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Windows Central: Bloodlines 2 preview: A cult classic returns refreshed

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Another summary article, preview posted by Windows Central, here is a snip;

It's been 15 years since Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines. The action role-playing game, developed by the now-defunct Troika, became a cult classic post-release and it's easy to see why. Compared to other games at the time, it offered this unique blend of role-playing, narrative, and combat — encapsulating all the best parts of the pen-and-paper tabletop game.

Nowadays, games are extremely good at balancing multiple elements, genres, and play styles so on paper, Bloodlines 2 isn't particularly innovative. However, there are key elements that Paradox and Hardsuit showed off in the pre-alpha build that developers hope will pay tribute to the older game, but expand on it.

For one, key pieces are returning. Hardsuit managed to hook up with Brian Mitsoda, who worked on the original game and is returning as the lead narrative designer. The dark, noir tone is also present, as is the fog.

At the preview, developers explained that they used the last game as a stepping stone, taking elements that might not have been ideal and attempting to perfect them. In the first Bloodlines, for example, you're put immediately into the thick of all the clan and political intrigue that defines the World of Darkness RPGs. The issue is that people entering the game might not be familiar.

"The first game you're just dumped into character creation without a full understanding of what you're getting into," Rachel Leiker, the lead UX and UI designer for Hardsuit, said. "For this game we wanted you to focus on building up your vampire-ness first before we bring you into the whole clan environment because those two can be two different experiences for gameplay."

PC Gamer: Everything we know about Vampire: The Masquerade—Bloodlines 2

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PC Gamer did a round up article about what we know about BL2, honestly nothing they talk about isn't already on our info page but if you are looking for a more detailed overview then check out their article. Here is a snip;

Can I choose my faction?

Absolutely. Another main difference between the original Bloodlines and Bloodlines 2 is that the story won't be so linear this time around. Given the volatility between vampire factions in Seattle, you'll not only be able to pledge your allegiance to one of them, but you can change your mind at any time. Be a double agent. Go rouge. Be completely loyal to one faction. Whatever you want.

You could do this in the original Bloodlines, but on a much smaller scale. You were given only one opportunity to choose between three factions—Camarilla, Sabbat, Anarchs—or you could become a lone wolf. Paradox hasn't said exactly what factions will be available in Bloodlines 2, but at least choosing between them will be more fluid this time around and more heavily integrated into the story.

Anything else we know?

Vampire: The Masquerade—Bloodlines 2 will support ray tracing and DLSS—as Nvidia announced March 21—and mods The original game supported mods as well, so it only makes sense to allow that again this time around. And ray tracing/DLSS support also seems like a no-brainer. Any kind of vampire story is generally cast in a dark and ominous world (because of the whole not being able to go in the sun thing), so ray tracing will definitely make those midnight shadows at the end of an alleyway look more threatening to both humans and the supernatural alike.

Also, it wouldn't be a complete vampire party if a few developers didn’t return for more blood. Brian Mitsoda, designer and writer of the original Bloodlines, is on board again as Bloodlines 2's lead narrative designer. Rik Schaffer, who composed the OST on the original Bloodlines, confirmed via fan email that he has already been working on the Bloodlines 2 score over the last year as the main composer.

UPDATED: UK PC Gamer Mag New Information

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Well that was... underwhelming. It was a good read but the majority of it was already stated. You can see the previously known info on the game on our "Info" page. The few new bits of info I was able to glean was the following;
  • The Prince of Seattle's name is "Cross"
  • There is a side quest where if you notice the unusual number of missing cat posters, that can open up for you to explore what happened to them
  • It is implied there are other sects present in game then the Camarilla
  • The first of the Unsanctioned Seven is killed soon after you make your escape from your trial and as you talk to them is assassinated (so then it becomes the Unsanctioned six..?)
  • To redeem from masquerade violations you can join Bart, of Prince Cross "cleanup crew" to, literally clean up violations the Prince deems needed
  • Players will be able to equip two melee and two ranged weapons at any a time

Post your comments below.

Platige Image Produces Trailer for Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2

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The Warsaw, Poland team from Platige who did the teaser trailer for Bloodlines 2 posted on their website a blurb about working on the video and how they did it. Here is a snip;

The Platige Image team, based in Warsaw and led by director Jakub Jabłoński, was responsible for the entire production process – from drafting the screenplay through to the sound design. The only element that was outside the studio’s purview was the voice-over, which was recorded by the game developer Paradox Interactive.
One particularly challenging aspect of the production was the very tight production timeframe. For motion capture recordings, the studio partnered with a highly experienced team of stunt performers.

    “The motion capture sessions were easily one of the most interesting parts of the production. The entire story is told from a first-person perspective, so we fitted our performers with head-mounted GoPro cameras, which allowed us to capture truly immersive footage, and get much closer to the characters that the viewers will interact with, and it helped us to really speed up the work on animating the camera. It also meant that the actors and stunt performers took on the role of camera operators. Thanks to the excellent performance of Maciek Kwiatkowski’s tight-knit stunt crew, we managed to shoot all the thrilling fighting sequences in one take. For the calmer scenes, the role of observer was taken on by Olga Szablewicz-Pisuk, who also served as the lead animation artist on the production,” added Jakub Jabłoński.

Theory: Tender Pins = Clans?

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Thanks to Lexicat in the BL2 Discord they posted a pic of all the pins they got at the Tender reveal party acquired via a LARP taking place pre-show. Some folks are making the connection the pins somehow equate to the clans that will be in the game. Honestly, since as previously reported there are only 5 clans in the game on launch, and not only are there MANY more clan pins then 5 but also, some of these clans make ZERO sense. I find it hard to swallow we'll have Tzimisce and Giovanni out of the gate. Not only for the added complexity of those clans but just from a story point of view. None the less post in the comments your thoughts, here is the pic Lexicat posted, posted here with permission.

PC Gamer: Time to speculate about Vampire: The Masquerade—Bloodlines 2's clans

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As we talked about yesterday, PC Gamer now confirmed there will be 5 clans that ship initially. And it seems Tremere (#Tremere4Life) and Brujah are highly implied, so that leaves 3 other clans. Let the speculation begin! Here is a snip;

But what clans will we be able to choose? So far, Paradox and Hardsuit Labs are keeping the list to themselves, but there are hints.

"We wanted to pick those clans that deliver a clear player fantasy," says Christian Schlütter, lead producer. "If I'm someone who just likes to punch people in the face, we have a clan for you. If I'm someone that ... in a normal roleplaying game, would play a wizard or something, we also have a clan for that."

Punching and wizards. The last one immediately calls to mind the Tremere, a clan of mages that became vampires in an mystic ritual. They're one of the top dogs in the modern era, and while all the clans have preternatural abilities, the Tremere are the really the only ones you'd call wizards. 

As for punching, both the Brujah and the Gangrel seem like good candidates. The Gangrel aren't really into cities—they're a bit feral—but Seattle is pretty close to loads of trees, right? I'm sure they'd be fine. The rebellious Brujah seem like a much better fit for Seattle, though. Between punches, they could help Amazon workers unionise.  

No Malkavian hints were dropped, but I'm still holding out hope for the best clan. In the original Bloodlines, the Malkavian dialogue and insight transform the game and pull back the curtain a little bit—it's excellent second playthrough material and hopefully will be again. We do know that you'll need to play with different clans to see everything in Bloodlines 2.

PC Character Sheet Different?

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I asked the official HSL Twitter if the PC sheet in BL2 will be like the pen and paper counterpart as BL1 was. And apparently they are going to be changing some things up a bit, here is the quote;

Hardsuit Talks Game Lenght

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Someone ask, and HSL answered, a "typical" play though will be 25-30 hours. If you compare that to BL1 it's not to far off from that as just the main quest in BL1 on average was 23 hours, main plot and some side quests 28 hours. So as a whole it seems we will be getting more or less the same amount of game play as the first game.