- Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 seems to be leaning more towards action gameplay, similar to Dishonored, rather than the RPG-focused gameplay of its predecessor.
- The verticality and exploration seen in Dishonored would work well in the dark neon-soaked setting of Bloodlines 2’s Seattle.
- While fans of the original game may want to see the deep ability pool and roleplaying possibilities of the Clan system return, borrowing elements from Dishonored could bring an interesting new direction to the series.
Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines and Dishonored are two games-slash-series that I miss dearly. Sure, I can—and still do—go back and play the previous games whenever I want, but somehow the fact that both of them, to greater or lesser extents, never found the success they deserved nor went on to become established long-running IPs feels like one of gaming’s great injustices.
The games have more in common than never getting their fair dues though. Both are set in beautifully imagined and pretty compact urban environments, giving you plenty of freedom to wander around their respective dark worlds, encountering all kinds of factions and gangs, and getting a feel for what life looks like in these cities. They’re both worlds of shady alleys, roughhouse citizens, and rich lore… and both fundamentally see you playing characters who operate best under some form of cover—be it skulking through the shadows, or hiding in plain sight as a vampire.
Dishonoring the Bloodline
Which brings me to my key point: loads of the stuff I’ve been seeing in the recent trailers for the revamped and rebooted (again) Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 doesn’t really look or feel like the RPG-leaning original game. With its fast-paced first-person melee combat, and impressive array of mobile moves and dark wispy powers, the combat was the closest thing I’d seen to Dishonored’s incredible combat system since, well Dishonored itself.
Now, I don’t really know what the RPG credentials are of this iteration of Bloodlines 2 that The Chinese Room is developing, but based on what we’ve seen so far, it does very much look like it’s leaning into the ‘action’ side of stuff—harnessing cool vampiric abilities to become a shadowy-stealthy killing machine (a bit like a certain Corvo Attano us Dishonored fans might know).
That might not be the news fans of the original were hoping to hear, seeing as the first game was an RPG through and through with plenty of choices about how to approach each encounter (talking, stealth, combat, and so on), sharp writing with tons of interesting dialogue options, not to mention a very robust character creator where your choice of Clan would drastically alter your playthrough (apparently, the latter at least is returning in Bloodlines 2).
Once I rejigged my expectations, I realised that a game set in the Bloodlines universe would work brilliantly as a Dishonored-style stealther.
But once I rejigged my expectations, I realised that a game set in the Bloodlines universe would work brilliantly as a Dishonored-style stealther. And I’m hoping that these early hints of the game are signs that The Chinese Room agrees.
Verticality is a big part of the whole Dishonored setup, where the traversing rooftops is just as viable a means of getting around as prowling through the streets below. Bloodlines’ dark neon-soaked setting of Seattle lends itself perfectly to this kind of exploration, and there were small hints in the trailer that your nocturnal activities would embrace the vertical plane, as at one point we see the player-character floating down from on high towards the street below. If Bloodlines 2 is going to take this actiony route, then Dishonored’s design philosophy of superpowered stealth with the option to explode into visceral up-close violence is surely the way to go.
Of course, Bloodlines has its own mythos and quirks that us fans of the original game will want to see return: not least of all a deep ability pool and plenitude of roleplaying possibilities based around which Clan you pick. I wouldn’t want it to be a full-frontal action roleplaying game (which, in fairness, the trailers don’t discount it from being), but there’s hope here that in borrowing some of that Dishonored DNA, it could turn out to be an interesting new direction for a series that’s been lying dormant in its coffin for far too long.
- Vampire: The Masquerade
- November 16, 2004
- Troika Games
- RPG, Immersive Sim