Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodhunt can bugger off back into the shadows

"Battle Royales" can go @&#* themselves.

4 mins read
Vampire the Masquerade - Bloodhunt is released

I am becoming thoroughly sick and tired of developers taking a popular IP of some kind, and reaming it into a hole where it just doesn’t fit.

Vampire: The Masquerade is a storytelling-orientated horror-fantasy RPG. It always has been. I haven’t kept up with more recent editions of the game, but early editions explicitly wrote into the very rule books that the gameplay system was built around storytelling, not dice rolls and pieces of paper. The designers explicitly wanted players to feel free to just do their own thing and ignore the rules when it’s in service of the storytelling.

That was one of the things that made it so appealing over the more mechanical Dungeons & Dragons back in those early days of pen-and-paper RPGs. Indeed, the whole LARPG (live-action RPG) trend, where people dress up and do play-acting rather than sitting at a table rolling dice, really got its kick-start from the World of Darkness RPGs, including Vampire.

So I don’t think it’s unfair to expect that a Vampire: The Masquerade game would be a story-driven experience. Thankfully there have been plenty of those (and NACON and developer, Big Bad Wolf have one coming shortly, which looks great). In that context, it’s not the end of the world that Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodhunt exists. It’s not like this was the one game long-suffering World of Darkness fans have been pinning their hopes on. Nonetheless, it’s annoying.

Why is it annoying? Do you know what is not a storytelling video game genre? Free-to-Play “Battle Royale” games, that’s what. The entire genre takes an almost perverse glee of being absolutely contextless, because the less context, the more you can get away with stupid, illogical, pointless (but profitable) crossovers, like when Fortnite randomly sticks winter Olympians into it.

I would fully expect Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodhunt to have Care Bears and My Little Pony crossovers if there’s money in it. Because that’s what the developer is clearly there for. It has no interest in giving people the opportunity to experience stories in the World Of Darkness setting. People – especially fans of Vampire – are just a resource to this developer. A mine to tap. The project is a blatant effort to take a popular thing, and a commercially lucrative genre, and mash them together whether it actually works thematically, aesthetically, and conceptually, or not. The developer doesn’t care about those kinds of details. Just the fan base mining.

I do understand that video games are a business and developers need to make money. That’s fine. But, if you’re going to make money from an established property, then at the very least, if you have any respect for the arts or, frankly, the property itself, then you should try to genuinely do the base material justice.

Anyhow. If you’re absolutely desperate to give this thing a go, it’s available on PlayStation 5 and PC now, having emerged from Early Access. As a bonus, in celebrating the full release, you can now buy the first season’s Battle Pass and reward the developers for doing what they’ve done to a classic RPG property.

Matt S. is the Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of DDNet. He's been writing about games for over 20 years, including a book, but is perhaps best-known for being the high priest of the Church of Hatsune Miku.

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