When you’re im­mor­tal, life re­ally is strange, writes Heidi Kemps

Hyper - - EDITORIAL -

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

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