There's a lot at stake in the new adventure from the developers of Life Is Strange, bites Heidi Kemps.
Immortality actually kinda sucks. I mean, yes, it sucks in that you get to watch everyone you know and love wither away and die time and time again, but when it’s the result of vamprirism, it also sucks in the most literal sense: you must kill to survive. It’s even worse when you’re a doctor, a person sworn to protect lives: the need to consume the lifeforce of others goes against everything you live for. How can you balance your need to live against the precious lives of others, and how will you decide who lives and who dies? This is the moral quandary that lies at the heart of Vampyr, a dark action/RPG from the studio behind Remember Me and Life is Strange.
Dr. Jonathan Reid is keeping quite busy in early 20th century London. The Spanish Flu is reaching epidemic status, sickening many people – but there’s a more vile disease appearing, as well, one that causes a mental deterioration that drives those it infects to cannibalism. Dr. Reid, however, is suffering from a very different affliction – he has, for reasons yet unknown, become a vampire. This not only puts him in the sights of the city’s vampire hunters, but has left him needing to feed on the blood of the population to stay alive. This moral quandary lies at the heart of the story: Dr. Reid must stave off illness and discover the cause behind the uptick in cannibalism, yet he must kill these same people to survive.
And kill you shall. In the demo of the game we were shown at E3, the developers made it very clear that that game would be exceptionally difficult complete without feeding. This is because of the character development system the game employs: the absolute best way to level up is through drinking fresh blood, which you can then use to enhance various character abilities. Sure, you can try and survive off what you get from enemies you slay in the game’s Dishonoredstyle combat, but it’s not going to give you nearly the strength of a fresh kill. Without blood to power your vampiric abilities, you’ll be left significantly weaker in the long run, and will need to adjust your playstyle both in and out of combat accordingly.
But it’s not as easy as sneaking up on someone and sucking them dry. Every NPC you encounter in Vampyr plays a role, and whether they live or die affects a complex webs of character relationships that can alter story outcomes. In our demo, we met a son and his old mother. While the son described his mother as the most important person in his life, he harboured a dark secret: he was a serial killer, and his kindly mom knew nothing of his habit. Killing him seemed like the easy choice – but his blood quality was significantly weaker than that of his mother, and it’s hard to judge how his mother would react to his death. Which of the pair would you choose to kill? Hard choices like this are frequent.
Vampyr’s been in the works for a while, but you won’t have to wait much longer to sink your teeth into it. Look for it to hit most major platforms late this year.