movement and blind-spots (places where you can use vampiric powers or feed without being seen) were shown off.
It should also be noted that I was told that while not all combat will be avoidable, so there will be no opportunity to attempt a pure stealth or pacifist run of VtM2. There will be points in the game where a player will be forced in to combat. But players won’t be forced in to a position where the abilities and powers they have chosen won’t allow them to progress in the story.
You can find our original article on Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines 2 here. You can also view our article concerning politics in VtM2 here. Finally, we have previews of the different clans here, here, here, here and here.
Vampire: the Masquerade Bloodlines 2 is currently slated for release in quarter 1 of 2020 for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.