Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 gets new developer and release window

Posted on September 4, 2023

Good news, World of Darkness fans: Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2, a game seemingly terminally stuck in development hell to the extent that pre-order refunds have been offered, has a new release window and developer attached. It has been confirmed that the game has been largely rebuilt by Dear Esther developer The Chinese Room, and is set to release next year.

Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 is very special to many, and we can finally reveal that we’ve been embraced by this adventure,” the studio writes on its website. “We’re joining the Vamily!

We’re crafting something incredible here, and are bloody excited to share more at last! 🖤🦇

The news that the game is back on track should be comfort for fans who have followed its tumultuous development. Initially slated for a 2020 release, the game slipped past that and 2021 following pandemic-related setbacks and the termination of several key creatives behind the project. Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 seemed terminally in limbo as Paradox Interactive released a drip feed of screenshots and updates suggesting a “not impossible” 2023 release. Fortunately, the project appears to be on firmer tracks with a clearer roadmap heading up to its launch.

In terms of choice of developer, The Chinese Room is somewhat unconventional. As the studio behind Dear Esther, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture and Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, The Chinese Room is more better known for their gameplay-lite adventure and horror games. While the horror aspect of Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 certainly seems up its alley, a mechanically-complex action RPG is mostly new territory for the UK-based developer.

As per an interview with PC Gamer, The Chinese Room’s incarnation of Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 keeps much of the core premise of the version that Hardsuit Labs had been working on before being taken off the project, such as the setting of Seattle during a Christmas snowstorm. You play not as a newly-turned vampire as in the original game, but instead as a 300 year Elder vampire having awoken from a multi-century sleep in the midst of a “Second Inquisition” launched against vampire-kind, presenting an existential threat. The developers intend to present the player character as being established within the setting already, while providing sufficient opportunity for the player to customise their personality how they like.

Following the announcement of The Chinese Room’s involvement, Paradox Interactive has confirmed a Fall 2024 (that’d be Australia’s Spring) release period. An in-depth gameplay video is planned for release January 2024, and a firm release date will be confirmed once pre-orders are opened.