Ssometimes described as "That lover from your past you still sigh for, who took your world by storm and drove you mad with longing — the one who makes every new relationship in your life pale in comparisonVampire: the Masquerade - Bloodlines was released in 2004.It sold less than a million copies and was so full of bugs that it was borderline unplayable upon release. The game was a commercial failure. Why are we still talking about this?
Developed by Troika Studios, Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines is an action role-playing game based on the tabletop role-playing game Vampire: The Masquerade. The premise of the game is based around the player becoming a new vampire and learning how to navigate the seedy nightlife of this game's twisted version of Los Angeles. All while avoiding the wrath of other far more powerful vampires.
At its core, the game is a dialogue-heavy RPG that explores issues of morality, power, and whether vampires can truly retain their humanity while keeping the beast within them at bay. This, coupled with the backstory set within the tabletop RPG universe, makes Vampire: The Masquerade — Bloodlines a highly compelling and fabled adventure.
Troika was by no means an amateur studio when it came to lore-heavy RPGs. It was founded by Fallout veterans Jason Anderson, Tim Cain, and Leonard Boyarsky with the sole intention of publishing RPG games. Troika's previous title Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura, "sold well for a few weeks but then faded.” Total sales were in the $8 million range.
Compare that to Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines. Bloodlines' sales were just over three million. It was the studio's worst-selling game to date, and we blamed (mostly) Half Life 2 for that.
Bloodlines was created in the Source Engine, the same engine used to create Half-Life 2nd TroikaContract with Valve, the creator of Half-Life 2 and Source Engine, stated that Bloodlines absolutely cannot be released before Half-Life 2. Troika planned to put Bloodlines in theSpring 2005to avoid any competition with Valve's highly anticipated sequel, but Bloodlines' publisher Activision had other plans. They pushed the release date back to November 2004 and then did it the same weekend as Half-Life 2. whoops
Of course theBorder unplayable conditionof the game didn't help their sales either. Although Troika was a relatively successful studio for its size at the time, it often struggled to stay afloat and consisted of a small staff.
Bloodlines was built on an older version of Source Engine,and due to multiple data leaks where the source code for Half-Life 2 was stolen, Bloodlines had to be postponed and was set for a 2005 release date while Valve attempted to implement new security features for the engine. But wait, you say, the game was released in 2004! Yes, it was. If you're familiar with how often publishers force crunch and rushed development on studios, alarm bells are probably going off in your head by now.
The biggest problem was that the game was too big for Troika's pants. There were many characters to animate and many lines of dialogue to speak. The designers grossly underestimated the time it would take them to do all of this on top of creating the combat system, and they absolutely refused to cut any content.
Activision grew impatient, demanding that the game be ready to ship by September. Troika managed to persuade them to postpone this and give them more funds for further development, but these funds were not enough to pay all the staff. Some people worked on this game without compensation. After more months, Activision finally had enough of the delays and shipped the game.It wasn't finished yet.
Almost immediately after the game's release, more than half of Troika's employees were laid off. The remaining staff tried desperately to bring the game to a more playable state, but Activision refused to give the studio any further funding. The troika closed its doors in February 2005.
So why do people like it?
Speaking from my own personal experience, I have yet to find an RPG so rich that will fill the vampire-shaped hole in my heart that Bloodlines left when I beat it. This might sound confusing given the information I've just given you, but Bloodlines was a crucial success with oneoverall score of the assessmentof 80/100. The only consistently bad thing most reviewers had to say about this game was thatMistakewere overwhelming. Enter the modders.
In 2004, Bloodlines began work on an unofficial patch to fix the game's most glaring problems. The project was started by Dan Upright and later taken over by Werner Spahl, better known by his online handle Wesps5. Since then, the patch has been constantly updated to the present day, updating the latest one25. May 2021.The patch is so essential to playing the game without being exposed to potential game-breaking glitches that it's even bundled with the gameGOG release.
Because of this patch, players are finally starting to see this game as it should be. Bloodlines features a star-studded cast of voice actors such asJohn DiMaggio,Gray Delisle, andPhil LaMarr, and because of this cast, the game's sharp and witty writing is allowed to shine.
"Every time I rip a jawbone out of a skull and ram it into an eye socket, I know I'm building a better future."
Writing Bloodlines manages to walk the line between downrightinsaneandphilosophical, while avoiding intense tonal dissonance.
The game's plot seems simple enough on paper. You are a newly conceived vampire, and the leader of the vampires in Los Angeles spares your life out of "good faith". And then… he immediately sends you on a suicide mission. But you survive! As the game progresses, you become more and more embroiled in a game of political warfare while the threat of an apocalypse looms in the background.
As the game progresses, you'll learn that every vampire in town has their goals centered around their own personal gain. You as a player are really nothing more than an errand boy to them. Bloodlines masterfully shows you this when you enter the Last Round, a bar inhabited by members of the Anarch faction and located on a corner of downtown Los Angeles.
When entering the bar, the first thing that strikes you is how overwhelmingly loud the music is. The song being played isLustful bitchby the industrial metal band Genitorturers and doesn't get quieter even after a dialogue with some of the residents. The anarchs take every opportunity to ridicule and badmouth you for your loyalty to the prince of the city, a vampire named Sebastian LaCroix. Despite their disdain for you, the Anarchs will still ask you to complete some tasks for them, and even after completing those tasks, they willstillWon't turn their damn music down so you can hear them talk. If you want to deal with them, it's their way or no way at all. They don't have time to appease someone who joins a clan that goes against their core beliefs.
The game is full of atmosphere and really brings nighttime Los Angeles to life. Each location is filled to the brim with eccentric characters and flavor writing everywhere you look. It would be worth your time doing side quests if you just want to learn more about the characters and the twisted world they inhabit.
It is not at all presumptuous to say that the first 2/3 of the game is among the best RPG experiences available for PC.
The game really starts to show its age when you enter Chinatown. TLDR for those who don't want to hear the grisly details:Chinatown is an extremely racist area of the game and every single NPC you speak to is an Asian caricature, most of whom speak exclusively in broken English. The setting is much smaller than any other district in the game, the quests are poorly executed and it's really hard to keep going.
Chinatown is ruled by the Kuei-jin, a faction of Eastern vampires. Every other location in the game is run by Kindred, the western vampires. If this sounds mildly interesting to you, then I'm sorry. It's horribly executed, very misogynist, and plays on various stereotypes that are distasteful at best and cruel at worst. TheGamer author Corin Baedives deeper into the racism and orientalism prevalent in this gameand I strongly recommend reading about the issues in this area from the perspective of someone affected by the toxic stereotypes they perpetuate.
At this point in the game everything seems to fall apart. The writing is noticeably weaker, every part of the combat involves gunfights (the weakest part of the combat in a game already spoiled by bad fighting), and this area contains one of the worst boss fights in the game.
Chinatown is hard to take and even worse to play. It's inevitable when you're trying to complete the game, and is a stain on what is possibly the most compelling RPG in recent history. We can only hope that the sequel doesn't repeat the mistakes of its predecessor.
But speaking of that sequel...
Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 was announced for release in March 2020 and was developed by Hardsuit Labs. It still hasn't come out. And honestly, nobody is sure if it will come out. Lead writer and writer of the first game, Brian Mitsoda, was fired without warning on July 16, 2020, and "that was a shock for [him].”
For many, this was the first warning that something terrible was about to happen. Shortly thereafter, lead narrative designer Cara Ellison left Hardsuit Labs, and shortly thereafter, Hardsuit Labs itself was fired by its editor, Paradox Interactive, in February 2021.
And since then it's been radio silence. Fans are unsure what will become of the game. The turbulent development seems to be a tradition for the franchise at this point, but people are not very hopeful.
Bloodlines could have been one of the most memorable games of its time if it weren't bogged down by its own writing and programming errors. Despite this, many fondly remember the atmosphere it created, the deep RPG elements, and the excellent narrative for the vast majority of its characters. It's masterful at immersion and definitely worth playing if you get the chance to pick it up.
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What happened to Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines? ›
After a slew of delays, and issues, Activision stepped in with their own producer, and a hard deadline for the game to be released. The problem however, Bloodlines was not allowed to be released before Valve shipped their first Source engine game, Half-Life 2.Is Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines unfinished? ›
After three years in development with no end in sight and running over budget, Activision set a strict deadline for completion, and Bloodlines was released incomplete in November 2004.Was Bloodlines 2 Cancelled? ›
In 2021, publisher Paradox Interactive announced that Vampire: The Masquerade--Bloodlines 2 would be indefinitely delayed after removing developer Hardsuit Labs from the project. Now, CEO Fredrik Wester took to Twitter to declare the sequel remains in active development.Will Bloodlines 2 ever come out? ›
Launching the game in 2024 as a celebration of the original's 20th anniversary isn't out of the question, even if players would prefer the game to launch sooner than that. However, fans have been largely left to wonder if the title will be a worthy successor to the cult classic vampire RPG.How many endings are in vampire Bloodlines? ›
The storyline is non-linear; though most events will be encountered regardless of the character's choices, there are numerous optional quests and five distinct endings.Will there be a Vampyr 2? ›
Unfortunately, there is no information regarding a potential sequel, with a Vampyr TV series announced but seemingly scrapped. Still, given how the story of Vampyr ends, it seems that Dontnod has decided to leave the door open to continue to tell stories about Jonathan E.Is Bloodlines a spin off of Vampire Academy? ›
Bloodlines is the first book in the spin-off series of the Vampire Academy series by American author Richelle Mead. It follows the story of narrator Sydney Sage, the alchemist who helped Rose in Blood Promise, Spirit Bound and Last Sacrifice. The book was released on August 23, 2011.What vampire game is based in Seattle? ›
Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 takes place in 21st-century Seattle, during the Christmas season. Set in the World of Darkness, the game depicts a world in which vampires, werewolves, demons, and other creatures shape human history.How is Bloodlines connected to Vampire Academy? ›
The Bloodlines is a spin off the Vampire Academy series, by American author Richelle Mead. It centres around Alchemist Sydney Sage, in her quest to protect Jillian Mastrano Dragomir and her quest to find out shocking secrets about her organization.Is Bloodlines a true story? ›
This 2010 telefeature is based on the true crime story of South African-born Dr Colin Bouwer (played by Mark Mitchinson), who used his medical knowledge to poison and kill his wife Annette. A Dunedin doctor and policeman foiled his plot to get away with murder.
Is bloodline The last royal vampire an anime? ›
The anime-styled mobile role-playing card game features hundreds of characters and customization, allowing for a roster of heroes that is distinctly unique to each player. Bloodline: The Last Royal Vampire is developed by Shanda Shengqu Games. Denji is a teenage boy living with a Chainsaw Devil named Pochita.Is Bloodlines worth watching? ›
Bloodline is every bit as good as everyone says it is. I can't say enough about how good the acting was. Ben Mendelsohn and Kyle Chandler give as good as performances as you'll see on a television show. The only negative thing about this show was how bad the ending was.Will Bloodlines 2 have romance? ›
There will certainly be relationships in Bloodlines 2 but whether or not they will be romantic, exactly, is another story. During the PC Gamer Show segment above, Bloodlines 2 writer Cara Ellison told us that they will be very "fragile, volatile, and mature."Is bloodline a prequel? ›
The Bloodline expansion for Watch Dogs: Legion is out now, letting players dive into a prequel adventure that brings back Aiden Pearce, the vigilante hacker from the first Watch Dogs, as well as Wrench, the anarchic masked trickster from Watch Dogs 2.Is Bloodlines based on a book? ›
Bloodline (Sheldon novel)
I feel like the lone wolf ending (where you don't open the sarcophagus) is the most narratively fitting. While character motivations flying solo may vary, I like to interpret it as the fledgling realizing that they are powerful enough to untether themselves to groups that just want to use them.How good is vampiric bloodline? ›
Vampiric Bloodline is an excellent way to get started with Vampires, especially if you're new to the tribe. The precon has some cracking reprints and plenty of scope to take the deck in a direction that speaks to you.How long does it take to finish Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines? ›
When focusing on the main objectives, Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines is about 23 Hours in length. If you're a gamer that strives to see all aspects of the game, you are likely to spend around 40½ Hours to obtain 100% completion.Why do people not like Vampyr? ›
Vampyr is an exhausting game. From annoying technical issues to an overburdened story, the game falls apart at nearly every opportunity. What seems like an interesting narrative-based action game that branches out in consequence to your actions turns out to be a Souls-like grindfest towards a halfhearted conclusion.Can you romance in Vampyr? ›
Romance is a challenge in games, which is why some exclude it entirely. But Vampyr triumphs through an astounding dedication to depicting a blossoming, carefully unfolding love. In Lady Elisabeth Ashbury, Vampyr offers a romance so tender, it might just break your heart.
Is Vampyr 1932 silent? ›
They can't have kids. their both Dhampires. That's why she should have stayed with Adrian.Does Rose and Dimitri appear in Bloodlines? ›
Rosemarie Hathaway and Dimitri Belikov are one of the major romantic couples of the Vampire Academy series. They are confronted with several barriers in their strong building romance, eventually becoming a couple at the end of Last Sacrifice. Into the Bloodlines Series they are seen to be going strong in their romance.Are Rose and Dimitri in the ruby circle? ›
Rose and Dimitri actually have a fairly large role to play in The Ruby Circle and there was one piece in particular that involved Dimitri and Adrian and an uncle that I loved. We even see Lissa, Christian (briefly), Sonya, and Mikhail.What city is True Blood? ›
The series revolves around Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), a telepathic waitress living in the fictional rural town of Bon Temps, Louisiana.What game did Vampire survivors copy? ›
Vampire Survivors was itself inspired by a 2021 Android game called Magic Survival, but its explosion in popularity on Steam early last year led to its own clones on the App and Google Play stores as players searched for a game that didn't yet exist on the platforms.Is Dracula in the Vampyr game? ›
The Vampyre basic game takes place on the map of Transylvania. The game is a race between the vampire hunters to see who will be the first to find and destroy three of Count Dracula's hidden coffins.Is Bloodlines a continuation of Vampire Academy? ›
Bloodlines is a book series by Richelle Mead. It is a spin-off of Mead's Vampire Academy series. The books follow alchemist Sydney Sage. After the incident with Rose and Dimitri, Sydney is being closely watched by the Alchemists (humans who help keep the vampire world a secret).What happened to white wolf? ›
White Wolf Publishing.
The Bloodlines is a spin off the Vampire Academy series, by American author Richelle Mead. It centres around Alchemist Sydney Sage, in her quest to protect Jillian Mastrano Dragomir and her quest to find out shocking secrets about her organization.