More bad news for fans of Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 as new reports indicate that the next, most highly anticipated installment in the series will not be launched in the first half of 2021. The beleaguered title's release has already been postponed twice thanks to loss of staff and, naturally, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 (announced back in 2019, fifteen years after its predecessor) is an upcoming first-person action RPG set in 21st century Seattle, and follows a human protagonist who is killed and subsequently revived as a vampire. The game and its predecessor, Bloodlines, are based on the popular tabletop RPG, Vampire: The Masquerade; both are published by Sweden-based studio Paradox Interactive and developed by Hardsuit Labs, in which Paradox purchased a 33% stake in January 2018. Bloodlines 2 was originally slated for a March 2020 release, but was pushed back in order to refine development, and avoid repeating issues found in the first game. However, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, which picked up considerable momentum in March 2020, meant that a second delay was inevitable, and the game was postponed again to the new generation of consoles in 2021.
Although no release date for 2021 was ever definitively announced, Paradox's position is that it's unlikely that the game will hit shelves in the first half of 2021. That position came courtesy of Paradox CEO Ebba Ljungerud, who discussed the issue with Swedish firm Avanza (translated and dissected by Redditor PWEisBullshit), acknowledges that the game should still be released in 2021 as promised, but several issues - including but not limited to the pandemic - means that the game shouldn't be expected to launch before summer, stating simply, "we will see."
It's not particularly surprising that there's still a wait for Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2, even without the pandemic interfering. The second delay pushed the previous launch date past the release date for the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X/S, and it would make no sense to release the game for consoles that would at that point be fairly out of date. Paradox knew this when they opted to adapt the game for current-gen consoles, but that alone is a lengthy endeavor inhibited by limited development kits from Sony and Microsoft. And more significantly, two of the game's creative leads were unexpectedly terminated, including Brian Mitsoda, the writer who brought the original Bloodlines its cult following, during development with no reason why ever really given. So the delays may be less pandemic, more mismanagement.
The Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines series is quickly becoming as well known for its development issues as it is for its groundbreaking depth and gameplay innovations. The first title in the series had a production that was plagued with problems as well, and ended up being the final nail in the coffin for Troika, the studio that originally developed it. It still managed to become a cult classic in the sixteen years since its original release, but that was largely thanks to Mitsoda's brilliant writing. Bloodlines 2's multiple delays, with the pandemic and the loss of its creative leads, is looking a lot like history repeating itself, and without Mitsoda to save it, Hardsuit Labs and Paradox had better hope that it doesn't turn into a nail for their coffin, as well.