‘Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2’ Leads “Suddenly Terminated” After Game Is Delayed

     August 19, 2020

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Following the news that Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 would be delaying its anticipated release until an unknown date next year, we’ve got word that some top-level creatives have been “suddenly terminated” from the project. That’s as surprising to fans of the video game franchise as it was to the devs themselves. Sure, the project was supposed to arrive in March of this year, but 2020 being what it is, the original delay until Fall 2020 was understandable. What’s less clear is if this shuffling of the creative team is the cause of the new delay or a result of it.

A post from the official Bloodlines 2 site today announced changes coming to the game behind the scenes. The good news is that industry veteran Alexandre Mandryka has come aboard the project as Creative Consultant; the curious news is that Mandryka is filling in for the Creative Director role recently vacated by Ka’ai Cluney, a decision made by Paradox Interactive and Hardsuit Labs. Additionally, Lead Narrative Designer Brian Mitsoda is also off the project; Mitsoda’s own version of the events are quite different from the studios’ official response, which follows below:

Hi everyone,

 

Paradox Interactive and Hardsuit Labs have some important updates to share today. We recently shared that we were making some organizational changes to the Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 team, as promised, we will now give an update on what that means.

 

Lead Narrative Designer Brian Mitsoda and Creative Director Ka’ai Cluney are no longer part of the team at Hardsuit Labs. 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. We wish them both the best in their future endeavors.

 

With that, we are excited to announce that Alexandre Mandryka has come aboard as Creative Consultant, filling the Creative Director role for Bloodlines 2, and will help us in the final stages of development. Alexandre is committed to following the vision that is in place, and successfully bringing Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 to the fans.

 

Alexandre has been in the industry for more than 20 years and has worked on iconic franchises such as Assassin’s Creed, Warhammer 40,000, Far Cry, and more. With a long history of shipping excellent franchises, we are excited with what Alexandre brings to the game and the World of Darkness.

 

These changes to the team are focused on one thing: to bring you the best possible Vampire: The Masquerade game. We will share further updates as they occur.

 

We thank you all for understanding.

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Image via Paradox Interactive and Hardsuit Labs

Mitsoda, who was instrumental in the previous acclaimed title in the franchise released back in 2004, has been hard at work on the sequel for about the last five years. That all came to a stop last month. Here’s what Mitsoda had to say about the news in a quote provided to Rock Paper Shotgun:

“Until recently, I was the Narrative Lead on a videogame called Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines 2 for Hardsuit Labs, Inc being published by Paradox Interactive (which owns 30% of Hardsuit Labs). After almost five years involvement with the studio, I was suddenly terminated on 7/16/20.

 

That this came as a shock to me is underselling it. I’ve worked on Bloodlines 2 for almost five years. The story and main cast was initially conceived in my living room. I helped develop the pitch for Hardsuit Labs and helped pitch the project to Paradox in Las Vegas. I’ve been in charge of the narrative since the beginning, working long days and sometimes weekends to deliver a successor to Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines, and I’ve never been led to believe that I hadn’t succeeded. Very obviously, I have also been involved in the PR and marketing side of things, even though it was one of the most difficult parts for me. I’m a pretty private person – press and crowds tend to heavily trigger my social anxiety (which, if you’ve ever wondered about the gloves, they are “armor” that make me feel less exposed in situations that trigger my anxiety).

 

Bloodlines and the fandom of the game mean the world to me. So I lent my legacy with the franchise, my name, and my participation in marketing efforts for the game, even when it was intensely difficult and took a mental and physical toll. This is all because I wanted to do what was best for the game and the team.

 

The pride in the work, the fan expectations, and the support from co-workers who started out as fans kept me going through this long five years. And I’m incredibly disappointed and frustrated to say that this is where it ends for me on the project.

 

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. 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.

 

It was a pleasure to work on this game and with many people at Hardsuit Labs and Paradox and I’m sorry I won’t be able to see it to the end. I spent years on some of the best characters and dialogue that I ever wrote. It’s meant a lot to hear from the Bloodlines community and I do hope that what’s finally delivered is as satisfying as I intended it to be. Thanks to all of you who supported me throughout the project.”

Mitsoda’s unplanned departure from the project should be a red flag for any number of reasons. His part to play in the sequel brought some credibility to the project after the Troika Games studio folded back in 2005. Now, the quality of the product is anyone’s guess, as is the release date for the game itself.

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