Paradox and Hardsuit Labs aren’t quite ready to show us any of Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 in motion yet, but they’ve got plenty to say. During a developer stream today, they explained the opening part of the game in more detail including the kind of choices you get to make during character creation and what being a ‘Thinblood’ vampire entails. Players start at the very bottom of the vampiric food chain, considered monstrous by humans but too human to invite to the cool parties by the vampiric gentry. There’s even a new teaser trailer giving us a peek at how that works below.
While in the original Bloodlines, you were asked to pick which of the vampire clan you wished to be ‘born’ into, Thinbloods aren’t even recorded on the undead family tree. You can (just about) eat human food, sunlight isn’t immediately lethal, and you look a little healthier than the average walking corpse. That’s not to say you’re without cool vampiric perks. You’re faster, stronger (harder and better, too), and have access to a set of very classically vampiric ‘weird’ powers. More powerful than Thinbloods in the current tabletop rules, but the devs say that this is their personal, more exciting house-ruled version.
You’ll have access to three shallow pools of powers, each with two active abilities and three passive upgrades available. Mentalism, as shown above, is telekinesis. At low levels, you can grab small objects and pull guns out of hands. At higher levels you can pick up and throw people out windows. Nebulation is mist-form powers, and can be used to squeeze into tiny gaps, move stealthily or choke (living) people out with vampire fog. Lastly, Chiropteran powers are batty, including classic b-movie vampire gliding leaps, and later the power to summon swarms of winged mice for offence or defence.
During the stream, they also mentioned that you’ll get to pick a character background. This was a feature originally planned for Bloodlines 1, but not implemented until the unofficial patches. Now it’s an important part of the game, and you’ll get different dialogue options depending on who you were in life. A career criminal will have different contacts and options compared to a cop, for instance. They also mentioned offhand that Toreador vampires (the most glamorous and human-passing of the bunch) are confirmed as being active in the game, although they weren’t explicit on whether they’re a playable clan.
On the subject of Clans, you’ll eventually be able to join one, although the developers aren’t ready to say exactly how this will happen, or which ones are available to join. There will be five to pick from at launch, though. Clan vampires are suspicious of these Thinblood types, considering them part glorified cosplayers, part sign of the end times. Not immediately bursting into flames when touched by a sunbeam is practically blasphemy to a creature that’s been living hundreds of years in the shadows. It’s basically Vampire Boomers vs Millennials, and you’ll get to shake up the whole power structure.
Update: To clarify, more clans will be released after launch as free updates.
The developers were pretty candid about one detail: While canonically your character is partially sunlight-resistant, that won’t matter as it stands now. Earlier in development they were experimenting with using sunlight as an obstacle to be avoided, but struggled to make it a fun experience. As such, expect Bloodlines 2 to be set in a world of perpetual nighttime, no matter how many hours you stay up playing it. A pity, perhaps, but it’s nice to hear that they’re willing to make cuts where needed. I’m eager to see just how they balance focus and choice when it launches next year. In the meantime, read Alice Bell’s full Bloodlines 2 preview here, if you haven’t already.
Disclosure: Cara Ellison, formerly of the RPS treehouse, is a senior writer on Bloodlines 2. She even wrote a bit for us about the original Bloodlines and how it handles sexuality. Check out part one and part two. In retrospect, ending it with ‘BLOODLINES WILL RETURN’ feels a little cheeky.