Announced in a joint statement today by developer Hardsuit Labs and Paradox Interactive, organizational changes are coming to the team heading up the recently delayed Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2. Lead Narrative Designer Brian Mitsoda and Creative Director Ka’ai Cluney have been fired from the project. According to the statement, the decision was a joint effort by the developer and publisher. “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.”
— Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 (@VtM_Bloodlines) August 19, 2020
“As a writer, returning to a certain world or character is like catching an old scent that transports you back to a specific time and place in your life, and when it came to slipping back into the mindset of Vampire, it felt effortless.” This quote by Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines writer and designer Brian Mitsoda still lingers on the front page of the Hardsuit Labs website. In a statement by Mitsoda made to Rock Paper Shotgun, he said:
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).
Mitsoda was a driving force behind the initial marketing push for the game’s announcement, with trailers touting the involvement of the beloved franchise’s original designer. Former Ubisoft consultant Alexandre Mandryka has been brought in by Hardsuit and Paradox to get the game across the proverbial finish line. Said Paradox in the statement, “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.”
Look for Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 sometime in 2021, assuming no further delays.