The original Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines might have been about nocturnal bloodsuckers and secret societies, but it stayed true to its era. The same looks to be true of its upcoming sequel, as narrative director Brian Mitsoda says the team is going for an "accurate representation" of Seattle.
Rather than Bloodlines' California setting, Bloodlines 2 moves up the western coast to Seattle. The city is "basically a character in the game," as Mitsoda says in an interview with FanByte, and the game will tackle the real-life issues it faces.
"We need to make sure it feels like you're there, and it feels like you're dealing with people who live there," Mitsoda tells FanByte. "So of course there will be political aspects of the game, and one of the biggest issues the city is facing right now is homelessness."
Seattle's homeless issue is a known issue, as the city government's site notes that factors like a lack of affordable housing and growing economic disparity have led to a growing homelessness issue. A 60 Minutes segment covered the growing population of Seattle's tent cities, as tech jobs flood the market.
It seems like Mitsoda and Hardsuit Labs' Seattle will address similar issues: he describes the downtown area, populated by tech workers, being quiet and safe. "But it won't be where they hunt," Mitsoda says. "If you go to pockets of downtown it's going to be busier and maybe not everyone is going to get a home they can go to at night."
It shouldn't surprise anyone that Bloodlines 2 plans to include some social commentary, as Mitsoda notes. It's not just a sequel to a game that didn't shy away from similar subject matter; vampires in the World of Darkness live in the world, orchestrating it from the shadows and engaging with the reality of being a nocturnal beast in modern day. The titular Masquerade is about keeping the curtain up and humankind oblivious, and how do you portray that without addressing the systems that let them do so?
Cara Ellison, a writer on Bloodlines 2, echoed this sentiment in our PAX West panel about the series and its upcoming sequel.
"There's a lot of that [in Bloodlines 2]," Ellison says. "How do your values change when you're immortal? How do your values make you reflect on what it means to live forever? Those things are a politic, and politics are at the center of our game."
Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 has been pushed out to a general 2020 window from its original Q1 target, citing a responsibility to avoid the issues that plagued the original game.