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Free-to-play Vampire: The Masquerade battle royale is out in early access

Bloodhunt, not Bloodlines

Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodhunt felt too early to be played when Alice B previewed it back in June. How much of a difference does three months make? Sharkmob's free-to-play battle royale is now in early access, so you can find out.

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Bloodhunt is set in the World Of Darkness universe, which means its vampires are technically the same sort as from beloved singleplayer RPG Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines. But instead of hanging around nightclubs, giving twenty-something men cause to write clumsy articles about sexual politics, here the vampires are running up buildings and firing machineguns at each other.

So far, Bloodhunt has a 'Mixed' score on Steam, though the reasons why are similarly mixed. Some players are reporting that the game is unoptimised, some are cross that it doesn't feel like the World Of Darkness they imagine, and some don't like the guns.

Noted vamp fan Alice B had her own problems with the game when she got hands on in June. "The guns are functional, but all feel very similar to use, and the broad strokes of character animations are in place, but frequently go on the wonk. Aiming your abilities feels very imprecise, too, and are equal parts funny and frustrating," she wrote.

In their post announcing the early access, the developers stuck to that 2021 release date, saying that they're "not planning to keep the game in the Early Access program for more than a few months" while acknowledging the possibility of "unexpected delays".

It's worth noting that, while developed and published by Sharkmob, the Vampire: The Masquerade licence belongs to White Wolf Publishing, who in turn are owned by Paradox. Paradox's CEO quit last week over "differing views on the company's strategy", and this week a survey conducted by the company's two unions alleged a culture of staff mistreatment.

Bloodhunt is free-to-play from Steam, with a paid battle pass planned during its early access period.

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