Two decades since the first game launched, Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 is on the way. The developmental process has seen its fair share of bumps in the road, with publisher Paradox Interactive having acquired the IP back in 2015 before scrapping its first attempt. Since learning that Still Wakes the Deep studio The Chinese Room is at the helm, though, we've been steadily learning more about this long-awaited sequel to a cult classic.
Where the original game was adapted from a tabletop RPG, Bloodlines 2 is shaping up to be a different experience. In a story described by the developer as a "neo-noir thriller", The Chinese Room confirmed that Bloodlines 2's customizable protagonist Phyre breaks the newborn vampire tradition by having players start out as an experienced Elder. We also know that the game will center around the Boston Camarilla – that is, the vampiric council of Boston, Massachusetts, where Phyre awakens after centuries of slumber.
There's a lot more where those details came from. Read on for the latest Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 news, including its release window, characters, playable clans, and more info from the developer on its thrilling new project.
Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines 2 release Window
The Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 release date is set for "Fall 2024", according to developer The Chinese Room (via Steam). An initial ballpark release window placed the game on track to launch sometime next year, but a recent announcement regarding character creation confirmed that the studio has narrowed it down just a touch.
Warrior vampire clan Brujah is "...the first of four playable clans available at release in Fall 2024," The Chinese Room says in a Steam post accompanying the YouTube video announcement. It might not be a solid release date, but at least we know not to expect Bloodlines 2 as an early 2024 offering.
Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines 2 platforms
In terms of Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 platforms, we expect it to launch on PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X in 2024. It is not expected to launch on last gen consoles (via Getmatsu) with the publisher having scrapped that idea when the project changed hands to a new developer in 2020. Sad news for PS4 and Xbox One owners, but it's already an improvement on the computer-only restrictions of the first Bloodlines game back in 2004.
Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines 2 delay
This isn't the first Bloodlines sequel Paradox has worked on. The original Bloodlines 2 was intended to launch in 2019 from Killing Floor 2 developer Hardsuit Labs, shortly after the publisher acquired the IP in 2015. Following two delays in 2019 and 2020 respectively, as well as roles being reshuffled in the dev team, Paradox announced in 2021 that Bloodlines 2 had been delayed "indefinitely". Hardsuit Labs was then removed from the project, with no mention of a replacement.
It was a relief to see a sign of life two years later, when Paradox released fresh production screenshots in June 2023. There was no mention of which studio was actually developing the game until September 2023. A post on the Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 Steam page revealed The Chinese Room as the official project lead, and since then, the information has been coming in steady drip-feeds of dev interviews and sneak peeks.
Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines 2 developer
Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 is being developed by British studio The Chinese Room. Studio design director Alex Skidmore penned the Steam announcement on September 20, 2023, introducing the developer as an "award-winning studio focused on telling grounded, believable and rich stories - these are the traditions behind our ground-breaking games in our portfolio, like Dear Esther and the internationally acclaimed Everybody's Gone to the Rapture."
Skidmore's post revealed that The Chinese Room has been working on Bloodlines 2 since 2020, alongside a second "narrative-focused" project, Still Wakes the Deep. "Still Wakes the Deep builds on The Chinese Room’s heritage, and Bloodlines 2 is about looking to the future for our games, taking a big leap forward into the action role-playing genre while bringing our narrative expertise to bear."
Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines 2 story
The story of Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 will see us playing as Phyre, an elder vampire newly awoken from a centuries-long slumber to find the city has left them behind. Phyre will be a highly-customizable main character, with their gender, appearance and vampire clan all down to player choice, but an overarching narrative to pull the pieces together. "Choices and conversations (even outfits!) shape how the environment and characters react to Phyre, changing how the story unfolds, " writes The Chinese Room (via Steam).
One of the most important Bloodlines 2 story elements is bound to be the vampire clans. As in the TTRPG, the clan you pick will dictate Phyre's skills, disciplines, and traits, which could affect how you play the game and interact with NPCs around you.
The developer stated that there will be "four playable clans" to choose from when the game launches, one more to be added in a DLC, and a sixth via a "unique, standalone DLC" sometime in 2024. Right now the only confirmed clan in Bloodlines 2 is Brujah, the warrior faction, but with The Chinese Room promising another update in the coming days, the full roster could be announced sooner than we expected.
We also know that Phyre will be accompanied by a Thin-Blood vampire named Fabian, described by the developer as being "inside Phyre". Sharing a peculiar "bond" with them, Fabian will act as Phyre's guide through the modern world, giving them access to information an Elder might not ordinarily gain. How this will play out in Bloodlines 2 is yet to be seen, but we do know a bit about how gameplay is shaping up.
Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines 2 gameplay
According to studio design director Alex Skidmore, "Bloodlines 2 is designed with a balance of roleplaying game and adventure story. A compelling and rich plot you’d expect from an adventure game, but with RPG agency allowing you to act out your vampire fantasy.
Post-alpha Bloodlines 2 gameplay footage shows first-person action sequences as well as third-person dialogue. In the Brujah clan announcement video above, we see a snippet of a Brujah vampire engaged in melee combat against a red-eyed enemy, both hands flexed in a claw-like shape in front of them. Something about it does look reminiscent of Arkane's Dishonored series, a reference cited by the developer in the accompanying Steam post.
The Chinese Room says it has reworked this approach, going for a more nuanced vampire roleplay experience, so when Bloodlines 2 releases we should expect "an action experience where players feel confident, almost trolling the enemies with their [vampire] disciplines." This suggests that, as in the first Bloodlines game, our chosen vampire clan and its associated strengths and weaknesses will inform how combat, feeding, and exploration works.
In another YouTube video featuring gameplay and dev interview footage, we see Bloodlines 2's voiced protagonist Phyre having a conversation with an NPC, this time showing both characters in animated third-person close-ups. "We put in a rule that the non-combat gameplay should be about something only a vampire could do; keep it aspirational," says The Chinese Room. We've yet to see what this actually means, but it's good to see that choice-led interactions with NPCs are still on the table.
Check out some of the best RPGs ever to play while you await Bloodlines 2, from The Witcher to Persona 5.