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Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 Dev Diary #1: Welcome to The Chinese Room

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Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 Dev Diary #1: Welcome to The Chinese Room

Development Info - posted by Infinitron on Thu 21 September 2023, 01:03:00

Tags: Paradox Interactive; The Chinese Room; Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2

https://www.paradoxinteractive.com/...bloodlines-2/news/welcome-to-the-chinese-room

This is Studio Design Director Alex Skidmore from The Chinese Room; excited to finally be able to say this out loud. I'm writing today to introduce you to our studio, its history and, in the future, the people behind making Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2.

The Chinese Room is the award-winning studio focused on telling grounded, believable and rich stories - these are the traditions behind our ground-breaking games in our portfolio, like Dear Esther and the internationally acclaimed Everybody's Gone to the Rapture. Over 100 talented game developers were all drawn here by a passion for the kind of storytelling we do. We also have a strong history of supporting diversity in our development team and our games.

In early 2020, we moved to our studio in sunny Brighton and built our award-winning mobile game Little Orpheus… a warmup for the ambitious titles ahead. Later the same year, the company moved to two narrative-focused projects, Still Wakes the Deep and V:tM - Bloodlines 2. Still Wakes the Deep builds on The Chinese Room’s heritage, and Bloodlines 2 is about looking to the future for our games, taking a big leap forward into the action role-playing genre while bringing our narrative expertise to bear.

Making Bloodlines 2
A look at TCR's portfolio shows believability is the basis for any of our game worlds, allowing greater immersion. Vampire: The Masquerade’s origins as a TTRPG and broad transmedia portfolio gave us this foundation of believability from the get-go. We love how it lets you express your monster in a world full of supernatural secrets. That just fits our style of storytelling. Bloodlines 2 asks us to believe that blood-sucking monsters could inhabit our world, that you are one of them and how would you deal with that world while navigating the darkness within. Bloodlines 2 is designed with a balance of roleplaying game and adventure story. A compelling and rich plot you’d expect from an adventure game, but with RPG agency allowing you to act out your vampire fantasy.

Throughout development, we’ve been regulars in Stockholm at World of Darkness HQ to discuss and align the opportunities for stories, characters, gameplay and crossovers that this IP gives us as creators and fans. We’re thrilled to bring World of Darkness off the page and character sheets and into an Action-RPG video game.

Feel Like a Vampire
While making decisions about Bloodlines 2, one constant reference is our first game pillar: “Feel like a Vampire”. Everything you do in this game should make you feel like a predator of the night.

In video games, we often get to be a mighty hero fighting against the darkness. Vampires, especially as playable characters, are underrepresented. We’re building the game around the experience of doing things only a Kindred can. With non-combat gameplay, we found early on we were doing the RPG tropes: find a keycard to open a door, turn on a generator to restore power to a lift. We put in a rule that the non-combat gameplay should be about something only a vampire could do; keep it aspirational.

When we were exploring combat, it started off playing like Dishonored (which we love), but that didn’t feel right for a vampire: players were very cautious and afraid of the enemies they encountered. To us, a Kindred should stalk its prey and strike fearlessly like a predator. We want to build an action experience where players feel confident, almost trolling the enemies with their disciplines. Testers use the phrase “playing with your food,” which we love and illustrates how we think a Vampire: The Masquerade ARPG should feel has come up in playthroughs.

Most action games offer a power fantasy; I like to call ours a confidence fantasy. When you have a supernatural edge and immortality to back you up, there should be a sense of “I know what is going on and, I can control this situation.” We want to give you the tools to do that in combat, conversations, or travelling across the city. When they come together, you should be immersed in the feeling of being a Vampire.

We have two more game pillars. “Visceral, Immersive Combat” and “Exploring the World of Darkness”. We’ll explore these in-depth later down the line.

We look forward to telling you more. Until then, good night!

Alex Skidmore, Studio Design Director

What’s next?

We’re all working hard to make this game amazing because we love Vampire: The Masquerade and the chance to tell impactful stories. We know you’ve been waiting a while, so we’re dedicated to honesty and keeping you informed. Together with Paradox, we will give you as much info about the game as we can without spoilers and always tell you when the next update will happen and what it will be about.

Our next Dev Diary will be about the “Narrative Themes and Atmosphere.” You will learn more about our Neo-Noir thriller story and how the World of Darkness threatens to spill over into the mortal world… In just two weeks!​

There are 24 comments on Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 Dev Diary #1: Welcome to The Chinese Room

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