The Chinese Room (TCR), new developer for the highly anticipated role-playing game Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2, has released a new video showcasing the game’s main character, Phyre. The Phyre is a fully voiced protagonist, a feature that was not present in the original game.
Phyre is an Elder vampire, a rare and powerful kind of undead who was turned in the 17th century and has now awakened in a modern world that they don’t understand. Phyre carries a mysterious brand on their hand, which seems to be connected to the plot of the game. It’s also accompanied by a strange and ever-present voice in their head, named Fabien, who claims to be a modern vampire and serves as a companion and guide.
The video, which is part of a series of development updates from The Chinese Room, features early cutscenes with Phyre and Fabien, as well as some gameplay footage. The game still features dialogue trees, and player choices will influence the story and lead to multiple endings. Players can also customize Phyre’s gender, clothing, and clan, which affects how other characters react to the protagonist and what powers are available.
The decision to have a voiced protagonist was explained by Arone Le Bray, the principal narrative designer for the game. Le Bray has extensive storytelling experience from his time at BioWare, where he worked on games like Dragon Age: Origins and Mass Effect 2. He said that having a voiced protagonist allows for deeper customization and a more focused narrative experience. He also said that the game is influenced by BioWare’s style, especially in terms of multiple story endings based on character choices.
Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 is set in Seattle, a city that is divided by various factions of vampires who vie for power and influence. The game is based on the tabletop role-playing game Vampire: The Masquerade, which is part of the World of Darkness universe.
The game is a sequel to Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, which was released in 2004 and developed by Troika Games. The original game is considered a cult classic by many fans, despite its technical flaws and unfinished state.
The sequel has faced a troubled development process, with changes in development teams and delays in release. The original developer, Hardsuit Labs, fired key personnel in 2020, including the lead writer and creative director.
The new developer, The Chinese Room, is known for narrative-heavy games like Dear Esther and Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture. The Chinese Room has stated that they aim to maintain player choice and personalization despite having a more established character. They also acknowledge the challenge of handling player choice in dialogue options.
Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 is scheduled for release in 2024. The game will be available for PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X/S.