Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 Fired Two Creative Leads
Major changes have been made to the development team behind Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2, including the firing of two key personnel. Last week, developer Hardsuit Labs and publisher Paradox Interactive announced the game was delayed into 2021 and were planning organisational changes for the remainder of the project. Vampire: The Masquerade- Bloodlines 2 has seen its narrative lead and creative director unexpectedly dropped from the project, with the former saying he is “incredibly disappointed” after being “suddenly terminated” from the game’s development team.
Lead narrative designer Brian Mitsoda who wrote and designed the original Bloodlines and creative director Ka’ai Cluney are no longer part of the team. The decision was “made by the leadership of Hardsuit Labs and Paradox Interactive.” No reason for their dismissal is given.
Here is Brian Mitsoda’s statement in full:
“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.”
In an update on the Bloodlines 2 page, a statement says that 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,” the statement reads.
Replacing Cluney is Alexandre Mandryka, who will take on the position of creative consultant. He has more than 20 years’ experience working on games in the Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry and Warhammer 40,000 franchises.
The first Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines faced a number of problems at launch, and Bloodlines 2 has been delayed a few times in order to specifically avoid a similar situation. Last week, Paradox confirmed a delay to 2021, citing the quality bar and ambitions of the project.