Articles

KOTAKU: Weird Dancing Is Back For The Sequel

  • 23 June 2019
  • Author: Harlequin
  • Number of views: 139
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Kotaku explores clubs and their use and popularity in modern vampire mythos.
 

In the demo that I saw last week at E3, there was plenty of blood sucking, demonic powers, and vampire faction in-fights. Personally though, I find that you can really judge a piece of vampire fiction based on what the clubs look like. Buffy The Vampire Slayer had The Bronze, which was both a hangout for the gang and a vampire feeding ground, and is considered a classic piece of vampire fiction. The Twilight series didn’t have any clubs at all, and is routinely mocked for being corny and bad. If Bloodlines 2 didn’t have a club, I was pretty sure I could write it off, but the game’s developers clearly think clubs are as central to the vampire mythos as I do.

“Clubs are like supermarkets for vampires,” Cara Ellison said. (She’s a writer on the game, as well as a former Kotaku contributor and a friend of mine that I hadn’t realized would be in town for the Bloodlines 2 demo.) “You go there to look at the selection.”

There’s one other special thing about this club that fans of the first Bloodlines game may recognize. The wild, arm-flinging dancing from the first game has returned, with the developers carefully studying the original dance from the 2004 game.

 

KOTAKU: E3 2019 Wit And Charm Are Powerful Weapons In Vampire

  • 20 June 2019
  • Author: Harlequin
  • Number of views: 146
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Full impressions of the Bloodlines 2 demo @ E3 by Kotaku;
 

Bloodlines 2 looks like it has a wonderful breadth of experiences to offer the player, and it has a lot of vampire murder power options on top of that. The game isn’t just about picking what kind of powers you want to use, although that is a cool part of it; I picked the power set that allowed my vamp to turn into mist. Bloodlines 2 is also about deciding the kind of vampire you want to be, personality-wise. Are you a brute, using your powers to get your way, or are you more seductive? Is your word your bond, or are you willing to screw people over to get what you want? In the mission that the Hardsuit Labs developers showed me at E3, I could run the gamut from being like NoHo Hank in the HBO dramedy Barry—in other words, a total softie—to becoming the ultimate dirtbag.

In the E3 demo mission, one of the factions of vampires in the game needed me to get some data from another vampire called Slugg who was in hiding. The faction gave me ten thousand dollars to exchange for it, though it was also really clear that I could just murder him if bribery didn’t work. Slugg is a Nosferatu, which is a vampire who has been scarred by their transformation into a creature of the night, and he was also on everyone’s shitlist for generally being a shady guy. When I met up with Samuel, the contact who could find Slugg and an amusing character who had been turned during the ’80s tech boom, Samuel asked me to let Slugg live and come into the Nosferatu fold for protection. Samuel even said that I could still take the data and deliver it to the faction leader, as long as I didn’t kill Slugg.

 

RPS: I love you, scary lady of the latest Bloodlines 2 demo

  • 14 June 2019
  • Author: Harlequin
  • Number of views: 119
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RPS has a.. shall we say, a interesting article about Bloodlines 2. More a love letter to one specific NPC then anything new it still is quite entertaining. Here is a snip;
 

The Bloodlines liker has, as they say, logged on. Paradox and Hardsuit labs have released a new gameplay trailer for Bloodlines 2. Excellent. It’s a smaller mouthful than the taste I had at GDC last year, but it’s a slightly different one. An amuse-bouche, we might say. Made of blood pudding, or something else all vampire-y. Brendy saw an extended demo, and has thoughts about the dancing. It’s pre-alpha, and does look a bit, whisper it, janky in places. But I am undeterred due to one small, key part of the video.

Look, I can tell you a couple of helpful things based on my own chats with the team. The voice over near the start, the whiny lad who says “welcome to the first day of the rest of your death!”, is your next door neighbour, and in full context he’s clearly meant to be a bit cringy. The loft apartment with brick walls and a big Charlie Day conspiracy map is your home. And the lady in a club with a lip ring who is pictured above? She is my best friend now. None of you can have her. Sorry, that’s just how it is.

RPS: Vampires are scrappy fighters and goofy dancers

  • 12 June 2019
  • Author: Harlequin
  • Number of views: 78
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A great RPS write up of their hands-off viewing of the Bloodlines 2 E3 demo. The most interesting aspect is the question is answered, can you play the entire game using just non-combat skills and the answer is "no". Apparently there are some requires altercations. None the less here is a snip;
 

This is the immersive sim coming out to play. Fighting your way through things is one option, sneaking through the shadows is another. Outside of open combat, you can stand in a “blindspot” and press a button to attract people with your vampiric charm, then slurp up their neckjuice. And if players “just want to talk their way out of something,” says Leiker, “they absolutely can do that as well.”

But not for the whole game. A recent Cyberpunk interview promised that you could play it all without killing anyone (a claim obviously yet to be tested). So I asked if it was possible to play through Bloodlines 2 without violence at all. Could you talk your way out of trouble throughout the whole thing, like some kind of magic improviser of the night? Well, no. Not really. But the important thing is that you can often try, says Ellison.

“You’ll get in some scrapes,” she says. “But you can essentially try to talk your way out of everything. We try to use as many options to just talk as possible. Like, that’s the point of the game, we want the narrative to be very very strong.”

“But it is not possible to not have your hands dirty in this game,” adds Ali. “Obviously, whichever vampire you choose to be, you’ll have those possibilities [to talk] but there will be moments when you have to make the tough decision and start to fight people.”

There was a lot more detail in the demo, which ended with us tracking down our boy Slugg and finding out he’s not such a bad dude after all. Just somewhat bitter, and a little cryptic. I’d tell you all about it, but it’s E3 and I have nine billion other games to write about, so I’ll have to leave it there. If you’re all good vampgirls and vampboys maybe uncle Matthew in the video department will show off some more of the dialogue choices and neck-munching.

GAME INFORMER: In Bloody Good Hands

  • 12 June 2019
  • Author: Harlequin
  • Number of views: 82
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From the demo they saw at E3 Game Informer had a very detailed write up. The bullet points and snip below if you don't want to read the whole thing but I suggest you do as it is quite interesting. The main aspect that stood out for me in this article was how they were stressing choices have consequences. Which is a excellent sign as a role player.
 
  • The game is designed so that there are no right or wrong choices
  • Bloodlines 2 will have a "crime-based drama" feel to the story.
  • Like the Haunted Hotel in BL1, BL2 will have "weird" locations
  • "If you have some favorite characters, (From BL1)" says Ellison. "We might try to put them in somewhere but we're not going to talk about it right now."
  • "You might find some of the characters will reference events that happened in that game."
 

Combat Is More Dynamic This Time Around

Bloodlines has a lot of virtues. Its combat, with numbers leaping out of bullet-sponge enemies, is not one of them. Luckily, Hardsuit is aware of that issue and is making combat more dynamic. Leiker says "The first game relied on standard combat mechanics. We're more focused on giving the player the experience of being a vampire. It's focused on expressing your vampireness against different types of foes."

To the extent of our demo, "vampireness" seems to translate to "nearly indestructible killing machine." Most of the enemies our character comes up against are humans trying to hurt the vampire with knives and bullets, which do little damage. On the flip side, it takes mere seconds for the demoer to rip through four goons armed with assault rifles.

The combat is amusing to watch, with superhuman punches and kicks sending foes flying against the wall with bone-crunching force, only for them to goofily ragdoll to their deaths. During the demo, I also watched our vampire use blood magic to make enemies puke blood and lob sticky grenade-looking globs that deal damage to anyone caught in the goop. In other words, there's a lot in Bloodlines' toolset o' death to like.

PC GAMER: 20min Game Play Video

  • 12 June 2019
  • Author: Harlequin
  • Number of views: 100
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PC Gamer has a 20 min Bloodlines 2 game play video posted from their visit at E3. To put this into context the combat seems 'bad' because the reporter was NOT playing the game, a dev from Paradox was who is being reported was very "tired" and thus his timing was off badly. Paradox acknowledges this and says they will have a better video up soon. None the less the video highlights some amazing footage, combat misses aside. And I give props to Donovan on last nights WoDCast, he called it, the female at the club was Tremere.

Here is the blurb from PC Gamer about what they saw, video below;
 

The game is in pre-alpha, so everything may be subject to change (like those dance moves at the beginning, maybe), but what we got to see of Seattle looks promising in a few ways.

Phil wasn't actually playing the game, to be clear, but he was directing the decision-making. "For context, I ended up roleplaying a deadbeat vampire asshole who thinks he's got the skills to coerce people but always fucks it up and ends up in combat," he told me. "This was, of course, accidental at first, but increasingly deliberate."

I like the sound of that, and the variety of dialogue options.

The combat looks a bit rough in this early state—though I find the wildly ragdolling enemies endearing, as they've gone out of fashion—but again, this was a pre-alpha demo, and Bloodlines 2 isn't out until March 2020.

WoDCast #13 - E3 Trailer Analysis

  • 11 June 2019
  • Author: Harlequin
  • Number of views: 142
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Harlequin, Donovan and friends discuss their thoughts, likes and concerns of the new Bloodlines 2 E3 game play trailer that was shown yesterday.
 

Boston Neo'Nights Chronicle Chapter 8 - "Visitor"

  • 9 June 2019
  • Author: Harlequin
  • Number of views: 116
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The coterie meets another survivor of the ceremony attack and sheds some light on the situation. Then Sydney gets a phone call about the Sheriff going to a meeting.. is the trap set?
 

Geek Pride: Matthew Dawkins on the future of Vampire

  • 8 June 2019
  • Author: Harlequin
  • Number of views: 92
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The Gentleman Gamer has a interview with Geek Pride and covered some very interesting topics about V5 past mistakes and where it is going in the future. Here is a snip;
 

There was an unfortunate reaction to some of the content in the V5 books

I wrote up the clans in V5, and suggested that some of the Brujah might come from right-wing camps.  Was than an invitation to play alt-right Brujah?  Absolutely not.  If someone wanted to play a Nazi at my table, I would ask them to write a new character or leave, as I have no interest in running a game for anyone playing a Nazi.  It is just not fun in my mind.

I believe in the World of Darkness, which is our world but darker, that far-right elements exist.  Would the Brujah – a clan of impassioned philosophers and politicos – embrace right-wing humans? Yes.  Is that nice? No.  Do you have to play them? Definitely not.  Can they be antagonists? Absolutely.  Any excuse to beat up a Nazi in a roleplaying game is perfectly fine.

There are some things you can attempt to justify, there are somethings you can only apologise for, and there are somethings that you have to replace because they are poor.  Whilst I think there have been mistakes, with people being too slow to act, and that sometimes they have been too reactionary.  It is a fine line to tread, especially when you are a young company like White Wolf were.

That is not making an excuse for them, because they definitely had lessons to learn.  They didn’t act perfectly at all times, but that is partly why Paradox Interactive are now saying “We’ve done our bit, this has been our plan all along”, and I think they can do that without any regrets.

Neo'Nights Boston Chronicle Chapter 7 - "Quagmire" & WoDCast Episode #12 Posted!

  • 2 June 2019
  • Author: Harlequin
  • Number of views: 143
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Here are both the latest Neo'Nights Boston Chronicle Chapter 7 "Quagmire" - The coterie wake up on a new night and find Vergil and some of their captives missing... Virgil wakes up somewhere underground covered in blood with the fetish they dug up from the grave in his belt. This does not bode well..
 


Also the newest WoDCast #12 where the round table panel discusses the clan choices in Bloodlines 2, the different direction of dialog they are going with Malkavians and what we expect to see in the from of game play for the E3 reveal that was announced. Leave us your feedback and what topics you'd like us to discuss next week below!
 
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