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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » VtM: Bloodlines - Retrospective @ Eurogamer

Default VtM: Bloodlines - Retrospective @ Eurogamer

July 11th, 2013, 04:58
Eurogamer has a retrospective article for Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines. It also talks about Werner "Wesp5" Spahl, and his famous unofficial patch that keep the game alive.

It even has a catchy opening parargragh.
On November 16, 2004, two games powered by the Source engine were released for the PC. The first was quickly heralded as a modern classic, leading to its creators becoming one of the most influential companies in the games industry. The second was largely ignored, resulting in the closure of its developer and the scattering of its designers to the winds.

"It was dumped on the market at the worst possible time - most people didn't even know we were out," says Brian Mitsoda, the former lead writer on Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines "Both fans and the Troika devs are always going to wonder what the game could have been like with another six months."

Bloodlines was sent out to die. An unfinished game released prematurely by its publishers Activision, it didn't stand a chance on the shelves, especially alongside the hotly anticipated Half Life 2. But the commercial death of Bloodlines wasn't the end for the game. Thanks to a German analytical chemist with a passion for fixing broken things, Bloodlines has received not six months of additional work, but nine full years.

This is the story of two men who breathed life into the same game - one before it was born, the other after it died.
More information.
Last edited by Couchpotato; July 11th, 2013 at 10:16.
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July 11th, 2013, 04:58
Troika Games was founded in 1998 by Jason Anderson and Leonard Boyarsky, and work began on Bloodlines in November 2001.
Ehm, kinda missing someone there You know, being a troika and all…
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July 11th, 2013, 05:30
Interesting article! I really should replay that game once more as a different vampire type.

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July 11th, 2013, 05:31
Ah the old "what might have been". On the one hand I get the familiar "damn publishers, rushing game release before it's ready" grumbling coming on. On the other, I'm thinking if commercial success might've "corrupted" Brian et. al. the same way it did Bioware. And we might not have Dead State to look forward to!
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July 11th, 2013, 05:53
Well, to be fair, the game was in production for nearly three years by what Activision must have felt was a risky and relatively unproven developer. It only made good business sense to draw a line in the sand at some place.

That's not to say that Troika's problems with the new Source Engine can be discounted, but I wouldn't harbor much ill will towards Activision either. Though the release alongside Half Life 2's debut is another matter entirely.
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July 11th, 2013, 07:40
Originally Posted by Drithius View Post
Well, to be fair, the game was in production for nearly three years by what Activision must have felt was a risky and relatively unproven developer. It only made good business sense to draw a line in the sand at some place.
I'm not disagreeing with you, because this point completely makes sense. But this is where I would like to add that this is why it is so unfortunate that people purely on the "business side" of the industry typically have little to no serious background or passion in gaming and also lack credible game development knowledge. Every project should be viewed as its own separate entity, and whether or not the project should have its budget or development time increased should hinge on the potential and progress of the individual project itself. Someone with a game development background and a passion for the hobby can recognize when a project is simply treading water, failing to sustain momentum and continue making progress. It's also probably pretty obvious when a game is such a mess that no amount of additional time could save the project.

VTM:B obviously wasn't in a disastrous, un-salvageable, terrible mess of a state where the publisher would be justified in cutting its losses and ending development on the project before completion - a fate that should only be given to games designed and coded so poorly, and showing such little promise, that there is little hope of redemption (picture the recently released Dark in this situation instead of Bloodlines). Instead, Bloodlines had enormous but not-quite-there-yet potential on its release. Now, if addidional funding and time was allowed, and after that time had passed the game still wasn't there yet, that would be a different story.

If the person(s) making the decisions at Activision had the creative passion and development knowledge of someone who had a credible background in such things, I bet they would have seen that yes, Troika already had 3 years of development, and yes, they were an unproven studio, and yes, there would have been a bit of risk involved in extending funds and development for another 6 months to a year. But if someone with a balanced approach of sturdy business knowledge and creative vision was calling the shots and played the game himself near the time of release, they would have seen the true potential of Bloodlines. Besides, it's never a good strategy on the purely business side of things to go head to a head with (insert blockbuster first-person shooter franchise here). Surely even a "businessman" on the publishing side should realize such a simple thing.

Regardless of any heart-breaking "what-if" scenarios regarding Troika, it is simply amazing what they accomplished with Bloodlines without the additional time that they would have needed to complete the finishing touches.
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July 11th, 2013, 08:00
I blame Activision because they made Troika release it with many bugs and especially the one that affected everyone and made it so you couldn't continue the game half-way through. I can understand having a few bugs and cut content but a release with such an obvious and huge bug is really bad.
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July 11th, 2013, 09:32
Publishers again. They have a lot to answer for. The main reason I think kickstarter is such a good thing.
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July 11th, 2013, 11:05
Activision destroyed VTMB and Troika - any decision maker with an inch of brain would have realised that it is not logical to release VTMB at the same time as HL2. Another 6 months wait would have improved VTMB much more, greatly enhance its reciption, and it would not bankrupt Activision.

Activision nearly killed Raven, killed Radical and many more to come.

The only thing Activision is investing in is CoD - and this frenchise is a bad product that is bought by many (like cigarettes - sorry Joxer but they are bad for your health).
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July 11th, 2013, 11:19
Still one of my all-time faves … love the highly flawed Troika games

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July 11th, 2013, 11:51
Recently replayed it with Gangrel and Venture classes. What a masterpiece: writing, stories, interconnection, world building and detail, and lore. Stealth aspects beat many modern stealth games and is well done.

In fact, levels and buildings were all designed to have space to hide bodies but I understand that this was not included due to the reasons in the article.

I loved melee and ranged combat and thought that they are well done.

Very impressed with voice overs, sound effects, music.

Facial expressions, animations, graphics and physics are all well done and ahead of their time.

My only issue is with ending and it is a clear reflection of rushing to finish the game, where all endings are decided at the end during the taxi conversation and not much influenced by your previous actions.

Otherwise, a masterpiece that I have not seen beaten (in its setting).
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July 11th, 2013, 12:00
I never tire of the haunted inn. That level scared the hell out me playing it in the dark the first time. To bad another game in the series was never made.

I know there is a new Vampire MMO in development, but it's not the same.

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July 11th, 2013, 12:01
A wonderful game indeed.
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July 11th, 2013, 12:32
Originally Posted by SpoonFULL View Post
The only thing Activision is investing in is CoD - and this frenchise is a bad product that is bought by many (like cigarettes - sorry Joxer but they are bad for your health).
Yes, cigarettes are bad for my health. But not in a way they talk about on TV and etc. My skin for example is not ruined as suggested by popular media, ppl always think I'm at least 10 years younger.

It's offtopic but still connected to VtMB case. Activision was bad for it's health.
I've played it dunno with which patch ages ago. It was still buggy, I remember getting past a certain gamebreak bug by using "cheats". But while bug-o-rama, I still loved that game. Now you tell me, why on earth would I love that buggy game and in the same time despise equally if not more bugfilled Skyrim. The answer is simple.

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July 11th, 2013, 13:07
without modders, Troika's track record would be pretty horrible.

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July 11th, 2013, 13:17
Originally Posted by Sacred_Path View Post
without modders, Troika's track record would be pretty horrible.
Modders mainly fix technical issues - its the content that matters and it shines.
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July 11th, 2013, 13:23
Originally Posted by Sacred_Path View Post
without modders, Troika's track record would be pretty horrible.
I generally play my games 'vanilla' … and they shine where it matters. A diamond in the rough is worth more to me than a highly polished turd.

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July 11th, 2013, 14:12
Originally Posted by SpoonFULL View Post
Modders mainly fix technical issues - its the content that matters and it shines.
Spoon, you should have quoted my question too, as that is the answer on it.

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July 11th, 2013, 14:22
Originally Posted by joxer View Post
Spoon, you should have quoted my question too, as that is the answer on it.
Are we talking about Bugrim again Joxer? I wonder if the game destroyed something presious to you, and you declared a vendetta.

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July 11th, 2013, 14:43
Yea, it destroyed. I used to be an adventurer. The arrow missed my knee though, instead, vibrating books damaged my ears and sandbox dropped on my head and shut down my brains.

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