Following a delay into next year, Paradox Interactive and Hardsuit Labs have made some massive changes to the team behind the upcoming RPG Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2. Two creative heads, Lead Narrative Designer Brian Mitsoda and Creative Director Ka'ai Cluney, have been let go from the team.
In an update on the Bloodlines 2 page, a statement says that this was a joint decision made by the leadership of Hardsuit Labs and Paradox Interactive. "We appreciate, and value, the contributions of Brian and Ka'ai, which were instrumental in establishing the game's storyline and dark tone and have helped to ensure that we are making a true successor to the iconic Bloodlines," the statement reads.
A statement from Mitsoda given to Rock Paper Shotgun casts a different light on the matter, however. "That this came as a shock to me is underselling it," Mitsoda told RPS, detailing how after almost five years with the studio, he was "suddenly terminated" in July.
"I was not part of the conversations that led to the decision to delay production, and to my knowledge, there were no delays caused by the Bloodlines 2 narrative development," said Mitsoda. "I am confident and proud of the work that I and my team put forward. When that work will be seen and what form it will take is unknown to me."
In place of the two developers, Alexandre Mandryka will join the Bloodlines 2 team as a Creative Consultant to help with the final stages of development. "These changes are focused on one thing: to bring you the best possible Vampire: The Masquerade game," Paradox's statement reads.
The first Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines faced a number of problems at launch, and Bloodlines 2 has been delayed a few times in order to specifically avoid a similar situation. Last week, Paradox confirmed a delay to 2021, citing the quality bar and ambitions of the project.
The sudden dismissal of these two creative leads, especially given the ties to the previous game, don't do much to instill confidence in Bloodlines 2's trip towards the finish line. While there's a lot of great work going into the game-you can read about some of that in our recent interview with the team-an organizational change at the eleventh hour certainly isn't the most fortuitous omen of what's to come.