Thirsty for more
Everyone loves a vampire. From Christopher Lee’s charismatic Dracula, via the insipid toothsome teens of Twilight to the sexier vampires of True Blood or The Lost Boys, there’s an appeal to sleeping all day, partying all night, never growing old and never dying. Yet still role-playing as an actual vampire in a videogame is something we’ve had few real opportunities to do.
Those gamers who got the chance to play Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines on PC back in 2004 fondly remember it as an ambitious, if hugely flawed, vampire RPG. Based on a tabletop RPG, it put you in the role of a newly-made vampire finding its fangs in a post-dusk Los Angeles. There was a lot to love about the game, but its ambition was marred by clumsy mechanics and the limitations of the time. But now a belated sequel looks like it will fully realise our vampire RPG fantasies. Even though it’s been 15 years, fans can rest easy – developer Hardsuit Labs has roped in original game writer Brian Mitsoda to help craft a faithful follow-up.
For our gameplay demo we’re placed in the shoes of a ‘Thinblood’, the name given to a weaker vampire who has just been ‘embraced’ – that is, turned into a bloodsucker. At this point of character creation, players can choose between three vampire classes: Mentalism is focused on telekinetic abilities, Nebulation means you can turn into a mist. Choose Chiropteran and you can turn into, or summon, a swarms of bats. Naturally, this immediately sounds the coolest and that’s the one we opt for.
Sleepless in Seattle
It’s perpetually 1am in Seattle, the setting for this new game and Hardsuit Labs’ hometown. This is to avoid an irksome day/night cycle interfering with your quests. “We stay away from the day/night cycle because pretty much vampires can’t do anything during the day so it would be very boring!” explains Mitsoda.
We begin with a message that the various factions of Kindred (that’s what vamps call themselves) want to meet with us. We’re in Seattle’s oldest neighbourhood, the Pioneer Square district, but although we have a number of quest markers to where we can meet with the factions including a bar, coffee shop and a parking garage, there’s really only one destination for us: the nightclub.
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