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Development Info Bloodlines 2 Dev Diary #4: Writing Bloodlines 2

Discussion in 'RPG Codex News & Content Comments' started by Infinitron, Aug 25, 2019.

  1. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Tags: Cara Ellison; Hardsuit Labs; Paradox Interactive; Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2

    Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 had a minor presence at Gamescom this week. On Wednesday, IGN published a 28 minute gameplay video that everybody posted about, which was weird because it's the exact same demo they showed at E3. On Friday, Paradox's Florian Schwarzer showed up on IGN's stream, but unfortunately the interview was entirely in German. So not much out of Gamescom, but now there's a new dev diary on the game's official forums. This time it's by senior narrative designer Cara Ellison, who has penned a summary of the principles she's formulated for writing a Bloodlines sequel:

    1. You are locked in the game with them
    What is compelling about the original Bloodlines is that it is very interested in power relations encroaching on your ‘territory’ in a way that most RPGs are not. Most RPGs try to present you with systems that soup you up like a tanked-up space marine and expel you out into space to explode things and mess with civilizations and make your spaceship very shiny. Like a kind of settler model.

    Bloodlines 1 and 2 are games that are much more interested in how its NPCs might fuck with you than how you might fuck with them. It is claustrophobic. As Watchmen’s Rorschach might say, you are locked in the game with them. You start the game already a political pawn in other people’s chess. Vampire relations in Santa Monica in Bloodlines 1, for example, were already a tense and volatile political mess before you started the game.

    In Bloodlines 1 as well as in Bloodlines 2, every vampire you encounter in the game has been a vampire for longer than you. You are in their realm. You are not the hero of the tale, and neither are they. You are merely trying to make a mark on a world that got fucked up without you. And for characters that are weaker than you – mortals, for example – you have the ability to rope them into your nightmare, but what is certain is that there will be very little good outcome for anyone involved with a monster. Try to be ‘nice’, and it will backfire. Try to be ‘kind’, and you might have to be cruel. Try to help out, and you might help out the worst of the World Of Darkness. But what is certain is that this neo-noir set of characters is not going to give you a bunch of vampire powers and then let you do whatever you like. Someone created you for a reason; The Masquerade is all-encompassing. The characters in this neo-noir world are there to be a big, entertaining pain in your ass at every step. The original game - Bloodlines 1 – was the same way.

    2. Choose Who You Hurt
    In Bloodlines 1, and therefore Bloodlines 2, you cannot achieve anything without hurting people or making them angry. You can only choose who you hurt. You can choose between one vampire political reality, or another. Everything is seen through vampire eyes – when you’re immortal, you do not work on mortal time. The politics is long-term. You have to stay undead and stay powerful. And in order to do that, you have to start manipulating.

    For example, if humans are dying out en masse, how will you feed? If the humans stop free movement from happening, where will you live, will your reality become more difficult? How do vampires use technology to manipulate their food supply? What’s the lowest effort way you can stay alive as a vampire? How can you stop humans from knowing that you exist… and yet keep them sweet on you so that you can feed on them easily? How do mortal politics interfere with your unlife? When the city bans sex work… is that good or bad for you and those you know? Does perpetuating mortal trauma make an undead existence easier… or harder to deal with? If you suck blood at a particular bloodshop, what happens when another vampire takes it over? Does what you were doing before the Embrace impact how people react to you now? Is there anything that…scares you as a vampire? And …can you make mortals more likely to turn up when you want by getting really good in bed?

    3. Navigating the World of Darkness
    We ask ourselves a lot of questions while writing and we try to give you a reactive world where you can figure out some of the answers to these questions. This means that whatever difficult choices we force you to make, the world will give you consequences that are always as equally interesting as each other. We try to open up every conversation so that you have a number of ways you can get through it – by negotiating, coercing, or seducing, for example. We also make bribery an option – even starting a fight or finding a way to avoid people is a viable way to get by. If you are a Malkavian, perhaps your options are more terrifying than usual. Or, you can merely ask a bunch of questions until you are forced to choose what to do.

    A lot of our characters are assholes. A lot of people who exist in the real world are assholes. But just like in the real world, the way that characters in Bloodlines 2 talk about others provides a social fabric that gives you a better context and understanding of what that does to the world, what the consequences are, and how characters are affected by those attitudes and actions. No one character will be ‘just’ a category of person. If you laugh at a joke an asshole makes, it doesn’t make them any less an asshole who will screw you over at a moment’s notice. For example, in HBO’s Veep, we know that the characters are all some of the worst people we’ve ever seen. But what makes you understand that they are doing or saying something bad is that other people react to them in the way that they do. In our game, if you keep one asshole alive, maybe some other assholes will be really mad about it. I mean in the first Bloodlines, did you really, completely like Damsel? Or was there something naive about her? Was she just necessary for the fireworks to happen? Depending on who you hung out with, maybe you’d have a different perspective on her. Or maybe you’d be more impressed with what she does than what she says.

    4. Unsanctioned Vampires
    At the forefront of my mind in Bloodlines 2 is the crossover from being mortal to being a vampire. Around the time your character was created in an event called the Mass Embrace, a small number of other vampires were also created. Unlike you, they were abandoned and they did not get to choose who they were when they were Embraced. There was no character creator for them. Their lives were interrupted and they were made immortal, and all their relationships with the world were frozen in time. They are your brothers and sisters, in a way. And perhaps they are not having as privileged a time as you are. They had no guidance on the crossover. They had no support as to what was happening to them. They have to deal with their unlives as is. If you suddenly got thirsty for human blood and couldn’t stand sunlight, what exactly would you tell the people you know? How would you get through vampire puberty? And uh… what are the rules?

    We let you figure out what to do with the messiest vampires. But I am not going to make it easy on you.
    Next week is PAX West in Seattle, where Cara will be participating in a couple of panels related to Bloodlines 2. I'd be surprised if we don't see something new there, and if not then at PDXCon in October.
     
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  2. cherry blossom Arcane

    cherry blossom
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    Sounds to me like they sort of live in a dreamland where they have all these fittingly nuanced thoughts on the setting but don't realize how they are not actually projecting any of it into the game, based on the same boring demo they use to market the game. A bit of an Eh.
     
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  3. Alpan Learned Patron

    Alpan
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy
    Such moronics. In the real world banning sex work simply makes it more clandestine, which is rather par for the course where vampire society is concerned.

    This question is less interesting than the question of why the writing team finds this important for the game.

    Someone's been reading The Economist, I see.
     
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  4. Burning Bridges Enviado de meu SM-G3502T usando Tapatalk

    Burning Bridges
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    Fucking remakes
     
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  5. Kz3r0 Arcane

    Kz3r0
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    How do they manage all those pronouns?
     
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  6. Spectacle Arcane

    Spectacle
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    Is it now? Vampires often prey on outsiders like prostitutes, so it seems relevant. If prostitution is illegal it will go underground, meaning it's easier for vampires to drink from prostitutes in secret. On the other hand, only the truly desperate will turn to prostitution, so their blood will be of low quality. Legal prostitution means easier access to blood from higher quality whores, but it's going to take more effort to feed on them in secret.
     
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  7. Alpan Learned Patron

    Alpan
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy
    Are you sure? Consider, for a moment, the kind of setting where one may entertain the ministrations of a courtesan of higher caliber.

    Also: Yes, the question is still uninteresting, unless the game involves the player playing a role in passing or repealing legislation that limits access to prostitution. Otherwise, I am not, as a player, interested in answering the question that the dev diary is asking -- I am interested to see how the dev team translates the question into the setting of the game, but this is strictly their responsibility.
     
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  8. DeepOcean Arcane

    DeepOcean
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    I would actually laugh my ass off if they have vegan vampires that only drink natural blood instead of cloned blood with all those nasty chemicals.
     
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  9. Spectacle Arcane

    Spectacle
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    A courtesan of the highest caliber is going to have a bodyguard. A vampire can deal with that of course, but it's a complication.

    But I agree that questions like this are hard to make interesting in a cRPG. In a tabletop game the storyteller could come up with additional detail on the fly if the players were particularly interested in exploring the "legalize prostitution or not" angle, but in a vidya game it's pretty much impossible to represent every such dilemma with enough depth to make it interesting.
     
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  10. ArchAngel Arcane

    ArchAngel
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    Unless things have changed in 5th edition, victims of bloodfeeding enjoy the experience, don't remember anything but the pleasure and vampires heal the puncture wounds afterwards easily.

    Vampires only have problems to approach their victim, but any willing hooker is an easy target.
     
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  11. _Vic_ Educated

    _Vic_
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    Seduction is your friend
     
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  12. HeatEXTEND Cipher

    HeatEXTEND
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    How do they work?
     
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  13. Delterius Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Delterius
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    also you can spread disease so be careful or else the vampire police is gonna arrest you for bio terrorism
     
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  14. Delterius Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Delterius
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    I don't know about you but after exclusively feeding off virginal swede maidens for 500 years the idea that I should drink some kind of frankensoup is abhorrent.
     
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  15. DeepOcean Arcane

    DeepOcean
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    Now that will unfortunately become a rare breed on Swedestan.:(
     
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  16. KeighnMcDeath Learned

    KeighnMcDeath
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    I'm getting ready for this game. Time for a cup o' blood baby (slurpppp!!!)
    [​IMG]
     
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  17. hivemind Scholar Pretty Princess

    hivemind
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    why are all right wingers such pedophiles
     
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  18. hivemind Scholar Pretty Princess

    hivemind
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    please remoe the participation award its too humilating
     
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  19. DeepOcean Arcane

    DeepOcean
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    Accordingly to prophet Mohammed, after 9 years old, it is fair game and for progressives this is cultural enrichment.
     
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  20. hivemind Scholar Pretty Princess

    hivemind
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    sunni islam is a right wing ideology so my point stands
     
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  21. KeighnMcDeath Learned

    KeighnMcDeath
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    Punk gothic vampy slutty party going to nihilistic chicks are just fine. Don't need no innocent loli virgins in a game of dark predatory vampires securing bases of power. I do expect powers like say in supernatural where you can explode people into a pile of goo, rip of limbs and beat the crap out of foes or toss people into turbines, vats of acid, or a shark tank. Bloody, gritty, slutty, back stabby, and PAR TEH slumber party of blood and death!
     
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  22. Kyl Von Kull The Night Tripper Patron

    Kyl Von Kull
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    Huh, someone I went to school with apparently works at Hardsuit now. I’ll see what I can find out. And then I’ll take great pleasure in keeping it to myself.
     
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