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Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2: Release date, gameplay, clans, and trailers

Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2
(Image credit: Hardsuit Labs)

In 2004, we saw the release of the cult-classic, Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines. Based on the tabletop game of the same moniker, the title allowed PC players to live out their vampiric fantasies. Unfortunately, it was a commercial flop due to technical issues and having to compete with the likes of Half-Life 2, Metal Gear Solid 3, and Halo 2. But like the undead monsters which inhabit its world, the franchise returns from the dead 16 years later with Hardsuit Labs’ Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2.

First revealed during E3 2019 with a follow-up trailer during the May 2020 Inside Xbox event, Vampire: The Masquerade 2 introduces a new setting, clans, powers, gameplay mechanics, and more. Considering the current popularity of Urban Fantasy and gamers’ desire for richer RPG experiences on next-gen systems, this sequel has a good chance of becoming successful.

Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 release date

Originally set to release in 2020, Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 will now release sometime in 2021 for PC, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and PlayStation 5. However, we can’t say when in 2021 it’ll release. After all, it already suffered two delays. But considering how technical issues marred its predecessor (not to mention the recent Cyberpunk 2077 fiasco), it’s better to be delayed for a third time rather than release it as a substandard product.

(Image credit: Hardsuit Labs)

Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 story and setting

The game takes place in modern-day Seattle during the holiday season after an event called the Mass Embrace. This event sees many rogue vampires turn citizens into “thinbloods,” i.e., half-human, half-vampire hybrids. As a thinblood yourself, you must use your supernatural powers and abilities to navigate through an underworld inhabited by supernatural entities such as vampires, werewolves, demons, and more. Considering the various factions in play, things will not be easy, even for a powerful undead being.

Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2: Be a vampire

Developer Hardsuit Labs wants to provide an enjoyable and immersive experience. After all, players want to feel that they are living the life of a vampire. The game does this, but in more ways than simply sucking blood from helpless humans.

“From the player’s perspective, there should always be a sense of supernatural power – even for a fledgling, or relatively weak vampire,” said Ka’ai Cluney, Creative Director at Hardsuit Labs in a developer diary post. “Features and systems should always be evaluated against this; dialogue and interactions should always reflect this. The relationship between the player and citizens of Seattle should always be evaluated as a relationship between a hunter and prey, be it through feeding systems, combat, or dialogue. This also pertains to what might threaten a vampire. How do you scare a monster?"

(Image credit: Hardsuit Labs)

He continued, “In a practical sense, ‘Be a Vampire’ – among other things – guides our approach to how the player moves through the world, both in terms of player systems such as traversal, how we support those systems through level design, and how we communicate all of that to the player through other devices, such as Lighting or User Interface. A player that moves through the world unconventionally needs to learn how to read that world unconventionally, and a lot of effort is made to make sure the player really does start to think like, and be, a vampire.”

Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 clans and disciplines

Vampires are not a homogenous group. Like the humans they feast on, vampires have their own distinct groups vying for control. As a thinblood, you’re free to join any of the available clans. Of course, siding with one clan will inevitably place you in conflict with its rivals. But that’s also part of the fun of Bloodlines 2. The first five clans are as follows:

The Bruja clan are loud and brash attention-seekers who resolve conflicts through violence. On the opposite end is the Venture clan, who are all about using diplomacy and deception to get their way. The Tremere clan wields vampiric blood magic that makes even fellow blood-suckers tremble. Toreador clan are beautiful vampires who use their looks to seduce both friend and foe alike. Lastly, the Malkavians can see glimpses of the future, though this causes many of the clan to become insane.

In addition to clans, there are several disciplines (vampire powers) to choose from. This includes abilities that let you turn into a bat or ones that give you telekinetic powers. Some disciplines are exclusive to clans while others are available no matter which clan you side with. As a thinblood, you’re technically weaker than a full-blooded vampire. However, you’re also able to possess various abilities full-bloods cannot. This gives you an edge over your more powerful brethren.

Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 gameplay

Like the tabletop game that spawned it, Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 is a deep and complex Role Playing Game. As you level up, you’ll gain points you can then assign to different skills and attributes depending on your preferred playstyle and clan affiliation. Combat-focused players will want to dump points into weapon accuracy and agility while diplomatically-minded players will choose to add points to charm and speech skills. Although you’re locked to certain abilities based around your clan, you’re still free to choose your character’s evolution to an extent.

(Image credit: Hardsuit Labs)

“Players should always be faced with choices,” Ka’ai Cluney said. “Sometimes, they should be confronted with choices where there is no right thing to do or times where they’re forced to choose between two equally unsavory options. As players make decisions, the world and gameplay experience must reflect these choices, be it through reactive dialogue, reactive story events, or even how players decide to build and grow their character."

He goes on to say, “This applies directly to our decision-making process as well. For example, we decided early in development that every player build must have access to – though not necessarily equal ability in – powers that have applications for combat, dialogue, and traversal. This means that players who prefer combat characters can certainly build to their preference, but always have options as to how and when to deviate from that archetype."

No matter what route you decide to take, you’ll need blood to level up. You’ll obtain blood from blood banks, rodents, and of course, humans. Equality important are the Masquerade and Humanity meters. Hiding your actions and remaining in the (metaphoric) shadows will raise the Masquerade meter, whereas taking more overt and aggressive actions will raise the Humanity meter.

At the moment, we do not have Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2’s official minimum and recommended requirements for PC. We do know it’ll have ray tracing when played using an NVIDIA RTX card. We’ll update this segment when the official specs are released.