When you’re immortal, life really is strange, writes Heidi Kemps
French developer Dontnod has given us an interesting string of titles in the past few years, starting with the Capcom-published Remember Me and continuing on into the heartwrenching, episodic stories of Life is Strange. Dontnod's next title, Vampyr, feels like a bit of a departure from their previous titles. In fact, it’s a departure from humanity altogether. While Remember Me and Life is Strange were action-adventure and cinematic-adventure games, respectively, Vampyr is an action-role playing saga set in jolly old turn-ofthe-century London, circa 1918. Well, okay, maybe we should scratch that whole “jolly” part – things are pretty bad, with the Spanish Flu claiming lives left and right. But that’s not the only communicable disease being passed around on these streets; there’s been a noted increase in vampirism, of late. Among those who have joined the ranks of the immortals is your player character, Dr Jonathan Reid.
Dr Reid is living a rather interesting conundrum. He’s researching vampirism and believes that it can, in fact, be cured. But as a vampire himself, he’s wrestling with the ethics of doing what he needs to survive: feeding on the lifeblood of others. This forms the central mechanism for player choice in the game: namely, the when, where, and upon whom you choose to feed.
The results can have far-reaching consequences. The more you feed on the blood of the populace, the stronger Dr Reid is – acting as a surrogate for typical XP gain in RPGs. Killing certain people, however, can have an impact on the game world. In the demo we were shown, Dr Reid kills a man who laments having to leave his son fatherless as he dies. Said NPC was hardly a good man – he was shaking down a local merchant for money – and his death will benefit said merchant. His son, however, will become a very different person than he would have had his father survived. As you can imagine, Vampyr’s world is filled with NPCs, all of whom have a complex interweaving web of relationships. You can actually enter into a menu to check these relationships, which will undoubtedly be crucial when you’re trying to decide who will become the good doctor’s next meal.
NPCs aren’t the only living beings you can interact with, however. There are some other vampires floating around London, such as the Lady Ashbury, a long-lived matriarch of the local bloodsuckers. Many vampires, however, are nowhere near as friendly: the nasty combination of vampirism and Spanish Flu has given rise to a new breed of vampire called 'skulls': nasty, feral creatures whose blood lust is uncontrolled and who Dr Reid must defend himself – and the populace of London – against. The is yours: what
as a vampire himself, dr reid is wrestling with the ethics of doing what he needs to survive: feeding on the blood of others
sacrifices will you make for the greater good of everyone?
The choices presented to you in Vampyr are hazy, and the release date is likewise somewhat ambiguous: it’s set to hit PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PCs sometime in 2017.
Not the kind of love bite you show off in the sunlight