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

She's got all her own teeth

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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.

Look, you’ve got me over a barrel here. I have to give the people what they want, and given that this was one of the most read articles on the site for the whole month of May, it seems that what the people want is hastily written articles about fictional women whom I love and fear in equal parts.

This woman is called Elif. Elif is clearly one of a few vampires that you can do work for, ‘cos you get a text from “Penny” letting you know that the different factions want to talk, and representatives are waiting at the bar, the coffee shop, the club and the parking garage. Elif is probably at least a medium-up, if not a high-up, in one of the vampire clans in Seattle. She may even be a Primogen, the official representative of her clan for the local vampy government, like an MP or a member of the town council who decides when your bins get collected. Except if Elif was in charge of bin collection it would be for the bins from a factory that makes chocolate body paint, or a private club that holds secret parties where everyone wears ornate animal masks.

Including Elif, her club, and the terrible dancing therein in this new demo is clearly a very deliberate move, because it evokes a favourite location and character(s) from the first Bloodlines. Namely Therese and Jeanette and their club Asylum (the one in Bloodlines 2 is even called Atrium, come on lads). Jeanette was even on the cover for the first game. She dressed like a porn parody version of Britney Spears in the video for Baby One More Time, and we all fucking loved her. This latest video is a blatant, cynical play on fan nostalgia intended to smooth over any rough edges visible in the actual game. Well, congratulations Hardsuit, because it worked perfectly and I am on board.

If I had to guess, I’d say that Elif is a Toreador, because she clearly lives and dies for the aesthetic. She’s wearing high waisted jeans, a bralette top, and a blazer. And she has a lip ring, and several chokers. In her previous life Elif was clearly the captain of a roller derby team in the late 80s, and she was super sweet and made a cake for each of her teammates birthdays, but she absolutely fucking rawed anyone who hurt one of her girls. She probably spent a few years checking up on the youngest after she was turned. If any of them ever had a shitbag boyfriend he would mysteriously go missing. Elif hangs out in a club that’s lit in the same colours as the bisexual pride flag. I rest my case here, y’honour.

May I present to the court exhibit gay

If you want a sensible reason (p’shaw!), then fine. Elif represents, to me, the best bits of Bloodlines 1 but with the worst bits excised. Exsanguinated. Whatever. She is a cool business-owner lady vamp making waves who could clearly do a bad murder on you. She is charming and confident, and she is sexy rather than sexualised. This is all very good evidence of the series’ growth. Then, at the end of the footage Brendy sent back from LA, the player had the option to give Elif what she’d asked for, or try to lie. The ability to welch on your employer, and perhaps even take your ill-gotten info elsewhere, is very in the spirit of Bloodlines 2, and I enjoyed that you could choose to lie to her right up until the last second of the mission. Cool! Thus, and also because I will be avoiding combat as much as possible, I remain happy with the direction of the game.

But obviously you wouldn’t welch on Elif because she is amazing, but also very clearly terrifying. Like a cat. Not any special metaphor kind of cat, a regular cat. Unfortunately none of you will be able to work for Elif because as I mentioned she and I are best friends now and there is no room in our lives for you, sorry.

[Disclosure: Everyone else who writes about Bloodlines 2 gets to disclose that Cara Ellison, who used to do journalisms here and is a senior writer on Bloodlines 2, is their friend, and I’m feeling a bit left out to be honest?]

See our E3 2019 tag for more news, previews, opinions, and increasingly surreal liveblogs.

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Alice Bell

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