Watch 20 minutes of Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 gameplay on the PC

Back at GDC I needed to describe my impressions of Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2. Paradox was willing to confirm the game’s existence to the public at the time, but all the demo footage we saw was strictly behind-closed-doors.

Give thanks to E3 then, as that’s finally changed. Brian Mitsoda talked me through an early Bloodlines 2 quest Tuesday, and we were able to capture the ensuing footage. Note that this was a hands-off demo, with a member of the dev team controlling, but I was asked for input at pivotal moments—which faction to side with, how to approach a building full of enemies, and whether we kill or spare our target.

There’s also a lot of combat in the video, both melee and ranged, plus a handful of early vampire powers. This mission is (we were told) approximately a third of the way through Bloodlines 2, and you’re still a Thinblood—a vampire without a clan. A free agent, if you will, there to do dirty work for other factions.

The player’s asked to track down a Nosferatu named Slugg, who’s holding some vital information. Multiple factions want this information back, and some have strong feelings on whether Slugg lives or dies as well.

Standard Vampire: The Masquerade stuff really, and in large part this is merely video proof Bloodlines 2 exists. I don’t think anything in this demo is too mind-blowing. It’s a fairly simple fetch quest, albeit a well-written one that takes you through both Pioneer Square and The Jungle, two real-world locations that might be recognizable to Seattle residents. The voice acting is solid throughout, and the characters you meet are already memorable.

But the quest on its own isn’t too powerful. Seeing what happens after, what ramifications arise from saving or killing Slugg, from helping or betraying your contact Elfi, that’s what made Bloodlines interesting and what has me interested in a sequel. This footage is all setup for payoff that might not come until 10 or 15 hours down the line, and I can’t wait to find out what that payoff entails.

Luckily we won’t have to wait too long. Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 doesn’t have an official release date yet, but is slated for that Q1 2020 window—same as Cyberpunk 2077, Dying Light 2, and Watch Dogs Legion. Given what we’ve seen so far at E3 2019, we’re going to have one hell of a year even before the next console generation releases. Better clear your calendar.

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