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Vampyr: A Trinity Of Screenshots

Gather ye round, for I have some more screenshots from that Vampyr [official site] game Dontnod are working on. Afterlife is strange etc etc. You can click for the bigger version.

I will look up the specifics in a moment, but I just wanted to say that without the blood spurts the above image would be a nice “dude surprises his boyfriend of an evening” moment.

Okay, so. Vampyr is set in London in 1918 during a bout of Spanish flu:

“As a doctor recently turned into a Vampire, you try to understand your new affliction. Your quest of intuition, discoveries and struggles, will be filled with death and drama, while your attempt to stem the irrepressible thirst that constantly drives you to take human lives.

“As you cling to what remains of your humanity, your decisions will ultimately shape the fate of your hero while searching for answers in the coughing, foggy aftermath of the Spanish Flu.”

From the info they’ve released it seems to follow a choice-based path as did Life Is Strange, but I’m guessing it’s more about balancing ideas of doctor-patient responsibility with the ongoing desire to kill and eat your patients.

The blurb states that the doctor (Jonathan Reid) is torn between vampiring it up and his Hippocratic oath. Fun fact: doctors didn’t/don’t always take a Hippocratic oath. Certainly the version which would have been used at the time contains some of the basic tenets we associate with doctor responsibilities but from reading around the subject a bit, there was a sea change in the way ethical codes were viewed in the late 1940s after World War II, not least as a response to the actions of doctors who were tried at Nuremburg for war crimes. As such, there’s a Declaration of Geneva and several other ethical documents you can ascribe to including a revised, modern version of the oath.

The progression of the game sounds more like a series of moral thought experiments where you’re deciding who to kill rather than whether to kill at all.

“Killing one person will create a rippling effect on London’s ecosystem and you will have to live with both the repercussions and their death on your conscience. Decide to feed on a renowned doctor from the city hospital, and progressively see the health condition of the patients drop.”

I think the main thing I’m now pondering in relation to the game is that vampires tend to work best (for me) when they’re being used as an interesting metaphor. I’m not seeing their usage here as particularly interesting in and of itself, more that it produces this basic ongoing tension between desire and duty that sets you up for these moral thought experiment choices. That makes me wary because it puts a lot of pressure on how the game supports that approach. I loved Life is Strange for the characters and their relationships. This feels more about economics and philosophising at the moment – it might be human and interesting, or it might end up a bit cold and abstracted.

Sidenote: If we’re talking medically-themed drama and interest based around Poplar in the twentieth century I’d recommend you load up the first few seasons of Call The Midwife on Netflix.

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Philippa Warr

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