I have a confession to make. I was late to the World of Darkness party. Critics had already stamped their verdict on Bloodlines and it must have completely slipped my radar back in 2004. However with the help of the Steam community, I managed to find time to dive into Vampire The Masquerade – Bloodlines…and I’m so glad I did.
Development against all odds
When Vampire The Masquerade – Bloodlines was first released, a small budget, lack of publisher marketing, a main development team of only 5 people and a launch-window against Half Life 2 was a recipe for disaster. But Troika Games sucked-up the crunch periods (a term used when a large window of overtime is needed to meet a development milestone) and did their best at creating one the most ambitious first-person RPG’s for its time.
Unfortunately due to lack of publisher support, Vampire The Masquerade – Bloodlines had to be released in an unstable state. Critics struggled to recommend the game due to its many bugs (many game breaking) and the game only managed to shift 72,000 copies.
Hang on…how is The Vampire The Masquerade – Bloodlines one of the best RPG’s of all time?
Ah, this isn’t just about an under supported developer. This is also about one of the most loyal and hard working game communities in the history of PC gaming.
After Vampire The Masquerade – Bloodlines launched, Troika Games rushed to release a patch but poor sales had the studio desperately seeking new publishers to stay afloat. This meant more crunch periods for new IP’s. This meant frantically trying to sign new support. This meant Troika Games were unable to add all that was necessary in the first (and only) official patch.
The official patch may have filled in a few holes but the complete package was still a dim light at the end of a long tunnel. Enter the Vampire Masquerade – Bloodlines gaming community, who took it on themselves to mod, playtest and collaborate to release multiple patches (spanning over 10 years) that would not only make the game fully playable, but show gamers and critics the RPG experience that Troika Games originally set out to create.
Trust us, it’s something that every RPG fan should fully play through at least once.
One of the greatest RPG’s ever made
Troika Games and the Bloodlines community have helped create an FPS RPG that is up their with the likes of Dues Ex. Never before have gamers been able to fully immerse themselves into a dark and supernatural world. The entire game has been designed to make you feel like a newly-turned vampire roaming the night. How do you live and feed but yet keep your humanity? Who do you seek for guidance and where will your loyalties lie?
One thing that will really stand-out while playing Bloodlines is the care and detail of how your character will interact. From tutorials to feeding and from business dealings to major decision making, Troika games have gone to great lengths to surround you with their dark world.
There may be other great RPG’s out there but after playing Vampire Masquerade – Bloodlines we’re sure you’ll agree that no other game has managed to pull it off in quite the same way.
Vampire Masquerade – Bloodlines is a game you simply MUST play if you call yourself an RPG fan. A unique and sinister world, masterfully crafted characters and a compelling storyline will keep you entertained for 40+ hours.
Special Note: Due to the lack of publisher support at the time, Troika Games had to close its doors shortly after the game was released. This means that all sales of the game no longer support Troika Games (so don’t feel bad getting it in a sale). However, playing the game through and joining online petitions for a remake or follow-up, certainly will!