Vampire The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 isn’t shying away from taking a political stance

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We live in an age where people don’t just have an opinion, they’ve got an opportunity to broadcast it across all spheres of communication that make up our various feeds these days. Whether you want to hear it or not. Oy vey. Point is, society is fractured and we’ve got extremists on either side of the ideological divide going nuclear while regular people in the middle just want some peace and quiet.

Nothing can escape the effects of the real world though, and while plenty of video games aim to be as neutral as possible in their approach to avoid losing revenue, Vampire The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 is going in the opposite direction. This isn’t just a game that aims to bring the original cult classic back for a second chance at life, it aims to do so while by an inherently political game inside and outside of the vampire society strata. “The world is a very different place,” creative director developer Hardsuit Labs Martin Ka’ai Clooney to VG247.

One of the reasons we went to Seattle for Bloodlines 2 is there’s a lot of conflict in Seattle that is a microcosm of a lot of conflict that’s going on all over the place. It just felt like a good place to start to ground it; the conflict between tradition and progress, conflict between money and artistic endeavours. A lot of those conflicts are happening right now and they’re very real.

It seems like the perfect place to dig into something that feels very modern in terms of the conflict and also very timeless; grounding it in 2020 but also very much a descendent of what the original game was. One of the reasons why that particular conflict attracted us so much was because it’s an inherently political conversation but it’s one of the few ones where it’s hard to… there are valid approaches. The world has to move forward, right?

Technological progress is a big deal and people are going to make money doing it. But what’s the cost? One of the things we really wanted to do was narrow in on a major conflict that can truly, reasonably be seen from both sides. As much as I loved being in Seattle in the 90s, and I’ve lived most of my life in Seattle, but at the same time I make video games for a living. I am not innocent of the tech boom.

It is a political game but I think it’s one of those few opportunities that gives us the chance to let people make their own political statement in a way that’s not cheap. I don’t believe you can look at both sides of a political argument without understanding both sides. It’s easy to say this is good and this is bad. But it’s definitely taking some political stances on what we think are right and wrong. In terms of the main conflict what is interesting is it’s one of those truly balanced issues.

It’s a tricky act to balance on. The problem with a game being political is that it risks being quickly dated if it isn’t handled with subtlety and grace. Still, if the overall message is about being less of a monster than the maniacs running the world today and who are spewing hate from their assorted hate-boxes while they exploit anyone beneath them, that ain’t too bad of an idea to focus on.

Last Updated: March 25, 2019

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