A sequel, Vampire: The Masquerade — Bloodlines 2 , is scheduled for release in Bloodlines is an action role-playing video game optionally presented from the first- or third-person perspective. The player builds their character by spending acquired points to increase their ratings in the three areas. The points spent on Attributes and Abilities combine to determine a player's success or effectiveness in performing tasks such as using firearms, brawling, and lock-picking; for example, determining how accurate or how far the player can shoot, or if they can hack a computer.
Abilities are talents such as brawling and dodging , skills such as firearms and melee and knowledges such as computers and investigation. During character creation, each upgrade costs one point. The upgrade cost increases as the game progresses.
The player's clan affects their skills and powers. Although the attractive Toreadors receive bonuses for seduction and persuasion, opening additional dialog options, they are physically weak; the Nosferatu are forced to travel in the shadows or through sewers to avoid alerting humans, but receive bonuses to their intelligence and computer skills, which enables access to more information. The Malkavians have separate dialog options, reflecting their inherent insanity.
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Firearms combat is first-person, with character points assigned to the firearms skill determining the shot's accuracy and how long it takes to target an opponent. Each clan has specific Disciplines, which can be used in combat and to create approaches to quests. It is drained with each use, and can be replenished by drinking from rats, visiting blood banks or drinking from humans by attacking or seducing them;   the player can feed on enemies during combat.
Players are penalized for using certain vampiric abilities in front of witnesses; exposing their existence loses masquerade points, although additional masquerade points can be earned from quests and other actions. Violating the masquerade five times draws the ire of vampire hunters and loses the game.
Some actions cost humanity points; a low humanity score alters available dialog options to become more aggressive, and increases the chance of entering a frenzied state and embarking on a killing spree, when the vampire's blood is low. This frenzy can also be triggered by a large amount of damage. Like masquerade points, losing all humanity points ends the game, with the vampire becoming a mindless beast.
The Toreadors are the closest to humanity, with a passion for culture; the Ventrue are noble, powerful leaders; the Brujah are idealists who excel at fighting; the Malkavians are cursed with insanity, or blessed with insight; the Gangrel are loners, in sync with their animalistic nature; the secretive, untrustworthy Tremere wield blood magic; and the monstrous Nosferatu are condemned to a life in the shadows to avoid humanity.
The clans are loosely united by their belief in the Camarilla's goals and opposition to the Sabbat: vampires who revel in their nature, embracing the beast within. The Anarchs are a faction of idealistic vampires opposed to the Camarilla's political structure, believing that power should be shared by all vampires. The main character of Bloodlines , whom the player controls, is an unnamed fledgling vampire, transformed at the start of a game and belonging to one of the clans. The fledgling's travels through the vampire world bring them into contact with other undead creatures such as the deformed information broker Bertram Tung, the Anarch Smiling Jack John DiMaggio ,   and the mentally-unstable Voerman sisters, Jeanette and Therese.
The game begins with the player character , an unnamed human, being killed and resurrected as a fledgling vampire. For this unauthorized act, the fledgling and their Sire are brought before the Camarilla.
The Sire is executed by order of LaCroix; the fledgling is spared the same fate by the intervention of the Anarch, Nines Rodriguez, and employed by the prince. Following their success the fledgling travels to downtown Los Angeles, meeting separately with Nines, LaCroix, and Jack. LaCroix tasks the fledgling with investigating a docked ship, the Elizabeth Dane , for information about an Ankaran sarcophagus rumored to contain the body of an Antediluvian, one of the oldest and most powerful vampires, whose arrival would herald the vampire apocalypse, Gehenna.
The fledgling discovers that the sarcophagus seems to have been opened from within. Increased Sabbat activity coincides with the disappearance of the Malkavian chief, Alistair Grout. At Grout's mansion, the fledgling sees Nines leaving and discovers Grout's remains in the mansion with vampire hunter Grunfeld Bach, who denies involvement in Grout's death. Learning about Nines' presence at the mansion, LaCroix tells the other chiefs to approve Nines' execution.
The fledgling is sent to the Museum of Natural History to recover the sarcophagus, but finds that it has been stolen. Jack later suggests to the fledgling that LaCroix wants the sarcophagus to drink the blood of the ancient within, gaining its power. Believing that Gary, the Nosferatu chief, has stolen the sarcophagus, the fledgling is sent to Hollywood to find him; after locating a captured Nosferatu for Gary, he reveals that the sarcophagus was stolen by the Giovanni vampire clan. The fledgling infiltrates the Giovanni mansion and finds the sarcophagus guarded by the Kuei-Jin, who claim their leader, Ming-Xiao, has formed an alliance with LaCroix.
The locked sarcophagus is returned to LaCroix's tower and Beckett, a vampire scholar, tells the fledgling that the only person who can open it has been abducted by Grunfeld to lure LaCroix. The fledgling kills Grunfeld and learns that the sarcophagus' key has been stolen. The fledgling returns to LaCroix, learning that the Sabbat tried to steal the sarcophagus to destroy it and prevent Gehenna, and kills the Sabbat leader to disperse his followers. The fledgling is met by Ming-Xiao, who offers to form an alliance. Ming-Xiao reveals that she has the key, and LaCroix killed Grout to prevent his powerful insight from unveiling LaCroix's plans; Ming-Xiao changed into Nines at the mansion to frame him.
The fledgling finds Nines hiding in Griffith Park , and they are then attacked by a werewolf and Nines is badly injured. The fledgling escapes with Jack, who reveals that LaCroix has issued an execution order on the fledgling for framing Nines on orders from Ming-Xiao. The end varies, depending on whom, if anyone, the fledgling allies with.
If the fledgling supports LaCroix or Ming-Xiao, each sends the fledgling to kill the other. LaCroix opens the sarcophagus, to be killed with the fledgling by hidden explosives; Ming-Xiao betrays the fledgling, chaining them to the sarcophagus and sinking it in the ocean. Supporting the Anarchs, or no one, makes the fledgling kill Ming-Xiao and maim LaCroix, who is killed after he opens the sarcophagus. If the fledgling opens the sarcophagus, they die in the explosion. Each ending has Jack watching from afar with the mummy taken from the coffin and the enigmatic taxi driver who transports the fledgling between locations, who says, "The blood of Caine controls our fate Farewell, vampire.
The developers wanted to put a role-playing game in a first-person setting, believing that the genre had become stale. Troika wanted to make a 3D game , but was uncertain whether to build a new game engine or license an existing one and whether to use first- or third-person.
Many of the central plot elements existed before designer Brian Mitsoda's involvement: the prince, the anarchs being upset, aspects of the Gehenna storyline, and Jack and the sarcophagus as a major subplot. The designers broadly tied the overarching story into each hub and level. Each designer controlled their assigned section of the game, and working with a small team enabled quick decision making and ease in keeping plot elements consistent. Mitsoda became the primary writer for many of the characters and their quests, dialog, and side content in the game, such as emails, which helped retain a consistent narrative.
He was given freedom with respect to the script, with no restrictions on language or content, and could rewrite characters when he thought his initial draft weak. Bloodlines ' story was accepted as canonical by White Wolf, with the game serving as a prequel to Time of Judgment and including characters from the White Wolf game, such as Jack.
You need a character to pose a problem or give out a quest or be a barrier of some kind.
I don't like to make the [character] outright say "I need you to do X, then I'll give you Y" I like the characters to come off like people actually do — they don't say "hi" when strangers come knocking, they say "who the hell are you? I don't like my [characters] to be standing around as if their lives begin when the character starts talking to them and end when the player leaves.
Single-purpose characters needed a distinctive personality trait to quickly establish them with the player, rather than serving as a disposable item, while major characters had to reflect the player's progression and actions through the game. Mitsoda wrote the characters by thinking about who each character was, assigning them motivations determining why they were where they were, what they thought about the player and what they wanted from them.
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He wrote the Malkavian script last, with time running out on development, and the overwork and lack of sleep contributed to what Mitsoda considered an unhealthy state of mind, ideal for writing insane dialog. He wanted to highlight their madness, without making it comical. Troika co-founder Jason Anderson's research on Vampire: The Masquerade source material and fansites found that character interaction and involvement in the vampire societies, not statistics and powers, was the game's main attraction.
Troika tried to remain true to the pen-and-paper role-playing game , hoping not to alienate the game's fans, but rules designed for multiple players did not translate well to single player computer game design. The team attempted to discover which elements could work equally well in pen-and-paper and computer games. Although much of the character system and attributes translated, not all the attributes such as "knowledge of law" made sense in the computer game.
Of 30 pen-and-paper abilities, 15 reached the final design. Another difficult area was feats. Although common feats worked well, with a random chance of success or failure, uncommon ones would appear to fail more often. To avoid this, randomization was replaced by a degree of difficulty in accomplishing the feat. Although pen-and-paper falling damage is random, the computer game bases damage on the distance of the fall. The team's biggest challenge was adapting disciplines.
The pen-and-paper version may require a little blood that requires a long time to use, or have no blood cost and can be used at will; upgraded disciplines had additional requirements considered too confusing for a computer game.