Death is pretty difficult when you’re a vampire with a conscience Adam Bryant
There are plenty of ways you can go about creating a game involving vampires. You could have a romance story where ridiculously good-looking vampires glitter in the sunlight, or have an awesome anti-hero mowing down swathes of bloodsuckers in an underground night club while sprinklers shower everyone in blood. You could even document the lives of some vampire flatmates as they prepare for a night on the town. But Dontnod, of Remember Me and Life Is
Strange fame, has decided to take a different path with Vampyr.
Set in the gothic streets of London in 1918 during the height of the Spanish flu epidemic, this narrative action RPG centers around doctor-turned-vampire Jonathan Reid on a mission to discover the bestower of this foul and demonic affliction. But as luck would have it, Reid just so happens to be an expert in the field of blood transfusions, and has been offered a night-shift position at a local hospital, where he can carry out his investigation without impediment.
Along with becoming a predator of the night, you’ve been gifted with a particular set of skills. Some of them are a bit bitey, yes, but others will allow you to manipulate the populace and syphon the information you need from them to help you on your way. You can even mesmerize people and lead them into a dark corner for a light snack. But you’ll have to be careful, because there will always be consequences for your actions. Jonny rotten This is where the morality, which lies at the heart of this tale, comes into it. Reid has spent the majority of his working life saving lives; he must now, in a cruel twist of fate, take them to save his own. You see, in order to gain XP and evolve your vampiric abilities, you’ll need a lot of the juicy red stuff, and the only source will be from the 60 or so unique characters that you’ll be interacting with throughout the game. Each one has their own story, motivations, and aspirations, so the challenge will be how you wrestle with your conscience as you drain the blood from your victims.
While it’s entirely possible to succumb to your blood lust and feast on every character you meet to become a very powerful vampire indeed, your decisions and actions will drastically affect the game. Taking out the denizens of one area will leave it open to infestation by ghoulish vampires, called Skals, while killing a merchant will prevent you from purchasing any more items in that specific area. You’ll need to think carefully when choosing who will provide your next meal.
In terms of combat, it seems that Dontnod has learnt a few lessons from
Remember Me, which the developers confess came across as fairly stiff. This time it’s a more tactical affair, as you’re required to learn how to dispatch your enemies as quickly and efficiently as possible—mainly because they themselves, especially the vampire hunters, have developed ways in which to do the same to you.
Expectations are obviously high, but so far, from everything we’ve seen, it looks like Vampyr is set to become just the vampiric fantasy simulator you’ve been waiting for. Roaming dark alleys and skulking in the shadows has never felt so good. If you’re thirsty for more, you’ll be happy to know we’ll have more in-depth information to sate your bloodlust in our next issue.
“You’ve been gifted with a particular set of skills, some of which are a bit bitey”