Wireframe - #35 - 2020

(Joyce) #1

How does Hardsuit’s experience with
Blacklight feed into creating a single-
player RPG?
There are quite a few foundational
things we were able to take from the
experience making Blacklight: Retribution
and apply them to Bloodlines 2. Things
like optimisation, user flows, first-person
camera controls, and hierarchies in
messaging. Player progression and
in-game economies can translate well,
but the player motivation is different.
Most of Bloodlines 2 was built from the
ground up with a team crafted around the
RPG experience.

Were there any tricks you learned from
work on Blacklight that transferred over to
Bloodlines 2?
Run on the lowest-end platform you
intend to support as much as possible.
More importantly, make certain your tools
are friendly to your developer colleagues
that are creating content; nothing is more
important than removing the friction of
adding an asset to a game. Also, playtest
with as many diverse groups as you
possibly can. There’s so much that goes
into making a game that it’s easy to miss
something critical, but having many
different eyes, ears, and appendages on
the game can help.

How does Bloodlines 2 factor in the
tabletop RPG it is based on? Does it stick
strictly to the rule set, as well as to the
overall narrative themes?
The first Bloodlines game was very true
to the tabletop, many of the systems and
interfaces being direct translations from
the tabletop game. This wasn’t always
successful in a video game environment

since the two formats and experiences are
quite different. For Bloodlines 2, we are less
interested in a one-to-one implementation
of the tabletop systems and more
interested in what is at the core of those
mechanics: being a vampire.

When [we were] developing the core
gameplay of Bloodlines 2, we [remained]
in constant contact with the tabletop team
while they were working on V5 of Vampire:
The Masquerade. Many of our systems were
developed together.

While the game is a sequel, is it still fair
to say it’s quite the departure from the
original Bloodlines?
Throughout development, one of the
game’s core pillars is to be a true successor
to Bloodlines. That means everything we
do is in service to that goal. It’s been great
having Brian Mitsoda back to both write
and guide the game – his involvement
ensures we stay on track to achieve our
ambitions for Bloodlines 2.
The major differences between
Bloodlines 2 and the original game that
came out in 2004 are the technology and
subject matter. We are using Unreal Engine
4 to develop the game, which is incredibly
powerful and allows us to do things that
weren’t remotely possible with the original

Bloodlines. But more importantly, we are
more conscious and sensitive to certain
subject matter in this game. For example,
the Malkavian clan deals a lot with mental
illness. This was used mostly for comedic
effect in the first game, but we have a

greater understanding of mental illness
and how it impacts people now. This is a
subject we are not taking lightly, and we
want to give the Malkavians’ representation
of mental illness the respect and dignity it
deserves in Bloodlines 2.

How is the representation of vampires
being modernised or updated? Is it even
being modernised/updated to begin with?
The mechanical parts of being a vampire
are timeless – drinking blood, immortality,
aversion to daylight – but it’s up to the
player to navigate how to do those
things in a modern setting. Vampire:
The Masquerade, and the larger World of
Darkness, have always explored what it
means to be a monster. How does being
immortal impact your daily life and outlook
on the future? What does feeding on
human blood mean to you ethically? How
do you approach relationships with other
monsters, especially when resources are
on the line? How can you survive in a world
with increasing connection and isolation?

“We looked at the things we wanted to keep and
where we could improve on the first game”

 Friend or foe? You decide. Wait,
not that. He’s definitely a foe.

12 / wfmag.cc


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