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Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 looks pretty Dishonored in this 14-minutes gameplay trailer

The most we've seen since Bloodlines 2 switched developers

A veiled vampire in Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2.
Image credit: Paradox Interactive

Following a string of wee teasers for Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2, Paradox have released an "extended gameplay reveal" trailer. This is the most we've seen of Bloodlines 2 since Paradox took the RPG from original developers Hardsuit Labs and handed it to The Chinese Room, the studio behind Dear Esther and Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs. The trailer shows 14 minutes of our vamp creeping about a warehouse with a pretty Dishonored-y combination of stealth and magical violence, showing very much why the sequel is now described as an "action RPG" rather than just "RPG".

Come for the gameplay, stay for the devs explaining what you just sawWatch on YouTube

While the first Bloodlines dropped us into Los Angeles as an anonymous fledgling vampire, this time we'll play a 17th century Elder named Phyre who awakens in Seattle after a long sleep with the surprise of a modern thinblood vampire named Fabien rattling around inside their head. While parts of Phyre's identity are fixed, we'll get to customise them through their gender, outfits, clan, and obvs all that roleplaying jazz. This video shows our sucker as a member of the rebellious Brujah clan, though Bloodlines 2 will also have the options to be a spellcasting Tremere, sneaky Banu Haqim, or snooty Ventrue.

It doesn't feel like Bloodlines to me but I am cautiously curious. There's some fun mood; I'm a sucker for a good illusion and the moving mannequins make me deeply unhappy. It is a shame that it's far more an action game this time, and I do wish the video showed more roleplaying, or less of a linear mission. I particularly wish it had more dialogue options. Still, the first Bloodlines had a fair bit of combat and little of it was good (goodness me, fighting Ming Xao was a chore), nor was its stealth, so I do quite like this mix of Dishonored-y sneaking and ridiculous Elder Brujah anime violence. Cautiously curious.

I suppose it's only fitting that Bloodlines 2 will inevitably be judged against the imagined game it might have been. The original struggled with building on a work-in-progress version of Valve's Source engine, crunching to launch unfinished, then barely being patched afterwards because developers Troika were busy shutting down. It's still a cracking game but oh, what if! Bloodlines 2 somehow escalated. The sequel started life at Hardsuit Labs with Bloodlines lead writer Brian Mitsoda, but the creative leads were cut and publishers Paradox considered outright cancelling it before handing the game to The Chinese Room. It has seemed like TCR are building on parts of Hardsuit's work but we might never know the full extent of what's happened here.

Bloodlines 2 is due to launch this autumn on Steam, GOG, and the Epic Games Store. It'll also be on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Xeries XS.

Disclosure: Cara Ellison, a former RPS columnist and my own former flatmate, was a narrative designer on Bloodlines 2 at Hardsuit Labs. I also have a pal at new devs The Chinese Room.

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