Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2: Everything we know

Vampire The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 — A woman in red with purple eyes and piercings looks at the camera
(Image credit: Paradox Interactive, Hardsuit Labs)

Bloodlines 2 seems like it's finally stirring from its long purgatory. After its announcement back in 2019, the Vampire: The Masquerade sequel has seen a procession of departing leads and shuffling development studios, eventually settling into a long silence from the publisher at Paradox. For years, we've been left wondering about the fate of the Vampire RPG.

Now, it seems that Bloodlines 2 has had its own dark resurrection, now in the hands of The Chinese Room, developer of Dear Esther and Everybody's Gone to the Rapture. Here's everything we know about Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2.

When is Bloodlines 2's release date?

Bloodlines 2 is now scheduled to release in 2024. The sequel has had a long, fraught, and confusing development history, originally scheduled for March 2020 before being pushed back to an unspecified time later that year. It eventually delayed into 2021, and then again delayed out of 2021, leaving its status a mystery—we weren't even sure which studio was handling its development.

In 2022, Fredrik Wester, CEO at Bloodlines 2's publisher Paradox Interactive, tweeted that "the game is in good hands." In June 2023, we learned that there would be a big September announcement about Bloodlines 2, and the prophecy held true: In September 2023, we finally learned that The Chinese Room has been handling Bloodlines 2 development, with its release now set for 2024.

Here's the new Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 announcement trailer

It might be a curious decision to call this latest trailer an announcement trailer, given that Bloodlines 2 was technically announced already. But with how fraught its development has been, maybe treating this as a new incarnation makes the most sense. Regardless, we actually get to see some of the gameplay produced by Bloodlines 2's new development home with The Chinese Room, with lots of clips of first-person superhuman vampire combat, featuring high-speed punches, blood magic, and more.

What's the situation with the Bloodlines 2 development issues?

Bloodlines 2 has gone through a lot, and not just delays. Lead writer Brian Mitsoda, who was one of the main faces of the game since its unveiling, was fired from the project along with creative director Ka’ai Cluney in 2020. According to a blog post by developer Hardsuit Labs, the decisions came as part of "organizational changes" to the development team. Speaking to Rock Paper Shotgun via email, Mitsoda said that he was "suddenly terminated" and that "this came to [him] as a shock would be underselling it."

In October 2020, senior narrative designer Cara Ellison left Hardsuit Labs as well to join League of Geeks.

As of February 2021, its Hardsuit Labs that's been fired. Bloodlines 2 publishers Paradox Interactive announced that the game would be delayed past 2021 while they change developers. "We have started a collaboration with a new studio partner to finish work on the game," Paradox said. "This has been a difficult decision, but we are convinced that it is the right way forward to do the game justice."

After more than two years of wondering about the state of Bloodlines 2, we finally learned in September 2023 that Dear Esther developer The Chinese Room has taken over Bloodlines 2 development, brought in after Hardsuit Labs was taken off the project.

screenshot of upscale bar at christmastime

(Image credit: The Chinese Room)

How has Bloodlines 2 changed with its new developer?

It's hard to say how much, if any, of the original Bloodlines 2 gameplay and mechanics have transferred over with its move to development with The Chinese Room. We know it's still set in Seattle, but instead of playing as a recently-turned "thinblood" vampire, you'll now be playing as an established vampire Elder, recently awoken from a prolonged torpor.

Beyond that, we'll need to wait for further details to have a more complete sense of just how much Bloodlines 2 has changed.

What did we know about Bloodlines 2 before its studio shuffle?

Given the fraught history of Bloodlines 2 development and its changing studios, we don't know how much of what we learned before 2023 is relevant to the current version of Bloodlines 2. With all its complications, it sounds like the game has undergone some serious revisions. Here's a summary of details we had for Bloodlines 2 while it was in the care of Hardsuit Labs, but again: Some or all of this might not be representative of what to expect from the game currently being developed by The Chinese Room.

The announcement trailer sets a darker tone and established Bloodlines 2's Seattle setting, which The Chinese Room has confirmed is still the Bloodlines 2 setting. Hardsuit Labs released a 30 minute gameplay demo for Gamescom 2019. It gives a good sense for what it's like to roam around open Seattle in the earlier version.

Paradox had confirmed that five clans, the Brujah, Tremere, Toreador, Ventrue, and Malkavians would be playable in Bloodlines 2. They had also detailed 11 different disciplines of vampire powers, each with its own set of abilities. Some, like the super strength-esque Potency, the superhumanly speedy Celerity, and the Thaumaturgy blood magic disciplines are visible at least in spirit in the reveal trailer above from The Chinese Room, but it's unclear how much of the surrounding systems are intact.

Hardsuit Labs had revealed a number of joinable factions, and had confirmed that there would be a version of the emotional blood "resonances" from the tabletop game, which provide different qualities to blood when drunk. At the time, the studio had estimated a single playthrough would take around 25-30 hours.

Vampire: the Masquerade Bloodlines 2 - A creepy man stares into the camera

(Image credit: Paradox Interactive)
Joanna Nelius
When Joanna's not writing about gaming desktops, cloud gaming, or other hardware-related things, she's doing terrible stuff in The Sims 4, roleplaying as a Malkavian, or playing horror games that would give normal people nightmares. She also likes narrative adventures.
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