Last time we looked at the cut content of Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines. Today we will tell you how this game went through the fire and why it won our hearts. This is the story of the creation of Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines and its path to success.
Children of the Night
If you follow our materials on the Fallout universe, then you probably know such names as Tim Kane, Leonard Boyarsky and Jason Anderson. They come from the Black Isle Studios team, which left in 1997 due to disagreements with the publisher Interplay, creating their own studio Troika Games. It's funny that the name of the studio coincided with the fact that it had three main characters, and it released only three games.
The first game of the newly minted studio was the spiritual successor to Fallout - Arcanum of Steamworks and Magick Obscura. She was in many ways similar to her progenitor, with the same elaborate world, where the post-apocalypse was replaced by steampunk, which added to the game's originality. The game was a huge success despite being a commercial failure. However, popularity alone was enough to push the studio to new achievements, and to take on two projects at once. Splitting into two groups, one half of the studio did The Temple of Elemental Evil [a project based on the Dungeons & Dragons], and the second is Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines, an adaptation of the popular board game.
The Vampire TMB board itself was released in 1991. Its author, Mark Rein · Hagen, founder of the White Wolf studio, made a game with an emphasis on the psychology of the main characters and their social relationships, not forgetting about the elements of combat. It was a fantasy genre in the setting of a real city. Her world was identical to ours, but with two differences.
Firstly , like the world of the GTA universe, it was darker and more exaggerated, for example, officials are more corrupt, criminals are more arrogant, and so on.
Secondly , there are vampires in this world. Namely, 13 clans, with different histories, worldviews and abilities. Clans are also united in coalitions that are at war.
Despite the intrigue and clan struggle, the main conflict in the game was personal confrontation. In addition to the law "Masquerade", which limited the will of vampires, they all had humanity, which made them akin to mortals and did not allow the inner beast to escape.
The game has gained immense popularity and has become part of the vast World of Darkness - a universe in which monsters, demons and other fantasy creatures live among people. In 1998, White Wolf studio was bought by Activision, and decided to make a video game adaptation of the board, entrusting the creation of Nihilistic Software. In 2000, they gave birth to Vampire: The Masquerade - Redemption, which was not bad, but it still lacked charm. It was for this reason that the publisher planned to release another version of the game and entrusted the development of Bloodlines Troika Games.
During development, the studio thoroughly studied the board game, and also rummaged through the forums of its fans in order to understand what to focus on. As a result, they realized that the game would not be connected with Redemption.
Activision has agreed with Valve to use the Source engine in their game. However, this also had huge disadvantages, because the developers had not worked with him before, and secondly, Uncle Gaben under the contract banned the release of the game earlier than Half Life 2. It was planned that Vampire: The Masquerade should be released in 2005, but the publisher believed that then there would be no sense in the exclusivity of the engine - the game should be released immediately after the adventures of Gordon Freeman.
We decided to use Source to create high-quality facial animation of characters, but the amount of work was quite large for a relatively small team. The studio consisted of 30 people, and 17 people were sent to create Bloodlines. They all faced production hell because the engine was stubborn, resulting in poor optimization and underphysics. And due to the tight deadlines, the developers could not bring everything they wanted to the game [read about the cut content of the game here], and only three weeks were left for testing.
Add to this the fact that the game was created without a producer, and when almost at the end of development, Activision was put in charge of the project, David Mullich, he found that teams were making levels that did not fit into the overall concept. And some developers constantly missed deadlines, wanting to polish one or another piece of the game, without having time to finish another. Due to the totality of everything that happened, they did not have time to insert a multiplayer mode and some of the content into the game, and Bloodlines itself, which was published by titanic labor, could not withstand the competition and was lost behind the huge backs of Half Life 2 and GTA San Andreas.
Not only vampires are immortal
To this day, the game remains the most underestimated RPG of its time, despite a failure in sales and creepy bugs. Everyone who launched the game plunged into this dark mystical world, which existed simultaneously with our present. We plunged into the nightlife, depraved and brutal life of Los Angeles, getting involved in bloody intrigues. It all started with the fact that one vampire violates the "Masquerade" and turns us into a young relative [as the local vampires call themselves]. For this he is publicly executed, but we are pardoned and allowed to live on.
However, the price for life is that we resolve the conflict between vampire organizations: vampire liberals Camarilla, anarchists, Chinese vampires Quei Jin and the Sabbat, which seeks to destroy humanity. And the whole struggle revolves around the artifact of the Ankorg sarcophagus.
So what's the secret to the popularity of this RPG? Through the fire of competition and development, she was an example of a great RPG, and people came to her over time. The fanbase was formed only a few years after the release of the game. It is for this reason that the ambitious sequel comes out only 15 years after the first part appeared.
The secret of success is that the universe that Troika Games created looks realistic. She fits into our real world without breaking its rules. After playing Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines, the brain itself draws parallels with our life and comes to the conclusion that such a world could very well exist. Here you can compare the game with the world of Harry Potter: it is elaborate, interesting, it has magical things, cool inhabitants, and most importantly - it could well coexist with our world.
We could play for one of seven distinctive clans with different abilities and skills. Malkavians - go crazy after the transformation and communicate strangely [sometimes the player himself does not understand what his hero is saying]. Nosferatu are cursed with ugliness and "Masquerade" forbids them to move on the surface. This is a pretty bold decision to add a class of characters to the game that will be cut off from half of the game content. I don’t know if Paradox Interactive will do this in the sequel.
The game also had a good leveling and skill system. Each clan had a plus to certain skills and had authentic skills. Depending on this, you might have played the game in different ways. You can complete the mission by talking, stealth or with a weapon.
The game has five endings, but it remains fairly linear. Side quests, great adult humor, and an R rating give you a cool experience. What is the coolest quest about the investigation of the production of snuff films in LA
Regardless of the clan, no one forbade us to be a real vampire and hunt people for blood. But if we do not observe the "Masquerade", then we will turn into an uncontrollable monster.
The developers prescribed the world around them, made a powerful plot, secondary characters - all this wild mixture made Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines an excellent RPG of its time, and that's why its sequel, which we are waiting for, will be released.
This was the history of the formation of Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines, which, alas, at one time did not get the attention it deserved. Despite the terrible bugs, the optimization curve and some rough edges - it's great.
The Topic of Article: How Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines was created and became a classic.