In a somewhat shocking turn of events that puts the future of the long-awaited Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines sequel on shaky ground, narrative designer Brian Mitsoda has been fired with what seems like little warning from the higher-ups. Along with Mitsoda, creative director Ka'ai Cluney was also let go from Hardsuit Labs, the team behind Bloodlines 2.
Mitsoda, who was involved in the original game design, was a bit of a safe harbor in a storm where a lot of fans were worried about how a sequel to the beloved cult classic would turn out. His firing comes in the wake of a previously announced delay that set Bloodlines 2 back to a tenuous 2021 date.
Paradox Interactive, who owns a 30% stake in Hardsuit Labs, issued this statement:
We appreciate, and value, the contributions of Brian and Ka'ai, which were instrumental in establishing the game's storyline and dark tone and have helped to ensure that we are making a true successor to the iconic Bloodlines. We wish them both the best in their future endeavors.
Mitsoda also released a statement, sent in an email to Rock, Paper, Shotgun. The full text follows:
Until recently, I was the Narrative Lead on a videogame called Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines 2 for Hardsuit Labs, Inc being published by Paradox Interactive (which owns 30% of Hardsuit Labs). After almost five years involvement with the studio, I was suddenly terminated on 7/16/20.
That this came as a shock to me is underselling it. I've worked on Bloodlines 2 for almost five years. The story and main cast was initially conceived in my living room. I helped develop the pitch for Hardsuit Labs and helped pitch the project to Paradox in Las Vegas. I've been in charge of the narrative since the beginning, working long days and sometimes weekends to deliver a successor to Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines, and I've never been led to believe that I hadn't succeeded. Very obviously, I have also been involved in the PR and marketing side of things, even though it was one of the most difficult parts for me. I'm a pretty private person – press and crowds tend to heavily trigger my social anxiety (which, if you've ever wondered about the gloves, they are "armor" that make me feel less exposed in situations that trigger my anxiety).
Bloodlines and the fandom of the game mean the world to me. So I lent my legacy with the franchise, my name, and my participation in marketing efforts for the game, even when it was intensely difficult and took a mental and physical toll. This is all because I wanted to do what was best for the game and the team.
The pride in the work, the fan expectations, and the support from co-workers who started out as fans kept me going through this long five years. And I'm incredibly disappointed and frustrated to say that this is where it ends for me on the project.
I was not part of the conversations that led to the decision to delay production, and to my knowledge, there were no delays caused by the Bloodlines 2 narrative development. I am confident and proud of the work that I and my team put forward. When that work will be seen and what form it will take is unknown to me.
It was a pleasure to work on this game and with many people at Hardsuit Labs and Paradox and I’m sorry I won't be able to see it to the end. I spent years on some of the best characters and dialogue that I ever wrote. It's meant a lot to hear from the Bloodlines community and I do hope that what’s finally delivered is as satisfying as I intended it to be. Thanks to all of you who supported me throughout the project.
Coming in to fill the role of creative director is industry veteran Alexandre Mandryka. Mandryka has previously worked on the Far Cry, Warhammer 40K, and Assassin's Creed franchises.
It's never good to see two higher-ups in a company go without any warning, especially in the later periods of a project. It hurts even more to know that Mitsoda had poured so much into the project and won't be there to see it finished.
Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 is scheduled for release sometime in 2021 on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.
Brian Mitsoda has been fired as narrative lead on Bloodlines 2 [Rock, Paper, Shotgun]