When I first caught wind of Vampyr [official site], an action-RPG set in the Spanish Flu-ravaged streets of early 20th century London, I was quite excited. When I discovered Remember Me and Life Is Strange developers Dontnod Entertainment had their name on it, I was really quite excited. We haven't seen the game in motion yet, but we can today have a look at its style in the first set of screenshots. They're a bit, um.... on the bland side? Come see for yourself.
So yeah, Life Is Strange this is not. And while I appreciate that a 1918 London that's not only in the grips of pandemic but is also struggling to regain its footing following a devastating world war ain't gonna be all sunflowers and rainbows, I still didn't expect the first screenshots to emerge from Vampyr to be quite as dark as they are:
What do you guys think, though? Am I being overly critical? Vampyr is after all a game about a surgeon who's been bitten by an infected patient and thus has been transformed into a bloodthirsty vampire, thereafter forced to feed on fellow humans to survive. Add that to the whole crushing plague context and it's only now as I write this down I realise perhaps Dontnod have it right. Here's what publishers Focus Home say about it:
"Every character in the game has his or her own unique back-story and will affect the world. Be careful who you choose to hunt, as they will be gone forever, and their death will impact in a meaningful way the world that surrounds you. Feeding on human blood will not just keep you 'alive', it will also unlock new vampiric powers to use. As a Doctor, and a Vampyr who used to be human, you may also choose to heal your potential prey, crafting medicines from items collected in the game world.
"There will be times when exploration and seduction will only get you so far, and you'll need to resort to engaging in Vampyr's dynamic, melee-focused real-time combat. It blends hard-hitting melee combat with supernatural vampire powers. Find and loot materials and components from the fresh corpses of your victims or during exploration, in order to craft and improve tools, melee and ranged weapons, as well as special ammunitions and coating to exploit the weaknesses of your enemies."
With that, Vampyr marks a much darker direction thematically for Dontnod, however choice - much similar to Life Is Strange and Remember Me before it - will be central to how it all unfolds.
Vampyr is due for release at some point in 2017.