Renowned VAMPIRE: THE MASQUERADE - BLOODLINES Writer Brian Mitsoda Is No Longer Working on Sequel
In an unexpected turn of events, Rock Paper Shotgun has learned that Brian Mitsoda — the writer of 2004's Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines — has been fired from Hardsuit Labs, the studio behind the sequel.
That's right, one of the creators of the cult-classic original is no longer working on Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2. "[To say] that this came as a shock to me is underselling it," Mitsoda told the news outlet.
Quite shockingly, Mitsoda is not the only well-known artist who's been asked to leave the Seattle-based studio, as creative director Ka’ai Cluney (Quake II) is "no longer part of the team at Hardsuit Labs" as well.
"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," publisher Paradox Interactive said in an official statement issued earlier today. "We wish them both the best in their future endeavors," the Swedish company concluded.
Considering that Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 was officially announced in March 2019 and still doesn't have an official release date — although it was recently delayed to 2021 — it's safe to say that the game's development cycle has been problematic, despite the Blacklight: Retribution team's best intentions.
While we're patiently waiting for more details on the complex situation, here is 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."
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Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 is coming to PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and PC (via Steam, GOG and the EGS) in 2021.